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Dead medium: Dead Personal Computers
Source(s): Historical Computer Society's "Historically Brewed" magazine Historically Brewed: Our First Year, $14.95 editor David Greelish Available from: HCS Press, 1994 2962 Park Street #1 Jacksonville Florida 32205

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. bruces@well.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):

Altair 8800
Amiga 500
Amiga 1000
Amstrad
Apple I, II, IIc, IIe, II+, IIgs, III
Apple Lisa
Apple Lisa MacXL
Apricot
Atari 400
Atari 800
Atari 520ST
Atari 1200XL
Basis 190
BBC Micro
Bondwell 2
Cambridge Z-88
Canon Cat
Columbia Portable
Commodore 128
Commodore C64
Commodore Vic-20
Commodore Plus 4
Commodore Pet
CompuPro "Big 16"
Cromemco Z-2D
Cromemco System 3
DOT Portable
Eagle II
Epson QX-10
Epson HX-20
Epson PX-8 Geneva
Exidy Sorcerer
Franklin Ace 500
Franklin Ace 1200
Gavilan
Grid Compass
Heath/Zenith
Hyperion
IBM PC 640K
IBM XT
IBM Portable
IBM PCjr
IMSAI 8080
Intertek Superbrain II
Ithaca Intersystems DPS-1
Kaypro 2x
Linus WriteTop
Mac 128, 512, 512KE
Mattel Aquarius
Micro-Professor MPF-II
Morrow MicroDecision 3
Morrow Portable
NEC PC-8081
NEC Starlet 8401-LS
NorthStar Advantage
NorthStar Horizon
Ohio Scientific
Oric
Osborne 1
Osborne Executive
Panasonic
Sanyo 1255
Sanyo PC 1250
Sinclair ZX-80
Sinclair ZX-81
Sol Model 20
Sony SMC-70
Spectravideo SV-328
SuperBrain II QD
Tandy 1000
Tandy 1000SL
Tandy Coco 1
Tandy Coco 2
Tandy Coco 3
Tano Dragon
TRS-80
TI 99/4
Timex/Sinclair 1000
Timex/Sinclair color computer
Vector 4
Victor 9000
Workslate
Xerox 820 II
Xerox Alto
Xerox Dorado
Xerox 1108
Yamaha CX5M

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 (??)