Old computer lending library

From: Sellam Ismail <foo_at_siconic.com>
Date: Fri Jun 8 21:22:36 2001

On Fri, 8 Jun 2001, Douglas Quebbeman wrote:

> > This is not a bad idea at all.
> And not the first time it's been suggested.
> Sellam, was it you who brought this up before?

I believe I had some part in that, yes. I have always been trying to get
the locals to all congregate in one large building somewhere in the
Sillycon Valley, but nobody can really agree where that place should be.

I have been and will continue to be in Oakland for sometime. It's about a
half hour from where I live, and about a half hour from the SiVa proper.
The rents are cheaper than the rest of the Bay Area. But everyone else
would prefer to stick closer to home, which I can fully understand. I
would like to move everything back to somewhere near where I live (within
10 minutes by bike preferably) but nothing suitable has become available.
Besides, the rent is free where I'm at now, and I ain't gonna ruin a good

By the way, I should plug the Alameda County Computer Resource Center,
which is the establishment that is providing me with the space. The ACCRC
accepts donations of old computers from corporations and individuals,
refurbishes ones that are Pentium and above, and donates them back to
schools, charities, etc. They just became the largest recyclers of used
computers in California, and are one of the largest in the nation. I
wouldn't be surprised if they become the largest within the next year or
so. They've placed computers on every continent on the world including
Antarctica. I'm working with them now to facilitate the transfer of
computers to India (with many thanks to John Lawson and colleagues of his)
and will hopefully help facilitate the transfer of computers to South
America with some contacts I have down there.

Here is a HotWired article where the ACCRC is mentioned for getting some
of their computers to Cuba:


They are a great organization, headed up by an incredibly smart, talented
and driven Executive Director, James Burgett. He will be speaking at this
year's VCF 5.0 by the way.

The stuff they get in which cannot be refurbished is sent off to China as
scrap, to pay for the organization's expenses (it is completely
self-funded, no outside grants). Interesting old computers that come in
are of course moved to the upstairs "computer museum".

There is other really cool stuff going on there. They have a 33 node
Beowulf cluster up and running, a Mac lab, and a local nerd is setting up
a computer game museum there (which the VCF will be seeding with our large
archive of old computer games :)

Their website is:


Check it out.

Anyway, once I'm all moved in (I've been moving stuff over for a couple
months now; I did 8 pickup truck loads this week and still have a decent
pile left...oi :) the first project will be to set up an official computer
museum. It will combine parts of the VCF Archives with the ACCRC's
collection. The first exhibit will focus on local companies, and by local
I mean local to the Oakland and immediately surrounding areas:
Godbout/CompuPro (Oakland), Processor Technology (Berkeley), Northstar
(San Leandro), IMSAI (San Leandro), Osborne (Hayward), etc. Eventually
we'll introduce other themes. I'm also planning to finally set up my
library before the end of the year. The cataloguing of materials has been
underway for months now. We're just about to reach the 1,000 mark on
books catalogued. The magazine collection is about half sorted. The
manuals and software still need to be worked on. I acquired 3 large
bookshelves from Crown Books (a chain bookseller on the west coast that
just went under). Once everything is set up, it'll be open to the public
for browsing and checkout.

Anyhoooo, the idea you are referring to, Doug, was floated by someone else
on the list (I believe it was Mike Dogas) whereby people would exchange
computers via shipping company, and we would play with them to our heart's
content. Sort of like turning everyone's individual collections into one
large homogenous one.

I think the idea is swell, but because of the way I am structuring the VCF
and the additional services we provide, I wouldn't be too inclined to send
out machines in this manner. I am happy to loan machines and other
resources locally, but I wouldn't want to go through the hassle of packing
machines up for shipping. Of course, people are always welcome to come by
and play.

Sellam Ismail Vintage Computer Festival
International Man of Intrigue and Danger http://www.vintage.org
Received on Fri Jun 08 2001 - 21:22:36 BST

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