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The Halted Surplus Store
lyrics 2001 by Dr. H. Paul Shuch
sung to the tune of "The Bonnie Ship the Diamond" (Scottish traditional)

click to hear melody Click on the speaker icon to hear this melody

When I was young and learning the electronic builder's arts
A surplus store named Halted was my favorite source for parts.
They offered stacks of circuit boards that I would gladly strip
To mine their gems of silicon. It was always worth the trip.

The owner was Hal Elzig, and his partner's name was Ted.
Assisted by Hal's father-in-law Merle, now sadly dead.
But this was thirty years ago, when the Valley still had farms,
And not one budding techie could resist their surplus charms.


And it's cheer up, me lads,
Let your heart ever soar
When you're searching for components
At the Halted Surplus Store.

The local electronics junkies frequently would meet
At the Linear Accelerator halfway down the street
From Hal's and Ted's old surplus store, so it was no surprise
To find them swapping parts there with the builder/hacker guys.

The first Hombrew Computer Club met once a month at SLAC.
I attended their first meeting but I never did go back.
Because I noticed down the hall, much to my delight,
The Microwave Society met each month on that night.


The microwavers helped me to steal satellite TV,
While next door were the geeks who thought computers should be free.
I built a minor fortune from my microwave ham rig,
But it was those computer nerds who really hit it big.

A local kid named Wozniak (I knew him just as Steve),
On Friday nights would go to SLAC. I'd often hear him grieve
That parts were too expensive to construct his latest board,
And so I introduced him to the Halted Surplus Store.


At SLAC one evening, Woz displayed a printed circuit board
With ones and zeroes, i and o, and ram and rom and more.
His prototype contained a Motorola CPU,
There's nothing that his single-board computer couldn't do.

Steve showed it off at HCC, he called it Apple One.
It was bigger than a breadbox, but outshined the brightest Sun.
The dollars that his kit cost were six hundred sixty six.
You'd sell your soul to get one, for it did such nifty tricks.


And in the corner of the box, a switching power supply
Put out five volts at twenty amps. I could not figure why
He needed so much current for a sixty five oh two.
Why so much smoke to power a computer that's homebrew?

Woz pointed out the edge connectors on the motherboard.
He said, "You need expansion slots, but who can guess what for?
To make the box more useful you need plug-ins, it is true,
But without a low-noise switcher there's not much they can do."


Then Steve went up to Elzig at the Halted Surplus Store,
Said "I have built a prototype, but need to build twelve more.
If you'll extend me credit for the parts that I require
I'll give you a percentage of my budding new empire."

Now Hal he was all business and he dealt in strictly cash,
For many were the companies that he'd seen grow and crash.
"I'm sorry," he told Wozniak, "but I am not your man.
Perhaps you'd better go and sell your old Volkswagen van."


So Woz took on a partner, sold the van, and got to work.
I often heard him telling Jobs that Hal was such a jerk.
They paid the price and built another dozen Apple kits,
And when they took it public, Merle and Ted and Hal had fits.

The moral of this story should be plain for all to see.
The way to fame and fortune is not a Ph.D.
If a kid with an idea wants some parts, and cannot pay,
Just give him his components, or you'll live to rue the day.


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this page last updated 14 June 2007
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