VCF East 2019

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Friday, May 3, 2:00pm: Come listen to our Homebrew Computing Discussion Panel. It’s one thing to design a kit, but did you ever design a computer truly from scratch? Panelists include Jon Chapman (8085 single-board computer), Bill Dudley (homebrew PDP-8 clone), and Alexander Pierson (Cactus 6502).

Saturday, May 4, 9:30am: In the 1960s-1970s, Ken Thompson co-invented UNIX along with Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs. He also worked on the language B, the operating system Plan 9, and the language Go. He and Ritchie won the Turing Award. He now works at Google. He’ll be interviewed Brian Kernighan of “K&R” fame.

Sunday, May 5, 9:30am: Joe Decuir worked as an engineer at Atari from 1975-1979, where he helped develop the Atari VCS and Atari 800. He then worked at Amiga from 1982-1984 on the (Commodore) Amiga 1000 computer.


This year there will be two special mega-exhibits in addition to the standard fare: Unix (50th anniversary) and Atari (40th anniversary). We anticipate each of these exhibits to be about 10 times the size of a normal exhibit!

The Mother of All Unix Demos – Jameel Akari, Troy, New York; Ethan Boicey, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Ethan Dicks, Columbus, Ohio; Andrew Diller, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Stephen Edwards, New York, New York; Alex Jacocks, Middletown, Maryland; Lou Kohn, Pittman, New Jersey; Kazuo Kuroi, Whitestone, Virginia; Ethan O’Toole, Chantilly, Virginia; Jason Perkins, Springfield, Virginia – Unix development began 50 years ago. This exhibit will include dozens of systems running unique versions, including machines from Apple, Atari, AT&T, DEC, IBM, NeXT,  Perkin-Elmer, SGI, and Sun Microsystems. (Check back for updates as additional people join the exhibit.)

40 Years of Atari Computers and the Legacy Of Jay MinerAnthony Becker, Cape Coral, Florida; Allan Bushman, Wallingford, Connecticut; Peter Fletcher, Quakertown, Pennsylvania; Maciej Grzeszczuk, Warsaw, Poland; Bill Lange, Somerset, New Jersey; Dean Notarnicola, Long Valley, New Jersey; Drew Notarnicola, Long Valley, New Jersey; Curt Vendel, Carmel, New York; Bill Winters, Tarrytown, New York – Come celebrate forty years of Atari computers, from the 1979 release of the 8-bit Atari 400/800 during the Warner Communication years, to the Atari Falcon 030, the last Atari computer product released in 1992 during the Jack Tramiel era. I’ll also show everything in-between including the Atari 8-bit XL and XE lines, along with the 16-bit Atari ST series of computers. Also touched on is the legacy of Jay Miner. From the display hardware of the Atari VCS/2600 and the Atari 8-bit computers to later being the “Father of the Amiga” computer, his impact on these legendary machines can not be overstated.

Registered exhibits are listed below.

HP 3000 Series 37 Minicomputer – Mike Loewen, State College, Pennsylvania – The HP 3000 series was a set of reliable and powerful minicomputers, primarily used in business environments. The Series 37 from 1984 was an entry-level system which had no special power or cooling requirements. The MPE-V operating system provided a multi-user, multitasking environment with a number of business and software development products. The system on display is running the last version of MPE-V (Release G.40.0), with 304MB and 81MB drives, a 9144A cartridge tape drive, and a 2934A printer.

SCELBI Hacks and Aftermarket Add-Ons – Mike Willegal, Tewksbury, Massachusetts – The SCELBI 8H has a reputation for being marginally useful due to the nature of the front panel controls. However, back in the day, enterprising hobbyists solved the most serious issues and made using the SCELBI 8H a viable proposition. This exhibit will explore a couple of the add-ons that turned the SCELBI-8H into a useful computer.

Wang laptop – Jan van de Veen, Nijkerk, The Netherlands; Rien Bouw, Utrecht, The Netherlands – This exhibitor has a large collection of Wang computers. He will showing a Wang laptop from 1998 and will also inform visitors about the museum and its possible future in the USA.

Learn to Program an Apple 1 – Eric Rangell, Downington, Pennsylvania – People will receive a worksheet with instructions on how to write a program to print their name on the screen. They will have to look up the hex codes for instructions and the ASCII codes for the letters in their name. Then they will type in their program and experience the unforgiving line editing of the Apple 1 monitor. When they get their program running they can take a picture of it.

Handheld and Portable Devices – Dave Shevett, Berlin, Massachusetts – This exhibit will show the evolution of handheld computing from the earliest electronic portable devices up through the age of the smartphone.

Evolution of 1970s Heathkit Computers – Alex Bodnar, Oxford, Pennsylvania – I will display the first computers from Heathkit, including the H8, H89, and H11.

Benchmarking DEC ComputersDouglas Taylor, Indian Head, Maryland – This exhibit is a demonstration of DEC 16-bit PDP-11, 32-bit MicroVax, and 64-bit Alpha workstations used to compare FLOPS (floating point operations per second), FFT compute times, and Linpack matrix algebra for these 1980s and 1990s computers. Comparison is made with modern Xeon-based systems to show how well these small systems performed.

Computer Vision, 1970s Style – Bill Sudbrink, Silver Spring, Maryland – For the last several years, I have exhibited the recreation and debugging of the Cromemco Cyclops single-kilopixel S-100 camera. This year, I will show actual applications using the image stream to trigger actions in the “real world”. In addition, this year there will be printed portraits available.

