I recently interviewed him to highlight the Makers who replicate classic computers, rebuild vintage computers to make them function in new ways, and make USB keys for classic computers. We had a fun conversation exploring the passion, joy, and nostalgia for classic computing.
Dr. Stuart Brown, in his book, Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul, tells the story about how the Jet Propulsion Laboratory realized that, although they were hiring the best and brightest college graduates, it was hiring the wrong kind of people. Something had changed in the kind of people that came to work at JPL.
“The JPL managers went back to look at their own retiring engineers and … found that in their youth, their older, problem-solving employees had taken apart clocks to see how they worked, or made soapbox derby racers, or built hi-fi stereos, or fixed appliances. The young engineering school graduates who had also done these things, who had played with their hands, were adept at the kinds of problem solving that management sought.
“Those who hadn’t, generally were not. From that point on, JPL made questions about applicants’ youthful projects and play a standard part of job interviews. Through research the JPL managers discovered that there is a kind of magic in play.”