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Thread: Living Computers in Seattle is closing, for now?

  1. #1
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    Default Living Computers in Seattle is closing, for now?

    Just got an email from Living Computers in Seattle, WA. They are closing down operations for now. I sure hope the find a way to re-open in the future! They were a great host for the VCFPNW for two years until the Covid shut things down.

    https://www.livingcomputers.org/

    livingcomputersclosing.png
    Last edited by ibmapc; May 27th, 2020 at 01:49 PM.

  2. #2
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    I mean, it makes sense to go into a cold shutdown since they are paying a massive amount of money daily to keep the machine room online and air conditioned. This lets them drastically reduce the operating costs while the doors are closed for....well we still don't know.

    I have however been noticing all afternoon that people are saying this is it and they are done, but so far I have found no press releases or news articles from Vulcan indicating that the LCM is closing for good. Just people pulling an "if" clause out and running with it.
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  3. #3

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    I heard the news, then got the email. (I have a family membership even though I'm the only person in the family who uses it.)

    The "for now" wording makes it seem like there is wiggle room, but personally I think that is wishful thinking. When you get to a certain age you realize that it is the people who make things happen and who give an institution its culture and character. It is extremely difficult to get something new off the ground and get critical mass, and the people are usually the hardest part to find. They also happen to be the more expensive parts. If the people who make the museum happen have to find work elsewhere then the museum is lost; if it was hard to find those people the first time around it won't be easier the second time. The building will be come a collection of dead artifacts without the people.

    We held VCF PNW there for the first time in 2018 and we broke their attendance record. VCF PNW 2019 broke the previous attendance record, and we had great plans for VCF 2020. As upset as I was at the cancellation, it was also the right thing to do - COVID-19 has turned out to be far more of a public health problem than I realized. But I really hate to think now that we're not going to break that record again, and that nobody else will get a chance either. VCFed volunteers (and myself in particular) threw a lot of time into those events, which are part of our primary mission, but also helped to raise awareness and drive traffic to the museum. I wanted the museum to do well and to get that critical mass; I was looking forward to trying to volunteer there in a few years after I retired from the day job. ;-0

    Right now you should be thinking about the people who work there, as it was probably devastating news. They have big changes coming up, and many of them just can't retire in peace so there will be job hunting and interviews. That can be stressful under normal circumstances, so having it happen now is terrible. Not the end of the world, but pretty damn terrible.

    2020 has been a terrible year in so many ways I'm losing count, and COVID-19 is only part of my personal story. This should be a strong reminder to people that if you value something then you should stand up and make sure it's supported, both with your time and money. If you leave it for somebody else to do then it might not achieve critical mass or you might miss your chance. I'd like a nickel for every time I heard somebody in an IRC channel "I'd like to visit there but I can't do it this year"; while that may have been for great reasons, the timer expired and there might not be a second chance.

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    Once we get to the other side of this pandemic and have a chance to look around, I fear that a lot of things that we've considered as part of our environment will be missing. With Paul Allen gone, I suspect that the LCM's days may be numbered.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Mike and Chuck,
    You guys wrote down my exact thoughts and feelings. My heart HURTS for the staff there. This Frickin' COVID is a real GUT PUNCH!

    Do you think there is anything we can do to generate some interest in keeping the museum from going away for good?

    Obviously what it needs is A LOT OF MONEY! That's in short supply for most folks right now. So, we would need a LOT OF PEOPLE (investors) to pitch in for what most rich people would consider a bad investment. I don't have any experience with things like "Go Fund Me" or the like, but I'm willing to help get the word out if anyone has any great ideas. What we'd really need is someone with experience and ambition to move the needle.
    Last edited by ibmapc; May 28th, 2020 at 07:31 AM.

  6. #6

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    I hope they make it through this; I still haven't actually had a chance to visit there...!
    Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeXT View Post
    I mean, it makes sense to go into a cold shutdown since they are paying a massive amount of money daily to keep the machine room online and air conditioned. This lets them drastically reduce the operating costs while the doors are closed for....well we still don't know.

    I have however been noticing all afternoon that people are saying this is it and they are done, but so far I have found no press releases or news articles from Vulcan indicating that the LCM is closing for good. Just people pulling an "if" clause out and running with it.
    Does THIS https://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/vulcan-to-close-its-arts-entertainment-division-which-includes-cinerama-and-seattle-art-fair/ do it for you?

  8. #8
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    For both, the Vulcan statement said, the coming months will be a time to evaluate “if, how and when to reopen.”
    Emphasis mine. VCF:PNW was breaking attendance records. That article still does not say in stone that the doors are closed for good.
    [Need something to waste time on? Click here to visit my YouTube channel CelGenStudios]
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  9. #9
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    One persons passion is an heirs mess to deal with no matter how much money you had.
    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
    Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
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    Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

  10. #10

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    Very disappointing news. I'm so glad I had a chance to visit - I attended last year's VCF PNW and spent two full days at the museum. It was an incredible opportunity to test drive a whole bunch of systems I'd only ever read about before, or at best tried out on an emulator. A working PLATO terminal was a highlight, one of many. I was given an informal tour behind the scenes, and saw the public displays were only the tip of the iceberg. There is a warehouse full of vintage equipment, on floor to ceiling industrial shelving, back there.

    In all it was a memorable couple of days, a dream come true in a lot of ways. I am very grateful to all the people who created such an amazing place.

    I'd like to be optimistic and I do hope they will reopen, but like others here I am doubtful. I think they would have made a stronger statement than "if, how, and when" if they really intended to come back. I feel very badly for the people who have lost their jobs. I am also very concerned that a great deal of history is in danger of being lost, or becoming inaccessible.

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