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Australian Computer Museum Looking For Space 197

tqft writes "The Australian Computer Museum Society needs space. Basically they have nowhere to store their large collection of hardware. Can you help? Do you or your employer have the floor space they could use? Or should it all be trashed?"
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Australian Computer Museum Looking For Space

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  • by TheVoice900 ( 467327 ) <kamil&kamilkisiel,net> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:43AM (#5996930)
    I think I might be able to fit a few more computers in to my bedroom. Bring 'em on I say!
  • Look up! It's all the space you could ever use!
  • i own a big space. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    you can use my landfill in China but you must pay me $20 per item to haul this poisonous shit away to a country without stupid laws or status quo's against official bribes.
  • by coday ( 628350 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:47AM (#5996941)
    I can use the hard drives to generate free electricity
  • by IvyMike ( 178408 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:51AM (#5996955)

    Let me in on the final solution, since I have quite a large amount of computer crap, including:

    • A fuzzy 17 inch monitor
    • An old Indigo2 computer sans hard drive (and more imporantly, sans hard drive bracket.)
    • A dual Pentium Pro 180, with 3 GB SCSI hard drive
    • An old AMD computer, processor type forgotten. (Probably about a 400 Mhz) something.
    • Some sort of IDE raid card
    • About 12 hard drives totaling 8 GB of storage

    And that's just the stuff I can see without turning my head. And based on other stories/comments/etc., I KNOW I'm nowhere near the worst "collector" out there.

  • by Jacer ( 574383 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:51AM (#5996956) Homepage
    I'll store a few away, I've got some space right here on my desk. Don't happen to have any new 3.0+ghz boxes that need to be 'stored'?
  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:51AM (#5996957) Journal
    Hmm, I suppose a "Computer Museum" (considering the speed of technology) would be the only type of museum Australia could really have...

    I've heard the paintings in the Australian art museum are almost dry now.
  • From the arical: If the Australian Computer Museum Society, based in Homebush, NSW, cannot find an angel with a spare 1000 square metres of warehouse space in the next six weeks, its computer collection may be crushed.
    "If we can't find a benefactor willing to give us a home for a peppercorn rental, all this will have to go to SimsMetal," says David Hawley, president of the Australian Computer Museum Society. "And we need a new home within the next six weeks, because it is going to take us six months to mo
  • by sould ( 301844 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:54AM (#5996967) Homepage

    It's in Sydney.

    You find it buried on this page [] - looks like its currently at a self storage center in Sydney. (Near where the olympic village was).

    Why post an Auscentric article like this to a USian site is beyond me, but for those interested, the map is here []

    • Because there are Australian readers that come to Slashdot. Australians such as me, who lives in sydney, and is about to go to Homebush with a cordless drill and a slimjim to "volenteer" to "store" the excess exibits in his garage. But probably they would just take up too much space and he would be forced to porn them for five bucks.

      And anyway, there seems to be quite a few Australian readers/posters/self rightious slashdot zealots (just kidding). So in that case, I better get moving before they beat me t

      • by tuxedo-steve ( 33545 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @06:42AM (#5997460)
        But probably they would just take up too much space and he would be forced to porn them for five bucks.
        I'd porn them myself, but I really believe museums should be a family venue. *Imagines an old VAX getting humped by a PDP-11*

        Also, if the porning process is also going to involve the cordless drill and the slimjim, I'd definitely be asking more than five bucks.
    • slashdot is USian only? i'd better leave then, here was me thinking this site was for geeks all over the world...
  • Government (Score:2, Insightful)

    by POds ( 241854 )
    This is a great cause for the government to step in, wouldnt you agree? I love knowing about the past computers, how they were concieved, what happened that brought us here. I suspect the next generation would be just as curious. To loose this would be a total disaster.

    If they can not find something, the goverment should find something for them, even if its temporary, until the find somewhere permeant!!
    • you are talking about the australian government here. they are profligate with the porkbarrelling but if it involves anything that is NOT from IN or ON the ground, i.e. if you can't plant it, grow it or dig it up, they wouldn't have a clue how to best to support it, nor be inclined. 'computers - thems fer intelectuals hur hur hur' says the prime minister.
  • Look up, preferably when you're outside.
  • What??? (Score:5, Funny)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:57AM (#5996979)
    You're asking me?

