State of the Hobby

From: Jeffrey l Kaneko <>
Date: Thu Jul 1 13:08:57 1999

On Thu, 1 Jul 1999 11:02:51 -0600 "Richard Erlacher" <>
> This argument is getting to where it's pretty silly.

PLease, hear me out on this . . .

> I don't see how anyone can complain about buying used computer
> hardware for considerably less than it cost when new.

OKay, $500 or $1000 is alot less than the $4k+ these things
cost when they were new, but $500 is *still* alot of money for
most people, certainly for one who's just starting out.

> The mythical "free Altair" which pops up again and again is
> generally sold, even in "better than new" (properly assembled
> and functional) condition for significantly less than what it
> cost new, in "real" dollars. -- YES -- even on eBay!

But e-bay makes the difference between 'easily affordable' and
'hopelessly out of reach'.

> The typical PDP8 owned by persons in this particular interest group
> were certainly not purchased for what they cost new, even in inflated
> dollars, so I really can't see what the complaint is.

The complaint is that what was once easily within reach, may not
be in the future . . .

> Sure, some people are able, and, some, misguided though they may
> seem to be, even willing to pay more than I think they should for
> a given item. To them, I sell what I can.

No matter how inexpensive, I does cost *something* to do this hobby
afterall; so . . .

> In a recent auction on eBay, a MITS Floppy Disk Drive was auctioned
> off at $565. "WOW!" you may say, but that unit cost $1300 when new,
> that was in dollars that were a DOLLAR, and not just the price of a
> bar.

As I said, that's still alot of money. The cool thing about this
hobby was that you didn't need alot to get cool stuff. That's
starting to change.

> I'm presently in the process of selling off excess 8" floppy drives for

> $5 each, functionally tested and aligned, plus the estimated cost of
> packaging and shipping, since I don't want more work on top of the
> alignment and testing, estimated by Mailboxes, etc, which is where I'll

> have them boxed and shipped. I've offered these same drives to people,

> as is, for just the cost of shipping, and most wouldn't pay even for
> the shipping.

Now see, this is what I've been talking about. You supply a scarce
commodity (in working condition I might add) for a reasonable price.
You are actively trying to make a contribution to our hobbyist community.
> When I bought my first pair of 8" floppy drives they cost $675 each.
> The last pair I bought cost $470 each in 1981. In 1980, it seems to
> a typical S-100 CPU cost $250. A floppy controller cost about the
> same, and a terminal cost $750.

Yep. Big money. Definitely not something you do casually. BY 1993
though, you could get these for next to nothing. Suddenly, you could
persue the hobby you couldn't afford ten years before.

> If people wanted more than that for these devices, even though they
> were in perfectly functional and cosmetically perfect condition, I
> understand the complaints. I won't be convinced that the prices being
paid at
> auction, publicity or not, for "old, used, obsolete" computers or
> are unreasonable until someone shows me a similarly pristine '55
> Thunderbird that's going unsold because its price is over half what it
cost new.

Well, automobile collecting is definitely a rich-man's hobby; which
sure leaves me out. I just find it painful to see our hobby go
the same way.


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Received on Thu Jul 01 1999 - 13:08:57 BST

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