[vcf-midatlantic] Not quite so linked lists (of books)

Herb Johnson hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Mon Sep 14 17:48:39 EDT 2020

Pardon me, Adam, but I'm a little challenged by your proposal and 
discussion and how it's progressing.

First - it's so open ended and vague. What kind of vintage computing, do 
you want these book-readers to be interested in, or become interested 
in? What do you want them to do with that interest? What is the 
audience, what people, do you want to reach with that interest - who are 
they, what experiences or age or knowledge do you expect them to have? 
And what's your goal, your end result, your benefit, and for whom?

Remember, you aren't just some person asking for books to read. I 
presume you have goals for VCFed Incorporated, or the museum at Infoage, 
or maybe something you personally or professionally are working on. But 
I don't know!

and, pardon me - I have decades of computing experience. There's 40 or 
more years of "vintage computers" around from my own life; and older 
computers still.  Plus all kinds of uses they were used for, ways they 
can be used now, things people do with them. Or they make their own 
vintage-class computers. Or they repair the old stuff, or hot-rod 'em. 
For each activity, there's some kind of entry point, something one can 
read about and get interested.

That's point one - I don't know your plans, your interests, except as 
you tell people why their books won't work for you. Or any other details 
that inform me about a list YOU want for your purposes - as you seemed 
to indicate.

Someone suggested a book with technical content; you said it would 
"scare off the average person". I'm of two minds about that thought.

My initial reaction, as a technical person myself, is to be rude and say 
"scare off average persons? *good*, weed them out early". I'm not 
average. Many of the people I know in vintage computing, are not 
"average", many of them have extraordinary skills or interests, or 

And: are the people in those suggested books, "average"? Are they doing 
"average" things? NOt at the time, that's why there's a book about 'em! 
And is working with old computers now, an "average" kind of thing?

And: If you are looking for readers, to do things or be interested in 
things, or at least be interesting - why target books for *average 

What's up with "average"?

Along those lines: knowledge of Windows 10 and OS X as a kind of 
credential? That's essentially a license to steer a modern computer. As 
soon as such a person sees a command line, or a program listing, or a 
computer chip - do you expect them to be particularly comfortable?  I 
find, quite frankly, I have to talk people *out of their Windows 
expectations* as they deal with problems with their vintage computers. 
What they expect, isn't what happens, isn't how they work.

Finally: there's people of all kinds of ages and skills-sets, that may 
want to look at vintage computing in some way. A particular book, may be 
a point of entry - depends on that person, and the book's content and 
context. IF that's your goal.

This "average person" thing, and what you think "vintage computing" is 
about, and what you want some book to accomplish for someone - that all 
leaves me perplexed.

But of course, the museum at Infoage attracts all kinds of people who 
visit it. Many of them are "average" in some way - or seem that way. 
Maybe you are trying to do some outreach, some kind of educational 
thing. Or maybe you want bland-non-technical books about great heroes in 
technology - gripping narratives that will hold the interest of most 
anyone. I dunno!

So I'm back to square one.

If all you want is a conversation, well, be fair about that and say so. 
Anyone can have some favorite books for some particular reason, if they 
want to chat about both. And Adam,  if you have real goals and 
intentions, and specific interests, be clear about them when asking for 
a list from me. Then I can decide if I have some books worth YOUR 
interests to read, and my interests to write about.

Regards, Herb Johnson

Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
preserve, recover, restore 1970's computing
email: hjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT com
or try later herbjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT info

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