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Someone explain this (Pop Electronics Jan '75 auction)

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  • Herb Johnson
    Someone explain to me why this issue of Popular Electronics is worth about half the price of an IMSAI: January 1975 Popular Electronics ~ Altair 8800 Computer
    Message 1 of 25 , May 19, 2008
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      Someone explain to me why this issue of Popular Electronics is worth
      about half the price of an IMSAI:

      January 1975 Popular Electronics ~ Altair 8800 Computer
      Item number: 330235824707

      ..and why four bidders would bid up to $530, $520, $350, and $225
      respectively. Yes, it's the MITS 8800 announcement, blah blah blah.
      But FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS? even THREE hundred dollars?

      Herb Johnson
      obsessed with metal and silicon
      retrotechnology.com
    • Bill Degnan
      I have a *free* copy of the cover and Altair article on my website in the CISC 367 directory bd
      Message 2 of 25 , May 19, 2008
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        I have a *free* copy of the cover and Altair article on my website in the CISC 367 directory
        bd

        -------- Original Message --------
        > From: "Herb Johnson" <herbjohnson@...>
        > Sent: Monday, May 19, 2008 9:50 PM
        > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [midatlanticretro] Someone explain this (Pop Electronics Jan '75 auction)
        >
        > Someone explain to me why this issue of Popular Electronics is worth
        > about half the price of an IMSAI:
        >
        > January 1975 Popular Electronics ~ Altair 8800 Computer
        > Item number: 330235824707
        >
        > ..and why four bidders would bid up to $530, $520, $350, and $225
        > respectively. Yes, it's the MITS 8800 announcement, blah blah blah.
        > But FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS? even THREE hundred dollars?
        >
        > Herb Johnson
        > obsessed with metal and silicon
        > retrotechnology.com
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
      • Bill Degnan
        ... I had originally written a different response, then changed my mind .... Here is the gist of my unsent response: I would not pay $500+ for a copy of this
        Message 3 of 25 , May 20, 2008
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          -------- Original Message --------
          > From: "Herb Johnson" <herbjohnson@...>
          > Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 12:41 PM
          > To: "Bill Degnan" <billdeg@...>
          > Subject: Re: Someone explain this (Pop Electronics Jan '75 auction)
          >
          > Bill, thanks for the reply. Actually, I was hoping you'd say
          > something. This is an area of collecting where you have experience,
          > more and different than I. It could be instructive and informative, if
          > you and I had a good-natured argument over the value of this magazine
          > over, say, the value of hardware like the Altair.
          >
          > Or the value of other documents. In my experience for instance, the
          > value of Altair manuals is in the tens or few hundreds of dollars;
          > other S-100 manuals are even less. THat would be my argument, this is
          > a one-off, it's likely worth maybe a quarter of the final price.
          >
          > Or maybe it's all about "marketing". The Pop Tronics issue maybe
          > represents the key "marketing" document for modern personal computing,
          > something like that. Beats me.
          >

          I had originally written a different response, then changed my mind .... Here is the gist of my unsent response:
          I would not pay $500+ for a copy of this issue, in the condition as pictured. I value a used condition issue at no more than $170. I have a copy of this magazine, and I believe most of the 1975 year as well.

          I have recently sold spare copies of Byte #1, Kilobaud #1, and one other that escapes me at the moment - each for no more $125. If you include the book/mag Computer Lib / Dream Machines and some of the People's Computer Company newsletters, the Jan 75 PopElect is in the top 10 ten collectible computer magazines. If I have time I will take a stab at "the list"

          Product documentation tends to hold value less than magazines because owning an actual copy is not as desirable, and docs really are best used to enhance the sale of a piece of hardware. Collectible computer books are also going up in price. Near Mint first editions of Berkeley's "Giant Brains or Machines that Think" are going to be worth $1000 by the end of this decade. I spoke with a antique book consultant about this very subject last week. She provided me with a printout of some sample prices of historical computer books. I do not have this printout on hand. I will follow up on this subject asap.


          Bill
        • Bill Degnan
          [correction - by 2015, not 2010.] Collectible computer books are also going up in price. Near Mint first editions of Berkeley s Giant Brains or Machines that
          Message 4 of 25 , May 20, 2008
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            [correction - by 2015, not 2010.]

            Collectible computer books are also going up in price. Near Mint first editions of Berkeley's "Giant Brains or Machines that Think" are going to be worth $1000 by the end of this decade.
          • Herb Johnson
            ... In recent eBay auctions, other issues of Pop Tronics near the Jan 75 issue only fetch a few tens of dollars; several months away, not even that. An odd
            Message 5 of 25 , May 20, 2008
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              "Bill Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
              >
              > I would not pay $500+ for a copy of this issue, in the condition
              > as pictured. I value a used condition issue at no more than
              > $170. I have a copy of this magazine, and I believe most of
              > the 1975 year as well.

              In recent eBay auctions, other issues of Pop Tronics "near" the Jan
              '75 issue only fetch a few tens of dollars; several months away, not
              even that. An odd exception: apparently issues with Neon or Nixie tube
              projects. There's a following for neon electronics.

              > I have recently sold spare copies of Byte #1, Kilobaud #1, and one
              other that escapes me at the moment - each for no more $125.

              This supports my notion that at best these magazines are worth "about"
              $125 or so. For a Jan '75 Pop Tronics to sell for $150 in pretty good
              shape makes some "sense" to me for that reason.

              > Product documentation tends to hold value less than magazines
              > because owning an actual copy is not as desirable, and docs
              > really are best used to enhance the sale of a piece of hardware.

