VCF PNW 2019: Last call for Exhibitors!

If you were thinking of joining us for VCF Pacific Northwest 2019 in Seattle then now is the time to let me know!

The event is March 23-24th (Saturday and Sunday) with setup the day before. We still have room for some more exhibits if you are interested in joining us. If you are going to join us I need to know by Friday, February 8th. If you have told me you were coming but did not complete the registration form, well, now is the time …

A description of the event can be found at http://vcfed.org/vcf-pnw. General information for exhibitors including pictures from last year, a link to the registration form, and a FAQ can be found at http://vcfed.org/wp/vcf-pnw-exhibitor-registration/. Also, yell at me directly if you have questions.

Thanks,
Mike

mbbrutman@brutman.com or michael@vcfed.org

PS: Not exhibiting at the event but interested in unloading some tonnage? We are hosting a consignment area again!  The consignment area is open to everybody; now is a good time to start cleaning and testing things that you might want to sell.

2019 Vintage Computer Festivals schedule is revealed!

You keep asking, and now we have answers! For 2019 the Vintage Computer Festival series schedule is:

All four events are awesome! We promise you will have a great time there. Bring your friends, family, and coworkers too! Our events are truly “festivals” to celebrate the history of computing.

VCF PNW 2019 Updates

Just some quick updates on VCF PNW 2019

  • So far we have 11 registered exhibitors plus a few more who have expressed interest.  We are looking for 20 to 25 exhibits and probably have room for up to 30 so don’t be shy.  (We would like to have exhibitor registration complete in mid-January so we can start working on the show layout.)
  • We are also still looking for a few more speakers who want to present their topics.  Being a speaker at VCF PNW is a great way to share your knowledge with a very friendly crowd.
  • We are hosting a consignment area again!  Have an old machine or gear that you want to find a new home for?  Now would be a great time to get it cleaned up and ready for sale.

VCF Pacific Northwest 2019 will take place March 23-24, 2019 at Living Computers: Museum+Labs in Seattle, Washington.  Details can be found at http://www.vcfed.org/vcf-pnw

Vintage Computer Festival Zürich, Switzerland (Nov. 24-25)

(Mike re-posting for Oscar)

Just a heads-up: there will be a Vintage Computer Festival in Switzerland again this year!

Like the last two years, it’ll be in Zurich’s Rote Fabrik cultural center, at the shore of Lake Zurich. November 24 & 25…

Here’s an impression of last year’s event.

There’s a new & nice line-up of exhibits and presentations. Including two World Premieres, the Unibone (PDP-11 hardware! Attach Simh to a physical Unibus, or connect all sorts of emulated peripherals to a real PDP-11 Unibus – the thing works both ways) and an FPGA remake of the RPC-4000. We’ll also have Swiss Jazz & computer music pioneer Bruno Spörri and a related section on vintage synthesizers. Like always, the kids can be left safely at the Vintage Gaming podium…

Details on Twitter and on www.vcfe.ch. Switzerland is really not that far away, so no reason not to come 

Kind regards,
Oscar

R.I.P. Bill Godbout, 79

Bill Godbout, a legend in the S-100 community for his 1970s-1980s work at Godbout Electronics and CompuPro, perished November 8 due to the Camp wildfire in Concow, California. He was 79.

There is a family-led GoFundMe campaign to support their needs in this difficult time.

Godbout was an important advocate for the industry-standard S-100 bus in its early days, as well as being a parts supplier for electronic music projects, according to 1970s microcomputing expert Herb Johnson.

Godbout was born October 2, 1939. He talked about his introduction to computing in an interview with InfoWorld magazine for their February 18, 1980 issue. “My first job out of college was with IBM. I served a big-system apprenticeship there, but I think the thing that really triggered [my interest] was the introduction of the 8008 by Intel,” he said. “I was fascinated that you could have that kind of capability in a little 18-pin package.”

Steven Levy, in his book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, wrote about Godbout’s Silicon Valley electronics business. “Bill Godbout… bought junk on a more massive scale — usually government surplus chips and parts which were rejected as not meeting the exacting standards required for a specific function, but perfectly acceptable for other uses. Godbout, a gruff, beefy, still-active pilot who hinted at a past loaded with international espionage and intrigues for government agencies whose names he could not legally utter, would take these parts, throw his own brand name on them, and sell them, often in logic circuitry kits that you could buy by mail order.”

“For those of us who lived and did business in the East Bay during the opening years of the personal computer revolution Bill was a friend. He operated Bill Godbout Electronics from a Quonset hut on the margins of the Oakland Airport,” explained Lee Felsenstein, associated with Silicon Valley landmarks such as Community Memory, the Homebrew Computer Club, Processor Technology, and Osborne Computer Corporation. “Bill was a friend and ally to the operators of the first generation of personal computer businesses that grew up in that early period.”

