butting

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Computers

As a kid I knocked around on (in order) a ZX81, a Colour Genie, and a Sanyo MBC-555. Wacky times.

Sad to say, there's kids around now who'd think that paints a picture of an old-timer. They need to do some reading, dammit, and spend time with people who've worked and sweated and nursed the lonely roar of a cardreader at oh-dark-hundred, the folk with the real mojo, before they think I'm an old-timer. Yeesh.

Not to mention, I'm not remotely old. Terry Pratchett himself called me "young man," and he's surely an expert on age, on account of having so much of it. Been telling everyone that for years.

That said, I'd dearly love it if our Java and VB monkeys did read up. They'd maybe develop an affection for the rich history of this field, and help save the treasures of the past that are ending up in too many landfills when they should loved and cared for and given safe homes. Oh yer: they'd hopefully learn some lessons from the past and possibly also have some idea what they're doing when they're trying to design and develop software, as opposed to the floods of ill-designed bug-ridden crap we're all drowning in.

(I didn't say I wasn't crabby, I just said I wasn't old.)

It's sad: guitarists, say, of the same age will know what a 1968 Gibson Les Paul is, or a 1990 Marshall JCM900. Petrolheads (yay the Labour government for making apprenticeships feasible again) will know all about EH Holdens and other artifacts. Yet their peers in IT more often than not won't have the faintest clue about computing hardware from the same periods. It's not hard to see a future where NeXT workstations are hard to find, even though the web owes its existence to work done using them by Tim Berners-Lee and friends. So: here's a few of the beauties and not-so-beauties I've got lovingly squirrelled away.

AlphaServer 1000 4/23

 

HP 9000/400 Apollo

 

HP 9000/3x0

 

NeXT workstation

 

DEC PPD-11/23+

This is second-favourite only to the NeXTs. Excellent piece of history, and even if you're familiar with them it's surprising just how small they are: 19" x 4U x 20kg. That's the PDP-11 on top in the photo: the similar-sized unit below holds a Winchester and an 8" floppy drive.

Unfortunately the hard drive died some time ago, and has since had floodwaters lapping around it, so until someone can come up with some useful storage and send it my way (as I've already plead for) I'm kinda stuck.