              Speaking as one who has sold "product documentation" in the S-100
              world as photocopies, I find today that original technical manuals
              generally sell for about the cost of a photocopy, if they sell at all.
              Possible exceptions in my world: Altair 8800 manuals. Primary reason:
              availability of free PDF's, even though many of them are not good
              images. These are my actual experiences, not speculation.

              Consequently, I for one now RARELY buy original manuals anymore. I
              can't predict when I'll get a "return" on my "investment"; and copies
              are readily available.

              >Collectible computer books are also going up in price. Near Mint
              > first editions of Berkeley's "Giant Brains or Machines that
              > Think" are going to be worth $1000 by [2015].

              So what is my 1946 paperback edition worth? ;)

              The world of books is a well-established antique market, with accepted
              terms for condition and far more practice and "trade" than in computer
              materials. In the "antiques" world, from my occasional experience,
              they consider items like technical manuals "ephemeria" if they are
              small, otherwise they are just technical books which many
              "traditional" sellers don't carry. Specialty shops do, but they often
              sell good (or not so good) photocopies too. Age is a factor I think:
              those interested in "old" technology tend to be "old" and some of them
              are not computer-handy.

              On the other hand, it's so easy to sell books over the Web, so cheap
              to ship, books have become a commodity item. One word - Amazon - says
              it all; it's interesting to read about their business methods.

              Bill makes a point about "mint" condition. While I understand the
              concept, and it is appropriate in the world of antiques and
              collectors; I'm afraid I'm stuck in the world of content and use.
              Sigh. A book in good condition and well-used, reads the same way as a
              first edition which has never been opened.

              The magazine trade seems to be its own domain. Most old magazines seem
              to sell by the page for content and pretty pictures. Newer magazines
              seem to be traded so cheaply, only the fact that Internet selling is
              almost "free" allows anyone to sell any at all - it seems to me. Also,
              most magazines are printed on acidic paper - they will consume
              themselves over decades. I've seen magazines from the 30's and 20's as
              brown as paper grocery bags. I wonder what that 1975 'Pop Tronics
              issue will look like in 2025....or 2075.

              As for predictions about books in the future, I am skeptical. I'm 55
              years old. In my youth, it was predicted that computers would replace
              paper documents. Instead, laser printers allowed paper documents to
              become cheap and their use exploded. But by the 21st century, with
              people growing up in an Internet world, paper documents are not
              "natural". So it took maybe 30 years of computing and a decade of
              global networking to move away from paper documents. It should not
              take a few decades more, for books and magazines to follow suit.

              Google will have scanned them all, by then. (Try it yourself and see:
              I found a DjVu copy of "Giant Brains" in about four clicks of Google at

              http://www.archive.org/details/GiantBrains

              And my softback copy can be bought for $35-$50 at Alibris.)

              Please note. I obviously have thoughts and opinions, and some actual
              experiences. But I know for sure, that I DON'T know a lot about what
              many people of, er, "today's generation" have to say and think about
              this stuff. And, those of different interests have different
              priorities. At least, the idea of "vintage" computing doesn't have the
              antique people laughing their heads off, like they did when I raised
              the notion a decade ago.

              Herb Johnson
              dead CP/M scrolls
              retrotechnology.com
            • Evan Koblentz
              ... editions of Berkeley s Giant Brains or Machines that Think are going to be worth $1000 by [2015]. ... Slightly more than my 1949 paperback edition. :)
              Message 6 of 25 , May 20, 2008
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                >>> Collectible computer books are also going up in price. Near Mint first
                editions of Berkeley's "Giant Brains or Machines that Think" are going to be
                worth $1000 by [2015].

                >>> So what is my 1946 paperback edition worth? ;

                Slightly more than my 1949 paperback edition. :)
              • B. Degnan
                ... I used condition, not much. Only a handful of selected first or second edition titles in hard cover make it to the next level of collectible books. In
                Message 7 of 25 , May 21, 2008
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                  >
                  >
                  > >Collectible computer books are also going up in price. Near Mint
                  > > first editions of Berkeley's "Giant Brains or Machines that
                  > > Think" are going to be worth $1000 by [2015].
                  >
                  >So what is my 1946 paperback edition worth? ;)

                  I used condition, not much. Only a handful of selected first or second
                  edition titles in hard cover make it to the next level of collectible
                  books. In part "next level" means still valued after those who originally
                  purchased the material have passed on.

                  With that logic, there are certain types of computers that will not
                  increase in value over time. It's best to sell them now (if it's money
                  you're after) while there are still original users around who value
                  them. In 2100 who would know what a Mattell Aquarius is? These kinds of
                  systems will be lumped in with "general tech" from the 80's and priced
                  accordingly.

                  Last week I went to Bauman Rare Books in part to see what kind of computer
                  and technology books they valued. Not many yet, but the woman running the
                  display was very interested and started doing some research on the subject
                  while I was touring the displays. She found items related to Babbage
                  mostly in her database as "valuable". FYI the really old and rare
                  collectible books price above $50,000. From that perspective *any*
                  computer book has quite a while to go to get in that league. On the other
                  hand, there is no doubt that a handful of computer books will be quite
                  valuable some day. The trick today is to identify and if you can afford
                  it, buy one. You never know, they may prove a good investment.

                  Bill
                • Jim Scheef
                  Herb, You have a unique view on all this due to your business perspective. Generally I buy a book or documentation manual because I want to add it to my
                  Message 8 of 25 , May 21, 2008
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                    Herb,

                    You have a unique view on all this due to your business perspective. Generally I buy a book or documentation manual because I want to add it to my collection. I've even purchased manuals expressly for the MARCH museum. I'm not really concerned about a "return" or even future appreciation in value. On books I look for the best price for a serviceable copy. Documentation is generally harder to find so the seller has more price control.

                    I agree that more than $100 is hard to swallow for a magazine but that particular Pop Tronics issue has a very unique place in history.

