Saturday was the 2007 Timonium Hamfest
. BSOM and I decided not to sell at it for a couple reasons - too much competition, high registration cost, and the fact that tax authorities are supposedly out in full force at Timonium. Plus, while I have a decent amount of inventory, I don't have all that much, and I can wait another month or two when the weather is warmer and I'm done with grad school.
But I did go to buy. Timonium always has a ton of vendors, which sucks for vendors (who have lots of competition) but is great for buyers. While I didn't buy anything that I can resell for a huge profit, I did get some cool toys to play with.my haul
(shown on my stylish $33 Ikea "as is" dining room table)
What I bought:
-A working Toshiba Libretto 70 (a small p1 laptop that's the size of a VHS tape - $60)
-A nonworking Toshiba Libretto 70 (no battery, no hard drive, full docking station) for $15
-An HP Omnibook 5700 p1 for $5 (no hard drive, BIOS password)
-A Yamaha SCSI CDRW drive for $10 (no power adapter - it is the rare model that has "tatoo" where it will write a logo on the other side of the CD)
-A Sony Clie for $10 (color screen, QUERTY keyboard, may or may not work, don't have charger)
-A Sun keyboard and mouse (to go with a Sun Ultra Enterprise 1 that I dug out of the trash at work) for $5
I already swapped the screen from the parts Libretto with ram from one that BSOM had so I now have 32mb ram in the working libretto. I'm planning on upgrading it from Win95 to Win98 and then throwing in a 16 bit wireless network card and making a small wireless web browsing appliance. Why? Because I can.
I've also discovered that cracking a BIOS password on an HP is damn near impossible. I've done it on other laptops - on Toshibas there are hardware dongels you can hook up to the parallel port to reset it - but no such luck with the HP. So that was probably a waste of $5.
I'm kicking myself for being at the wrong place at the wrong time - the guy I got the Libretto 70 from also had a Libretto 100, which has a bigger processor and an additional PCMCIA slot (and I think may even have a USB port). But someone else was
buying it when I got to the table. If I'd only been there a few minutes earlier.
BSOM made out pretty well too - 4 TI graphing calculators for $50 and a huge LED sign for $25. The sign has a floppy drive and evidently cost $5000 when it was new. If he hadn't bought it, I would have. He also got some assorted power adapters.
One thing I often forget about Hamfest is that it's more than just a chance to make money - it's also like visiting a computer museum. One seller had several neXt machines (neXt was Apple Founder Steve Job's other computer company
that was later sold to Apple when he went back there. I was debating buying one - the guy wanted $15 and they use a proprietary mouse/keyboard/monitor). Turns out they go for between $40 and $150 on eBay, so I probably should have jumped on them. There were lots of other random pieces of forgotten technology - early pen computers from Toshiba and Fujitsu, a CD-Interactive player by Philips, piles of Silicon Graphics Indy workstations. There was also random stuff that made me wonder how and why... a pile of Catalina "checkout coupon" printers like they have at grocery stores (if I had paper and the right software, I could print some coupons that would sharply reduce my grocery bill), a cd server that must have had 50 cdrom drives in it (and an asset tag from the North Carolina Department of Justice) and a USP thermal printer, complete with a UPS Store tag.