Rebirth of IMSAI

From: Richard Erlacher <>
Date: Mon Mar 22 18:10:35 1999

I'm not at all sure I'd let current generation programmers mess with MY
computer hardware. Thirty years ago, when programmers were not only the
people hunched over a teletype, but also the guys who jumpered the 026
keypunch and knew how to decipher what was on a tape which wouldn't deskew
properly, you could trust them to examine without damaging things. Over the
past 20 years, however, I've observed that programmers have less and less
concept of the reality of the computer in front of them or down the hall at
the end of the cable . . .

Such individuals would probably do damage, irreparable or otherwise, yet not
only fail to grasp that it could happen, but deny it when faced with
incontrovertible evidence of their sins.

I don't know whether it's better to protect the old hardware, or the
people's right to see it. I do know that I've observed perfectly
adult-looking individuals doing things to computer equipment not their own,
of which I would only accuse a child not tall enough to reach it.

just my nickel's worth . . . (inflation)

-----Original Message-----
From: Max Eskin <>
To: Discussion re-collecting of classic computers
Date: Monday, March 22, 1999 4:07 PM
Subject: Re: Rebirth of IMSAI

>On Mon, 22 Mar 1999, Tony Duell wrote:
>>Do you really think that such a display is an acceptable substitute for
>>the real thing?
>Well, I would be very cautious about letting people use the 'real thing'
>(see below).
>>If you keep a complete backup of the hard disk (something that's a good
>>idea anyway), and possibly substitute the keyboard (if spares for it are
>>impossible to obtain), then there's little that can be damaged from
>>people using the machine. And an unoriginal keyboard is a lot better than
>>an unoriginal CPU
>Yes, that's true. But how would the people use such a machine anyway? I
>mean, if you put on a card some instructions, people will just type them
>in not understanding the reasons for them, and not get any joy from it.
>This is especially true for machines that don't use keyboards and
>screens. Let's say we took a DEC running OS/8 and let people use it. What
>would they do with it? They might type DIR, say "Oh, it's like DOS" and
>walk way.
>>Are you sure about that. Some people are certainly interested in seeing
>>how things (computers, steam engines, machine tools, etc) were used. I've
>>been to plenty of interesting museums where many exhibits consist of
>>somebody demonstrating something.
>Yes, but for a computer there's nothing to watch besides blinking lights.
>For a steam engine, you see someone poke firewood, the wheel spinning,
>smoke coming out, etc.
> --Max Eskin (
Received on Mon Mar 22 1999 - 18:10:35 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:32:21 BST