[vcf-midatlantic] Pick 34)-ish

Evan Koblentz evan at snarc.net
Wed Mar 2 22:51:02 EST 2016

This is going to be a long reply. Make sure you all have time before 
reading it. :)

Following is my rationale for each of the systems I listed a few days 
ago. Then I'll consider/comment on what Whitney posted.

Keep it mind the meta-reason for everything, which is these are the 
systems we happen to possess in something close to museum-quality.

1. Scelbi-8H ... Above it: Mark-8
The two most popular pre-Altair systems.

2. IBM 5100 ... Above it: HP-85B
Important to show that not all mid-70s micros were for/by hobbyists. 
Mega-corporations were there too.

3. MITS Altair 8800 ... Above it: IMSAI 8080
The two most popular 1975 machines. Altair epitomized the homebrew 
generation and launched Microsoft. IMSAI was the clone and (albeit 
several years later) was used to almost start thermonuclear war. :)

4. SWTPC 6800 ... Above it: Processor Tech SOL-20 ** and ** TDL Xitan
I'd hate to skip these three, because we have very nice units and 
they're all important to their generation... Xitan of course is an NJ 

5. Apple 1 ... Above it:  KIM-1
Apple 1 speaks for itself. KIM-1 because something has to go on the 
other shelf. :) (Given its small size, we could include other SBCs on 
the top shelf using other processors, such as the RCA Microtutor, etc.)

6. Apple II ... Above it: Apple /// and/or GS
Apple II: One of the trinity. Apple /// or GS: Because the other II 
models are only incremental updates.

7. Commodore PET 2001 / Atari 800
PET - One of the trinity. Atari 800 ... to show that Atari didn't just 
make videogame consoles, which many of our museum visitors think.

8. TRS-80 Model 1 ... Above it: Heathkit H-89
TRS-80 - Another of the trinity. H-89 - because a lot of museum visitors 
who aren't technical know about Heathkit from their involvement in radio 
and other technical hobbies, so they ask us if Heathkit was in computers 

9. Xerox 860 ... Above it: NEC APC
860: Technically not a "computer" although it clearly is a computer. 
Important to display because its software is one generation removed from 
the Alto and one generation ahead of the Lisa. APC - no particular 
reason other than I didn't know what else to put there. :) Wide open to 
suggestions that * make sense * in this context, not just because 
there's a computer someone likes.

10. Sinclair ZX-80 ... Above it: TI-99/4A
ZX-80 - Most famous early British micro. TI- just because?

11. IBM 5150 PC ... Above it: PC Jr.
PC - IBM's big entry into consumer micros changed everything for better 
or worse. JR. - To show IBM had missteps

12. Osborne ... Above it: Tandy Model 100, DG One
These speak for themselves: the popular early portables.

13. Commodore 64 ... Above it: VIC-20 and/or, 128
C64 - Best-selling micro for a loooooong time. VIC or 128 - duh. :)

14. Apple Lisa ... Above it: Epson QX-10
Lisa - Early commercial GUI + show people Mac didn't start it all. Same 
goes for the QZ-10, at least in app integration.

15. Apple Mac 128K ... Above it: Mac Portable
Do I really have to explain?

16. Commodore Amiga ... Above it: Sony SMC-70
These two show how others quickly surpassed the Mac in multimedia and 
technical abilities.

17. PC clone ... Above it: Something running OS/2
Again for better or worse: Windows 3.1 and beyond.


Now a few comments to Whitney's comments:

 >> Micro-Computer Predecessors: The Terminal & The Calculator 
Datapoint 2200

We don't have one.

 >> Heathkit H-8

Not sure if we have one.

 >> IBM 5150 PC / Compaq Portable

Compaq could indeed be above the 5150, but if we have the "son of 
clones" unit devoted to Jr.+Tandy 1000 then something else has to go.

> The Suitcase Portable    IBM 5100    Osborne

5100 was never actually "portable", only in its marketing. I hear 
someone wrote a book about this stuff. :)  I would love to have a whole 
separate exhibit about historic portable systems. Perhaps we can do that 
via a kiosk in the "computer of the month" area.

> Somehow address foreign developments, which ran in parallel, but
> dominated in Europe & Japan respectively  ... International ... MSX
> BLs BBC Master Sinclair ZX Amstrad non-BBC Acorn Toyotas Hitachi
> MB/Fujitsu FM/NEC PC-88/NEC PC-98(APC III) also Sony, Sharp systems
> Citroens Thomson/Oric

We have some of those but not many. Same as for portables, I'm inclined 
to make "international" a separate exhibit in the special little area 
for that one day.

> Word processor unit removed, as addressing that market should reflect
> some diversity of the systems (Wang, Vydec, Sony etc). Also needs more
> space.

We intentionally do not have a collection of word processors. Xerox 860 
is the exception because of its massively historic software.

> For instance the Franklin has to go in-- it made ROM copyrightable, if
> not on purpose.

Hate to repeat myself :) but that kind of thing would be another 
candidate for CotM area. We have a lot of such candidates. :)

> Despite my predilection for macs, I think you can tell the story with just one (and the LISA) and not even a significant one
> (the 128k). The early interface is too alike the LISA's to
> demonstrate/differentiate well to the layman.

Strongly disagree. We have to show the Lisa and 128K Mac! Both are way 
too famous/historic to leave out.


As everyone can see, we're not focusing on only generations, or only 
chronology, or only application types or processor types or where 
they're from geographically or whatever. We are focusing on the simple 
question, "Which systems ** based on what we have that's close to museum 
quality ** are the most noteworthy to us and most likely to teach 
something understandable to the general public alike?"

The answer is, "More than 34ish," so the ones that are kind of obscure 
or that focus on one specific aspect are relegated to the monthly rotation.

Of course, these are exhibits needn't be permanent. We can easily change 
things as our collection changes and/or as we restore various systems 
into working order and/or as we simply feel like it.

Doug asked, "Which ones will be used for live demos," and the answer is, 
"As many as reasonably possible."

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