                    When we have a secure place for a MARCH library I intend to donate my complete set of BYTE Magazines and the early years of PC Magazine. I also have many early computer magazines on micro-fiche (with a viewer) that I collected when General Foods closed it's IT library. A good research library would be a great addition to a our displays of computer artifacts.

                    Jim

                    ----- Original Message ----
                    From: Herb Johnson <herbjohnson@...>
                    To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 12:15:10 AM
                    Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: Someone explain this (Pop Electronics Jan '75 auction)

                    "Bill Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I would not pay $500+ for a copy of this issue, in the condition
                    > as pictured.  I value a used condition issue at no more than
                    > $170.  I have a copy of this magazine, and I believe most of
                    > the 1975 year as well.

                    In recent eBay auctions, other issues of Pop Tronics "near" the Jan
                    '75 issue only fetch a few tens of dollars; several months away, not
                    even that. An odd exception: apparently issues with Neon or Nixie tube
                    projects. There's a following for neon electronics.

                    > I have recently sold spare copies of Byte #1, Kilobaud #1, and one
                    other that escapes me at the moment - each for no more $125.

                    This supports my notion that at best these magazines are worth "about"
                    $125 or so. For a Jan '75 Pop Tronics to sell for $150 in pretty good
                    shape makes some "sense" to me for that reason.

                    > Product documentation tends to hold value less than magazines
                    > because owning an actual copy is not as desirable, and docs
                    > really are best used to enhance the sale of a piece of hardware. 

                    Speaking as one who has sold "product documentation" in the S-100
                    world as photocopies, I find today that original technical manuals
                    generally sell for about the cost of a photocopy, if they sell at all.
                    Possible exceptions in my world: Altair 8800 manuals. Primary reason:
                    availability of free PDF's, even though many of them are not good
                    images. These are my actual experiences, not speculation.

                    Consequently, I for one now RARELY buy original manuals anymore. I
                    can't predict when I'll get a "return" on my "investment"; and copies
                    are readily available.

                    >Collectible computer books are also going up in price.  Near Mint
                    > first editions of Berkeley's "Giant Brains or Machines that
                    > Think" are going to be worth $1000 by [2015].

                    So what is my 1946 paperback edition worth? ;)

                    The world of books is a well-established antique market, with accepted
                    terms for condition and far more practice and "trade" than in computer
                    materials. In the "antiques" world, from my occasional experience,
                    they consider items like technical manuals "ephemeria" if they are
                    small, otherwise they are just technical books which many
                    "traditional" sellers don't carry. Specialty shops do, but they often
                    sell good (or not so good) photocopies too. Age is a factor I think:
                    those interested in "old" technology tend to be "old" and some of them
                    are not computer-handy.

                    On the other hand, it's so easy to sell books over the Web, so cheap
                    to ship, books have become a commodity item. One word - Amazon - says
                    it all; it's interesting to read about their business methods.

                    Bill makes a point about "mint" condition. While I understand the
                    concept, and it is appropriate in the world of antiques and
                    collectors; I'm afraid I'm stuck in the world of content and use.
                    Sigh. A book in good condition and well-used, reads the same way as a
                    first edition which has never been opened.

                    The magazine trade seems to be its own domain. Most old magazines seem
                    to sell by the page for content and pretty pictures. Newer magazines
                    seem to be traded so cheaply, only the fact that Internet selling is
                    almost "free" allows anyone to sell any at all - it seems to me. Also,
                    most magazines are printed on acidic paper - they will consume
                    themselves over decades. I've seen magazines from the 30's and 20's as
                    brown as paper grocery bags. I wonder what that 1975 'Pop Tronics
                    issue will look like in 2025....or 2075.

                    As for predictions about books in the future, I am skeptical. I'm 55
                    years old. In my youth, it was predicted that computers would replace
                    paper documents. Instead, laser printers allowed paper documents to
                    become cheap and their use exploded. But by the 21st century, with
                    people growing up in an Internet world, paper documents are not
                    "natural". So it took maybe 30 years of computing and a decade of
                    global networking to move away from paper documents. It should not
                    take a few decades more, for books and magazines to follow suit.

                    Google will have scanned them all, by then. (Try it yourself and see:
                    I found a DjVu copy of "Giant Brains" in about four clicks of Google at

                    http://www.archive.org/details/GiantBrains

                    And my softback copy can be bought for $35-$50 at Alibris.)

                    Please note. I obviously have thoughts and opinions, and some actual
                    experiences. But I know for sure, that I DON'T know a lot about what
                    many people of, er, "today's generation" have to say and think about
                    this stuff. And, those of different interests have different
                    priorities. At least, the idea of "vintage" computing doesn't have the
                    antique people laughing their heads off, like they did when I raised
                    the notion a decade ago.

                    Herb Johnson
                    dead CP/M scrolls
                    retrotechnology.com






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                  • Dan Roganti
                    I like reading databooks, but thats just me :) How about adding a webpage to the MARCH website with a list of computer related books that would be considered
                    Message 9 of 25 , May 21, 2008
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                      I like reading databooks, but thats just me :)

                      How about adding a webpage to the MARCH website with a list of computer related books that would be considered good reading material. There were alot of books mentioned from another thread a couple of months ago that could be interesting to other people. If you need a volunteer for this, sign me up

                      =Dan


                      [ Pittsburgh --- http://www2.applegate.org/~ragooman/           ]
                      



                    • Herb Johnson
                      ... originally ... I appreciate Bill s considerations about investment value of those few items which may attain value in the thousands or more. I note Bill s
                      Message 10 of 25 , May 22, 2008
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                        "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:

                        > > >Collectible computer books are also going up in price. Near Mint
                        > > > first editions of Berkeley's "Giant Brains or Machines that
                        > > > Think" are going to be worth $1000 by [2015].
                        > >
                        > >So what is my 1946 paperback edition worth? ;)
                        >
                        > I used condition, not much. Only a handful of selected first or second
                        > edition titles in hard cover make it to the next level of collectible
                        > books. In part "next level" means still valued after those who
                        originally
                        > purchased the material have passed on.
                        >
                        > Last week I went to Bauman Rare Books...She found items
                        > related to Babbage
                        > mostly in her database as "valuable"...above $50,000.

