Re: Lisa tech preservation, Alice

From: Jennifer Worgan <jworgan_at_email.domain.hidden>
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2005 10:00:14 -0700

> "Private collections are OK, but it really would be valuable for there
> to be a museum or some sort of central repository for Lisa tech."
> Well I don't know all the facts about the various efforts to turn some
> private collections into museums all over the world
> in central europe there are nowadays two possible tendencies:
> People often make donations to public museums
> or
> There were founded many non-public museums in universities or technical
> high schools
> I personally collected Apples and Macs for dozends of years - of course
> Lisas too!
> Later I made donations (by giving away several Lisas) to two public
> technical museums in southern germany and one museum for students in a
> university.
> I also sold Lisas to museums in switzerland or private collectors in
> switzerland, italy, spain, hungary and netherlands.
> To spread a collection is one way to keep them alive. Nature does this
> evolutionary proceeding since millions of years, so I hope it will work
> in this way, too :-)
> But, nobody can stop private (rich) collectors to buy and hide some
> precious items of this area of computer history at last. I remember
> selling one of the very rare Lisa Prototypes to a guy in switzerland...
> and never heard about in publications or notes about this public museum
> he wants to found :-(

In elementary school, I was introduced to the abacus (of which I have one from China and one from Japan). My first semester of my Sophmore year of high school, I was introduced to a sliderule (which I still have), the second semester, a college student had a block of time on an IBM 1130. I was introduced to fortran via key punch and an IBM 1130 which required 24/7 supervision with temerature and humidity controled in a room in the basement of Coe College, Cedar Rapids Iowa (1968). I encountered Basic on a Timex Sinclaire 1000 and the Tandy MC-10 color computer with Basic on the alternate use of the keys.

There are thousands to millions of simple but still very useful programs written in those early years of Basic that have been and are being lost every day. Numbers of models, examples of microcomputer development, are being tossed out daily. When technology reaches the level where only an elite few can master its complexity (or collectors own it and keep it from the public) - the value of these ancient simple programs and computers and the simplicity in writing them and their construction will be of great value to the many who cannot master the complexity of those to come.

In the event that something should happen to those masters or that they abuse their monopoly on their knowledge, there may even come a point at which only a computer will be able to maneuver fast enough through the complexities to write programs that are affordable, someone may need this chain of programming and technological development to rediscover the paths that will allow them to become new masters. If these are not preserved, our descendents may become Eloi at the mercy of Morlocks of HG Wells.

It is not enough to keep a museum of memorabilia. It is far more important to preserve the inestimably valuable knowledge is that has been learned and how it was arrived at, so others can not just see relics of the past, but be able to understand the origins and rediscover the paths that led to the technological complexities that have come into being and must increase into even greater complexities.

I also have been collecting older books on electronics and semiconductors that provide a similar path for the technology itself.

The piramids do still stand in Egypt, but the math, science, technology, and how they were used to make them, was not preserved or has not yet been found.

As a teacher, the knowldege of how a relic was made and how it worked is more important to me than the relic alone without it. If I do not know how to make it and use it - it is only an item of curiosity. If I understand how it was made and how to use it, I can build on that knowledge to build even better - should I need to or want to.

The task cannot be accomplished by one person alone, but only with the help of many who understand the importance of the task. So many are out there who possess parts of this knowledge. Please do not pass on without entrusting what you know to centers around the world who understand the importance and value of your knowledge, computer, books, etc. who will be diligent to preserve it and make it available to others. Try to avoid centers that only preserve relics for display as curiosities.

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Received on 2005-09-07 10:13:42

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