VCF West — Exhibits

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VCF West 2024 Exhibit Registration is open and we’re filling up fast!

Registration will be frozen over the July 4th weekend so we can plan the space, create the program, etc.

If you have any questions regarding the registration process, please contact me.

Registered Exhibits (so far):

Steve Jobs and the Apple Computer Revolution: Displaying historical documents and vintage computers – Bobby Eaton

C64i – Commodore 64 Improved: Final prototype for a new motherboard for the C64 – Francis Bernier

Project Ivy: A collection of rare and unusual IBM ThinkPads and portables. Including the famous 701c “Butterfly”, the early 2-in-1 360P, the cute and tiny, Japan-exclusive Pal Top PC 110, and the very first ThinkPad laptop 700 PS/2. All restored to full working condition and running period appropriate software. Stop by and give them all a test drive. – Katarina Melki

Game (almost) Over: The Return of Apple: This exhibit takes a look at an Apple that barely avoided bankruptcy and–under the direction of Steve Jobs–took Apple in a bold, new, colorful and sleek direction that would lay the foundation for Apple’s meteoric rise in the 2000s. – Chris Turpin

Keith’s Mac Hacks: Ordinary Macs, creative hacks – Keith Kaisershot

Friends of the Palo Alto Library: Stacks of interesting computer books from the 80s and 90s for sale. – Dave

Core Memory – Interactive! Hands-on exhibit with Core Memory! This is a unique opportunity to try out fun demos using Core Memory in conventional and unconventional ways. Used throughout the Apollo program, learn how Core Memory works and the unique properties which made it the most prevalent type of computer memory in the 1960’s. Swirl some neon gas with a magnet and a 6502 while you’re at it… You can also buy a DIY kit so you can make your own Core Memories! – Andy Geppert

S100 bus computers new and old: Several S100 bus computers, including a PDP11/73 and Z180 as well as 8080 and z80 boards – Jay Cotton

The Tele-Typin’ Zone: “TTY? You mean a Teletype?” Yes, but no! Come see the revolutionary technology that enabled the deaf to communicate freely for over half a century, all from the comfort of their own homes. – Dustin Williams

Live Circuit Board Re-caping & Repair: Live demonstration of replacing surface mount and through-hole capacitors, trace repair and board cleaning. –Arion Paylo

The MOnSter 6502: The MOnSter 6502 is a replica of the famous 8-bit 6502 CPU made out of discrete transistors (and LEDs) on a very large circuit board. – Eric Schlaepfer

TETRIS game on early Soviet personal computers and Apple 1 clone: 1. Soviet computers running TETRIS game. -First soviet home computer BK-0010 (16 bit processor – clone of PDP-11)

-Radio-86RK (clone of Intel 8080 chipset)

-Apogei BK01 (8 bit computer)

-Soviet clone of ZX Spectrum

  1. Apple-1 and rare Apple-1 prototype board clones
  2. Apple II and an early Mac running TETRIS game. – Mike Khitrykh

VMEbus Card Showcase: The VMEbus (aka IEC 821, aka ANSI/IEEE 1014-1987) can trace it’s roots back to 1979, but is still in use today to provide reliable compute infrastructure to laboratories, factories, and telecom installations. While the bus was designed around the Motorola 68k series CPUs, the architecture was universal enough to support virtually all major processors. Wide adoption and a simple interface encouraged a robust ecosystem of accessory cards, some of which can be seen here. Notably included in this display are video cards, custom and prototype ISDN hardware, simple memory banks, and unusual high-reliability hardware of unknown providence. – Dan Hembry

The Compact Macintosh Garden: A showcase of the original line of Apple Macintosh computers from its debut in 1984. Celebrate 40 years of the Mac and take a look at where it all began. Experience running software off floppy disks, and play classic video games in all their black and white glory. – Steve Brunwasser

UNIX and the Telebit Trailblazer: The spread of UNIX and USENET created a niche for the Telebit Trailblazer. In the mid-1980s, when common modems offered speeds of 1200 bps, the Trailblazer was over 10 times faster! Telebit’s Packetized Ensemble Protocol (PEP) divided the line into hundreds of discrete channels, each of which could be disabled due to noise, allowing for maximum speeds over bad connections. Trailblazers paid for themselves by significantly reducing long-distance phone call charges for busy USENET sites. This exhibit will have UNIX systems swapping files over Trailblazers with UUCP, and (hopefully) NetNews/USENET too. – Steve Jones

Apricot Computers – Fruity Alternatives from the United Kingdom: The exhibit will consist of 4-5 computers spanning from the Victor 9000, which ACT would rebrand and market in Europe as the Sirius 1 and kick off their own computer line starting with the Apricot PC to their last non-PC compatible, the Apricot Xen. Each machine displays the stunning styling that ACT/Apricot would become famous for. – John Ball