                        > Bill
                        >

                        I appreciate Bill's considerations about investment value of those
                        few items which may attain value in the thousands or more. I note
                        Bill's point - that when people of my age die, interest in computing
                        of the 1970's will all but die as well. I can't disagree with that
                        assessment, but it simply makes me too sad today to comment further.

                        Meanwhile...my original post was about a 1975 magazine probably
                        "worth" about $125, selling for $500 and with two bidders willing to
                        pay over $300. My question is still about the value of publications of
                        the 1970's of various sorts - manuals, newsletters, and the occasional
                        book. Most of these will simply CRUMBLE in a century or so, eaten by
                        their own acid papers. So "Babbage first edition" considerations are
                        moot for these materials. Most will have considered them "preserved"
                        as PDF's of scans, few will want paper copies or originals - that's
                        what I suggested previously in this thread.

                        But I'm still looking for additional comments and considerations.

                        Herb Johnson
                        (no jokes about passing)
                        retrotechnology.com
                      • Bryan Pope
                        ... I do not believe that when people your age die, interest in computing of the 1970 s will die.. Look at the child who visited the MARCH museum a week or so
                        Message 11 of 25 , May 22, 2008
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                          Herb Johnson wrote:
                          >
                          > I appreciate Bill's considerations about investment value of those
                          > few items which may attain value in the thousands or more. I note
                          > Bill's point - that when people of my age die, interest in computing
                          > of the 1970's will all but die as well. I can't disagree with that
                          > assessment, but it simply makes me too sad today to comment further.
                          >
                          >
                          I do not believe that when people your age die, interest in computing of
                          the 1970's will die.. Look at the child who visited the MARCH museum a
                          week or so ago with his parents. IIRC, he was 11, but was very
                          interested in the computers that were about three times his age!

                          This is also something that the director of Infoage wants - to inspire
                          children.. It sounds like this kid was pretty inspired

                          Cheers,

                          Bryan

                          > Meanwhile...my original post was about a 1975 magazine probably
                          > "worth" about $125, selling for $500 and with two bidders willing to
                          > pay over $300. My question is still about the value of publications of
                          > the 1970's of various sorts - manuals, newsletters, and the occasional
                          > book. Most of these will simply CRUMBLE in a century or so, eaten by
                          > their own acid papers. So "Babbage first edition" considerations are
                          > moot for these materials. Most will have considered them "preserved"
                          > as PDF's of scans, few will want paper copies or originals - that's
                          > what I suggested previously in this thread.
                          >
                          > But I'm still looking for additional comments and considerations.
                          >
                          > Herb Johnson
                          > (no jokes about passing)
                          > retrotechnology.com
                          >
                          >
                        • Herb Johnson
                          ... Generally I buy a book or documentation manual because I want to add it to my collection. I ve even purchased manuals expressly for the MARCH museum. I m
                          Message 12 of 25 , May 22, 2008
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                            Jim Scheef <jscheef@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Herb,
                            >
                            > You have a unique view on all this due to your business perspective.
                            Generally I buy a book or documentation manual because I want to add
                            it to my collection. I've even purchased manuals expressly for the
                            MARCH museum. I'm not really concerned about a "return" or even future
                            appreciation in value. On books I look for the best price for a
                            serviceable copy. Documentation is generally harder to find so the
                            seller has more price control.
                            >
                            > I agree that more than $100 is hard to swallow for a magazine but
                            that particular Pop Tronics issue has a very unique place in history.

                            >[Jim wrote about putting his and MARCH's materials into a MARCH library.]

                            Thanks for posting your considerations. I concur with most of them. My
                            only specific comment, is that "documentation" is not that hard to
                            find, what with Web sales of books and eBay sales of documents, or
                            copies of documents. It's hard by relative volume vs. books and other
                            things; easier compared to the old days where flea markets and
                            hamfests and word-of-mouth were the only venues. "Finding" is its own
                            discussion.

                            I read your remarks as an interest in preserving information and
                            content, with an end to providing a library for others to access.
                            While you call my view "unique", I think I'm just explicit about the
                            economics of a library, MY library.

                            Please consider, I have an ACTUAL library. I have provided access to
                            S-100 manuals, to many people, around the world, for over 20 years.
                            It's funded by per page fees, and users get their own copies for their
                            use. Generally they need copies of manuals, so that's fine.

                            It may seem bizarre to others, to offer paper copies for a fee instead
                            of "free" scanned PDF's. Without giving a long explanation, those
                            "free" PDF libaries produce, directly or indirectly, databases of user
                            access which support ad revenue for Google and other search engine
                            companies. SOMEONE is making money, even from "free" archives. Even
                            "free" public libraries are paid for by property taxes - my county
                            library certainly is, about $150 a year on my tax bill.

                            So, economic considerations are ALWAYS present. Mine are simply
                            explicit and per-user. No taxes, no direct ad revenue. I stay on top
                            of the economics, that's how I've stayed in operation for 20 years or
                            more.

                            Jim, "your" library and my library are not so different in
                            principle. The differences are in some details of practices and
                            administration and funding. Important differences, but we have common
                            goals of preservation and of access.

