Writings on AI from 17 years ago....

Tony Duell ard.p850ug1 at gmail.com
Tue May 25 09:54:45 CDT 2021

On Tue, May 25, 2021 at 2:35 PM Tom Hunter via cctalk
<cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> I have learned not to trust any computer museum to properly look after any
> artefacts in the long run. I have seen the following:
>    - they lose funding and shut down;
>    - the building they had for free is sold or demolished and the
>    collection no longer has a home;
>    - museum management changes and they decide to no longer display certain
>    objects;
>    - they replace real objects with fancy multimedia presentations;
>    - they suck in anything and everything and send unwanted items or
>    duplicates to the dumpster rather than trying to find a new home for stuff
>    they don't want or need;

I made similar comments about museums [1] here about 30 years ago and
was flamed spectacularly for it. Ho-hum...

[1] And also about the cluelessness of their restorations and who they
get to do said restorations. It is a very different job to keep a
machine running when it is still supported by the manufacturer and
where official spare FRUs are available as against restoring a machine
that nobody has seen running for 10 years and for which if there are
any official spares they are in unknown condition.

I know of at least one exception to some of the above in the UK, but
it's a vintage rado museum, not a computer museum. In particular their
demostration are the real things, not mockups or multi-media
presentations (I am not sure there's even a computer on the site!).
You might end up looking at a live-chassis television set with a
metal-cone CRT running with the cabinet off. Meaning the metal chassis
is connected directly to the mains, and the metal cone of the CRT is
at about 15kV wrt earth. You know not to touch it,right... Also if
they are given a duplicate item, or something that doesn't really fit
into the museum collection, they sell tt (in the former case they keep
the 'better' one for the museum and sell the other) to an enthusiast
at IMHO a good price.

> Don't trust that museums will abide by your wishes when you donate an item.
> They almost never will no matter how secure you think your agreement with
> them is.
> I believe that enthusiastic and competent individuals will look after
> valuable items much better than most museums can.

But has been said before, MAKE A WILL A proper legal document
explaining what you want to happen to your collection if you pass
away. In the UK, not abiding by the terms of somebody's will is quite
a serious offence.

Another thing I was flamed for 30 years ago was saying that just
because somebody is rich, it doesn't mean they will take more care of
a classic computer than the rest of us. Looks like I might be right
there too.

In particular, for most us our computer collection is the second most
valuable thing we own (after the house). Which means it is likely to
be 'taken seriously' if mentioned in a will or whatever. If the
computer collections is 'lost in the noise' as it might be for a rich
person with antiques, business interests, etc then it is much more
likely not to be preserved.


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