[rescue] Some thoughts on our hobby..

Carl R. Friend crfriend at rcn.com
Fri Nov 8 20:42:42 CST 2013

    On Fri, 8 Nov 2013, Ethan O'Toole wrote:

> A hobby of mine is pinball machines, and something similar has happened. Now 
> some of the better titles are $10,000+. Actually quite a few are.

    OK, that's interesting.

    Thirty years or so ago I bought an Atari "Middle Earth" pinball
machine for about three or for hundred dollars (quite honestly, I
forget the precise amount), and I bought it because I enjoyed the
play it offered.  Only by accident did it turn into a corner-
exhibit of my computer collection because the platform (and several
pinball games by Atari used the same one) was one of the very first
computer-controlled tables.

    I've got no clue what it's "worth" today, but maybe my heirs will
find out.  That, and I still need to do a code analysis on the ROMs.
We are talking history here (1978 or thereabouts).

    What I really detest is the speculation (read, "gambling") that
the value of the machines will increase (exponentially?) over time
that's seen in what some of these devices are commanding on e-Bay.
The worst part of that is that once the bubble bursts, the gamblers
are altogether too likely to regard their newly-revalued "investment"
as trash and sell it for scrap rather than find a proper home for it.
When that happens, history is lost.

    Let's not forget this fact: Whilst we may call ourselves "collectors"
of old hardware we are in a very real sense conservators and curators.

    We have a responsibility to future generations.  Some of us will opt
to maintain our machines in running order and use them as they were
originally intended to be used, and some of us will opt to preserve
them as best possible as static exhibits.  Both of those schools have
legitimacy; however, one is riskier than the other but yields more
impressive results.  Which is more impressive -- a flying "warbird"
or one that's eternally grounded?  What happens if the flying one
experiences an uncontrollable failure and crashes?  But, can the static
display inspire as much passion as the running one?


| 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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