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How do you view the preservation of vintage computers and their component

How do you view the preservation of vintage computers and their component


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    18

Stone

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How would you categorize your involvement and philosophy with regard to the preservation of vintage computers and their components?

For the purposes of this poll you are either a Vintage Computer Collector or a Vintage Computer User who has them for work or enjoys them for another reason and is not a Collector, per se.

You may only select one of the four choices.
 
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Chuck(G)

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Not sure what you're on about, but I view the preservation of documentation far more than any bit of hardware. Eventually, the hardware will be lost to natural deterioration, natural catastrophe or just plain "I need to get rid of this stuff and don't have the time to deal with a bunch of people who want to complicate my life."

The documentation will offer insights into the thought and design, as well as operation.

Put it another way--would you rather have a bunch of tapes that you can't read (easily) or the data contained thereon? One is pretty to look at, I guess, but the other has real meaning.
 

Unknown_K

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The part that needs preserving is the design evolution of the components and the software they ran. The Physical machines and components don't really matter.
 

maxtherabbit

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I can't really make a selection because I believe that no one should dispose of this equipment, but I believe in private property rights so of course they may
 

maxtherabbit

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Not sure what you're on about, but I view the preservation of documentation far more than any bit of hardware. Eventually, the hardware will be lost to natural deterioration, natural catastrophe or just plain "I need to get rid of this stuff and don't have the time to deal with a bunch of people who want to complicate my life."

The documentation will offer insights into the thought and design, as well as operation.

Put it another way--would you rather have a bunch of tapes that you can't read (easily) or the data contained thereon? One is pretty to look at, I guess, but the other has real meaning.

without a tangible representation of a technology (be it electronic or otherwise,) my mind is utterly disinterested in learning the concepts that underpin it

i.e. my only interest in books is to help me learn more about physical things that I can interact with, reading in abstract is about as appealing as hitting myself in the groin with a hammer
 

Chuck(G)

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...and yet, all of this started out as intangibles. For me, that's where understanding starts and ends. Physical embodiment might be useful, but it's the thought that counts.

I take it that you're not a mathematician or physicist. :)
 

maxtherabbit

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...and yet, all of this started out as intangibles. For me, that's where understanding starts and ends. Physical embodiment might be useful, but it's the thought that counts.

I take it that you're not a mathematician or physicist. :)

I do love mathematics, the elegance and purity are compelling, but the bottom line is I'm a junkie to sensory stimuli and a materialist
 

Chuck(G)

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As I do a lot of data retrieval, I routinely encounter media and data for which functionally operating computer systems are no longer in existence. It's the old documentation that makes saving the information possible (Thanks, Al). It's not at all unusual that the client no longer wants the original medium--it's not what matters.

Once you've got the data retrieved, you can rig up an emulation/simulation to bring it back to life.

I'm not much interested in accumulating clay tablets so much as the information they contain.
 

krebizfan

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The questions are for a separation of user from collector. To be a useful poll, it would need to have the ability to accept an answer for both user and collector cases. Though I don't believe there is a clear demarcation between the two, most computer collectors also plan on using the equipment.
 

ibmapc

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I answered #4. However, I personally have a very hard time getting rid of ANY of my old parts or computers. I have traded away a couple of items, but regretted it later! Anyone want to come over and help me clear out some of my hoard?

Greg
 

Chuck(G)

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The questions are for a separation of user from collector. To be a useful poll, it would need to have the ability to accept an answer for both user and collector cases. Though I don't believe there is a clear demarcation between the two, most computer collectors also plan on using the equipment.

Yes, my point, in spite of my lack of clarity in my earlier statement. Are there only two categories? For example, there are the eBay flippers, the gold-bugs, etc.
 

clh333

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To Chuck's point: I started collecting old computers because I found I still had digital information from 30-40 years ago - programs and documentation - in my possession, and I was curious to revisit it. Partly that was due to wondering about how it compared with modern offerings - how far things have progressed, as it were - and partly because, in my untutored ignorance of 30-40 years ago, most of it was beyond my ken. It wasn't what I did for a living and there was only so much time to spend learning. Call this a second childhood.

But to your point: I'm not a collector of equipment that is rare, for the sake of its rarity, or valuable, for the sake of its value, but of things that interest or fascinate me that I want to better understand. I never have seen a reader or a punch in operation but one day I'd like to find one; I still remember the CP/M terms and the mystery they held for me. I consider myself a caretaker: if I have collected something I want it to work, and I will do what I can to restore or improve its operation. My chief obstacle is my lack of knowledge, particularly in the field of electronics. Sometimes I make fatal errors: Mine is a pretty small and mundane lot.

I have never sold anything I acquired, but I have thrown away a few things that I thought were unworkable, just for lack of knowing where to find repair. On the other hand I have given quite a number away, if I thought the recipient could use them. Some might be considered classics today.

I guess all that puts me in category two: A Vintage Computer Collector who is the owner of that equipment can dispose of it accordingly. But the people who want to make fishbowls out of their 5153 monitors are misguided, in my opinion and the people who make their living "flipping" items on eBay are, at best, a necessary evil and, at worst, (expletive deleted).

My thanks to all who frequent this site and offer their wisdom and experience, making possible for me this fascinating endeavor.

-CH-
 

Chuck(G)

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Value of a clay tablet is subject to market forces. Same with the value of an Apple II--I watched the local school districts dispose of the "worthless" systems by the pallet-load. Same for eMacs.

The value of the information contained therein can be pretty well established. Of course, there are some who would like to see the information vanish from consciousness, regardless of the medium. :)
 

ChrisUnionNJ

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I use to just keep it all even stuff I lost interest in now I
just sell it at vcf east to help get stuff I want..
 

lafos

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I have some old hardware out of nostalgia, not collecting for posterity. As others have stated before, the documentation and software are more important to me. I have sold, recycled, and given away a lot of stuff over the years. Components I keep are in case someone has a need, or that I got as part of a system I wanted. There are some excellent emulators out there, and I hope they continue to evolve to provide period-accurate experiences on new hardware.

I doubt my heirs will have any interest in most of my stuff, and I'm fine with that.
 

Unknown_K

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The thing about an ancient language on clay tablets is that you can get the translation wrong so you want to keep the things around incase you have to do the translation over again. Digital data can be moved from one format to another so there is no reason to keep the old media unless you lose the HD you keep the data on.
 

JohnElliott

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Apart from systems that have sentimental value for me, my interest tends to be in the software rather than the hardware it runs on. So I obtain (say) a graphics card to find out how it works, hopefully to the point where it can be emulated - and then I'm left with hardware that I don't necessarily use, but don't want to get rid of (there are usually one or two unanswered questions left outstanding).

Most of the time there's no particular reason for me to have an IBM 5170, for example, since any software I have for it can run on a more modern system or under emulation. But once or twice, to resolve a particular point, I've had to dig out the real 5170 and fire it up.
 
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