                            Herb Johnson
                            making book
                            retrotechnology.com
                          • Bill Degnan
                            ... What will happen is a consolidation of interest into a historical perspective. In 100 years what is important of 70 s tech will be well established.
                            Message 13 of 25 , May 22, 2008
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                              -------- Original Message --------
                              > From: Bryan Pope <bryan.pope@...>
                              > Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 10:50 AM
                              > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: Someone explain this (Pop Electronics Jan '75 auction)
                              >
                              > Herb Johnson wrote:
                              > >
                              > > I appreciate Bill's considerations about investment value of those
                              > > few items which may attain value in the thousands or more. I note
                              > > Bill's point - that when people of my age die, interest in computing
                              > > of the 1970's will all but die as well. I can't disagree with that
                              > > assessment, but it simply makes me too sad today to comment further.
                              > >
                              > >
                              > I do not believe that when people your age die, interest in computing of
                              > the 1970's will die.. Look at the child who visited the MARCH museum a
                              > week or so ago with his parents. IIRC, he was 11, but was very
                              > interested in the computers that were about three times his age!
                              >
                              > This is also something that the director of Infoage wants - to inspire
                              > children.. It sounds like this kid was pretty inspired
                              >
                              > Cheers,
                              >
                              > Bryan
                              >

                              What will happen is a consolidation of interest into a historical perspective. In 100 years what is "important" of 70's tech will be well established. Some of this is by whim of writers today. Those remaining items that are still considered historical 100 years from now will all find their way into museums and private collections out of reach of the common man market.

                              I believe that you can find a parallel in automobile history and collecting. The turn of the century cars are by now only in the hands of dedicated restorationists and museums. Same will happen to computers. There's only so much room in the history books, many systems will become lost, just as the early car manufacturers have been all but forgotten by the general public, and cherished by historians.

                              bd
                            • Herb Johnson
                              ... computing of ... museum a ... inspire ... perspective. In 100 years what is important of 70 s tech will be well established. Some of this is by whim of
                              Message 14 of 25 , May 23, 2008
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                                "Bill Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
                                >
                                >

                                > > I do not believe that when people your age die, interest in
                                computing of
                                > > the 1970's will die.. Look at the child who visited the MARCH
                                museum a
                                > > week or so ago with his parents. IIRC, he was 11, but was very
                                > > interested in the computers that were about three times his age!
                                > >
                                > > This is also something that the director of Infoage wants - to
                                inspire
                                > > children.. It sounds like this kid was pretty inspired
                                > >
                                > > Cheers, Bryan
                                > >
                                >
                                > What will happen is a consolidation of interest into a historical
                                perspective. In 100 years what is "important" of 70's tech will be
                                well established. Some of this is by whim of writers today. Those
                                remaining items that are still considered historical 100 years from
                                now will all find their way into museums and private collections out
                                of reach of the common man market.
                                >
                                > I believe that you can find a parallel in automobile history and
                                collecting. The turn of the century cars are by now only in the hands
                                of dedicated restorationists and museums. Same will happen to
                                computers. There's only so much room in the history books, many
                                systems will become lost, just as the early car manufacturers have
                                been all but forgotten by the general public, and cherished by historians.
                                >
                                > bd
                                >

                                Brian makes the point that InfoAge wants to preserve the past to teach
                                and inspire children, the people of the future. I've heard as much
                                from Fred at InfoAge. Bill is making the point about contemporary
                                views of computing history, into the future, and into the hands of the
                                wealthy and into institutions. I side with Brian, and Fred.

                                I think really, really hard about these issues, between Bill's and
                                Brian's. I spend a good amount of my time thinking, and working on,
                                presenting to "the future" my own perceptions of what was important,
                                what was not. It's not easy to know, and I lived there! And,
                                I've spent a few hours today considering a reply to Bill and to this
                                thread on the $500 magazine.

                                All I will say, is that I'm trying to decide how to fight the sort of
                                views which includes what Bill has presented, within the facts and
                                circumstances around and a part of "vintage computing". I may or may
                                not succeed. If I don't like some things Bill has said, that's not his
                                fault; and he need not share my goals anyway. He does me a service
                                when he makes his case and shares his views, he has informed me and
                                educated me, and I try to appreciate that.

                                Regards,
                                Herb Johnson
                                not whimiscal or dead
                                retrotechnology.com
                              • B. Degnan
                                ... There are some nice working train museums - trains are not the kind of thing collectors and museums can horde as easily. Maybe computers will turn out
                                Message 15 of 25 , May 23, 2008
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                                  >
                                  >
                                  >All I will say, is that I'm trying to decide how to fight the sort of
                                  >views which includes what Bill has presented, within the facts and
                                  >circumstances around and a part of "vintage computing". I may or may
                                  >not succeed. If I don't like some things Bill has said, that's not his
                                  >fault; and he need not share my goals anyway. He does me a service
                                  >when he makes his case and shares his views, he has informed me and
                                  >educated me, and I try to appreciate that.
                                  >
                                  >Regards,
                                  >Herb Johnson


                                  There are some nice "working" train museums - trains are not the kind of
                                  thing collectors and museums can horde as easily. Maybe computers will
                                  turn out something like that? And what's the point of the train if you
                                  can't ride it once in a while? Hopefully computers won't be preserved like
                                  stuffed dodos, on display shelves. I image 100 years from now the original
                                  computer with an emulator in the background producing the display.

                                  What we can do today - save the software, move to newer media, remember how
                                  to use and fix what you have. This is how we can contribute, once the
                                  original media is gone...it's gone. I take this fact very seriously and
                                  the computers I have are my responsibility. This is why I keep them
                                  covered, test them regularly, etc. In effect I am working to fight against
                                  the "museumication" of computers. I make no money (or very little) from
                                  this hobby, and my web site is a labor of love, to educate. I teach for
                                  the same reason. Not worth it financially...there has to be more than $$
                                  to life.

