NaBloPoMo – Those that don’t get saved or “The Importance of Preservation”

The Digital Age or Digital Revolution if you prefer has changed our lives so much it has been compared to the Industrial Revolution.  Likewise,  much history has been lost from both.  Perhaps its sadder with the Digital Revolution as its artifacts can be saved easier than those from the Industrial Revolution.  Try to house and preserve a locomotive from the 1800s.  Alas many of the computers end up like this:

Yes I drove the fork truck…..

Also another big issue,  is the preservation of software and data.  And without the computers that software and data is useless.  Very little has been put into preservation and we are losing information and details rapidly.  As an example,  the CDC had data on a DEC removable pack and contact one of the hobbyist groups in an effort to get it read.  Alas,  mine had the same head crash issue.

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View is one of the few places trying to maintain, collect and exhibit computer artifacts on a large scale. The predecessor of the Computer History Museum,  the Computer Museum (in Boston) did not survive.   The Smithsonian has a small exhibit with more in storage.  The San Jose Tech Museum of Innovative has a nice small exhibit in the basement.   Lexington KY actually has an antique typewriter exhibit at the Lexington History Museum.  Large parts were donated by Lexmark.

There are also antique computers on the internet:

TCP/IP download site for PDP11 hosted on a PDP11 at Kent State University.  Some of my collection is from there.

Update,  the computer club of Uppsala University in Sweden used to have Magica, a PDP11/70 RSX-11 system online.  But they could not afford the electric bill when the University decided that would not subsidize it.  But the University does give them space for their computer hall,  a nice museum in its on right and internet access.  And thus they have a PDP11 emulator running and you can telnet to it at:

Of course many individuals have thier only nice collections of computers and some actaully do data recovery as a sideline.

I have only been to the Tech Museum and the Smithsonian.  And believe it or not I did not run out of computers to post.  I left at least 3 more models of VAXes, some DECstations and a Sun Sparcstation out.  And who knows what I forgot about.


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2 Responses to NaBloPoMo – Those that don’t get saved or “The Importance of Preservation”

  1. Lurkertype says:

    A number of things have gone from our house to the Computer History Museum.

  2. crankypants says:

    That looks like something M—–l got pissed off at.

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