Getting out of the hobby

tony duell ard at
Thu Oct 13 12:46:59 CDT 2016

> Recent activity on the list, especially the "Ka... ching!" thread, has
> had me reevaluating a lot of what I get out of this hobby. I think there
> are two things going on that make it less fun for me now: The money,
> and the age of the stuff. I'll try to explain.

Perhaps I am one of the lucky ones (for once). I started being interested
in classic computers long before most people, Back when I could find
interesting machines that I could afford. And I have kept them. For all
people told me to 'downsize the collection' when I was moving house,
I moved the lot. 

So while I am saddened by the price rises, it doesn;t affect me too much.
I have enough projects to keep me going for the rest of my life and then
some :-) (And before somebody asks, yes I have made a will). The problem
for me (being selfish) about high prices is that if I am missing some option
that I want/need, I am probably not going to be able to afford it. 

It does sadden me, though, that many enthusiasts are not going to be 
able to get interesting machines to play with and learn from. I am very
much in favour of running these old machines, the sort of collector who
buys them as an investment and never turns them on has nothing in 
common with me. And I do not accept that people who have paid a lot
for a machine will look after it better than those who (a few years 
earlier) got it for peanuts.

The nostalgia aspect doesn't really interest me. I do not want the home
computers that friends had, I do not want to play the games I didn't
play years ago. I want interesting pieces of electronics that I probably
hadn't heard of when they were current. 

The age of the hardware doesn't bother me. Sure I have to replace 
antisocial mains filter capacitors, replace failed ICs, etc. But I was doing
that 20 years ago. So that doesn't seem to be a recent problem.

I do feel the hobby has changed. I haven't, which is why I don't post
much here any more. When I started it was all people trying to restore
and run the genuine old hardware. Now it seems there are a lot of 
emulators running on hardware I don't understand. And add-ons to
perfectly understandable and hackable machines using microcontrollers
and FPGAs that you can't probe with a logic analyser. That sort of thing
is what I got into classic computing to avoid, so I am not going to 
put such devices into my PDPs, etc. 


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