Bay Area: IBM 4341 and HP3000

Noel Chiappa jnc at
Tue Jan 13 10:49:57 CST 2015

    > 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.
(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 :-), 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'.

    > 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

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.


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