Popular Science article

From: R. D. Davis <rdd_at_rddavis.org>
Date: Tue Oct 21 23:34:30 2003

While I'd like to say, gee, that was a nice article, I can only say that
I'm glad that I allowed my subscription to run out several years ago.

Quothe Jim Arnott, from writings of Tue, Oct 21, 2003 at 07:46:57PM -0700:
> Finally, adaptists around the world continue to bang out letters,
> novels, e-mail and code on revamped elderly machines. Consider British
> electronics designer and ex-particle physicist Tony Duell, whose primary

The author of that article could at least have had the decency to
refer to Tony as Dr. Tony Duell, and not made him sound like just
another PeeCee user who also happens to have a PDP-11. He doesn't
just "bang out letters, novels, e-mail and code" on his computers, he
learns and figures out (with and without documentation) how they work,
how to make them more useful with the help of a soldering iron and
custom circuitry (not by just adding some boards that he buys
somewhere), etc. Without a doubt, Tony is perhaps the most valuable
resource that collectors of true classic computers have, particularly
when they run into hardware that's undocumented or in need of circuit
modifications, etc.

Furthermore... what about the other hardware hackers on this list who
do all sorts of neat things with older computers, and I don't just
mean PCs. There'a a huge knowledge base here in this group; people
with vast arrays of experience, and experiences, with all sorts of
neat and interesting older computer equipment, from mainframes to
early personal computers. Look at the "new" PDP-8 kits, for example.
There are people on this list with walls of racks filled with working
minicomputers, that sometimes required much restoration work, which
are lovingly maintained. Then, there are the collectors who do their
own component-level troubleshooting and repairs. Let's see, then
there are those PDP-8 and PDP-11 emulators; neat, and useful! Also,
what about the mainframe preservationists? Then, there are those
who've spent vast amounts of time to make archives of much useful
information available to us. The list goes on. It would take a very
long time to describe all of the hackish (in the true sense of the
word, not the false and perjoritive sense) work and preservation
efforts, etc. of all of the members of this list. Alas, that article
didn't even scratch the surface. It could easily have made Sellam
look much better as well. The members of this list aren't a bunch of
"geeks" who spend all of their time doing mundane things with PeeCees
and early microcomputers.

Such activities as the aforementioned are certainly far more noble
than just getting PCs from 1997 or so upgraded with new hardware so
that they can run new software.

Ok, end of rant.

Copyright (C) 2003 R. D. Davis The difference between humans & other animals: 
All Rights Reserved            an unnatural belief that we're above Nature & 
rdd_at_rddavis.org  410-744-4900  her other creatures, using dogma to justify such
http://www.rddavis.org         beliefs and to justify much human cruelty.
Received on Tue Oct 21 2003 - 23:34:30 BST

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