VCF SE 5.0 — Exhibits

Hands-on demonstrations of historic computing are the heart of the Vintage Computer Festival series. Click here to register your exhibit.   Also don’t forget to check out the Vendors coming.

Check back to see updates new exhibits as they are registered!

Registered exhibits:

A History of Word Processors — Nolan Gilmore

Come see the history of how we recorded our information throughout the 20th Century. You will see a timeline starting with typewriters all the way to (relatively) modern Word Processing Software. Some items on display will include a circa 1914 Royal visible typewriter, and IBM Selectric typewriter, and a Macintosh 128k running MacWrite.

Calculators and Other Things with Keys — Ben Bradley

On display will be handheld calculators ranging from pre-TI and pre-HP to modern day, a few select mechanical “clicky” keyboards, and possibly other items operated by depressing keys. Also shown will be handheld analog calculators, mathematical table handbooks and related literature.

Laboratory Computing — Kyle Owen — Madison AL

Analog computers often found their way into the laboratory, solving differential equations faster than the digital computers at the time with some level of accuracy. However, digital minicomputers were getting cheap enough to have maybe even several in a lab for instrument control and automation of test equipment and apparatus. If the stars align, on display will be a Hitachi 303 vacuum tube analog computer, an HP 2116C digital minicomputer, and a PDP-8/M digital minicomputer.

The Premium Sound of 90’s PC’s — Bobby Blackwolf — Kennesaw GA

When most people played PC games in the early to mid 90’s, they heard either bleeps and bloops from the internal speaker, or low-fidelity MIDI from an Adlib-compatible sound card. However, there were premium sound options for those lucky enough to have them. The Roland MT-32 provided production quality MIDI sound to even EGA-based games from Sierra On-Line and others, and the Gravis Ultrasound gave a massive sample-based musical boost to the Demoscene of the era.  This exhibit will feature a Pentium-166 running MS-DOS 6.22 with either a Roland MT-32 playing old Sierra adventure games or a Gravis Ultrasound Classic sound card playing early 90’s PC Demos from Future Crew, EMF, Triton, Complex, and more.

Mechanical Keyboards — Chris Tan — Johns Creek GA

This exhibit will display vintage and modern keyboards with various keycaps to share and display. This will also be the meet up point for keyboard collectors from around the Atlanta area.

Commodore PET — Ghanshyam Suhagia — Lawrenceville GA

This exhibit will showcase a Commodore PET 4016 & 4032 and other Apple vintage product. Some of the machines are not currently working and will be for display only by Nano Info Technology, Inc.

Homebrew Bulletin Board System (BBS) — Jeff Stokes — Duluth GA

The main focus of this exhibit is a home made BBS and BBS Creation Library for the Commodore 64/128.  The BBS and support library are written in C using a cross development environment consisting of CC65 C Compiler and a PC.  Other machines on exhibit include a Commodore 128 running GEOS 64/128 and my vision of the ultimate development Amiga 500 (circa 1988) with KickStart 1.3 ROM, 9MB RAM, four 950MB SCSI hard drives, a flicker fixer and two 880K floppy drives.

Inside-Out — David Iwanicki — Marietta GA

Explore the impressive mechanical and electrical designs of some of the the most popular early personal computers. We sometimes forget how important cooling and interference were to the engineering of these early machines. Plus its just neat to see how much (or little) was crammed inside these magic boxes!  Machines on display – Apple ][, Mac Plus, Commodore 64, Commodore SX64

TI-99/4A Modern developments — Jon Guidry — Dacula GA

This exhibit will showcase modern TI upgrades including :

  • Newer cartridge boards (ROM boards + UberGROM boards)
  • The F18 VGA Upgrade
  • The new TI Mega Demo (2017)
  • The TI Break Free cartridge
  • RASMUS Game compilation cartridge
  • The Nano PEB (not really new, but cool to show)
  •  The HxC Floppy emulator on a TI

Arcade game circuit boards — Andrew Henderson — Kennesaw GA

Arcade games were extremely popular in the 80s and continued to be popular throughout the 90s. Come take a look at the computer boards that powered these games! Learn about arcade standards such as JAMMA. Three to five playable setups will be made available for attendees to actually play some of these games! History and specs of each game board will be detailed.

Experience the Texas Instruments TI/99-4a — Mark Little — Atlanta GA

This display celebrates the 36th year since the official introduction of the Texas Instruments 99/4a Home Computer (June 30, 1981 in Chicago), the home micro-computing market’s first true 16-bit machine. This interactive display includes: one working TI 99/4a console (classic silver/black) with a working Speech Synthesizer; one working TI Program Cassette Recorder; one working Peripheral Expansion Box with 32k Memory Expansion and two half-height floppy drives; one pair of original TI remote controllers (joysticks); at least ten command module (cartridge) games for anyone to play, including popular favorites Parsec, Munchman, and Buck Rogers (all in original boxes); and various software on 5 1/4″ floppy disks, manuals and books related to the TI 99/4a. In addition, take-one hand-outs are also available outlining the timeline of the TI 99/4a’s history, from its inception as an improvement to the beleaguered TI 99/4 in 1981, through to the price wars with Commodore in 1983 that forced its abrupt withdrawal from the home computer market in 1984. Finally, this year’s exhibit features a working Texas Instruments CC-40 Compact Computer, TI’s final home computer, which was manufactured for less than a year beginning in March of 1983.

