[vcf-midatlantic] Trash talk (was: Museum Report)
hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Tue Aug 21 18:00:21 EDT 2018
> It came as something as a shock when, after 25 years or so of using
> "Trash-80" merely as a streamlined way of saying "TRS-80," I first
> encountered someone to whom the term was strongly offensive. It took
> even longer for me to grasp just _how_ strongly it offended, simply
> because the Platform Holy Wars dispute had degenerated to "Mac vs.
> IBM" with rare interjections of "Amiga!" by the time I encountered it.
> The various 8-bit platforms remained in minor use by those
> disinterested in forking over non-trivial sums of money to get
> something more current, but had long since ceased to even be
> referenced in that futile conflict, let alone be actual contenders
> My two cents; quote or ignore as preferred.
Not to hijack the thread; but referring to previous generations of
personal computers as either "Trash 80's" or "holy wars" or "the various
8-bit platforms" - all are somewhat derisive references to computers
which, in many cases, the person using such words has no experience
with. I appreciate that Gordon is telling his story as someone who now
know better; thank you.
The TRS-80 is well-discussed in this this thread. I'll address the
references to earlier computers, those being the systems of interest and
experience to me.
So - before "IBM vs. Mac", there was "IBM vs CP/M systems". Calling all
those systems "8 bit ... minor use .. futile conflict" and inferring
their owners were too cheap to upgrade to "more current"; more examples
of derisive comments. Again - I appreciate the writer, Gordon, has
disavowed these words today; they represent (I hope) the words of his
earlier days-of-youth. But they are still obnoxious terms; and untrue too.
The 8-bit and 16 bit systems of the late 1970's and into the 1980's were
often performance competitive with the IBM PC's of that era. They
operated not-inexpensive business and personal software which provided
useful results. Small businesses in particular - one of the early
drivers of personal computing - were well invested in that hardware and
software. Whereas, for IBM PC's early years, there was a LACK of
software. Much of the early IBM-PC software was simply
re-assembled-for-MS-DOS CP/M software.
My Ithaca Intersystem will run rings around an IBM-PC of the same year
of manufacture. I know that - because Jeff Duntemann *showed that to me
at the time*, he had both. He's a writer and publisher known in the IBM
PC era and from times prior.
As for the modern obsession of "must have newest computer... must have
newest software". In the 1970's and 80's, people and businesses expected
to run computers and software for YEARS - and they did, quite
successfully so. As did their cars, their appliances, and many other
items of comparable cost. Flipping computers began in the 1990's, when
Tiawan clones of IBM PC's became cheap and plentiful, and technology
moved much faster, and of course PC's were extremely standardized. Those
were not the conditions of the 80's, and less so in the 1970's.
Many people, ran those computers for a long time. Why do you suppose,
they bothered to SAVE them, decades later, after using them? Where do
you think *we* got those systems today, decades later? How come, they
*still* run? All clues to value, then and now.
I'll end the lecture here with some simple advice. Computers of an era
ought to be judged in the context of their era; and not based on "trash
talk" from owners of successor systems. And in many cases, those
successors companies and products, obtained their value from work done
(or people trained upon) those prior systems. They owe their success, to
the past. Thus, the value of retaining past works.
Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
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