The staggering speed of technological obsolescence in personal computing makes this perhaps the single most challenging area in dead media studies. The following list, garnered from several issues of "Historically Brewed," a computer collectors' fanzine, does not even begin to count the casualties. There is no pretense of accuracy or exhaustiveness here, although this is the best list I've seen to date. These machines were created for the American, British, and Japanese markets, with no mention at all of, for instance, Soviet Bloc computers. Nor are there any listings of workstations, mainframes, dedicated game computers or arcade console machines. The lacunae here are very obvious and I hope that knowledgeable Dead Media Illuminati will help to close those gaps.
I was deeply disquieted to learn that the Historical Computer Society has a sister group known as IACC which specializes in collecting defunct calculators.
A further wrinkle suggests itself when one surmises that the true "dead medium" in dead computation is not dead platforms (such as those listed here) but dead operating systems (for which I have no list at all).
An editorial note: The Dead Media Mailing List is now emanating from fringeware.com, who were kind enough to offer us their services gratis. The Dead Media Mailing List is not an interactive list or discussion group. That may come at some later time -- I welcome advice on the subject of a possible "alt.dead.media." Currently this mailing list is solely a means of distribution of edited articles and research minutiae. Only the most sober, lugubrious, and scholarly commentary will pass the eagle eye of the DMML editor, ie. email@example.com. Hopefully this will keep traffic down to the point where we can all actually get some work done.Dead Personal Computers (the first draft):
Apple I, II, IIc, IIe, II+, IIgs, III
Apple Lisa MacXL
Commodore Plus 4
CompuPro "Big 16"
Cromemco System 3
Epson PX-8 Geneva
Franklin Ace 500
Franklin Ace 1200
IBM PC 640K
Intertek Superbrain II
Ithaca Intersystems DPS-1
Mac 128, 512, 512KE
Morrow MicroDecision 3
NEC Starlet 8401-LS
Sanyo PC 1250
Sol Model 20
SuperBrain II QD
Tandy Coco 1
Tandy Coco 2
Tandy Coco 3
Timex/Sinclair color computer
Xerox 820 II
Possible sources of further insight:
A Collector's Guide to Personal Computers and Pocket Calculators by Dr Thomas F Haddock $14.95
from: Books Americana, Inc P O Box 2326 Florence, Alabama 35360
History of the Personal Computer by Stan Veit $16.95
from: Historical Computer Society 2962 Park Street #1 Jacksonville, Florida 32205
Encyclopedia of Computer History by Mark Greenia Lexikon Publishing (??)