New Games for Retro Computers – Jeremie Marsin, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and Jerome Landriau, Montreal, Quebec, Canada – Double Sided Games publishes new games for retro computers and is the only known publisher of this type currently active in Canada. We will showcase our current and upcoming games for the Commodore 64, VIC 20, and Amiga.

GEOS in the Office – Jeff Salzman, York, Pennsylvania; Todd George, Quakertown, Pennsylvania – I’ll show a representation of GEOS in an office environment, with productivity software and possibly a game or two. The main demo will be on a Commodore 128, and possibly also on an Apple IIGS.

European ComputersThierry Mazzoleni, Montclair, New Jersey – This exhibit shows home computers from all over Europe. It will include a Thomson TO8, Acorn Archimedes 3010, Acorn Electron, MXT 5xx, Amstrad CPC 6128+, and more. Each system will have various peripherals and software.

Tandy Clones: Lobo Max 80 and LNW 80 – Bill Degnan, Landenberg, Pennsylvania – This exhibit will highlight rare computers that ran Tandy TRS-80 software.

The Cactus: More 6502 Blinkenlights — Alexander “Z” Pierson, Falls Church, Virginia; Joshua Abraham, Jamestown, North Carolina – The Cactus is a homebrew 6502 computer built to invoke the experiences of 1970s homebrewers using hand-wired circuit boards and 7400-series logic chips. Come discover the oddity that is the Cactus, and learn about the forgotten 6502 front panels that came before. Explore the improved front panel logic, now with perfected single step mode and software controlled switches. Play a game, toggle in a program, or write some BASIC.

Punched cards and PDP-8s – David Gesswein, Bethesda, Maryland – See punched card artifacts and try BASIC/FORTRAN programming with mark-sense cards, or punch cards yourself with a hand punch! Cards will be processed by a DEC PDP-8 minicomputer.

The Plot Thickens: Pen Plotter History and Artistry – Paul Rickards, Newark, Delaware – Learn about the history of the pen plotter, its use in the development of early computer graphics, and recent rediscovery and use today in fine art.

Living Computers: Museum+Labs – Rich Alderson, Seattle, Washington – We’ll show a demonstration of remote access to running online systems at Living Computers: Museum + Labs in Seattle, as an introduction to the museum to the East Coast.

The Strowger Switch: Telephony for the Mechanized Age – System Source Computer Museum (Bob Roswell, Aubrey Quasney, John Sutley) – Hunt Valley, Maryland – This is a demonstration of mechanical telephone circuit switching technology, which in many ways is an ancestor of digital computer processing.

A Little BASIC Training – Doug Crawford, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and Chris Fala, Lansdale, Pennsylvania – Have you ever programmed a computer in the 1970s or 1980s? Come work on actual vintage hardware and see what it was like. Hands-on, guided instruction in Commodore BASIC on the famous Commodore 64. Write your first program, or re-live your youth. Fun for any age!

Modeling the ENIAC – Brian Stuart, Gloucester, New Jersey – This exhibit features a 3D model of the ENIAC currently under construction for the VCFed museum. This 1/10 scale model is accompanied by a full pulse-level simulator of the ENIAC. Recent research has used the simulator to examine early programming bugs in the ENIAC technical manual.


Note: The sessions on Friday. May 3 are technical classes, not historical lectures. All of the classes are beginner/intermediate-level. All of them are classroom-style. They focus on vital tips and advice for configuring and repairing vintage hardware/software. (Schedule subject to change)


Location & Time Room 1 Room 2 Room 3
9:30-10:30 (Classes) Component Aging/Heat: Bil Herd Apple II: Tony Bogan What’s NeXT?: Bryan Caudle
10:40-11:40 (Classes) Terminals: Ian Primus Atari 400/800: Bill Lange Networking: Andy Diller
11:50-12:50 (Classes) Hard Drives: Jason Perkins Classic Mac: Tony Bogan Headless Booting: Stephen Edwards
Panel Discussion: DIY Computing (Room 1)
3:20-4:20 (Classes) CRTs 101: Ian Primus C- 64: Chris Fala SimH: David Gesswein
4:30-5:30 (Classes) Vintage Computing & Raspberry Pi: Dave Test TRS-80: Dean Notarnicola Unusual Unix(es): Alex Jacocks
9:30-5:30 Makerspace – Glitchworks Single-Board Computer Workshop, the Sequel!
5:30-late Exhibit Hall Setup


9:00am: Doors open 9:30am-10:30am: Ken Thompson (Room 1)
After keynote until 6:00pm Exhibit Hall 1: Dining Room

Exhibit Hall 2: 9032-A

Vendors: Lounge

Soldering workshop: Marconi Room

Consignment: Room 2

Software Store: Across from consignment

Single-board computer workshop: Makerspace

VCF Museum (9010-A) & all other InfoAge museums open. (Also open year-round on Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday!)

2:00 – “Atari: Easy to learn, hard to master” film: Rm. 1

7:00pm-9:00pm: Dinner @ Clancy’s (advance ticket required) 9:30pm-late: After party open to all! Meet at 9:30 sharp @ Silverball Arcade to receive discount ticket


9:00am: Doors open 9:30am-10:30am: Keynote: Joe Decuir (Room 1)
After keynote until 5:00pm Exhibit Hall 1: Dining Room

Exhibit Hall 2: 9032-A

Vendors: Lounge

Soldering workshop: Marconi Room

Consignment: Room 2

Software Store: Across from consignment

Single-board computer workshop: Makerspace

VCF Museum (9010-A) & all other InfoAge museums open. (Also open year-round on Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday!)

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