Herb, as usual, makes excellent points.
>>> exclude common IBM-type Windows PC's
Done! I decree that MARCH hereby excludes common IBM-type Windows PCs.
Like the bartender said at Mos Eisley, "We don't serve their kind here!"
Herb, thanks for helping us clarify that. :-)
From: Herb Johnson [mailto:hjohnson@...
Sent: Friday, August 04, 2006 3:08 PM
Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: swap meet item cutoff
I'm glad Dan made the points he posted, as below. Frankly I'm not terribly
concerned about the definitions of "vintage" vs. "classic"
computers. It's a useful distinction for discussion, but I would not expect
universal agreement as to specifics. To me these are terms of convenience at
best. Anyway, my interest is what can be offered to other MARCH members at
other venues (if not at the current Deleware event). I hope this is not a
discussion about what is the acceptable computer interests of MARCH.
More to Dan's point, and mine from earlier: in the small-size computer
world, there were large-company computers built for the mass market of the
1980s like Commodores and Amigas; computers built roughly before and during
that period by small companies (S-100 and single-board systems in boxes);
and computers built in both periods for scientific and business (or Dan's
term "industrial") use, by SGI and Sun and so forth. IBM kind of straddles
between "industrial" and "personal"; they weren't the cheapest computers at
that time but some became cheap much later, while some did not. It's hard to
make distinctions by time, easier by categories like these.
To make my point, I went on the Web and also used my memory, to look at a
slice in time for all these kinds of systems. Pick a year, say 1990. You had
an SGI Indy built in 1990 - a small scientific and graphics computer by a
then-big company; also an Apple IIsi system.
Most of the Atari product line was pre-1990; Commodore's Amiga 2000 and 2500
were available in 1990 says the Web. IBM probably made 386 AT systems in
1990, the '486 was new, and Windows was at 3.0.
But there's a whole bunch of fun systems of the 1990's that are missed by
that cutoff. Almost all the early Macs; many early, small SGI and Sun et al
graphics systems; some of the IBM and Compaq systems. HP made a number of
industrial computers, DEC straddled the industrial and personal markets.
DEC, HP, SGI, and Sun built graphics systems, some with with embedded BASIC
or PASCAL, that had capabilities not available in PC's until several years
later. This might be comparable to early gaming machines with their faster
graphics and better play action than most PC's of the same period.
(Of course not all computer collectors are interested in gaming or graphics.
Some interests are more technological, or product line, or
Mostly, a cutoff date of 1990 or so excludes a lot of "industrial"
systems that people had fun with at work but could not hope to afford at
home. Now, as collectors we can own those systems and use them!
Isn't that one point of collecting old stuff? The other point is to SHOW
what we have; or SEE what others have. I don't collect Atari's but I had fun
seeing them at the Vintage event; I hope others would enjoy seeing some
graphics in action from the "industrial" machines.
So I see a point in setting a date around the late 1980's, if your goal is
to exclude common IBM-type Windows PC's, or conversely if you want to
specialize on Amiga/Commodore/Apple II early personal systems & game
machines. But I think it's more up-front to make distinctions as I've
described, than by year alone. Anyone excluded by any of these distinctions
will presumably be included in the next event - so I assume - and there's
nothing wrong with events with different focus.
Maybe I should organize an "industrial graphics" event to make my point. A
lot of old iron, heating up a room, to play Spacewar would be pretty
impressive I think! An Indy with what would be called a Web cam today - very
cute, any interest? The only argument would be whether to accept a PDP-11
with a Teletype playing "hunt the wumpus" on a printed grid of text as
"graphics" or not! But I'd say give 'em a room with a lot of ventilation and
soundproofing and let the Teletype roar! But bring a vector display too.
Maybe a winter event at InfoAge would be appropriate to dissipate the heat
from such "big iron". But you get the idea.
--- "Evan Koblentz" <evan@...> wrote:
> >> I think the qualifying factor for being vintage in any breed of
> is more of a logarithmic scale than linear in terms of years. It can
> be difficult to have one specific cutoff to cover all categories of
> I think a textual definition, although difficult to get right, would
> ultimately serve the hobby better than a chronological cutoff.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dan [mailto:ragooman@...]
> I hope that I could interject a comment here, but only to express a
> not to prolong the thread.
> Something that seems to be missing here is the distinction between
> and commercial/industrial systems.
> PC's are obviously consumer products while systems such as SUN's,
> are commercial(and others are industrial).
> The commercial/industrial machines were always a couple generations
> technology back then.
> Nowadays, the distinction is beginning to blur, but I think the
> pricing difference still keeps it in focus.
> The term vintage seems to blur the age difference between consumer
> and commercial/industrial machines.
> Any machine that is outdated doesn't easily qualify it as being
> You can have vintage consumer products and vintage industrial
> being computers, but starting from a different year.
> I think the qualifying factor for being vintage in any breed of
> more of a logarithmic scale than linear in terms of years.
> It can be difficult to have one specific cutoff to cover all
> just my 2cents,
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