[rescue] Does any one on the list run this?

Carl R. Friend crfriend at rcn.com
Fri Jun 7 19:43:24 CDT 2013

    On Fri, 7 Jun 2013, Ian Finder wrote:

> That said, many thanks to a few awesome list members who have donated to my
> personal collection over the years, knowing I'm not running a museum. You
> guys are awesome :)

    After a while it becomes apparent that we're not just "collectors"
but rather "conservators", and that we have a sense of responsibility
to ensure that these devices survive for future generations.  This is
easy enough when a typical example machine weighs, perhaps, twenty
pounds all up; however, when they occupy a couple of 6-foot racks
apiece the entire idea gets a bit more tenuous for long-haul

    I occupy the latter slot (although I do have a pretty decent cache
of assorted pre-2000 workstations) and sometimes it's a bit of a
fight.  Wives don't understand the significance and look at them
as "clutter".  Friends, even, poke fun at the "dinosaurs" -- even if
they run!  Needless to say, this tends to ratchet up the sense of
responsibility somewhat!

    There's an entire "hidden" portion of the very vibrant history of
computing that's missing from the modern psyche.  Scholars are looking
actively at the earliest delvings into electronic computing, and that
is a good thing indeed; however, the mass of popular belief seems to
hold that the computer sprung forth in its modern form from Bill
Gates' mind in 1981 -- and this is sad indeed because the history
of computing is a tale that has the power to better the best "whodunnit"
or "spy story" going.  It's a story of blind alleys that lead nowhere,
a chronicle of skullduggery and treachery that rival the best of what
"normal" history can offer, and a tale of almost unbelieveable
innovation and creativity that has helped shape the world that we
occupy today.

    The "personal computer" was born in 1961.  Kudos to anybody who
can name it.  That's a span of 20 years -- almost a human generation.
How many times have we made the same mistakes -- in architecture,
design, and implementation -- in the intervening years?  (It's
worth noting the the example I speak of from 1961 was so shockingly
modern that one could almost attach a mouse to it and have it be
quite familiar, at least in its editor.)

    The point of this is that by whatever means an operational
example machine survives is a worthwhile one, and that one can
only hope that the current "owner" of said machine views himself
not as "collector" or "owner", but rather as "conservator" or
"curator".  My personal passion is for machines that run as their
designers intended, but that's just one view; others are just as
valid so long as they look to the future.


| Carl Richard Friend (UNIX Sysadmin)            | West Boylston       |
| Minicomputer Collector / Enthusiast            | Massachusetts, USA  |
| mailto:crfriend at rcn.com                        +---------------------+
| http://users.rcn.com/crfriend/museum           | ICBM: 42:22N 71:47W |

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