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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 12th Mar 2022, 2:45 pm   #1
petelobus
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Default Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

Does anyone know what happened to Jim or the museum (I think it was 'The Computer Sheds', somewhere near Driffield). Jim was high up in computing at York University I think. I gave him a few old Apple computers about 8 - 10 years ago, tried to contact him when I found the manuals, but no answer (sorry, that was a few years back and they have gone in the recycling long ago). It was an interesting museum and I hope it still exists?

Ian
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Old 12th Mar 2022, 4:35 pm   #2
Timbucus
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

I last contacted one of the volunteers there Pete in late 2019 as I had been trying to contact Prof. Austin about the Scrumpi he had agreed to contact on my behalf but, I heard nothing back even through this route. I had read somewhere he had been very unwell. The website remains online but, has not been updated since 2018

https://www.computermuseum.org.uk/
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Old 14th Mar 2022, 7:53 am   #3
petelobus
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

I believe he had Parkinsons... It would be a shame if the stuff was lost.

Ian
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Old 16th Mar 2022, 7:17 pm   #4
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

Jim has had quite a bit from me in the past (several vans full!) but I have been out of touch for a few years.

I do hope he is OK. I understand he had Covid a while back, and yes, the last time I saw him he was suffering a bit with his condition but enthusiasm completely unphased and made a mean round of bacon butties !
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Old 1st Aug 2022, 8:58 pm   #5
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

I thought I might as well bump this since I have had communications with Jim last week and was recently showing items from his collection at the university department from which they were originally obtained.

So yes, Jim and his sheds are very much still going.
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Old 2nd Aug 2022, 4:27 pm   #6
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

I think Timbucus once mused over the idea of trying to get a group visit together, but that was before Covid stopped us all from moving around for a while.

Do it on the right day and it could be a good day out for computer nerds who are also railway nerds, as the 'Yorkshire Wolds Railway' have resurrected a short section of the former Malton And Driffield Junction Railway very close to the site of the former 'Sledmere and Fimber' station. Although it is currently quite short there are ambitions to extend the line, initially in the direction of Wetwang.
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Old 2nd Aug 2022, 7:02 pm   #7
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

That is good news and indeed if the opportunity came to visit I would love to do so. Happy to take a nose at trains as well although not sure about the wetwang
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Old 2nd Aug 2022, 7:23 pm   #8
SiriusHardware
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

Both Fimber and Wetwang sound like they are straight out of the Hitch-Hiker's Guide, so I suppose it's only natural that one of the UK's largest private collections of computers should have gravitated towards that area.

Did you see how many Crays are in the list? Most museums would be happy to have just one.
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Old 2nd Aug 2022, 8:01 pm   #9
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

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Originally Posted by SiriusHardware View Post
Did you see how many Crays are in the list? Most museums would be happy to have just one.
Unfortunately they only have cards for the Cray-1 and Cray-2. Either of those would be worth a visit on their own.
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Old 2nd Aug 2022, 9:02 pm   #10
SiriusHardware
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

Ah, I must have mistaken Cray parts for whole Crays.
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Old 2nd Aug 2022, 9:48 pm   #11
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

Are they the older ones, or are they the latest Crays?
(du-dum, teesh...)

I'd be interested in a visit too
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Old 3rd Aug 2022, 12:09 am   #12
Mark1960
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

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Ah, I must have mistaken Cray parts for whole Crays.
They have 4 of the EL98, they just donít look as cool as the Cray-1 and Cray-2.

I wonder if they have any on display at Wisconsin, thats not so far away, though I donít think my wife would be interested in a roadtrip to see computers that can be outperformed by an ipad. She just wouldnít appreciate what these machines were back in the day.
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Old 3rd Aug 2022, 7:03 am   #13
SiriusHardware
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

You need to find her something else to do in the area. I remember arriving at another male dominated interest - (OK, another heritage railway) - to find a chalkboard sign reading...

'Adult Creche - ladies, drop your man off here for the day and we will take care of him while you enjoy some retail therapy'.

It raised a smile at the time, and it could apply to all sorts of museums (including computer museums), although when Tim first considered this idea I wondered whether we might be able to persuade Karen Orton to come along as well. It all feels like such a long time ago now.
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Old 4th Aug 2022, 6:06 pm   #14
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1960 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by SiriusHardware View Post
Ah, I must have mistaken Cray parts for whole Crays.
They have 4 of the EL98, they just donít look as cool as the Cray-1 and Cray-2.

I wonder if they have any on display at Wisconsin, thats not so far away, though I donít think my wife would be interested in a roadtrip to see computers that can be outperformed by an ipad. She just wouldnít appreciate what these machines were back in the day.
https://cray-history.net/2021/07/28/...nd-technology/
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Old 8th Aug 2022, 10:51 pm   #15
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

I passed on one of the EL98s to Jim from the meteorology department of Reading University in the 90s. I dearly wanted a Cray but reality and gravity meant there was no way it was going to make it to my 3rd floor flat at the time
The EL series is collectible in so far as itís air cooled and doesnít need 3 phase power.!
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Old 8th Aug 2022, 11:32 pm   #16
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

Some of the old and new computer racks are mind-bogglingly heavy, can't imagine that many people can host a big collection of them.

I really must try to visit that museum, I had another look at the site and it would be a real trip down memory lane for me: BBC micro, DAP, Meiko, Sun, Cray.
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Old 9th Aug 2022, 3:46 am   #17
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Default Re: Jim Austin - Computer Museum near York

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Some of the old and new computer racks are mind-bogglingly heavy, can't imagine that many people can host a big collection of them.
Probably not a 'big collection' but there are 9 racks -- 4 of them the tall 36U ones and 5 'half racks' -- in my 'large machine room'. Well the estate agent called it the living room but...
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