Bay Area: IBM 4341 and HP3000

Sean Caron scaron at
Mon Jan 12 10:10:44 CST 2015

I mean, I "understand" the mindset of these sellers insofar as they think,
oh, there's gotta be one big Fortune 500 company, or some government agency
that is just so completely dependent on some legacy system; someday it will
break down and they will need a part at any price and I WILL BE THERE!

Unfortunately for them it usually doesn't work that way; especially with
all the very clever emulation solutions out there, it's been possible to
break the dependence of these legacy software systems, on their associated
legacy hardware.

So it just sits, and sits, and sits and eventually it just goes off to the
scrap yard when they don't get any offers that meet their wild expectations.

But that's just how it is, dealing with people who are in this as a
business. They aren't going to do a deal because they want to see something
historic get saved, or they want to see someone who could actually use it,
enjoy it. They just want to see cash money on the table. That's fair.
They're dealers, not collectors.

That said, sometimes I have made an offer and noted "hey, I'm a hobbyist,
not a business" and I think it's helped me win the day, so, there are
vendors out there sensitive to the hobbyist community (once the inventory
gets stale enough, maybe? LOL).

I just like to see this stuff run, to have the opportunity to play with it;
laying your hands on some real hardware if you can is just a whole
different level of experience beyond an emulator, of course, I'm a
"hardware guy".

Al's post, it didn't bug me. Being in my line of work, I encounter lots of
folks who are, ah, a bit blunt, or lacking in the social graces to one
degree or another... just comes with the territory. It is, of course, food
for thought. His line of thinking is definitely something we should have a
cogent response for; my dad is similar in his thinking, he's had a long and
successful engineering career and his general opinion is this historical
preservation is a waste of time and money, "history is bunk", etc. and I've
been trying to convince him of the historicity of his work personally and
of all the various bits of ephemera accumulated over the course of his 40+
year career.

Because I do believe this work, that was done on these computers, this
software, is valuable and historically relevant... I don't believe EE/CS is
uniquely "post-historic" and I think all practitioners in the field should
consider the historical factors involved in their work... It's important to
preserve this stuff; "you don't know where you're going until you know
where you've been". Just as the architects and civil engineers have
preserved strange old buildings, the aeronautical guys are preserving old
aircraft, the mechanical guys are preserving old cars, locomotives, what
have you... these are the artifacts of our field, our profession... why be
so quick to relegate the entire historical record of computer engineering
to the dustbin?



On Mon, Jan 12, 2015 at 4:28 AM, jwsmobile <jws at> wrote:

> On 1/11/2015 12:42 PM, Johannes Thelen wrote:
>> I think these all Storage Hunters, Storage Wars and other Shit Collectors
>> "reality" TV series, is what to blame here:
>> "What is is?" "Looks like old door but it is just probably pile of shit!"
>> "Man, you get AT LEAST 5000$ of it!"
>> Oh, I can't wait episode when they find full IBM 360...
> I was on an episode of storage wars this year and we did our best to point
> out that the computers were not scrap and had value to collectors.  I
> appraised a sale high, but have sale info to back it up.
> I'm pretty sure the ones on Storage Hunters made no attempt to find
> someone to actually appraise the find before they destroyed it. Storage
> Wars did make a search.
> I don't think the TV programs have anything to do with it, it is a lot of
> Ebay dealers who are making at least the asking prices be astronomical.
> I also did point out that the price I found was a current sale, and that
> most sales were for a lower value.  And that the amount was more than
> powdering the terminal and recovering the gold.  The gold value was pointed
> out, but the intact value would frequently be higher.
> What would you rather have things move for?  If they have no value no-one
> will bother trying to preserve and sell them.

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