“My only direct interaction with Bill took place in 1979 after Processor Technology closed its doors. I was trying to peddle the next generation VDM card but Bill asked me to design and prototype a simplified VDM-1 S-100 card — I did so but he didn’t take it further for his CompuPro line of computers and add-ons,” Felsenstein said. A year or two later, “He was a member of the poker group that included Adam Osborne, George Morrow, and Chuck Peddle, and made a bet there that Adam would not ship his Osborne-1 computer on time. He lost that bet, but it was a real squeaker — I was involved.”

“Bill put on no airs — he was always ‘one of the guys’ and dealt in a straightforward way — this is worth noting for a time just after the opening gun when a new field often brings forth poseurs, popinjays, and pure phonies,” Felsenstein added. “Bill was none of those and we are all distraught to learn that he was taken from us in this terrible way.”

Budding engineer Mark Graybill got a job assembling clocks and other electronic gadgets at Godbout’s Oakland facility in 1976. “I’d jump on a bus after school, go down there, and originally I’d go in and work at an assembly station. I was lucky to be in the area at the time. It was cool to be doing something in electronics,” Graybill recalled. “He was kind of like the friendly uncle who’d let you take the sports car for a spin and laugh when you crashed it… I’ll remember him as the guy who trusted a 14-year-old kid with a sackful of hundreds of dollars of RAM because it was too difficult to take the bus down everyday.”

Changing of the tides

VCF board member Bill Degnan has resigned from his post but will remain an active member of the Vintage Computer Forum, an exhibitor at Vintage Computer Festival East, and a participant in the VCF Mid-Atlantic chapter.

We thank Bill for his many years of service to VCF and also to the former Mid-Atlantic Retro Computing Hobbyists (MARCH) which was one of the Federation’s predecessor organizations.

Bill has been a close friend since 2004. He was proactive in urging our group to do everything from technical repair workshops to holiday parties to marketing initiatives to inventory control. We wish him well in all his new endeavors, and urge everyone to follow his fantastic blog about vintage computing projects.

Paul G. Allen, 1953-2018

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen passed away Monday. He will be missed by all in the vintage computing community.

Allen and childhood friend Bill Gates started using computers in high school.

“Microsoft would never have happened without Paul,” Gates wrote today. “In December 1974, he and I were both living in the Boston area — he was working, and I was going to college. One day he came and got me, insisting that I rush over to a nearby newsstand with him. When we arrived, he showed me the cover of the January issue of Popular Electronics. It featured a new computer called the Altair 8800, which ran on a powerful new chip. Paul looked at me and said: ‘This is happening without us!’ That moment marked the end of my college career and the beginning of our new company, Microsoft. It happened because of Paul.”

Together they ported Dartmouth BASIC to the Altair, made it available through M.I.T.S. on paper tape, and the rest is history. He beat cancer in the 1980s, retired from Microsoft, and became a philanthropist and entrepreneur.

Fast-forward many decades: Allen began his own museum efforts in the mid-2000s, first with PDPplanet.com and now with Living Computers: Museum+Labs which is a good friend to Vintage Computer Federation and hosts VCF Pacific-Northwest.

“Whether you collect cars or computers, or I have a few World War II airplanes… It reminds you of the more limited things engineers were able to do. That was a time of true craftsmanship and innovation,” Allen told me in 2006. “I think there’s a fascination with having something from a certain period of time and they’re still working artifacts.”

We wholeheartedly agree, Paul, agree and will bootstrap our Altair from a 4K BASIC paper tape in your honor.

Ragooman has logged off

One of our most senior members, Dan Roganti, computed his last cycle recently. You may know his as “Ragooman” in our forums.  Dan was incredibly friendly to all, always the first to offer technical help, wickedly funny, and insanely smart. He was as happy working on an Apple II or Commodore 64 as he was on an Altair 680 or a IBM system/36. He also drew most of the artwork for the VCF East t-shirts. About two weeks ago, while in hospice care, he asked us to share this video in the event of his passing. It’s funny!! Please watch it, enjoy, and hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight. Dan will always be with us — the Force was strong with him.

Events-a-palooza!

The next Federation event, VCF Pacific Northwest 2019, is in March 2019. But there are lots of non-Federation events happening between now and then! Our good friends at Vintage Computer Festival Midwest are having their 13th show September 15-16 outside Chicago. The HP Handheld Conference is September 29-30 in San Jose. Wild Hare Computer Systems’ Data General event, Nova is 50, is October 22-24 in Denver. Tandy Assembly is November 10-11 in Springfield, Ohio. You should go to all of them!

Update, September 14: We just learned about another event, Warpstock 2018, happening today through Monday (Sep. 17) in Calgary. Go there to celebrate OS/2!