Rebirth of IMSAI

From: Sellam Ismail <>
Date: Mon Mar 22 18:38:57 1999

On Mon, 22 Mar 1999, Richard Erlacher wrote:

> 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.

Sure, so then you're in the camp that says lock them up and don't let
anyone ever touch them, much less see them? How then does one learn
anything about them?

> 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.

If I were serious about creating a "museum" where I wanted people to be
able to handle the artifacts (and by the way, I am) I'd make sure that
each individual would be required to become a member, and membership would
entail some manner of education about proper handling of computer items,
including static discharge procedures, not pulling cards out of a live
system, etc. From basic electronics to storage media handling to
electrical safety precautions. Only after the new member passed this
training and proved competence would he/she be able to actively examine
and experiment with the artifacts.

This has the side benefit of weeding out the weekend engineers and
ensuring that the truly interested and dedicated get access to the stuff.
The rest just get to look at it :)

Sellam Alternate e-mail:
Don't rub the lamp if you don't want the genie to come out.

                  Coming in 1999: Vintage Computer Festival 3.0
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Received on Mon Mar 22 1999 - 18:38:57 GMT

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