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RE: [midatlanticretro] Re: Someone explain this (Pop Electronics Jan '75 auction)

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  • 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 1 of 25 , May 23 1:32 PM
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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 2 of 25 , May 23 2:44 PM
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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 3 of 25 , May 23 3:02 PM
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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 4 of 25 , May 23 3:07 PM
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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 5 of 25 , May 23 3:45 PM
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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 6 of 25 , May 24 5:57 AM
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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 7 of 25 , May 24 7:25 AM
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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 8 of 25 , May 24 7:30 AM
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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 9 of 25 , May 24 1:11 PM
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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 10 of 25 , May 27 2:58 PM
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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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