Keeping Commodore Alive: Mutiple commodores from 8bit to 32bit being kept alive with modern parts and add-ons. Some machines are stock, some are modified, but all provide the Amiga experience! – Nicholas Bustamante 

SPARC of Imagination: Showcase of a few SPARC machines from Sun – Julian Carter-Carvalho

A History of ULTRIX: ULTRIX started on the PDP-11 and made its way through the VAX to MIPS DECstations. Presented are interactive environments showcasing examples of all 3 architectures it ran on. – Madeline Autumn-Rose

IBM 1130: Exhibition of a restored IBM 1130  – System Source Comptuer Museum

40 Years of Macintosh: The original Macintosh turned 40 this year! To celebrate, you can stop by and see every single compact Macintosh released in the U.S., along with some other unique additions in Apple’s history. – Ryan Burke

Long Live the Z80! Z80 Systems: A hands-on presentation of several systems celebrating the original Z80 microprocessor, which is ceasing production after 48 years on the market.

This versatile microprocessor was designed and developed by a team at Zilog including Federico Faggin, Ralph Ungermann and Masatoshi Shima.

Among the items on display are the Tatung Einstein TC01, ZX Spectrum, Radio Shack TRS 80 Model 1, Sinclair ZX80, MicroAce (ZX81 clone), Jupiter Ace 4000 and Micro-Professor MPF-1 trainer board. – David Henderson

Motorola 6800 Exorciser Systems Menagerie: History and demonstration of Motorola 6800 development kits, development systems, and micromodules produced from 1975 to 1979. Highlighting function, utility, original documentation, and use in various settings from industrial control, academic and engineer training to research/engineering labs. Includes kits such as 6800D1, 6800D2, 6802D5, micromodule subsystems, up to disk based Exorciser Development systems. – Stanley Ruppert

Power Clones of the 90s: An assortment of power computing clones running 90s software plus an 9600 to compare against – Jordan Hayes 

8-bit flops: At least two if not more infamous examples of micros that lost the war to other computers, even within the same companies! – Audrey Moss

Prodigy Reloaded: Prodigy Reloaded is a faithful re-implementation of the Prodigy online service backend, allowing the original client to work again.  Experience the Prodigy service again, as you might have in 1989. – Phillip Heller

Random British Computers: A selection of British Computers. – Chris Satterfield

Zhinü’s Portables ‘n All in Ones: Demoing various 80s and 90s portable and All in One machine in fursuit.- Tyler Hayes 

Rabbit Hole Computing: Rabbit Hole Computing designs and manufactures advanced SCSI and IDE/ATAPI CD-ROM emulators – Alex Perez

Pen Based Computers: Exhibiting Apple Newtons.  By allowing guests to actually use the Newton, they can experience the Newton for themselves – Thomas Conrad

J-PC ZONE: Japan had its own world of personal computers that did not reach Western shores. This exhibit aims to show several different running examples of these impressive platforms that most of the West missed. We will be demonstrating at least one playable example of an X68000, a PC-98 series system, an MSX2+, a PC-88, and an FM-TOWNS. – Duncan Mac Dougall

Cube³: A variety of notable cubed computers – Jordan Hayes

Turn It Up to 11: Harken back to those thrilling days of yesteryear when PDP-11s rules the planet and 8-bit microprocessors were just toys.

Exhibit will include genuine PDP-11/73 and PDP-11/53 processors running with a combination of original and new (DIY) hardware. – Steve Toner

Apple-1 replicas: Apple-1 replicas with CFFA autoboot and NFT authentication – Daniel Kottke

Bitfixer’s bits and bytes: A collection of old computers and modern gadgets for them. – Michael Hill

SimCity for Unix: Classic SimCity for Solaris/HPUX/IRIX/Dec – Antoni Sawicki

Keep Calm and Carry On (loading) British computers from the 1980s. Acorn, Sinclair and others – Steve Crozier

GT40 Lunar Lander: This exhibit will showcase a working GT40 running Lunar lander. – Scott Swazey

The Intel 8080, 50 Years and counting: Introduced in April 1974, the Intel 8080 8-bit microprocessor played a large role in starting the microcomputer industry.  Many of the early systems were based on the Intel 8080 and the subsequent Intel 8080A microprocessor.  This exhibit features a few 8080 based systems like the Processor Technology Sol-20 Terminal Computer and a number of 8080 trainers and diagnostic products. – Francis Bauer

The IBM 3270 terminal evolution: A demonstration of IBM’s iconic 3277, 3278, and 3279 mainframe terminals connected to an emulated VM/370 host over coax running 3270 protocol with attached control unit. – Dave K.

