Rebirth of IMSAI

From: Richard Erlacher <>
Date: Mon Mar 22 21:00:08 1999

I'd say let 'em prove they know enough not to hurt anything before you let
them at the "real McCoy" hardware. Test them out on a simulator complete
with obscure anomalies, let them prove they won't roach the hard disk or
dump the tape on the floor.

Of course, I also advocate allowing only those who've passed a test on the
issues/candidates vote. How silly can a guy get???
-----Original Message-----
From: Sellam Ismail <>
To: Discussion re-collecting of classic computers
Date: Monday, March 22, 1999 5:45 PM
Subject: Re: Rebirth of IMSAI

>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
>> properly, you could trust them to examine without damaging things. Over
>> 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
>> the end of the cable . . .
>> Such individuals would probably do damage, irreparable or otherwise, yet
>> 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
>> 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
>                   See for details!
>                        [Last web site update: 02/15/99]
Received on Mon Mar 22 1999 - 21:00:08 GMT

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