"Real Computers" (was Re: Trivia Question)

From: Doc Shipley <doc_at_docsbox.net>
Date: Sun Feb 23 13:13:51 2003

On Sat, 22 Feb 2003, Tony Duell wrote:

> > >Patrick Finnegan wrote:
> >
> > 1) Yes. I built it; I can fix it.
> You have proper service data for all the parts in that PC? I am truely
> amazed (I thought I was about the only person to have that ;-)). Or does
> 'built' really mean 'assembled from cards'?

  OK, I have to take issue here. If I pop a piston on my lawn mower,
I'm not about to bust off a lathe and a mill and turn a new piston and
hand-fitted rod. I go buy one at Sears. This makes me really an
oddball, because most owners of a $125 mower would put it out by the
curb and buy a new one. I just like a machine that I "built". Even
so, if Sears can't get the piston on a timely basis, or if the cost is
equal to a new mower, *I* will put the old one by the curb.

  OTOH, my '83 BMW R65 needs a new set of carbs. They've both started
cracking from poor design, vibration, and rough handling. I could buy
new aftermarket carburetors that would probably enhance the performance,
definitely last longer and be cheaper easier to tune than the originals,
and be here next Friday.

  Lawn mower = Tool, worth care but not personal involvement

  R65 = Love object, useful, but personally valued FAR beyond
                        its function

  They're both internal combustion machines at heart, they both serve
legitimate functions. Yet the criteria that govern how I treat them,
how I maintain them, and at what point they are scrap are first entirely
different, and second, entirely personal and subjective. Most
importantly, those criteraia are absolutely arbitrary.

  I'm sure you catch my drift. My mower is no less useful or valid by
virtue of being disposable. And the fact that I would have custom carbs
built for the Beemer before I'd put Japanese knovkoffs on it doesn't
mean that the japanese carbs have no value OR that I should treat my
mower the same way.

  Within hand's reach I have a Mac IIci, a new-to-me PDP-11/83 CPU, an
Indigo2, an Altos 580, a DEC3000/300x, an HP 9000/715, a Sun E250 and an
Athlon PC.
  OK, I gotta stretch to put my hand on the Altos and the Sparc.

  I love the Alpha and the Mac, am glad I had the chance to try the
Altos, and am fixing to go blaze through my yardwork so I can install
this 11/83 board.
  All of them have *legitimate* value, and they are all computers.
  The PC I use. A lot. But when it blows a board-level chip, it's
going to the curb. The fact that I don't love it doesn't lessen its

Received on Sun Feb 23 2003 - 13:13:51 GMT

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