Position Statement Adam Michlin

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Adam Michlin – Position Statement for Steering Committee 

Hi All,

For those who may not know, my experience with the MA Steering Committee (SC) began as a founding member and co-author (with Dean Notarnicola) of the by-laws. When approached to join the newly created committee, my initial answer was no as I believe a healthy non-profit organization needs to have leadership chosen by the membership and checked by the membership. I was convinced to join with the understanding that the initial committee would work to create the necessary infrastructure to allow members to have a say in governance and I am so thrilled to have the chance to run for office. If elected, one of my first priorities will be to work towards all members of VCF, paid or unpaid, having a vote in all leadership positions at all levels of VCF.

I left my SC term early as a pandemic related work issue required me to move to South Carolina and felt I would be too far away to do the job I wanted to do. Happily, I was able to move back to NJ and, in fact, live only about 10 miles north (Eatontown, NJ) of the museum and warehouse at InfoAge in Wall, NJ.

One of my biggest priorities is to continue my work towards improving the treatment of volunteers. Volunteers should be working on things that they *enjoy* working on and should never feel obligated to do something they do not enjoy working on. It takes more time to connect projects with people’s interests, but I am absolutely willing to put in that time and several exhibits in the museum right now show the benefits of that approach. Volunteers should also always have at least their own vote over any people in charge. All this creates an organization which thrives with volunteers.

Another priority is getting quality VCF artifacts proper homes, including displayed in other museums. VCF has loaned a wonderful working Canon Cat to Kennett Classic, as one example of a deal I engineered. It just isn’t the case that the best place for equipment is always the InfoAge warehouse. To that end, I want to codify a check out process for members to borrow equipment and will be the first person to vote yes if it is determined an artifact is better off with either another museum or member (IRS laws observed, of course, hi Corey!). An artifact given or sold to a caring member is often given a better lease on life than sitting in the warehouse and the more artifacts we put in the world, the more karma we are building should we ever need something for display in the museum. VCF MA should be a part of a larger community of museums and hobbyists, not an island unto itself.

Bringing me to my last priority which is to take back local control of the stalled warehouse move and get it done. My experience with VCF MA is as someone with big ideas who is also the first to follow up with the boots on the ground to get them done in practice. No excuses, the buck stops here. My ideas and accomplishments include:

General Warehouse Manager, including sorting and making available surplus equipment. If you have gotten a good deal on VCF surplus equipment in the last 5-6 years, I likely had some hand in it. My first volunteer job, way back when, was sorting Atari 2600 cartridges in the warehouse. How far we have come!

Co-Runner, with Dean Notarnicola, of possibly the largest VCF East exhibit in the history of the event, The World of IBM.

Co-Runner of the “Software Store”, with Tony Bogan, a special event at VCF 2019. This not only included coming up with the idea, but weeks spent in the warehouse collecting, sorting, and pricing boxed software. Thousands of dollars were raised at this event alone.

Co-Runner of the Apple II Classroom, again with Tony Bogan, a very successful proof of concept to have classes running not just on Friday, but on Saturday and Sunday at VCF East. Word has it the Commodore people are working on keeping this a tradition for East 2023. Atari people, maybe 2024? Or perhaps the Tandy people?

My implemented ideas for exhibits in the museum include:

The video game systems before Atari 2600 exhibit (on hiatus)

The 6502/65816 video games exhibit in honor of the visit by Bill Mensch (on hiatus)

The history of modems exhibit (now on display at LSSM)

The history of mice exhibit (currently on display)

The Atari MegaSTe MIDI exhibit (with particular help from Bill Lange and Pete Fletcher)

The 1992 Exhibit (with particular help from Alex Jacocks and Jonathan Sturges – Linux .99 is a head trip!)

I hope to continue progress to get a working SGI Indigo 2 to demonstrate early high end graphics and get more examples of larger computers working, whether through emulation or things like a DEC MicroVAX (a worthy exhibit unto to itself, hi Dave!). The key goal is to not just focus only on the hardware, but give people hands-on experience using software like IRIX, VMS and OS/360 etc.  I also hope to continue to create exhibits that emphasize more variety of what our beloved computers once did, like our MegaSTE MIDI exhibit. Perhaps a Mac IIsomething or SE/30 running Aldus PageMaker and a LaserWriter, maybe? And, of course, working towards getting everything in the musuem working all (well, most) of the time.

Along those lines, as you might guess, I am a believer in changing up the museum on a regular basis, which I feel is an important part of keeping the musuem fresh for vistitors.

I am a career computer science teacher with a specialty in the integration of computer history in computer science. I teach at Red Bank Regional High School in Red Bank, NJ and work as an adjunct professor at Drew University in Madison, NJ.  Some of you may know me as the teacher who uses 6502 and MIPS assembly to teach computer architecture. Others may know about the vintage computers and video games in my classroom for hands on use and teaches video game program through classic 8 bit games (mainly Atari Adventure and Space Invaders). Even others may know about my BS in Computer Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a Masters in Music from California State East Bay, and that I am finishing a Masters in Computer Science with emphasis in Cybersecurity at Monmouth University. I am directly connected to the education scene in Monmouth County and computer science teachers through the Computer Science Teachers Association in NJ (CSTANJ) and even served for a while as the President of the Central Jersey Chapter of CSTANJ. It is my hope to get VCF MA much more involved with the NJ education scene.

My father was, among other things, a Bell Labs, Exxon, Zilog, and Amdahl guy, so I can say my first computer access was with a terminal to an IBM 370 (Hunt the Wumpus!). It also means I have a very soft spot for all things big iron including my personal Amdahl paraphernalia collection which just might become an exhibit one day or, maybe just maybe, save someone a million dollars!

I grew up in NJ and was very lucky to move to Silicon Valley in 1984, just in time to own one of the first one thousand Mac 128Ks and attend the Stanford Macintosh User Groups (SMUGS) meetings at Stanford with my father to see people like Bill Atkinson and Guy Kawasaki talk. I also ran a x86 PC BBS for years (Remote Access) and served as a FidoNet Net Echo Coordinator in Silicon Valley proper (good old 143). Interestingly enough, my experiences at Silicon Valley computer swap meets (De Anza and Lawrence Livermore Labs) were the inspiration to suggest our current very succesful swap meets.

I hope you will consider me for membership in the MA Steering Committee and welcome all questions, public or private, you have. After all, there is little to steer without the wonderful work done by each and every one of you in the mission of spreading vintage computer wonderfulness throughout the world.

Thanks for reading!