Classic computers endangered!

Tony Duell ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Thu Oct 1 15:59:59 CDT 2009


> Here's a link to (what appears to be) the article in question:
> <http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17805-innovation-classic-computers-on-the-danger-list.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=tech>

The photographs have a couple of curiousities in them. Firstly, they say 
that the PDP8 line started in 1965 (which sounds aout right), but the 
picture is of a much later (early 70's) PDP8/e (which uses TTL ICs, not 
discrete transistors). 

Secondly, in the picture of the HP250, am I correct that there's a 
Casio AL2000 calculator sitting on it (maybe badged Commodore, like the 
AL1000 sometimes was). Surely any HP owner would have had an HP9815 or 
HP9825 there...

I am also getting somewhat fed up with this idea that classic computers 
are difficult to repair (or worse 'can't be repaired'). In general it is 
easier to find parts for older machines that new ones. Most of the bits 
(at least those that are likely to fail) for 1960's and 1970's machines 
are not hard to find. But just try finding components for 1990's 
machines. There is also (IMHO) no shortage of people who can repair said 
old machines.

What there is is a shortage of owners who are prepared to pay for such 
repairs. Serveral times I've been contacted by organisations who what a 
<foo> (normally an HP of some flavour) fixed, but 'there's no budget for 
it'. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. If you want me to fix the machine, 
I charge. Needless to say, I don't charge for advice on lists like this 
one which depend on the exchange of information (I consider the 
information and interest I get from this list easily repays me).

-tony



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