Talk:Museum of 20th Century IT

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Say something about portability? -Shawn 2010-07-20 1:39PM

We could have a terminal or two set up for Inter Relay Chat. We could let visitors chat on common IRC channels, or make a special channel for the exhibit and invite experienced IRC users to chat with visitors. Shawn 19:33, 29 August 2011 (UTC) Chatters could go on Aminet channel at Amiga World: #aminet

There could be a station running Eliza, the quasi-therapeutic robot chat. Shawn 19:33, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Macs could run all sorts of cool programs from . You can find them in disk image files in our Mini vMac folder. Here's a list of promisingly cool ones:

  • 3D-Edit
  • 3rd Floor
  • Bug Hunt
  • Centipede
  • Deep Angst
  • Enigma
  • Ford Simulator II
  • Glider
  • Inigo Gets Out (requires hypercard)
  • Mac Trek
  • Missile (1984, truly a golden oldie)
  • Rassling (requires hypercard)
  • Stunt Copter (Very popular in its day)

We have Puppet Motel, a Laurie Anderson Quicktime adventure on CD, and Invisible Universe, a similar CD package. These would run on any color Mac and provide a multimedia experience.

Play Switched On Bach for the reception.

Shopping List

  • Battery for Amiga 2500?
  • Parallel printer cable, DB25 to Centronics.

Getting Amiga onto internet

We could use the Mac script we use to serve internet to a TiVo via serial to serve it to an Amiga, then have the Amiga be a modem just like the TiVo. 00:24, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

In-exhibition notes

During the week, we noticed different things about visitors and the exhibit

When some people come into the exhibit, the first computer they see is the SE/30 at the chat station. It's there to allow people to chat with a user on the iMac behind it, but there usually isn't a second person there. One case where the either the poster should more loudly give instructions, or there should be instructions on the computer itself.

The guest book works, people sign it every day. FileMaker was a boon.

People play games on the Amiga 1200. Yay!

Many visitors can't help but compare these computers to todays, but also many visitors reflect on the historical milieu and the usefulness of these computers back then.

The bright lights and the running computers only compound the poor air conditioning of Sibley, so we should have turned on the room air conditioners earlier.

The lighting is excellent, Beth and Alison did a great job.

The LCD and modern CRT attached to the two Amiga 3000s made them viewable at their high resolution without strain. One historical miscue, but comfort might be more important than authenticity in this case.

The article "Elegance of the PC" in the Cornell Daily Sun, Sep 21 summarizes many visitors' impressions of the exhibit. It brings to the front the conflict between appreciating these machines for what they were when they were and comparing them to today's machines, in terms of function and of design/aesthetics.

Some visitors said they had never heard of Amiga computers, so at least we brought a product that once was used by 5 million people back into light.

19:41, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

There should be a larger, clearer, separate photo of Agnus, Paula, Gary, and Denise, for clarity, to grok the dialogues. 21:23, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Should have put VNC on the chat iMac, to maintain it from afar. Also should have set up a computer at home to maintain the chat channel no matter what happened to the iMac.

While there were many suggestions in the Guest Book, from visitors, and in the article in the Daily Sun, many would have strayed far from our intended scope.

Many viewers were stuck in the marketing-created parlance of upgrading and evolution, leading to ahistorical and trite commentary. If you watch the Amiga 500 introduction from 24 years ago, you see how marketing uses superlatives that imply things get better and NOW is the time to buy, things being better than they ever were before. We might have more proactively combatted that by showing the few things I can think of that were better then, especially in multimedia or any time-sensitive work that depended on less multitasking, clearer direct memory access (DMA) programmability.

20:59, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Post-exhibition notes

In Using Apple's Lisa for Real Work, Ted Hodges addresses one of the issues from our exhibit—Why keep an old computer? As of 2007 he was using a 1984 computer to write articles, because the Lisa Operating System offered him a computer that kept track of state, rather than the typical startup/shutdown model. Perhaps he'll like Lion, with its auto-save and other features.

Smithsonian exhibit of computer games

"'The Art of Video Games,' at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is a sanitized, uncontroversial and rigorously unprovocative introduction to the basic concepts of video games — which was, quite clearly, the point." An Exhibition in Easy Mode, New York Times, 2012-03-16.