7/01/97 ClassicCmp FAQ - Part 2

From: Marvin Johnston <marvin_at_rain.org>
Date: Sat Jan 5 00:44:51 2002

ClassicCmp - The Classic Computers Discussion List
Part 2 in the ClassicCmp FAQ Trilogy
List Specific FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) v1.6.2
Last Update: 7/01/97
This FAQ is written with the primary purpose of making readily available
answers to the more common questions appearing on ClassicCmp. It is
Maintained by Bill Whitson <bill_at_booster.u.washington.edu>. The infor-
mation in this document has been gathered from a variety of sources but,
in general, the members of ClassicCmp should be credited for all
ed herein. I have, of course, endeavored to be as accurate as is
and often failed ;).

This FAQ is Part 2 of the ClassicCmp FAQ Trilogy. The information
deals with regular day-to-day issues on the list.

If you have questions, comments, or corrections (always welcome) please
contact me at the address above.

A current copy of this FAQ is available on the web at http://weber.u.
washington.edu/~bcw/ccl.html or via anonymous FTP at in
directory /pub/classiccmp/faqs as classiccmp.faq.

Updates: New Sections: 1.5, 1.7, 2.9, 2.10
         Updated Sections: 1.1, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1
         Removed: 5.4, 6.1-on

1. About the List
1.1 What is ClassicCmp?
1.2 Why is ClassicCmp?
1.3 What's a Classic Computer?
1.4 Who runs this thing?
1.5 How come I can never reach this so-called list operator?
1.6 Don't you know you're duplicating what others have done?
1.7 How much mail should I expect to get on this list?

2. Protocol and Etiquette
2.1 What can I talk about?
2.2 Can I talk about PCs?
2.3 Can I talk about Mini/MainFrames?
2.4 Can I post advertisements?
2.5 Can I ask people to give me their computers?
2.6 Can I ask for help fixing item x?
2.7 Where should I look before posting a dumb question?
2.8 Can I type obscenities about Microsoft in ALL CAPS?!?
2.9 Can I post trophy lists?
2.10 Can I use obscene languagein my posts?

3. Misc List Information
3.1 How many subscribers are there?
3.2 How many subscribers use machine x?
3.3 Is this list archived?

4. ClassicCmp Resources on the Net
4.1 Does ClassicCmp have a Web Site?
4.2 How come the Web Site is so ugly?
4.3 Does ClassicCmp have an FTP Site?

5.1 Where can I find Classic Computers?
5.2 How much is machine x worth?
5.3 Will thousands of innocent machines be scrapped if I don't save
5.4 I don't understand anything. Help!
1.1 What is ClassicCmp?

It's a mailing list for the discussion of classic computers. Topics
on collection, restoration, and operation. It is also an appropriate
for stories and reminiscences of classic computers. Lofty discussions
dealing with the philosophical and/or metaphysical aspects of computers
often better handled in private e-mail.

1.2 Why is ClassicCmp?

Uh, why not? There are lots of people who love these old machines and
seems like a fun idea to get together and talk about them.

1.3 What is a Classic Computer?

_Any computer_ that has not been manufactured for 10 years is a classic.
This definition is one I made up and it's entirely arbitrary. It seems
work OK, so I've kept it.

1.4 Who runs this thing?

That would be me, Bill Whitson - email bcw_at_u.washington.edu.

1.5 How come I can never reach this so-called list operator?

Sorry. It does often take me several days (sometimes weeks!) to respond
to e-mail. I am often away for days at a time and when I'm not I'm
probably busy doing real work. I receive more than double the amount of
mail that goes to the list in the form of spam, bounced messages, odd
user requests, general bitching, etc. and I still have to filter out the
messages I actually have to respond to, to remain employed ;). I will
back to you eventually.

1.6 Do you know you're just duplicating work other people have done.

I get a "reinventing the wheel" e-mail at least once a week. If you
me another group of computer collectors that claims a membership as
as this one I'll show you a group that must be very hard to find.
there are other groups of collectors and I'm cheering them on - I don't
a problem with duplicating and reduplicating lore that's quickly

1.7 How much mail should I expect to get on this list?

The daily load varies widely from about 10 messages to over 100.
seems to be about 44 messages a day. There are times where the message
load peaks for as much as a week.


2.1 What can I talk about?

Anything related to classic computers as defined above. There are many
people on this list that really know what they're talking about, so you
want to check facts before you start shooting off messages. It's also a
good idea to actually read the FAQs and check the archives a little

2.2 Can I talk about PCs?

Yes. PCs which haven't been manufactured for 10 years. Even then, be
aware that in many cases you would get a better response posting to PC

2.3 Can I talk about Minis/MainFrames/WorkStations/Gigantic Talking
    with Flashing Lights & Coundown Timers/Robots from Alien

There has apparently been some misconception that this is a list for
micros/home computers only. You'll note I said "misconception".