    I have a house full of old computers and typewriters and terminals...and then there is stuff in storage and more stuff at friends and relatives're on your own. And don't look for someone to buy it as scrap...they'll spend their time trying to get you to take more junk off their hands. that what you call it? That's rich...very funny. I tried that line years ago, and no one fell for it then, so I think you need to face up to the fact that you have a lot of junk...just like everyone else.
  • To look up.. its past all that blue stuff.. :-P

  • by Anonymous Coward
    When I stood for election to the Australian Computer Museum core team nearly two years ago, many of you will recall that it was after a long series of debates during which I maintained that too much organisation, too many rules and too much formality would be a bad thing for the project.

    Today, as I read the latest discussions on the future of the Australian Computer Museum project, I see the same problem; a few new faces and many of the old going over the same tired arguments and suggesting variations on
  • by lingqi ( 577227 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:01AM (#5996991) Journal
    Why are humans soooo interested to keep all the old stuff around? I mean, being human I do realize that there are value in history - but am I the only one who thinks that some of this history can be re-created?

    This can't be said about ecosystem because that's something we don't, and may not ever fully understand - so it is beneficial to keep species around because they can have potentially very important uses, but old computer hardware are stuff that was created by humans in the first place, so - despite some token items, why do we keep it all instead of dedicating resources to creating new and better stuff?

    It's like a child who builds some lego creation but would not tear it down even though his current abilities in making lego based stuff are so much more advanced.

    and, this question I think was asked on DS9, by who I forget - but certainly a Cardasian.
    • Try emulating a Commodore SID chip on a PC and you'll get your answer.
    • Why are humans soooo interested to keep all the old stuff around?

      Because it has historical value. It's a trail of where we've been, that's all. Yes it's all sentimental, but keeping at least one example (and not a warehouse-full of the same samples) allows students to see where we've been, and how we got to where we are now. Even if it's acedemic, learning the incatracies of the C-64 hardware now in 2003 will help somebody follow the path to 64-bit programming in a step-by-step fashion. I still want to pick up a Vic-20 from some pawn shop just so's I can start following what the hell all these slash-dotters are talking about, but I understand the process of evolution. Hopefully this is still applicable.
    • It's about the history and importance of these items at the time of their creation. Why do we keep the Declaration of Independance so well preserved? Because it was a very historic document and was very important at the time.

      When a kid creates a lego creation and feels it's important enough to keep then it must have been very good at the time of creation and has a story to go along with it. When they're 10 years older they can look back and say "Wow I've improved a whole lot" or maybe they'll think ba
    • Dude - if a character on DS9 asks such a near-rhetorical question, the answer invariably turns out to be the moral of that particular eposide.

      In this case, young grasshopper, you seem to have missed it :-)
    • I mean, being human I do realize that there are value in history - but am I the only one who thinks that some of this history can be re-created?

      Even though it doesn't apply directly to the computers, we sometimes keep historic monuments because we dont want to re-create history. What happened in the 1930's - 1940's is something that should never be re-created. Just forgetting all about it is not the right way to do it. We should remember what happened, keep artifacts in museum and watch Indiana Jones bat
  • Dupes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by whereiswaldo ( 459052 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:08AM (#5997004) Journal
    Get rid of the duplicates, or at least keep no more than two of a kind (hey, it worked for Noah). The magazines and crap can either be recycled or take the choice ones only (and scan them in).

    Once you have the collection down to a more manageable size, then ask for help. Storing loads of junk at someone else's expense is a little much to ask.

    Or, have a yard sale and give the shit away. At least _someone_ might enjoy it. A Beowulf cluster of junk collectors, if you will. Cost: zero.
    • Re:Dupes (Score:5, Funny)

      by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:19AM (#5997037)
      Get rid of the duplicates [...]

      You're new around here, aren't you?

    • Re:Dupes (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jpkunst ( 612360 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:42AM (#5997099)

      Get rid of the duplicates, or at least keep no more than two of a kind

      The problem with that is that if you want to keep an ancient computer in working order you need a source for parts. If you throw all the duplicates away it's much harder to repair your only working machine if it breaks.


      • If you want to keep an ancient computer (working order or not), you need a home for it. Somehow, I don't think that keeping spare parts for everything should be the main priority if they want to still have their collection six weeks from now.

        "Beggars can't be choosers," and what-not.
  • Why store it? Use it to power a few small Aussie towns!
    See last article [].
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I saw a show on television which claimed that some parts of the outback don't get measurable rainfall for years at a time. Why not haul all this stuff to the outback and throw a tarp over it? I read that 95% of Australia is empty desert so this seems like the perfect solution. Old mines are a good bet too. Salt mines are very popular with folks who want to store stuff.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:18AM (#5997031)
    Most of the suggestions so far are "Bring 'em on!" and dump it in a landfill. Sigh, moderators on crack.