                                  One other thing - remember once in a while to video a computer in action.

                                  Bill
                                • Evan Koblentz
                                  ... shelves. I very strongly agree. There are about 20 computer museums in the U.S. -- most are miniscule even compared to ours -- and there s the
                                  Message 16 of 25 , May 23, 2008
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                                    >>>> Hopefully computers won't be preserved like stuffed dodos, on display
                                    shelves.

                                    I very strongly agree.

                                    There are about 20 computer museums in the U.S. -- most are miniscule even
                                    compared to ours -- and there's the massive-scale of the CHM in
                                    Kull-E-Forn-Ya. With a few exceptions like the CHM's PDP-1 (which was an
                                    AMAZING restoration), most of those museums and their exhibits are static.
                                    Yaaaawn.

                                    As Fred likes remind everyone, InfoAge is a "learning center" and not merely
                                    a museum. That is why ALL of the member organizations are building exhibits
                                    that DO something other than just sit there. Some groups' exhibits are less
                                    appropriate for that -- for example, the shipwreck club isn't going to fire
                                    their cannon or launch their anchor anytime soon! :) But in the military
                                    tech club, they restore and drive the jeeps; in the antique and amateur
                                    radio groups, they demo 'em just like we do (and they're planning a working
                                    radar demonstration); in the model trains group, kids get to play choo-choo
                                    engineer -- etc.
                                  • Dan Roganti
                                    B. Degnan wrote: What we can do today - save the software, move to newer media, remember how to use and fix what you have. Save the chips too ! (and databooks)
                                    Message 17 of 25 , May 23, 2008
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                                      B. Degnan wrote:
                                      What we can do today - save the software, move to newer media, remember how 
                                      to use and fix what you have.  
                                      Save the chips too ! (and databooks)
                                      As old transistors and old tubes have survived, albeit with enough TLC,
                                      The IC's can survive even longer as they have a much better mtbf relatively speaking.

                                      This is how we can contribute, once the 
                                      original media is gone...it's gone.  
                                        
                                      I just inventoried another box full of chips which I'll post on my webpage
                                      --with help from my kids :)


                                      =Dan

                                      [ Pittsburgh --- http://www2.applegate.org/~ragooman/           ]
                                      


                                    • Mike Loewen
                                      ... I ll third that. One of the highlights of my visit to the CHM was seeing the PDP-1 up and running, and getting to play SpaceWar on it. They also had an
                                      Message 18 of 25 , May 23, 2008
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                                        On Fri, 23 May 2008, Evan Koblentz wrote:

                                        >>>>> Hopefully computers won't be preserved like stuffed dodos, on display
                                        > shelves.
                                        >
                                        > I very strongly agree.
                                        >
                                        > There are about 20 computer museums in the U.S. -- most are miniscule even
                                        > compared to ours -- and there's the massive-scale of the CHM in
                                        > Kull-E-Forn-Ya. With a few exceptions like the CHM's PDP-1 (which was an
                                        > AMAZING restoration), most of those museums and their exhibits are static.
                                        > Yaaaawn.

                                        I'll 'third' that. One of the highlights of my visit to the CHM was
                                        seeing the PDP-1 up and running, and getting to play SpaceWar on it.
                                        They also had an IBM 1620 up and running demo program, which made it one
                                        of their more interesting exhibits. I'm a sucker for blinkenlights.


                                        Mike Loewen mloewen@...
                                        The B9 Robot Builders Club B9-0014 http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/B9/
                                        Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
                                      • Evan Koblentz
                                        ... running, and getting to play SpaceWar on it. The thing is, try finding an Apple IIe to tinker on there. Ya know? I like that MARCH is accessible
                                        Message 19 of 25 , May 23, 2008
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                                          >>> One of the highlights of my visit to the CHM was seeing the PDP-1 up and
                                          running, and getting to play SpaceWar on it.

                                          The thing is, try finding an Apple IIe to tinker on there. Ya know? I like
                                          that MARCH is "accessible" largely by which systems we choose to exhibit.
                                        • Bob Applegate
                                          Non-running trains are great! For some reason, engineers and firemen don t like it when us modelers are trying to measure details on engines they re trying to
                                          Message 20 of 25 , May 23, 2008
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                                            Non-running trains are great!  For some reason, engineers and firemen don't like
                                            it when us modelers are trying to measure details on engines they're trying to
                                            run.  Go figure.  Trains are dirty, so keeping some clean and pristine inside a nice
                                            exhibit area does help preserve the history since they aren't being subjected to
                                            additional wear and tear.  

                                            Besides, keeping an old train operation is probably more than the cost of keeping
                                            any computer from the 70s operational.  You don't have insurance companies
                                            worrying about a boiler explosion when you turn on an old computer.  You're also
                                            not required, by law, to make sure it meets current safety requirements.

                                            Saving software is extremely crucial!!!  A number of people preserve manuals, but
                                            most authors of old software have lost all of the original code.  Tom Pittman has
                                            the 6502 version of Tiny BASIC on line... he was unable to provide a copy, so I
                                            found someone who gave me a binary, then I had to disassemble, re-comment,
                                            and effectively re-build the code.  Tom definitely helped explain some pieces and
                                            corrected my comments, but this reconstructed version of HIS code is the only
                                            "source code" he has.

                                            Small C (is that the right product?) is another example, written by a couple guys
                                            working at Bell Labs. When I contacted one of them about source, he said it was
                                            all gone years ago, and wished me luck finding it.  Manuals I can find, but the
                                            code is gone, never to be run again, unless someone steps forward with the
                                            code and an interest in sharing/preserving it.

