State of the Hobby

From: Richard Erlacher <>
Date: Thu Jul 1 17:08:44 1999

Well, just to put things in proportion, today, you can go to Best Buy and
get a 300+ MHz P-II computer with an 8gb HDD and 256K of RAM, etc, for $600
including a nice 17" monitor.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeffrey l Kaneko <>
To: Discussion re-collecting of classic computers
Date: Thursday, July 01, 1999 12:24 PM
Subject: Re: State of the Hobby

>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 - 17:08:44 BST

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