[vcf-midatlantic] Trash talk (was: Museum Report)

Dean Notarnicola dnotarnicola at gmail.com
Tue Aug 21 22:34:39 EDT 2018

I could not agree more with these sentiments. At the end the day, a
computer is merely an object; it's value lies how, when and why is was

On Tue, Aug 21, 2018 at 6:02 PM Herb Johnson via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:

> > 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
> > therein.
> >
> > 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.
> Herb Johnson
> --
> Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
> http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net

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