                                            In order to preserve computer history, we need to preserve the machines, the
                                            manuals AND THE SOFTWARE.  Some code is well preserved, other is gone
                                            and unlikely to be found again.

                                            Hey, I wrote some commercial products for the Atari 800/400.  I doubt anyone cares
                                            about them, but maybe I should get them (and the source) onto some public archive.
                                            I might still hold the copyright, but it's of no financial value anymore.  

                                            Bob





                                            On May 23, 2008, at 4:19 PM, B. Degnan wrote:


                                            >
                                            >
                                            >All I will say, is that I'm trying to decide how to fight the sort of
                                            >views which includes what Bill has presented, within the facts and
                                            >circumstances around and a part of "vintage computing". I may or may
                                            >not succeed. If I don't like some things Bill has said, that's not his
                                            >fault; and he need not share my goals anyway. He does me a service
                                            >when he makes his case and shares his views, he has informed me and
                                            >educated me, and I try to appreciate that.
                                            >
                                            >Regards,
                                            >Herb Johnson

                                            There are some nice "working" train museums - trains are not the kind of 
                                            thing collectors and museums can horde as easily. Maybe computers will 
                                            turn out something like that? And what's the point of the train if you 
                                            can't ride it once in a while? Hopefully computers won't be preserved like 
                                            stuffed dodos, on display shelves. I image 100 years from now the original 
                                            computer with an emulator in the background producing the display.

                                            What we can do today - save the software, move to newer media, remember how 
                                            to use and fix what you have. This is how we can contribute, once the 
                                            original media is gone...it's gone. I take this fact very seriously and 
                                            the computers I have are my responsibility. This is why I keep them 
                                            covered, test them regularly, etc. In effect I am working to fight against 
                                            the "museumication" of computers. I make no money (or very little) from 
                                            this hobby, and my web site is a labor of love, to educate. I teach for 
                                            the same reason. Not worth it financially. ..there has to be more than $$ 
                                            to life.

                                            One other thing - remember once in a while to video a computer in action.

                                            Bill


                                          • schwepes@moog.netaxs.com
                                            For most the collecting is of the equipment. For such, it s a pity that there is not simply an online library for the manuals. bs
                                            Message 21 of 25 , May 24, 2008
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                                              For most the collecting is of the equipment. For such, it's a pity that
                                              there is not simply an online library for the manuals.
                                              bs


                                              On Wed, 21 May 2008, Evan Koblentz wrote:

                                              > >>> Collectible computer books are also going up in price. Near Mint first
                                              > editions of Berkeley's "Giant Brains or Machines that Think" are going to be
                                              > worth $1000 by [2015].
                                              >
                                              > >>> So what is my 1946 paperback edition worth? ;
                                              >
                                              > Slightly more than my 1949 paperback edition. :)
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > ------------------------------------
                                              >
                                              > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                            • schwepes@moog.netaxs.com
                                              When we were kids was it not cool to see the really old cars and the aircraft that fought WWI and WWII? bs
                                              Message 22 of 25 , May 24, 2008
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                                                When we were kids was it not cool to see the really old cars and the
                                                aircraft that fought WWI and WWII?
                                                bs


                                                On Thu, 22 May 2008, Bryan Pope wrote:

                                                > Herb Johnson wrote:
                                                > >
                                                > > I appreciate Bill's considerations about investment value of those
                                                > > few items which may attain value in the thousands or more. I note
                                                > > Bill's point - that when people of my age die, interest in computing
                                                > > of the 1970's will all but die as well. I can't disagree with that
                                                > > assessment, but it simply makes me too sad today to comment further.
                                                > >
                                                > >
                                                > I do not believe that when people your age die, interest in computing of
                                                > the 1970's will die.. Look at the child who visited the MARCH museum a
                                                > week or so ago with his parents. IIRC, he was 11, but was very
                                                > interested in the computers that were about three times his age!
                                                >
                                                > This is also something that the director of Infoage wants - to inspire
                                                > children.. It sounds like this kid was pretty inspired
                                                >
                                                > Cheers,
                                                >
                                                > Bryan
                                                >
                                                > > Meanwhile...my original post was about a 1975 magazine probably
                                                > > "worth" about $125, selling for $500 and with two bidders willing to
                                                > > pay over $300. My question is still about the value of publications of
                                                > > the 1970's of various sorts - manuals, newsletters, and the occasional
                                                > > book. Most of these will simply CRUMBLE in a century or so, eaten by
                                                > > their own acid papers. So "Babbage first edition" considerations are
                                                > > moot for these materials. Most will have considered them "preserved"
                                                > > as PDF's of scans, few will want paper copies or originals - that's
                                                > > what I suggested previously in this thread.
                                                > >
                                                > > But I'm still looking for additional comments and considerations.
                                                > >
                                                > > Herb Johnson
                                                > > (no jokes about passing)
                                                > > retrotechnology.com
                                                > >
                                                > >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > ------------------------------------
                                                >
                                                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                              • schwepes@moog.netaxs.com
                                                Do you want a box of my older crap? The books are essentially eighties manuals for various issues of DOS and DOS programs. bs
                                                Message 23 of 25 , May 24, 2008
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                                                  Do you want a box of my older crap? The books are essentially eighties
                                                  manuals for various issues of DOS and DOS programs.
                                                  bs


                                                  On Thu, 22 May 2008, Herb Johnson wrote:

