Sean Conner, a collector and network administrator from Lake Worth, agrees that older computers are ideal to learn on.
“The older a computer is, the easier it is to understand,” he said. “You can crack open my first color computer [Jamie Malernee probably didn't know to capitalize Color Computer —Editor] and say, ‘Here is the CPU [Central Processing Unit], there's the memory—here's how it all works.’ On a modern system, they're just monsters.”
That isn't why he is a collector. Conner prefers older systems for their quirks and bold forays into the unknown. For instance, a computer called the Amiga, made by a now-defunct company named Commodore, had video and music editing capabilities in 1985, a full decade ahead of IBM's Personal Computer, he said. But demand for the computer died because it wasn't advertised enough and customers thought IBM computers were more practical for business needs, he said. “There are products from 10, 20 years ago that failed, but maybe it was because they were too early [for their time], or it wasn't marketed enough, or because it was bundled with other products that were a dead-end,” Conner said.
Back in April, a call for Classic Computer collectors who lived in South Florida went out on the Classic Computers Mailing List, and I was one (I think the only one) who responded. I was then given the contact information for Jamie Malernee, the reporter, and she interviewed me over the phone (a few times in fact).
As reporting goes, this is pretty fluffy, but the basic information is correct, if sparse.