    In case of the normal computer museums I've seen we're not talking about your average PC or even an Apple 2. Sure, I have ~30 computers in storage and most of the space goes for big VAXen and PDPs but normal museums have huge mainframes, like IBM 360s and like.

    It is history worth preserving and a magnificent history at that. Think of all the IBMs, DEC-machines (KL-11 anyone ?), Crays, Burroughs machines and even old tube/relay-based number crunchers.

    You ignorant twats can't appreciate anything older than a Amd Athlon.
  • by Kethinov ( 636034 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:18AM (#5997032) Homepage Journal
    ... there was plenty of space in the outback...
    • Yea just build a Shack somewhere in the outback probably next to a leather tannery, and store all your outdated Radio and technology stuff. You can even put a motion sensor by the door so you know when I dingo enters the place.
      You can probably call it a "Radio Shack" or "Tandy" or something cetchy like that. I heard of Americans dooing someting like this. If the americans do it, it has to be good. Right??
  • by LoztInSpace ( 593234 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:19AM (#5997035)
    This is Australia for god's sake!! If you can't find a spare 1000 m^2 in Australia you really are not looking very hard! How about doing something like that airplane park out in Nevada? Build a shed, cover it with Kangaroo repellant, stick everything in there and deal with it later.
    And they can take the antique POS I use at work there when they do it.
  • They should pick out the significant stuff or things that introduced some new technology and get rid of the rest!

    I don't go asking others to store all the stuff that I have around the house, if I want to recover some space then I sort through it and throw the useless stuff out... but that takes some effort so I don't do it very often, maybe they are as lazy as me?
  • Dick Smith is supposed to like rescuing things. There's contact details on this page [] -- anyone got a fax they can use for personal business such that they can fire off a heads-up?
  • There's lots of space over here in Canada... Just change the name and you've got yourself a deal. =)
  • A standard football (American) field is 57,564 square feet. These people need only 10,764 square feet. Thats only 18.7%!!!! Are you serious that this group of geeks can't scrounge up the cash to get this much warehouse space?!?! Sounds like they're not trying very hard - I rent about 6,000 square feet for $1,500 a month.
  • There are thousands of institutions - universities, government offices etc - all over the world that have had this problem and moved on. What's so special about this?

    Smells like some sneaky PR work by the museum ;)

  • by NeoMoose ( 626691 ) <neomoose@d e s p a> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:55AM (#5997134) Homepage Journal
    1400 Smith St in Houston, TX. Enron's headquarters is a gigantic 50-story building and is only using about 10 of those floors now.

    That's 40 floors of free space.
  • Mirror (Score:3, Funny)

    by dd22 ( 674583 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:15AM (#5997176)

    Mirror here []
  • My other half makes me throw all my junk out, I don't see why this place should be any different !!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      museum ( P ) Pronunciation Key (my-zm)
      A building, place, or institution devoted to the acquisition, conservation, study, exhibition, and educational interpretation of objects having scientific, historical, or artistic value.


      If they threw all their 'junk' out they wouldn't be a museum anymore, you see.
  • Make a museum of course, but they need to look at the computers as some sort of resource not just a junk pile.

    Take the best pieces and display them. Take the rest and sell the componants to someone who could use them, OR:

    Other museums might be interested in a purchase.

    Rumor has it that early chips used gold in the manufacture and I have seen on the net people offering to pay for old chips.

    Ebay is known to sell documentation and boxes for more then the computer itself is worth.

    Old databases may need to
    • Rumor has it that early chips used gold

      When I first started out in computing (in the heady days when the Earth was newly-cooled and everybody was using core memory) I worked for a couple of years with a Burroughs B3700.

      When the business finally replaced the machine with a Honeywell DPS7, I was really impressed with the amount of silver cable the salvage guys pulled out of the false floor. It filled a large-ish truck.

      I'll always think of that as one of those opportunities missed... :-)

  • OK this is only barely on topic, and maybe I'm just lazy or something - each time I've went looking around online to find the speed of a PDP11 I can't find an answer that fits in with my perception of computer 'speed'. Maybe I'm too young, or thinking in terms of new machines too much.

    So for anyone who's been there done that, used one (or some, or them) what equivalent speed do they have to a current machine? C64 speed? early 386 speed? a tenth of a commodore 64? or were they an entire range that ran every
    • You're asking a mouthful and drawing me into your barely on-topic question. First off, PDP-11 describes a line a DEC computers that were made between the late 60s/early 70s and 1990. Secondly, there were somewhere along the lines of 20 different models. The "last" PDP-11, released in 1990, ran at around 18 megahertz. Though I should note here that clock frequency is not the best way of measuring a computer's power. Especially when you're talking about things like the 11/20, where the processor was actuall
      • Especially when you're talking about things like the 11/20, where the processor was actually split up into 14 different boards (with an optional 15th.)