                                                  > Jim Scheef <jscheef@...> wrote:
                                                  > >
                                                  > > Herb,
                                                  > >
                                                  > > You have a unique view on all this due to your business perspective.
                                                  > Generally I buy a book or documentation manual because I want to add
                                                  > it to my collection. I've even purchased manuals expressly for the
                                                  > MARCH museum. I'm not really concerned about a "return" or even future
                                                  > appreciation in value. On books I look for the best price for a
                                                  > serviceable copy. Documentation is generally harder to find so the
                                                  > seller has more price control.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > I agree that more than $100 is hard to swallow for a magazine but
                                                  > that particular Pop Tronics issue has a very unique place in history.
                                                  >
                                                  > >[Jim wrote about putting his and MARCH's materials into a MARCH library.]
                                                  >
                                                  > Thanks for posting your considerations. I concur with most of them. My
                                                  > only specific comment, is that "documentation" is not that hard to
                                                  > find, what with Web sales of books and eBay sales of documents, or
                                                  > copies of documents. It's hard by relative volume vs. books and other
                                                  > things; easier compared to the old days where flea markets and
                                                  > hamfests and word-of-mouth were the only venues. "Finding" is its own
                                                  > discussion.
                                                  >
                                                  > I read your remarks as an interest in preserving information and
                                                  > content, with an end to providing a library for others to access.
                                                  > While you call my view "unique", I think I'm just explicit about the
                                                  > economics of a library, MY library.
                                                  >
                                                  > Please consider, I have an ACTUAL library. I have provided access to
                                                  > S-100 manuals, to many people, around the world, for over 20 years.
                                                  > It's funded by per page fees, and users get their own copies for their
                                                  > use. Generally they need copies of manuals, so that's fine.
                                                  >
                                                  > It may seem bizarre to others, to offer paper copies for a fee instead
                                                  > of "free" scanned PDF's. Without giving a long explanation, those
                                                  > "free" PDF libaries produce, directly or indirectly, databases of user
                                                  > access which support ad revenue for Google and other search engine
                                                  > companies. SOMEONE is making money, even from "free" archives. Even
                                                  > "free" public libraries are paid for by property taxes - my county
                                                  > library certainly is, about $150 a year on my tax bill.
                                                  >
                                                  > So, economic considerations are ALWAYS present. Mine are simply
                                                  > explicit and per-user. No taxes, no direct ad revenue. I stay on top
                                                  > of the economics, that's how I've stayed in operation for 20 years or
                                                  > more.
                                                  >
                                                  > Jim, "your" library and my library are not so different in
                                                  > principle. The differences are in some details of practices and
                                                  > administration and funding. Important differences, but we have common
                                                  > goals of preservation and of access.
                                                  >
                                                  > Herb Johnson
                                                  > making book
                                                  > retrotechnology.com
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > ------------------------------------
                                                  >
                                                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                • mejeep_ferret
                                                  ... It s still cool to see that stuff, thus the Smithsonian s new expansion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_F._Udvar-Hazy_Center For engines, airplanes,
                                                  Message 24 of 25 , May 24, 2008
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                                                    --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, schwepes@... wrote:
                                                    > When we were kids was it not cool to see the really old cars and the
                                                    > aircraft that fought WWI and WWII?

                                                    It's still cool to see that stuff, thus the Smithsonian's new
                                                    expansion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_F._Udvar-Hazy_Center

                                                    For engines, airplanes, cars, boats & motorcycles that are still
                                                    operational (or being lovingly restored to running condition), there's
                                                    the Curtiss Museum:
                                                    http://www.glennhcurtissmuseum.org/
                                                    with a full machine shop for engine rebuilding and restoration. I was
                                                    there a week ago. *drool*
                                                  • Jim Scheef
                                                    Bill, Good points! Jim ... From: Bill Degnan To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 11:51:55 AM Subject: Re:
                                                    Message 25 of 25 , May 27, 2008
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                                                      Bill,

                                                      Good points!

                                                      Jim

                                                      ----- Original Message ----
                                                      From: Bill Degnan <billdeg@...>
                                                      To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                                                      Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 11:51:55 AM
                                                      Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: Someone explain this (Pop Electronics Jan '75 auction)



                                                      -------- Original Message --------
                                                      > From: Bryan Pope <bryan.pope@...>
                                                      > Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 10:50 AM
                                                      > To:
                                                      href="mailto:midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com">midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                                                      > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: Someone explain this (Pop Electronics Jan '75 auction)
                                                      >
                                                      > Herb Johnson wrote:
                                                      > > 
                                                      > > I appreciate Bill's considerations about investment value of those
                                                      > > few items which may attain value in the thousands or more. I note
                                                      > > Bill's point - that when people of my age die, interest in computing
                                                      > > of the 1970's will all but die as well. I can't disagree with that
                                                      > > assessment, but it simply makes me too sad today to comment further.
                                                      > >
                                                      > > 
                                                      > I do not believe that when people your age die, interest in computing of
                                                      > the 1970's will die..  Look at the child who visited the MARCH museum a
                                                      > week or so ago with his parents.  IIRC, he was 11, but was very
                                                      > interested in the computers that
                                                      were about three times his age!
                                                      >
                                                      > This is also something that the director of Infoage wants - to inspire
                                                      > children..  It sounds like this kid was pretty inspired
                                                      >
                                                      > Cheers,
                                                      >
                                                      > Bryan
                                                      >

                                                      What will happen is a consolidation of interest into a historical perspective. In 100 years what is "important" of 70's tech will be well established.  Some of this is by whim of writers today.  Those remaining items that are still considered historical 100 years from now will all find their way into museums and private collections out of reach of the common man market. 

                                                      I believe that you can find a parallel in automobile history and collecting.  The turn of the century cars are by now only in the hands of dedicated restorationists and museums.  Same will happen to computers. There's only so much room in the history books, many systems will become lost, just as the early car manufacturers have been all but forgotten by the general public, and cherished by historians.

                                                      bd





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