View Full Version : Don Maslin Ring-Link & Old Computer Archive

Micom 2000
October 23rd, 2006, 07:19 PM
A recent PM in my Inbox asking info on the NEC Prospeed at first only elicited a lukewarm reply. I, it seems are, thru the wonders of Google, a NEC Prospeed source. For a time, I was inundated some years back due to some postings in classic.comp with requests for setup programs. I had downloaded a good portion of the last remaining repository of NEC files from their Australian BBS. One of the requestors agreed to set up a site when I forwarded
his needed files which would take the heat off me.

A "mea Culpa" moment occured, when I thought of all the people who helped me get my machines working, only thru their dedication to a computer, an Operating system, or a processor.

I thought about Don Maslin, who unselfishly gave me so much help with my Kaypros and DEC Rainbow. Who I also found was doing the same thing with many, many others. Most people would have figured "there must be some $ in this", but he always asked only the cost of the disks plus shipping. Since his death, TMK his wife has refused to release any of his archives.
Who can blame her, since this fixation most of us collectors have, deprived her of so much.

Yet, we, with the "disease", as some on the VCF have characterise it do go on, in Don's tradition. Like Gaby who hosts a CP/M site that includes Tim Olmstead's "Unofficial CPM" site which would have dissappeared after Tim's death. Jim Brain's efforts for the Commodores, or Jay West hosting for free on his ISP, classic.cmp and many others such as Jeff Armstrong's DEC Rainbow site, not to mention so many others including Eric here.

There are, however, some problems. As some of us grow older and increasingly, companies get "amalgamated", the sources of the old computer resources dead or dying, disappear.

While there are many archives still in existence, they will inexhoribly fade away as time goes on. The computer museums are really concerned with artifacts and as we all know, without the documentation and software they are simply doorstops or boat-anchors.

I would suggest a Ring-Linc of all the collector sites, coupled with a mirror of some sort, should the site or owner expire. I would dedicate it to Don Maslin. Perhaps the "Don Maslin Ring-Link and Archive".

This idea would have to be disseminated of course to all of our ilk. Classic.cmp. Old computer Forum, Uncreative Labs, etc. Not to mention the hundreds of specific platform venues. If the will was there, and with the rapidly decreasing $/memory ratio it should not be so difficult. One need only regard the Deja Vu/Google archiving of news-groups.


October 23rd, 2006, 07:31 PM
Yeah......man......Don did ALOT for everyone, and never asked for anything in return.

You hear the many stories where someone asked, and before the requestor could even figure out a way to compensate him, they already had what they needed in their mailbox.

He was a true hero to the vintage computing community, and he REALLY never asked for anything in return.

It was a loss to the world of a genuinely good person.


Terry Yager
October 31st, 2006, 07:46 PM
Dino-SIG rulez!


October 31st, 2006, 08:08 PM
Yes! As I found out the other day. "It's on the web, I don't need the printed manual. I can always go get the PDF if I need it!" Well, Chuck (talking to myself), What happens when that website is down or some DNS server is messed up, huh huh?

I had that experience with the Web8201 site. My used PDD drive arrived and I was ready to research making a cable. Bam! Can't get on the site to review the info. Try again and again. For close to 2 days!

What's my point? Can't do much if the web site is gone. We really can't afford to have the information just die.

November 1st, 2006, 06:50 AM
Can't do much if the web site is gone.

Sure there is. Just plug the URL in archive.org's Wayback Machine (http://www.archive.org/web/web.php).
Granted, it's hit or miss, but it's better than nothing.

For fun, look for the first webpage you ever made.
I found a copy of mine from 1997 :)

November 1st, 2006, 12:39 PM
Double WOW! I had forgotten about that resource!!! Even has the "file downloads" yummy. Wonder how they support themselves?

I love being wrong sometimes (rarely ;^) ).

Al Kossow
November 1st, 2006, 02:38 PM
"The computer museums are really concerned with artifacts and as we all know, without the documentation and software they are simply doorstops or boat-anchors."

I am the Software Curator of the Computer History Museum, and was hired with the explicit purpose of expanding the Museum's software archive.

There is also a volunteer special interest group chartered with software preservation that is looking for help:


One of the things that was recognized early on was that preserving software depends almost entirely on individual donations, since the companies themselves are either out of business or destroyed their
copies so that they wouldn't have to support it.

I have been concentrating on mid-70's and earlier software since there appears to be so little that has survived, and since private collectors appear to have later systems pretty well covered.

Finding all of these collections and verifying their contents is a challenge, though.