The cost of collecting debate

From: Richard Erlacher <>
Date: Wed Jun 28 12:18:14 2000

GIVE THIS GUY A BREAK! He's recycling, doncha know? I see lots of computer
hardware in the dumpster, and that's not being recycled.

Why is a working computer nobody wants enough to pay for it better than a
box of parts they will pay for?


----- Original Message -----
From: Chuck McManis <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2000 1:15 PM
Subject: The cost of collecting debate

> Recently Jeff and Marvin have been debating the collecting cost issue
> again. This was one of Jeff's salvos:
> >What I *do*
> >care about though, are the poor stiffs who would like to pursue
> >computing as a hobby, but will instead have to find something
> >else to do, because the prices are out of sight.
> This is both true and a fiction at the same time. If you want to pursue
> computer collecting as a hobby there are many underrepresented areas that
> are still cheap. For example, PC/AT class computers. (aka 80286 based
> machines).
> These typically sell for in the $1 - $15 range at most places, they are
> also available for free in quite a few places.
> You can approach this particular class of machine as the point where
> computers ceased being glorified "toys" and actually started being able to
> do real work. If the IBM PC made it "acceptable" for mainstream business
> give its employees one computer each, it was the PC/AT that cemented this
> relationship and made it possible to do work.
> This was the "start" of the "Millions of standards" bifurcation in the
> computer industry, as up to this point computers were "99%" PC compatible
> because everything was the same on them. PC/AT introduced us to an I/O
> that could support a larger memory map and that lead to a host of new
> controllers (several examples could be collected from the "famous" ones
> like the Orchid series and Hercules series, to the "infamous" ones.)
> monitors came about to support these cards and the very first "multisync"
> monitor was introduced. [it impressed the heck out of me, even if it did
> make big clicking noises as it tryed to swap in different components.]
> There is research to be done, knowledge to recover, and artifacts to
> collect. All at very low prices.
> Then there is the understanding of Computation, as Richard Feynman and
> others understood it, things like the Babbage difference engine and the
> Eniac. Often you can re-create this sort of thing from scratch as a hobby
> for less than it would cost to acquire an original artifact. People still
> by Digi-Comp 1's at Garage Sales for $1 even when they go for >$300 on
> and elsewhere. You can make your own Digi-Comp 1 out of plastic from plans
> on the Net for about $50.
> Now there are "Investment Grade" Computers
> Ok, so the segment of the population that spends its disposable income on
> antique trinkets has come to appreciate "old" computers. As is typical in
> this type of scenario some machines become desirable because they are well
> recognized while others remain anonymous. If you want one of those
> then you are now going to have to compete with this group of people to
> acquire one. New ones aren't being made (except for IMSAI's :-) so the
> supply is fixed/dwindling. You can compete with your feet by tracking nice
> pieces down (this is essentially what Antique Dealers have done forever)
> or with your wallet. You can complain about how your feet are tired and
> your wallet is empty, but it won't change anything.
> --Chuck
Received on Wed Jun 28 2000 - 12:18:14 BST

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