2.4 Can I post advertisements?

Sure. As long as they're related to _classic_ computers. And, of
use your brain - don't spam. Also, please state up-front whether or not
you are willing to ship the items you sell outside your country as there
are members of this list in a number of different countries.

2.5 Can I ask people to sell/give me their computers?

Sure. But you're not likely to get a very nice response. Mine, for
would be: Get your own f***ing computer! There are several people on
usenet who will vouch for this. When someone posts about one of their
machines without offering to sell it - it's really a pretty good bet
they're not secretly trolling for offers. See section 5 for info on how
find yourself a computer.

2.6 Can I ask for help fixing item x.

Yes. Be aware that it may be difficult to help you fix things if you
have much knowledge of how computers work or of how to use basic
electronics tools (VOM/DMM, soldering iron, EPROM burner, etc). I'm no
with this stuff and the little knowledge I have has come from asking
questions and then buying books to find out what "Simple... Just check
the voltage on the caps in the PS to make sure one of them isn't flaking
out!" exactly means.

2.7 Where can I look before posting a dumb question?

It might be a good idea to take a look at what's available in the
section of the ClassicCmp web site (see below).

2.8 Can I type obscenities about Microsoft in ALL CAPS!?!
    (Or, in general, be unreasonable with reagard to advocacy posts?)

Check your anti-MS baggage at the door, please. For that matter, drop
any posts that serve only to perpetuate the holy wars.

2.9 Can I post trophy lists?

Ahem. Er... I'm not going to go to the extent of banning this practise
but it is considered bad manners. Don't whine to me because I used to
guilty of this and curbed myself ;). Post lists of newly acquired goods
if you actually need info on them, not just to show off.

2.10 Can I use obscene language in my posts?

Yes. Although I'm sure many people would prefer you did not. A number
people have complained about this. I'm not going to outlaw swearing -
that I've informed you that it bothers people you can make your choice.


3.1 How many subscribers are there?

Around 180 and changing daily.

3.2 How many subscribers use machine x?

Check the web site (see below). The Classic Computer Encyclopedia shows
the number of machines registered by subscribers.

3.3 Is this list archived?

Yes. The archives are available on the FTP site (see below) in the
directory /pub/classiccmp/archive. The file name format indicates
the month/year of the archive. Keep in mind that they are quite large.

4.1 Does ClassicCmp have a web site?

Yep. http://weber.u.washington.edu/bcw/ccl.html

4.2 How come the web site is so ugly?

How come a PET is so ugly? Who cares as long as it works?

4.3 Does ClassicCmp have an FTP site?

Yes. Anonymous FTP at Look in /pub/classiccmp.
not much there that's not available on the web site. I'm starting to
load old drivers and system disks on occasion. There is an incoming
directory which subscribers may use for ClassicCmp-related file
if needed.

5.1 Where can I find classic computers?

The best places seem to be thrift stores and swap meets. These are
closely followed by pawn shops and mom and pop computer stores.
The holy grails are electronics scrap yards - but they tend to be wary
of individual pick-and-choosers. Oh yeah - garage sales!

5.2 How much is machine x worth?

Precisely as much as you'll pay for it. Oh, you're selling it? Then,
precisely as much as I'll pay for it. Seriously, no one prices these
more. I have an old Computer Blue Book that lists many classic
computers but the prices are just ridiculous. Some machines (Apple
Lisa's, old old Mini's, and unreleased prototypes) are starting down
the road toward their original selling prices but it's unlikely that
most will ever be worth more than the cost of their components.

5.3 Will 1000's of innocent machines be scrapped if I don't save them?

Yes. This is the impetus behind every collector's tireless and selfless
effort. Each machine we fail to save has it's gold parts mercilessly
hacked off and sold (just like rhino horns - and look at the rhinos).
The remainder is then sent to China to be made into bicycle spokes (you
probably think I'm joking). Save a computer! Act now! Remind your
SO of the rhino and cuter, fuzzier animals. It might work.

In all seriousness - there are a large (and growing) number of so called
"computer and electronics 'recyclers'" who take usable computers and
recycle them into "reusable scrap". Small amounts of gold, silver, and
platinum are extracted and the remainder of the material is generally
just marketed to less wasteful countries.

5.4 I don't understand anything. Help!

Don't worry - you're not the only one. Reading this list, old
books and whatever else you can get your hands on is the first step.
Once you reach a critical mass of knowledge thigs get a lot easier.

I'm working on putting together a list of books and tools that a
beginner should get his hands on. If you have suggestions, let me know.
Received on Sat Jan 05 2002 - 00:44:51 GMT

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