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Re: Well the terminal doesn't work

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  • s100doctor
    ... The H19 was offered for sale in Heath s 1979 catalog. I did not look for earlier dates. I ll bring it, and an ADM3A which has some soft bits that produce a
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 15, 2013
      --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
      > Evan,
      > In your reply to Herb you forgot that I had said earlier that any working terminal, even one from 1980 would be OK (the H-19/Z-19's). They're more reliable and we have to be realistic about "working". The ADM3's are pretty fragile and anyone would be smart to have a backup even if it's not from the mid 70's.

      The H19 was offered for sale in Heath's 1979 catalog. I did not look for earlier dates. I'll bring it, and an ADM3A which has some soft bits that produce a few incorrect characters on screen - A's becomes I's, B's become J's, that sort of thing. It does not have to be displayed, but it may be called upon if something else breaks.

      I'd like to comment about "fragile...from the mid 1970's". I've heard that phrase just a little too often, as though it was always like that. Same thing, when I see and hear that term "homebrew" - like
      the vintage computers I work on, are like running a still in the backwoods producing rot-gut. So it makes me cringe, to bring an ADM3A with lost bits - I don't want to "prove" Bill's remarks are "correct". He's right, but for the wrong reasons.

      I can give a lecture on what's wrong with that picture. But I don't have time, and MARCH's Yahoo email list is not the place. I'll write something up and point people to it later.

      But the simple matter, is that microcomputers were produced and made as kits, in a 1970's culture very familiar with making kits. Components and parts of industrial quality (good) were widely available. Kits are how consumers saved money to get quality. "Mass production" was too expensive, and unnecessary anyway. No bank would lend money to mass-produce what clearly nobody needed - namely a "personal" computer. Ken Olson of DEC said so, the board of Xerox said so....

      No big company took bets on "personal computing", until all the little mom-and-pops, small companies, individuals, clubs, magazines - they CREATED a personal computing market and shook-out multiple standards and products, and created chains of computer stores, and experience programmers and designers. IBM simply came in, and used brand and cash to suck them "in", and they all became "PC compatible". (Except Apple.)

      That's when computers became "standard", brand-name or mass-consumer and business products. Yet in retrospect, the founding microcomputer companies and their still-running products are considered footnotes in history, "homebrew" stuff like canning tomatoes. "Don't touch the fragile computers, somebody made that in their basement, go play with the REAL computers in the next room."

      I got three weeks' notice to come up with demonstration working computers before 1980. I coulda brought an IMSAI or an Altair and be a hero for blinkin' lights. But I stretched to bring better and different examples. So have other people. Old is not bad, non-IBM-PC is not "nonstandard", and hand-built kits are not "home-brew".

      Herb Johnson
      from the era in question
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