[vcf-midatlantic] ISA Sound Card is going for $1500

Jameel Akari jakari at bithose.com
Fri Mar 11 15:32:11 EST 2016

Long meandering reply here as I wait for some especially slow things to 
happen at work...

On Fri, 11 Mar 2016, Christian Liendo via vcf-midatlantic wrote:

> What I am trying to say is that the younger generation of people who
> are coming into the hobby.

I'll take this opportunity to finally introduce myself, as this is 
Relevant To My Interests.  I ran into the VCF table at NYC Maker Faire but 
didn't really have time to chat.

I'm Jameel Akari.  I live in Troy, NY, and am employed as a systems 
engineer in IT infrastructure for a local company.  Graduated from RPI, 
Computer & Systems Engineering, 1999.

I've been into computers of every vintage since my father brought home a 
SYM-1 6502 SBC from a work training class when I was in 2nd grade or so. 
I'm that baby engineer from the Dilbert cartoon.

> The ones who grew up on PCs and not Ataris, Commodores and Early Apples.

So I'm right on the edge of this.  I had friends with Ataris (just as game 
consoles, and kitted out as home micros), C64s and VIC20s, and a variety 
of Apple ][ variants.  Computer class in grade school was taught on ][s. 
It was a big deal when myself and other classmates started to turn in 
typed and printed reports in 4th grade, having just been taught cursive 
the year before.

But at the same time, IBM PCs had been out for 5 years or so, and many of 
our parents workplaces were IBM shops.  PC clones of various sorts were 
everywhere, and that's what we ended up: a Tandy 1000SX, because in theory 
my father could work on it like his office computers.

In practice it all ended up in my room and things follow as expected from 
there.  (I wish I still had that Tandy.  I have the receipts!)

> They are here now.
> They are going to want to be represented. They are going to want to
> show off their machines.

Not in a whining and stomping our feet kind of way, but yes. :)

When I try to explain why I have old computers around, I compare it to 
people who collect classic cars.  Somehow people "get" that more readily. 
But often, they first think about 60s muscle cars.  Meanwhile 80s and 90s 
cars like Mitsu Starions and BMW E30's show up, being restored and 
collected by a younger crowd.  "Those aren't classics!"  Sure they are.

It's the same thing between these hobbies, with the same kind of "split," 
though that's a poor word for it.  Time moves forward, and the slider that 
defines vintage and antique slides with it.  It just happens to be 
remarkably compressed when talking about computing history.

Now I happen to also really enjoy the entirety of said history.  I was 
thrilled that there were "history of information technology" classes in 
college that counted as humanities credits.  I collected any unusual-to-me 
hardware I could find, and read about the ones I couldn't.

My main historical interest is that of DEC; I had a VT100 with modem just 
to BBS with, and my first Linux box was a DEC Alpha Multia.  My father's 
work built a lot of things around MicroVAX and VMS, so when those manuals 
showed up around the house, I fell into them.  I've got various pieces of 
PDP-11s these days, some more functional than others.  There's a bunch of 
Alphas, a DECstation 3000, a MicroVAX II.  I was excited to see pictures 
of VCF East, with these machines I only saw in magazines actually running, 
by people who really knew how they worked.

Back to the topic:
So yeah, people my age know how early-to-90s PCs work, and have some 
feelings about what PCs have personality and which don't.  (Many don't. 
Some do. I collect those.)  The software that goes with PCs is engrained 
in our heads, if a little dusty.  Somebody mentioned Winsock and I 
twitched; maybe I can get you a nice FTP Software(R) stack that can get 
you NFS onto your PS/2 running WfW.

Then there are UNIX workstations of every flavor, which definitely have 
personality to them.  I have... more than I can display at once.

At the same time you've got the rise of Macintosh, which turns out to be 
somewhat notable.  ;)

I know more than a couple my age and younger who are into now-vintage game 
consoles like the original NES.  And of course there are arcade video 
games.  Not general-purpose computers, but as they age, people have to 
maintain and repair them just the same.  To do so sucessfully requires at 
least some knowledge of how they work.

I know that there's just no way to cram this all into one museum space 
today, but my inflation-adjusted $0.02 is that it is important to show the 
whole span where possible.  Last I read there was a nice "golden age of 
8-bit home micros," jump to a 386/WfW, and then... ?  There's another big 
jump from that to the computers/devices/Internet of today, and there is 
just as rich a history there as any point.

And back to current events:
My best friend in middle school had an AdLib sound card, "As Seen on 
eBay."  And that got tossed in the parts bin as soon as the Sound Blaster 
Pro came out.  I took a screenshot of the auction to troll him with. ;)

> I think it's time to welcome them.

Hi, everybody! </DrNick>

Jameel Akari

More information about the vcf-midatlantic mailing list