[vcf-midatlantic] how I got started, was Re: Old Super computers ( Was Re: Apparently Authentic Apple 1 on eBay )

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Sat May 28 08:44:21 EDT 2016

On 05/28/2016 07:35 AM, Corey Cohen via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
>>>> I know. I've seen a few, but they are all in museums.
>> Dave had two of them, he put the other in our museum. :)
> Dave has a great collection of Cray stuff.


> I think he said his first
> big iron was a Cray and that is what started his obsession.

  Me?  Oh heck no.  My first "real" computer following my S-100 system
was a PDP-11/34, when that model was not "new" but still more or less
current.  It wasn't "vintage" at all, nor did it have anything to do
with "collecting".  It was just, well, my computer.  That was when I was
in high school.  Then I got a PDP-8 (which I still have), which was
rather old at the time, but they were still in production
everywhere...learning it was learning job skills.

  They were followed by a string of upgrades and expansions, then when I
went into the working world full-time, my second or third job was as a
VMS sysadmin at a gov't installation.  I already had a couple of small
VAXen at home, which is how I knew VMS.

  I read (and dreamed!) about Cray supercomputers the entire time.

  All of those machines were current or pretty close to current, meaning
still in use everywhere and still commercially sold at least on the used
market, and I used them to get work done, to teach myself new languages
and new OSs (job skills), etc.  I was young and not nostalgic at all,
and they were not a "collection"....they were tools.

  I bought my first Cray supercomputer, a J90, in 1999 when they were
still pretty close to current.  It was a dream come true for me, but
this was still a "work" system, and I made a living on it for a couple
of years.

  Then, about that time, all of a sudden I started hearing about this
hobby called "vintage computing" and I realized that I already had "a
collection".  That honestly surprised me.  I loved those machines, but I
never really considered them to be a "hobby"...that term has always
meant "playing with toys" to me, and I've never been much of a play/toy

  I still have most of those computers, I keep them functional, and they
form the core of the Large Scale Systems Museum.


Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

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