[vcf-midatlantic] efficiency, put another way

Herb Johnson hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Wed Jun 8 17:09:32 EDT 2016

On 06/08/2016 12:18 PM, Dan Roganti via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> ​I think the term "resource-poor" for describing the 60s, 70s​ or maybe the
> 80s is inaccurate
> It is relative, depending on your viewpoint - if you keep looking from the
> 21st century viewpoint
> But if you were there in the thick of it back then, it was actually the
> norm.
> So you were expected to design with those constraints
> Constraints are a fact of life in engineering

Dave McGuire:

>   I agree 100%.  Many of us were there (myself for the 70s and 80s at
> least), we never thought of our computers as resource-poor.  It was more
> like "Wow, this system has 64K of RAM!  SOOO much more than the last
> one, look at how much more I can do!"

I disagree 57.25%. ;) This is a marginal argument not either-or. In your 
own statement, you are looking retrospectively at a time of less 
resource. As am I.

But I was there too in the 1970's. Of course we did not think of 
ourselves as entirely "resource poor". But we knew that in months or a 
year, the high-integration parts were were using - memory, RAM, etc. - 
would be cheaper and have "more". We were not blind to the future.

Proof? The common catchphrase of that time, about buying more memory or 
a card or chips for your microcomputer was "you have to decide when you 
are going to waste your money". Because the NEXT product would have 
those chips or features. But we had to get things done, waiting would 
not get things done; so we bought and did good work with what we had; 
and upgraded later if we could.

And of course, in retrospect, with more resources in hand we look back 
at past microcomputing as limited in part by the resources of the time. 
Looking at the past is retrospective by definition. Looking back and 
comparing is not for me, an exercise in "what sucked back then". I work 
hard to show what and how things worked - because I and others are 
making them work AGAIN, now.

But it can be hard for others to get this today. This is not easy, Dave 
reported one failure - not his fault of course, it's an instance. And 
that suggests why we as vintage computerists are challenged, as we 
explain our past, today.

I'm trying to show some support, for Dave McGuire's position, from the 
vintage perspective - scarcer resources required more discipline, less 
slop, more effort, etc.. If Dave wants to argue for those qualities from 
first principles, more power to him.  These are allied but different 
arguments; this is Dave's thread not mine.

Herb Johnson

Herbert R. Johnson,  New Jersey USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
preservation of 1970's computing
email: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
alternate: herbjohnson ATT retrotechnology DOTT info

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