VCF West This Weekend

The 2021 Vintage Computer Festival West will happen as planned this weekend, August 7th and 8th at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.
We have dozens of awesome exhibits and an amazing schedule filled with great speakers as well as PDP-1 and 1401 demos at the Museum.
Tickets are available for pre-purchase or may be purchased at the door.
Please note: As of midnight last night Santa Clara County is instituting an indoor mask requirement for all people, vaccinated or not.
This means that everyone at VCF West needs to be masked during the event.  The only exceptions are for people speaking on stage or those with proven medical necessity, including communications for the hearing impaired.
We look forward to seeing you there!

VCF West Updates!

Please note that VCF West is happening as planned.  The Computer History Museum recently announced that they will be reopening to the public on September 1st.  This is for their exhibits.  Their rental space, such as the one the VCF is using, will be open earlier and VCF West will go on as planned on August 7th and 8th.

We will be closing Exhibit Registrations immediately after the July 4th weekend.  All registrations must be completed by July 6th to be accepted.

Please note: We have the opportunity to support analog phone lines at this year’s event.  Please let me know if that is something you want to take advantage of.

Speaker schedules and other particulars will be announced shortly.

VCF West 2021 Annoucement

We are pleased to announce that the Vintage Computer Festival West is returning to a live show format with this year’s show.  Last year’s virtual event was great, but it’ll be good to get back together in person and, of course, we can have a consignment space at a live event!  The event will be held on August 7th and 8th at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the State of California will be removing almost all Covid restrictions by mid-June and the Computer History Museum will be reopening to rental events by July.
This year’s show is already looking to be an awesome one with some exceptional speakers and exhibits already signed up to participate.
But we’re not done yet!  We still have more space to fill and more time for speakers willing to share their knowledge and experiences with the community or classroom activities for those interested in training others.  Virtual exhibits and talks are also being accepted for those who can’t make the trip.
Exhibit registrations are open here.
Please email the show coordinator, Erik Klein for virtual exhibits or any talks.
Thank you!

Curt Vendel, 1966 – 2020

Anthropologist Margaret Mead famously noted that,“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Curt Vendel, Atari collector and historian passed away unexpectedly on August 30, at age 53, was one of these ‘committed citizens,’ a walking one man archive of Atari history. Vendel was the guiding light behind the Atari History Museum, an online and physical archive of over 15,000 documents from Atari, which he in many cases rescued from oblivion as part of a lifetime of intense collecting efforts. The collection also includes “information, images and personal stories on all items produced by Atari as well as news and links to further assist any and all individuals interested in learning more about the company that helped to pioneer and shape many areas of Video Arcade Entertainment, Home Consumer Electronics, Personal Computer Systems and much, much more.” The Museum is celebrating its 40th year. Vendel was known to be kind, outgoing, and generous with his time. His loss will be keenly felt by the retrogaming and history of computing community. He leaves behind his wife Michelle and daughter Madison, a college freshman.

VCF West 2020 will be a virtual event.

Since it appears that we won’t be allowed to host “large gatherings” in the state of California for the foreseeable future, it is time to plan for keeping the spirit of VCF West alive without the physical gathering.

To do that we want to host the same basic format.  Exhibits, speakers and classes along with the “social” aspects of getting hobbyists together.

The only way to effectively do that is to put as much of the effort in advance as possible.  That means that contributors are being asked to “virtualize” their contributions with shareable videos, slide shows, etc.  Speakers and class trainers as well as any exhibitors willing will be asked to allow for an online Q&A session after the video is aired.

We will also host virtual meetups throughout the day, hopefully with special guests encouraged to visit at predetermined times.

The entire event will be scheduled for 6-8 hours on Saturday August 1st with all of the videos completed, post processed, uploaded and held by the prior weekend (July 26th.)

What we will need:

  1. Committed exhibitors to produce 5 minute (+/-) videos of the systems(s) they would have liked to exhibit.  These should be submitted to the VCF West team by early July, at the latest. Sooner is always better!

  2. At least a couple of keynote speakers willing to do 30 minute recorded talks and willing to host a Q&A Hangouts/Meetings call.

  3. Hopefully a classroom teacher or two to do a training video of 15-30 minutes and willing to host a Q&A Hangouts/Meetings call.

Again if you would like to participate in one of the above categories (exhibitor, presenter, educator) please let me (erik@vcfed.org) know as early as possible and please get your video done as quickly as possible.

Some video suggestions:

  • Please have your recording device in Landscape mode.

  • Introduce yourself and your exhibit to start.

  • Please ensure that you have appropriate lighting for your video.  Remember that different parts of the video may need different lighting.  Filming screens is usually done in a darker environment while speakers should find as much light as possible.

  • Audio is just as important as video.  Consider an external microphone, if possible.  Find a suitable space to do the recording with a minimum of ambient noise, echo, etc.

  • If you are speaking while in the video please speak into the camera rather than while looking away, if at all possible.

  • Play back your work and make sure you like it before submitting it!  Our editors will clean up some stuff, but we can’t add things that aren’t there, etc.

I created a sample video.

My raw one is here: https://youtu.be/amSyI3t6JWk

The cleaned up version is here: https://youtu.be/_1GKSVyuLRk
Update 6/24/2020

We currently have 12 exhibits, 2 presentations and 2 classes and the list is growing daily. The deadline of July 7 is coming soon, so submit your video quickly if you want to be included!

VCF West 2020

With due consideration for the current Corona virus situation, our hopes are that The Vintage Computer Festival West 2020 will take place, as usual, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA on August 1st and 2nd.
 
This year, however, we’ve decided to take over the entire second floor of the CHM.
 
This will give us a real auditorium and stage for our presentations away from the hustle, bustle and noise of the exhibit area. It also allows us to put Consignment in a contained area nearer the freight elevator and, by doing so, free up the classrooms for, well, classes.
 
I’ve opened exhibit registration on the vcfed website and have posted our preliminary schedule, exhibitors guide, FAQ and so on, all linked from here.
 
Please feel free to sign up for exhibits as soon as you are able. Please tell your friends, family, coworkers, acquaintance and random people you meet on the street about the event. Especially those in the vintage computing community or related areas who might be interested in exhibiting or presenting.
 
We have a much bigger space to fill and I’m looking forward to a huge, awesome show.
 
But we still need lots of things:
 
  1. Speakers – If you know someone working on a special project, with a connection so some bit of history, with a passion for something in our field, etc. please let me know and let’s get them signed up to share!
  2. Classes – If you have a talent or skill that you can teach others about, please consider conducting a class. Anything in the restoration, vintage software, preservation and other hobby areas is encouraged!
  3. Exhibitors – we need lots. We’ll be expanding beyond the traditional VCF focus on just computers and related gear. We’re looking for collectors of slide rules, mechanical and early electronic calculators and other “computing” equipment from days gone by.
  4. Volunteers – This show requires a lot of work and we’re looking for anyone interested in lending a hand. Responsibilities include running the front desk, consignment, the AV boards, running mics for presentations, helping with setup and tear-down and more. Students in need of volunteer hours will get letters for credit.
We will, of course, continue to monitor the Corona Virus situation closely and we will make timely decisions on how that might impact this show. The hope is that things settle down significantly in the intervening 6 months, for the world’s sake, and that we can proceed.
 
We’ll keep you posted. Please let me know if you have any comments, concerns, questions or whatever.
 
Thank you!