        Ahh thats just the kind of difference I thought may not be immediately transferable to "Much like a 386" for example. Thanks for the links and info, I have enough now to thoroughly absorb myself in googling for the night :)
    • An 11/40 ran with a cycle time of around 1us. This is kind of comparable to a 6502 based machine. Instructions were very much CISC, so they could take many cycles to execute (up to around ten or so for many instructions and more for stuff like integer divide). However, the PDP 11 instruction set (devised by Gordon Bell) was much richer than the 6502. The machine could be easily single stepped and boasted a real front panel with lots of flashing lights and rows of switches.

      The processor was on three or fou

    • What's the speed of a PDP11?

      9.8 m/s^2.
  • While most of the responses to this sort of thing tend towards "Trash the junk" or "You want to see old computers, check out my basement", I think there's a couple distinct reasons to help endeavors like this and maintain what we have left of previous generations of computers and associated documentation.

    To begin with, I could quote maxims about "Those who forget the past..." but I'm not that interested in the future consequences so much as understanding the present. A good example of this is a piece of hi

    • As well as quite a bit of the history itself, the abilities of these machines is an important thing to keep current in the minds of new coders/designers/etc. It's saddening to see a current 'newbie' coder dismiss say, a Pentium 75 as useless, or a 25Mhz 68040 as past any possibly use, when the majority of their work is on tiny C apps or basic shell scripting.

      It's totally unlike say, cars - where a good high performance 1970s muscle car could thrash a brand new family car in speed, so people stay grounded i
  • I'm running out of space myself, and if i can't solve it quick I'll have to give up my collection of MFM hardrives...
  • In Canada we have perhaps more free space. Peronally I can host one PC server (if it still works and it's not really noisy!) in my apartment. Send it over here to Canada.
  • by Spudley ( 171066 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @07:40AM (#5997595) Homepage Journal
    Museum looking for space

    I would just tell them to look up during the night. You can't miss it.
  • Let's see, the article says they have "10 mainframes, a 40-year-old Bailey analog machine, 60 minicomputers and 50 microcomputers... some early IBM personal computers, along with a collection of Apples from the IIe and IIc through to the early Macintoshes."

    I'd bet they could have comparable computing power with something like 10 or 20 modern desktop computers. That ought to solve their storage problem.

    But more seriously, is there anyone out there who speaks Australian? What is a "peppercorn rental"?

    • "Peppercorn rental" was originally an English expression, and it means exactly what it sounds like. Assuming, of course, that you know what a peppercorn looks like :-)
      • Re:Reduce... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Mignon ( 34109 )
        "Peppercorn rental" ... means exactly what it sounds like.

        I couldn't imagine what this sounds like, so for the benefit of other underachievers of the American public high-school system, I took to Google and the OED. It means a token rent. In actual use, it may refer to the rent paid on an object whose lease term has expired, so that the rent just reflects the decreased value of the object, and is typically about 2-3% of the original cost, or one month's payment per year [].

        The OED had some charming quotes

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:36AM (#5998060)
    Shipping might be a pain, but there's always the Computer History Museum [] in San Jose.

    Seriously, if there are significant machines in the collection (and there certainly appear to be), and the alternative is the dumpster (shudder!), the Aussie museum should contact them ASAP and see what can be arranged.

  • by thelenm ( 213782 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @10:18AM (#5998306) Homepage Journal
    Australian Computer Museum Looking For Space

    What a coincidence, the Australian Space Museum is looking for computers! Why don't they just trade?

  • Ive always enjoyed older technologies, seeing them run again. I have XT PCs, commodore 64, and am thinking of some really old larger-than-fridge AS/400 systems etc, to setup and network together. My home network is already arcnet and tokenring, but I'd love to go into larger and older machines, especially if they can be networked and some version of apache run off it. That could almost beat that cluster of Linux PDAs as a web server.
  • ...instead of making a museum around it. You are guaranteed to have more fun, and you might get a fruit smoothie out of it like The Cheat [] did.

    (flash required)
  • Outback. Tent. 'nuff said.

    In all seriousness, doesn't Australia have plenty of desert? Arid places make excellent places to store most equipment of this kind.

    A tent is probably too flimsy... get one of those big metal half-pipes that they use to house enlisted personnel here in the 'States. At least... they used to... maybe it's not that bad anymore. I think they're called "quonset huts" or something like that. They're real cheap. Get some generous station owner to loan you a few acres, and put q

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