Category: ‘Uncategorized’

come and get it stuff

October 23, 2014 Posted by Yard Guy

I always like it when I receive an email asking me if I want something or else it is going to get thrown away. This garden stuff of course will be purposely reused.



Up on blocks

October 17, 2014 Posted by Yard Guy

Another house up on blocks, this one in Santa Clara that is owned by the University of Santa Clara. It used to be located at 1065 Alviso Street just north of the campus, but was moved over to accommodate the construction of a new parking garage.

1065 Alviso St. Santa Clara

The house is a rare Early California false front. Haven’t looked at the historical background yet, but understand that the University commissioned a historical evaluation of it a couple of years ago.  We have heard there is interest in moving this to a site nearby. Will keep you posted.

nReverse Booksellers

August 22, 2014 Posted by Yard Guy

nReverse Booksellers has launched.

nReverse is the online marketplace for new and used books, operated by Archives & Architecture, LLC. The focus is on local history and architecture, and reference books related to building construction.

Browse the book categories, and buy online with check, credit card or PayPal, and have the book shipped, or pick up at the offices of Archives & Architecture in downtown San Jose.

nReverse Booksellers

My Altair 8800 at Antiques Roadshow

June 9, 2014 Posted by Yard Guy

June 7, 2014 I had a chance to attend the Antiques Roadshow tour at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I took along my Altair 8800 computer, hoping to find out if it being from the first batch of 100 of the first commercially-available personal computer in the world would spike it’s potential resale value. With Apple I’s running in the six figures, who knows what the market holds for this pivotal artifact of the personal computer age.

This Altair of mine is MITS serial no. 220044k which seems to fit the first batch story. All of the early Altairs I’ve seen online start with 22 at the beginning of the six digit number. The “K” after the 44 means it was a kit, rather than pre-assembled. Only a small number of these early machines have been identified online.

As the story goes (as posted on numerous websites on the Internet), MITS, the developers of the Altair 8800, hoped to sell a few hundred units when Popular Electronics profiled the computer on the cover of the January 1975 edition. MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems) had been founded in 1969 by Ed Roberts and Forrest M. Mims III to build hobbyist kits for model rockets, and Ed Roberts and Bill Yates had designed and built this first hundred batch of general purpose computers in late 1974, which went on sale just before Christmas. By February 1975 they had orders for a thousand (or so), and by the end of May, MITS claimed they had shipped 2,500 units – and 5,000 by August 1975.

The Altair 8800 is widely recognized as the spark that ignited the microcomputer revolution. Prior to that time, you had to work for a big company or university to get access to a computer. With the Altair kit, it became possible for just any geek (with some cash) to explore the world of programming from the corner of their bedroom.

In what would become Silicon Valley, I understand no. 8 of this batch ended up at an early meeting of the Home Brew Club in early 1975 (Archives & Architecture, LLC did a quick history last year of the Oasis restaurant in Menlo Park where the club used to retire to after meetings). A little more than a year later, Steve Wozniak had developed his own system board called the Apple I, and when he and Steve Jobs began selling their computer in summer of 1976, the rest is history. On a few hundred were built, but when the Apple II was introduced in April 1997 (over 2 years after the Altair), the personal computer revolution really took off.

As for myself, I first took a class in the FORTRAN programming language in the 1960s, and in Fall of 1975 took a class in machine language programming at San Jose State University. If I had the money, I probably would of bought one of the Altair kits in 1975, but my career went in a different direction. The one I own today came to me about 10 years ago through other means.

Back to Antiques Roadshow – my collectibles appraiser was a bit distracted when I showed my item, as the guy before me had worked at Apple in the day, and had a sketchbook of his designs for early Apple machines, which, (looking over his shoulder) looked like the Apple II. This was actually one of the guys who contributed to the revolution in computing standing in line with me (for 5 hours!). In addition to the technology coming forth, Apple had designed a product that attracted buyers beyond the geeky computer professional, and this was one of the Apple guys (or the guy). I think they led him away for a video interview, and we will probably see him on television sometime in 2015 along with local historian April Halberstadt, who was interviewed for some jewelry she brought in.

The appraiser did a quick online auction search for me, and indicated that some Altairs had been reaching $5,000 in value, and that in Germany they were going for twice that amount. I mentioned mine was from the first batch of 100, but I don’t know that the concept registered with him, as there were probably no comps to compare to. At that point I was about to faint, as the 5 hours in line was having its affect, so I quickly bagged my treasure and headed out.

I did stop by the feedback booth, held my Altair up for the exit interview, but won’t know for a while if I made the cut for the show. Antiques Roadshow mentioned in their literature that they welcomed YouTube videos about our experiences at the Roadshow, so I might do a selfie with my camera phone to show the world my prized possession. Check back on this blog later for that.

The front panel of the Altair 8800

The front panel of the Altair 8800

The Altair 8800 cards

The Altair 8800 cards

Altair 8800 view from rear

Altair 8800 view from rear

Altair 8800 view from above

Altair 8800 view from above

Backpane serial no. 2200044k

Backpane serial no. 220044k



History San Jose Yardsale

February 28, 2014 Posted by Yard Guy

The Yard Sale in the Park is set for April 27. Anyone can register, but you must register by April 1st. Register with Juanita at for $20 per booth, or free for HSJ Members.History San Jose Yard Sale

Capitola Freight & Salvage

February 25, 2014 Posted by Yard Guy

I was in Santa Cruz researching today and trek’d over to Capitola Freight & Salvage. It’ s been quite a few years since I was last there, and happily it is just as filled with salvage stuff as I remember it in the 70s or 80s. Really now the only available salvage yard in our area. I’ll have to make it back in the near future to get a better sense of what they have, and maybe buy something.

Capitola Freight & Salvage

Capitola Freight & Salvage: 1575 38th Ave., Capitola; 831-465-6990,


My Salvaged Treasures

February 21, 2014 Posted by Yard Guy

I found this blogspot weblog called My Salvaged Treasures by a woman named Betsy in Tracy. She is keeping this very up-to-date, and has lots of ideas about the use of salvaged objects.

So what about Yerdle?

February 18, 2014 Posted by Yard Guy

I’ve been studying the website trying to make a decision if I’m going to let them link to my facbook or google+ account in order to signup. Yerdle is an interesting take on giving away your stuff. There have been a lot of these sites that have come and gone, with “free stuff” being the one that’s persevered. The problem with Craigslist is dealing with the flaky people who respond to your ads. You also have to be on your toes if you want to get anything free, which is probably typical of both Craigslist and Yerdle. I’ll do the Yerdle signup soon and see if this works well down in the South Bay area.

160 East St. John Street demolition

February 14, 2014 Posted by Yard Guy

Demolition of 160 East St. John Street as of Friday, February 14, 2014.

160 N 4th

February 13, 2014 Posted by Yard Guy

The 2012 fire damaged house at 160 N 4th Street is presently being recovered, sort of. The underlying frame of the house is circa 1870s, and was likely remodeled in the early part of the twentieth century to “craftsmanize” it, although it still retains its historic character. The fire was at the back, and it had been used as a duplex with a rear cottage. The permit approval includes demo of the rear cottage and replacement of the rear. Of interest, is that the permit also indicates all the windows to be removed (likely to be replaced by vinyl), and that the siding will be replaced (likely by stucco). Although subject to discretionary review as it is multi-family, apparently the historic character of the being was not considered as a part of the planning process….

The house is to the left. 152  N 4th to the right is a nice 1880s Queen Anne.

The house is to the left. 152 N 4th to the right is a nice 1880s Queen Anne.