Everyone's retrocomputing hobby budget is finite. This may be a blessing in disguise. I've found that the amount of retro gear that I have far exceeds the amount of time that I have to play with it. I've recently begun thinking about how to right-size my collection. I have some ideas on this that I'll share in another post - but right now, I'd like to talk about a related topic - new acquisitions.
I do have some limited discretionary funds for my retro hobby, and the question comes up frequently - what to spend it on? Now that I've made some tentative decisions on what machines and activities I'll focus on (more on that later), I can confidently allocate my money using these principles:
- First priority - fix things that are broken. For instance, one of my computers, an Epson PX-8 laptop, was out of commission due to a worn-out NiCad battery. I decided that getting a replacement pack was a top priority, because I don't want to have computers laying around, unavailable for fun. This causes stress, and is a waste.
- Second priority - enhancements and additions to the systems I'm focusing on. For instance, I have my eyes on buying a Rasberry Pi - not to play with it as such, but to see if I can make it into a virtual disk drive for the Epson PX-8 (blog posting on this over at Retrobits).
- Third priority - new stuff. If there are systems that I'd still like to add to my collection, I'll spend money on this where necessary - but only after priorities 1 and 2 are taken care of. An example: I'd like to save up for something that will run OpenVMS (either a VAXstation or an Alpha system).
I used this list of priorities just today, when deciding whether to buy a particular piece of retro software. It fit into the third category - but I'm nowhere near done with 1 and 2. So out it went, and I feel better not having been tempted to get it, even though it was a great deal.
What sort of ideas do you use to figure out how to spend your time, money and space, with respect to the hobby? Drop me a line and let me know...