World’s Largest Mac Plus (aka Mac Plus Plus): I built the world’s largest Mac Plus at 237% scale. It’s huge, it looks visually identical to a real 87 Mac Plus except for how large it is. Includes functional keyboard and mouse at scale too. Runs Mac System 7 like a Mac Plus should. Fully 3D printed one-off build. – Jason Jackrel

Unix Workstations: A collection of Unix workstations and X terminals from the 1980s and early 1990s – Rico Pajarola

Genesis DOES! Vintage 90s store display + Segasonicfan Designs Retro PCB Add-Ons! A celebration of all things 90’s Sega, there will be a display of boxed Sega consoles and accessories from the 90s!  Also going to showcase new and upcoming designs by SSFD for retro game console add-ons (some available for purchase). Sega Sonicfan

Consoles as Computers: At their hearts, and especially in modern times, most video game consoles are personal computers – outfitted with a microprocessor, video circuitry, memory, internal or removable storage, etc. The specialization of the hardware and the choice of inputs and software often is what makes us see these as only tools for leisure, not for work. This exhibit showcases consoles from the 70s to the 90s with a focus on the gray area between game consoles and personal computers, both in software and hardware, including consoles which purposely tried to blur the lines. Floppy drives, mice, keyboards, paint programs, BASIC interpreters, speech synthesis, edutainment, and more! – Mia Brandenburg

Commodore PET Collection: A collection of Commodore PET computers and peripherals – Chuck Hutchins

Radio Shack and Tandy “Portable” Computers: It’s 1981 and you’ve got business to do, but not a lot of budget. Luckily, your local Radio Shack store has a variety of systems that will get the job done and expand your definition of the word “portable”. Come play with them and learn how they affected mobile computing for decades. – John Riney III

CoPiCo: WiFi & More for the Tandy Color Computer: We’d like to showcase our progress on creating a cartridge for the Tandy Color Computer that is capable of providing access to the Internet over WiFi, emulating a ROM (game/app) cart, booting over the network, and, eventually, bus capture & breakpoints!

I will also be demoing my good friend Henry Strickland’s work creating amazing CoCo software such as a streaming video player, a networked Space War game, a network boot ROM, protocol, and server for the CoCo, and network bootable builds of NitrOS-9 with DHCP, DNS, and IP clients as well as support for both the CoCoIO ethernet and CoPiCo WiFi hardware. – Thomas Shanks

Silicon Graphics “Twin Tower” Workstation: The Silicon Graphics Power Series (and Professional IRIS) were housed in a very distinctive split pedestal deskside. This machine was originally configured as a 4D/220, but is currently housing the boards for a Silicon Graphics Crimson! – Zachary Hardesty

C64 – Floppy disk paradise: Bring your old forgotten floppies and a USB stick and we’ll help try preserve your (Commodore) floppies for the ages to come ! – Joeri van Haren

The Commodore Artist: A showcase of drawing and painting tools for creating art on Commodore computers – Theodoro Koulis

Vintage Computer Aided PCB Homebrewing: Presentation of printed circuit board design and homebrewed prototyping using 1990 vintage PCAT and Roland DXY800 plotter transferring artwork directly onto double sided copper clad laminate. 

Displaying of samples of PCB in every stage of homebrewing from artwork drawing, through etched board, drilled board, metallized vias sample to final assembly. 

The displayed setup include one PCAT 286 color EGA class machine running 1985 PCB design software SmartAwork. The 2nd 1992 PC 386/486 VGA computer controlling Roland DXY800 plotter demonstrating artwork transfer to copper clad laminate.  

I will be displaying also a dozen homebrewed between 1990-1994 PCB assemblies including handful of FABs using above method, some functioning including: * custom 8-bit computer based on 8052 derivative, * DASIO personal electronics notepad, * 1MB Centronics printer buffer, * Universal I/O ISA adapter, * ISA Custom D/A Sound card, * VGA51 Dual monitor FPGA based VGA adapter – PC ISA compatible, * EPROM/SRAM Emulator, * MCS51 family MCU Programmer, * 87C51 In Circuit Emulator, * Hitachi HD44780 LCD interface compatible LED Display (5×8 matrix based), * LED Analog table clock, * LED 5×8 Pocket slot machine.

All these devices were designed, fabricated and coded by me back in 1990-1997 period. – Steve Surowinski

Rebuilding the TRS-80 Model 1: – Explore my faithfully recreated TRS-80 Model 1 systems. Discover how my complete range of replicated parts, cases, keyboards, and PCB boards can breathe new life into your Model 1. Whether you’re repairing a beloved old system or building one from scratch, my exhibition showcases the perfect blend of nostalgia and modern engineering. – Marcel Erz