Bay Area: IBM 4341 and HP3000

js at js at
Sun Jan 18 11:05:43 CST 2015

On 1/13/2015 11:49 AM, Noel Chiappa wrote:
>      >  From: js
>      >  as a frequent buyer, it also highly annoys me when systems on eBay or
>      >  Craiglist are found and rebroadcasted here. Now, my chance find has
>      >  been made aware to a much wider audience, the competition shoots way
>      >  up, and I have to pay more.
> Since I'm one of the people who has been doing this (e.g. recent PDP-8
> postings), I'd like to weigh in with a few thoughts on this topic.
> To begin, as to the point that it's costing you more money, I'm afraid I
> don't find that a big factor, for several reasons. First, as Mark Tapley
> explained down-thread:
> from the point of view of saving history, higher prices are better. If people
> start to think of these older machines as possibly collectable items of some
> value, they are less likely to toss them into the trash without further ado.

** That's true... but what makes those 
prices go higher more than anything are 
demand and rarity.  So someone's got to 
want the machine to begin with, and then 
the harder it is to fine, to more of a 
price it can command.   From that angle, 
sometimes it's good when machines are 
recycled.  It increases the rarity of 
those left... but with the caveat that 
we don't want them all to be thrown out. 

It's a difficult question to answer, as 
to, "how many of any machine example do 
we need to save?"    And will humans 
feel it necessary to keep saving 
examples of all the machines they ever 
make, ad infinitum?   Perhaps at some 
point, we'll need to examine our 
materialistic values a bit more soberly.

> (Yes, yes, I know, not all old computers are worth saving - just like not all
> old cars are, either. But unless you ask someone who knows, you don't know
> whether your old junker is a clunker or a jewel in the rough.) Second, you're
> only getting that item 'for cheap' because some other collector, to whom it
> might be even more emotionally important, doesn't know of it.
> I do have more sympathy with the point of view that says 'I spent a lot of
> time trawling through eBay, etc listings looking for that one diamond in a
> sea of pebbles; why should all my work be devalued by someone who just posts
> the listing so everyone can get on board?' I have some sympathy for that take
> (especially since I myself spend a fair amount of time looking through eBay
> for PDP-11 stuff :-)

** Yes, that is the point I was making, 
about the frustration of time spent and 
potentially lost.

> but for me it's out-weighed by the 'hey, I have this
> information, it's no use to me, I'd like to share it with people for whom it
> might be highly useful'.

** Ok, but part of the the fun is the 
treasure hunt itself, and it can be 
argued that you're short circuiting that 
for the people who really are out there 
looking.   Of course, some will be 
grateful that you've saved them the 
time... as they might not be in it for 
the treasure hunt.

>      >  Auctions are not collegial -- they're competitive, and since when is
>      >  competition a negative?
> I'm not sure of your point here (the second part seems to be at odds with the
> first), but I will say that I think widely-attended auctions, starting at a
> modest price, are desirable: they are the best way to set the _true_ value of
> something.

** Agreed.

> Too many items on eBay have some incredibly high Buy-It-Now price, and they
> sit forever, until someone really desperate buys it - which just encourages
> other sellers to ask for un-realistic amounts. So I applaud the sellers who
> put things up for real auctions.

** Agreed.

- JS

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