Getting out of the hobby

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Sat Oct 15 14:49:29 CDT 2016

On 10/14/2016 10:06 PM, drlegendre . wrote:

> If my previous observations on the genesis of the list don't match
> reality, I'm perfectly willing to be corrected - in fact, I like what
> I've been hearing about the origins of the list. That said, the vast
> majority of list traffic seems to focus on minicomputers "and up"
> (or, and back as it were), and I assumed that it's always been this
> way.
> As another member recently noted, much of what tumbles past me on
> this list is totally outside of my 'classic computer' world. Though,
> again, I'd have no trouble whatsoever geeking out - and fully - over
> some mini hardware, if that's the sort of thing I could possibly have
> room for in my home or my life.
> This said, it's clear to see that most of the list traffic is well
> outside of the 8-bit / 16-bit micro era. And if the list is to
> survive over the long-term, then more of the micro kids like myself
> need to be brought deeper into the fold. Don't you think?

Well, I'll throw my own worthless opinion into the mix.

Classiccmp to me is mostly a DEC minicomputer list.  In fact, if it were
retitled as such, I don't think that many posts would be excluded.
Having spent my formative years in big iron, the DEC stuff is
minicomputer, although an exception might be made for the very high end,
such as the VAX 9000 machines--but IIRC, those aren't discussed here.

I've used (even as sysadmin) VAX systems and have even been offered one
free for the taking.  There's no nostalgia there for me, so I haven't

Even Cray-Cyber offers only access to a Cyber 800 system, which is too
late for me.  Are there any IBM 7070s still in functioning order?  Got a
7090 to run FMS on?   How about a nice little 1620?

Pretty much all gone, mostly due to age and cost of operation.

But even if I could have a Univac 1107, complete with peripherals
running in my basement, I don't think I would.  I've moved on, but the
hardware hasn't.  Things that were wonderful to behold back then are
only mere curiosities today.  I'm not the same person I used to be back
then, thank heavens.   The Thomas Wolfe thing.

8-bit micro CPUs to me were a breakthrough in that real computer
ownership was within my means.  I recall the withering laugh when
showing my newly-assembled MITS 8800 to a co-worker:  "You paid $1000
for *that*?  It's just a toy!"  In retrospect, I probably would have had
more fun spending the kilobuck on fast women and booze.

In that sense of ownership, I don't really draw much of a distinction
between vintage 8-bit micros and modern PCs.  Yes, a modern PC can do a
lot more than a MITS box, but you'd expect that after 40-odd years.  Can
you get the same thrill that someone got in 1975 from an 8-bit system?
I doubt it.

There are still those who like to experiment with old vacuum tubes
(valves to you folks in the UK) building a one-bottle regenerative
receiver, complete with A and B batteries, but for most of us who have
been there, it's not the same.

I'm always interested in design documents and other paper that tells me
about the thought that went into the creation of a machine, but the
machine  itself, not so much.

So yes, I can see someone get out of the collecting hobby, yet still
retaining an interest in old iron.  I can read about using arsphenamine
to treat syphilis, for example (historically important), without
contracting the disease and treating it myself just for "the experience".


More information about the cctalk mailing list