Retro Japanese Computers — Thomas Liebert — Cumming, GA

This year my friend, Olivier and I will be showcasing various Japanese Retro Computer hardware and software from the following platforms: MSX, NEC PC-98, and the Sharp X68000.

Go Forth into the Past — Brian Stuart — Gloucester TWP, NJ

The Forth language, developed by Charles Moore was one of the most commonly used languages on small computers.  A fully functional system can be implemented in just a few K of memory.  Forth has been used for everything from boot monitors to controlling large telescopes and fusion research laser arrays.  This exhibit features several different implementations of Forth running on a variety of architectures, including LSI-11, 6809, 68HC11, and SPARC.

Before “Video” Games… — Peter Rittwage — Martinez,  GA

Before we had games we could play on a TV screen, we had “electronic games”.  Coleco, Mattel, and many other companies jumped on the bandwagon in the 1970’s. These were very simple “computer” that played only a single game.

Many early electronic games will be displayed and available for play, including Merlin, Touch Me, Simon, Space Invader, Fire Away, Invader from Space, Hit and Missile, Bank Shot, Speak and Spell, Coleco Electronic Quarterback, Galaxian, Pac-Man of all kinds, Mattel Football, and many, many other 70’s favorites.

Microcomputer Reproductions — David Greelish — Johns Creek, GA

There is software emulation of vintage computers, and then there’s new hardware enhancement or replacement parts for the retrocomputing hobby. However, there are also complete reproductions of microcomputers which fall into two main categories, the look-alikes and the work-alikes. This display will feature reproductions of the Altair 8800, IMSAI 8080, Altair 680, SWTPC 6800, COSMAC “ELF” and the PDP-8/I minicomputer.

Open VMS — David Kuder — Warner Robins, GA

This exhibit will highlight the VMS operating system from Digital, later Compaq and HP.  From how the VAX architecture evolved out of the PDP series, through to OpenVMS running on more modern hardware.  The exhibit hardware includes MicroVAX 3500 and VAXstation 3100 m76 systems.

Vintage Computer Federation — Evan Koblentz — Wall, NJ

Vintage Computer Federation (www.vcfed.org) is a national user group for computer history hobbyists. We formed in 2015 from the DNA of three related organizations. We’re a 501(c)3 non-profit with thousands of members. We offer the Vintage Computer Festival East (springtime at our headquarters in New Jersey), Vintage Computer Festival West (summer at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley), and we’re making plans for more events. Our group-owned collection is among the most comprehensive and accessible anywhere, containing everything from 1950s vacuum tube mainframes to 1980s eight-bitters. The collection is displayed at our museum in New Jersey and is open to the public several days a week. We emphasize the hands-on imperative. We also operate Vintage Computer Forum, which is the hobby’s largest discussion board. We are working hard to announce even more hobby resources this year.

Here at the VCF Southeast, we’re displaying Lego computerized robotics of the 1980s! The kit from 1986 was only sold to schools so it is largely unknown today, especially compared to the mainstream success of 1990s Lego Mindstorms. The 1980s version offered motors, lights, and sensors. You could program it in LOGO on an Apple //e or BASIC on an IBM PC. A follow-up version around 1987 allowed BASIC on the Apple platform, however this was only nominally supported. VCF members discovered 30-year-old bugs in the Lego control subroutines, and we lacked the vital Apple Lego card! Undeterred, we made our own routines which are simpler and use direct POKEs of each port on the Lego interface box, and we built a replica card. For travel purposes we’re demonstrating the system using a Laser 128/EX (reverse-engineered Apple //c clone from 1988). We will show robotic control using Applesoft BASIC and the proprietary Lego LOGO which is derived from the original M.I.T. version.

The Personal Computer Trinity 40th Anniversary — Earl Baugh — Johns Creek, GA
This exhibit will display  three significant machines that made a large impact on personal computing and are celebrating 40th anniversaries in 2017 — The Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1,  The Apple II and the Commodore PET.    We will be attempting to run “Space Invaders” versions on all three machines.

The clicky-clack Tic-Tac-Toe Computer! (1961) — Jim B. Steiner — Atlanta GA
Jim returns with a show favorite, the Tic-Tac-Toe computer!   This device was designed from scratch, using parts and electromechanical relays from 6 pinball machines (and a piece of furniture). The computer  started as a project for the high school humanities class, but when the science fair coordinator heard of it, he encouraged Jim to finish it in time to enter it in the school science fair.  Additionally Jim was further inspired by the 1960 winners,  the inspiration for the movie “October Sky” Rocket Boys from the small town of Coalwood, West Virginia.  Needless to say, their success led him to have it finished in time to enter the school science fair. The Tic-Tac-Toe Computer then progressed from the High School Science Fair to the Regional Science Fair and to the State Science Fair.  Come see it still in operation and try your luck at beating it!