90s computer brands

Compudyne PC from CompUSA

Some 90s computer brands are the same as today, but a lot more companies played in the field than now. Profit margins were higher then, so industry consolidation wasn’t the matter of survival that it is now.

Here’s a look back at some of the brands of old, including some famous PC brands, some not-so-famous, and some notorious. The 1990s were certainly a make or break time for many of them.

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Where to buy vintage computers

Collecting vintage computers can be fun. I also personally think it’s great that people are interested in preserving that history. Where to buy vintage computers hasn’t changed much over the years. It just may take a bit more work than it used to.

Some people think old computers are priceless. Others think they’re worthless. I don’t recommend wasting your time with people who think a Dell Pentium III laptop is worth $300. Think of the times you found a jewel for five bucks and keep moving.

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Gary Kildall’s death investigation

Gary Kildall's death investigation

Gary Kildall’s death investigation, or the seeming lack thereof, has taken on mythical proportions. Gary Kildall’s story seems to have that effect on people.

While Gary Kildall died under unclear circumstances, his death was less unusual than early accounts made it seem. That’s why the investigation seemed to fizzle out with less fanfare than it deserved.

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My greatest estate find

Marx set 452

If you’ve been reading this blog for a few years, you know I kind of like trains. But my favorite way to buy them isn’t to buy them at a train store. I like to buy them from estates.

One week, I spotted a few late-production Marx 6-inch cars and a plastic locomotive in an estate ad. I tallied up $30 worth of trains in the picture, and figured I’d be lucky if they asked $60 for it. But I decided to take another look at the picture,  just in case.

This wasn’t an ordinary train.

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Does your spouse know who your collecting buddies are?

The story of the 1967 train layout and stash brought up a couple of good questions, even as more facts failed to emerge. If something were to happen to you, would your spouse know how to deal with the collection you’ve left behind?

I think it’s a valid question, and not just for trains.

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I don’t think this basement layout abandoned since 1967 is necessarily a tragedy

A query appeared on one of the train forums and has slowly spread through several discussion groups I’m aware of, regarding a 2-rail O scale train layout, built by a hobbyist in the 1950s and 1960s, who died in 1967. The layout sat for 45 years, and now someone has approached a couple of hobbyists about possibly liquidating it.

Of course, lots of armchair pundits have their own ideas about what should have happened to that layout in 1967, when the builder died.

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The LCMS won’t be able to work out its differences in the dark

I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard a journalism professor say, “Don’t ever do something you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times.”

It’s worse today. In the 1990s, the news cycle was hours long. Today, with three major cable news channels and the Internet, the news cycle is minutes long, and marching toward real-time.

That’s the problem with Dr. Matthew Harrison’s hope, reported in the Post-Dispatch, to handle the LCMS’s Sandy Hook Vigil controversy “[Internally,] well out of the public spotlight.”

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And then there were three

I see reports today that Samsung is looking to sell its hard drive business. Samsung is one of four companies left that manufacture computer hard drives, the others being Seagate, Western Digital, and Toshiba.

Hard drives aren’t a growth market any more, so the most likely suitors are one of the remaining three. Since Western Digital just bought Hitachi’s drive business, it probably won’t be them. They may not have the cashflow, and they probably don’t want the regulatory scrutiny that would go along with two acquisitions in rapid succession that make them suddenly nearly twice the size of Seagate. It’s more likely to be Seagate or Toshiba. I’d expect Seagate.

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Meet Melvin.

I have a new un-friend now. His name is Melvin.

Thanks to Melvin, I can almost add library sales to places I’ve been kicked out of. It’s a short list, but it includes the library, church, Best Buy, and substitute teacher Rick Hannebutt’s seventh grade theology class.