Fwd: Featured Offer of the Month: Free FD100 Terminal!

Brian L. Stuart blstuart at bellsouth.net
Wed Mar 14 11:19:04 CDT 2007

There are several element of the phenomenon that reduces
the collectability of embedded devices and things like word
processors.  For context, here are the characteristics that,
for me, make a machine interesting: interesting hardware
design, interesting software design, ability to do something
cool/geeky with it, and the influence it had on other designs.
So with that in mind here's why I think we see the phenomena
that Chuck describes.

> Personally, I find little widgets with embedded processors 
> fascinating. 

I suspect a lot of the problem is that they often aren't really
so little.  Many embedded devices are pretty much just
a board unless they're connected to some other hardware,
which is often so large that it inhibits collectability.  Of
course, no one here would turn down an AGC regardless
of whether it was connected to a spacecraft.  But most
embedded systems only go so far without the other

>   The difference between many word processors and 
> general-purpose computers is one of nomenclature more than anything. 

Personally, I think this is exactly why they aren't very interesting.
Because they are so much like a general-purpose system, they
don't have a particularly interesting hardware design, almost
by definition.  Their software is usually not particularly interesting
either.  But you are captive in that software.  You can't really do
anything interesting with them, except type letters.  And for the
most part, they didn't have much influence on the rest of computing.
So, there's not much to draw me, or I suspect a lot of others, to

As in all matters of opinion, YMMV.  I certainly don't condemn anyone
who does find those interesting and wants to collect them.  For
that matter, I do have a few embedded devices in my collection.
But a lot of them are actually ones that I worked on in former lives.
That's really why they're interesting to me.


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