From: Doc Shipley <>
Date: Sat Feb 26 13:26:14 2005

O. Sharp wrote:

> Nico de Jong wrote, in part:
>>It could be interesting to know the age"spread" of thist list contributors,
>>and how long we've had the computer virus under our skin.

   My very first computer was a TI-59 Programmable, used in '77-78 for
mechanical engineering studies. In the same classes I ended up punching
cards for Texas Tech's computer, in BASIC I think, but I have no idea
what the computer was. All I ever saw was the card-punch keyboard, the
attendants, and 132-column greenbar.

   I was very much an outlaw gearhead then, and had no interest in the
computing aspect of school. After I dropped out in '78, I didn't touch
another keyboard till 1994 or '95. The only reason I picked one up then
was that making custom jewelry didn't pay The Plaintiff (I mean my child
support) and hustling pizza wasn't really scratching any itches. After
looking around at possible career moves, I realized that basic computer
skills were needed for anything I wanted to do.

   I had zero understanding of what I was getting into, too. I thought
"Pentium" was a new game, and "basic computer skills" meant
MS-DOS/Windows. So, I ended up with a Dell NS20 386 laptop.

   Fortunately, I had a friend (still have, but he's my boss now) who's
an AIX guru. When I got to banging my head on the desk with Windows
Angst, he told me "Real men use UNIX" and since I didn't have the
scratch for a Real UNIX system, he pointed me at Linux. That led to
FreeBSD, then SCO OD, and then Bill B., the guy who runs,
sold me a SPARClassic and a copy of Solaris v2.51, and it was all over
but the crying.

   Nowadays Unix is my living, I Don't Do Windows, and I'd guess that
the number of computers I could plug in and operate numbers in three
figures. They range from an Altos 580 to various PDP-11s to Amigas to
my dual-G5 desktop.

> ...What do you suppose demand for our older machines will be like after
> we're gone? I can't help but think a lot of ours are being preserved
> because they're nostalgic to us, "the machines we grew up on"; and a
> generation from now, the interest is going to be on machines _that_
> generation grew up on. (_That's_ scary. Think that owning Windoze ME
> might eventually be thought of as exciting. <g>) When we start kicking
> our respective buckets, who will collect our estates' old iron? And how
> much dedication, garage space and repair knowledge will _they_ have, I
> wonder?...

   One of my friends is younger than his oldest computer (a PDP-11/03).
  I don't think the older technology will ever lose its draw. On the
contrary, the more difference there is between "familiar" technology and
classic gear, the more interest there is.

   I do, however, think MS BoB is kind of cute.

Received on Sat Feb 26 2005 - 13:26:14 GMT

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