VCF West 2021

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!


Vintage Computer Festival West 2021

Updated 2021-05-23

VCF West is for everyone! Computer geeks, families/children, students, collectors, IT professionals, curious onlookers…

VCF West 2021

When: August 7,8, 2021

With support from:

The Vintage Computer Federation

The Computer History Museum


Our volunteers

 The Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA


Special attractions:

  • ** Details will be added as they are finalized.  Please check back for updates! **

Tickets are now available!

Exhibits (and exhibit registration) — You’ll find demos of 1960s minicomputers, 1970s homebrew systems, 1980s eight-bitters, and a few oddities. Some exhibits contain pristine original machines, while others focus on unique modern hacks, and everything in between.

Speakers — Come see our impressive keynote speakers! Read about the speakers and their topics on this page.

Consignment – Buy and sell vintage treasures!

Contacts: Erik Klein, producer, VCF West; or (, Vintage Computer Federation

VCF West 2021 Event Schedule

Schedule for Saturday 8/7/2021 and Sunday 8/8/2021:

NOTE: All times listed below are Pacific Time

Saturday 8/7/2021

10:00 – 10:30 – Show Open, Intro and Welcome – VCF Staff
11:00 – 12:00 – IBM 1401 Demo at CHM 1401 Lab
12:00 – 1:00 – Back Into the Storm – Bil Herd (Virtual)

Bil Herd and Margaret Moribito discuss writing their new book with Earl Evans from Retrobits: Back Into the Storm, A design engineer’s story of Commodore computers in the 1980’s”.

1:30 – 2:30 – “Inventing the Future” New book about the Xerox Star. Not your standard history book! – Bob Purvy

Bob Purvy (pen name “Albert Cory”) has a new book about the Xerox Star, covering 1977-1981. He  as one of the original developers. Unlike nonfiction histories with hindsight, e.g. Dealers of  ightning, Inventing the Future is a novel, with fictional characters but real events. It puts you inside the Revolution, where you don’t know how it turns out!

2:30 – 3:30 – PDP-1 Demos at CHM PDP-1 Lab

3:30 – 4:30 – C256 Foenix – Stefany Allaire (Virtual)

The C256 Foenix from concept to finished product, including explanations of the VICKY II  Graphics Engine and some new developments.

4:30 – 5:30 – From Satellite Communication to WalkMacs: The Legacy of Chuck Colby – Bruno Marchon, Mike Moore, Dan Kottke

An overview of the “Colby” project followed by Q&A with a panel comprising Bruno Marchon, Mike Moore, and Daniel Kottke.

6:00 – Show closes

Sunday 8/8/2021

9:00 – Show opens

9:30 – 10:30 – History of computerized Tic Tac Toe – Bob Roswell

A history of the game that seems to have been implemented on every computer ever built.

11:00 – 12:00 – IBM 1401 Demo at CHM 1401 Lab

12:00 – 1:00 – Floppy Disks — The Ultimate Commodore 1541 Disk Drive Talk – Michael Steil

This talk discusses floppy disk drives, with the 5,25” Commodore 1541 as a case study. We  discuss the history of magnetic recording formats, how data is represented on a disk and how it gets from the drive to the computer. We also talk about fast loaders, alternate recording formats, copy protection schemes, and how to preserve disks using modern tools.

1:00 – 2:30 Bill Mensch — The Genesis and Evolution of the 6502 Family – Stephen Edwards, Bill  Mensch

Covering the MOS Technology story including Chuck and Bill leaving Motorola, the development of  the 6502, and its early success in the marketplace. Topics will also include Commodore days, the 65C02, the formation of WDC, the 65C816, and a little about the current state of the 6502 and its derivatives.

2:30 – 3:30 0 PDP-1 Demos at CHM PDP-1 Lab
3:00 – 4:00 – Recovering “lost” floppy discs with an oscilloscope – Chris Evans

Floppy discs have lasted decades longer than expected. But by now, many have started to fail. In  this talk, we’ll look at a few discs that are unreadable even with modern low-level tools such as a Greaseweazle. Can we recover corrupted or decayed data by attaching a modern oscilloscope directly to a disc drive, and what are the limits?

4:00 – 5:00 How the PC has changed teaching and learning – Liza Loop

A deep dive into the history of computing in education from one of the pioneers on the topic.

5:30 Show closes – Closing Remarks and Awards – Load Out

NOTE:  1401 and PDP-1 Demos will be running most of the day and not just at the designated times.

VCF West — Exhibits

** back to show homepage **

Exhibit Registration for VCF West 2021 is now closed.  If you need to make a change to your exhibit or if you wish to submit a late registration please contact me directly.

  1. NOVA 445 Computer –  Steve Toner – A homebrew 16-bit Data General Nova-compatible microcomputer based on the Fairchild F9445 CPU. The system will include a TTY interface, a 480×240 monochrome graphics display and a Paper Tape Reader emulator which allows loading of several fun demo programs.
  2. Networking with CP/Net – Jay A Cotton – How CP/M was way ahead of its time for in 1982
  3. Pin based computing – Thomas Conrad – Hands on pin based computers
  4. The 4004 processor 50 years and going strong – Dwight Elvey – SIM4-01 setup and a real application of the 4004.
  5. Analog Computing in the 1960s – Joe Fredrick – The history of special-purpose analog computers span most of the 19th century…
  6. Apple-1 and Apple ll Rev. 7 Replica Demo– Logan Greer, Adrian Chadd – Check out the display of the capabilities and features of the Apple-1 and Apple ll Rev. 7 Replica boards.
  7. Roc80 – Jim Miller – Designing hardware for emulating 80s computers and game consoles using modern microcontrollers.
  8. Silicon Graphics Inc: Homecoming – Nicholas Bustamante – Showing off SGI machines from late 80s to the early 2000’s. We will have an example for every generation of machine, including some rare accessories.
  9. C64i – Francis Bernier – Showcasing an improved C64 motherboard and accessories.
  10. Postponing Obsolescence With Early IBM PC’s + Using IBM Terminals – William Murray – A showcase some early IBM PC’s with extreme upgrades along with a set of early IBM Terminals connected to modern PCs.
  11. … but can it run Doom? – Zachary Hardesty – Answering that age old question “can it run Doom?” using expensive machines that probably shouldn’t, including one that actually entirely should and can (no x86/Intel allowed)
  12. Quake Zone – Chris Satterfield – Here at Quake Zone, we love ourselves some Quake. But do you know what else we love? Vintage Workstations. By combining these two forces we’ve created the ultimate 90s LAN party. With everything from SGI to Sun to Daystar, we’ve come up with a way to spend the absolute most money possible just to run Quake! The game is multiplayer across all the machines, so bring your friends!
  13. DEC VT100-Series Systems – Eric Pruitt – A showcase of various DEC systems built into the VT100 chassis.
  14. Retro in the New Era – Jay A Cotton – z80/z180 running cp/net and inet tools. Diskless boot…
  15. The Compact Macintosh Garden – Steve Brunwasser – A collection of various compact Macintosh computers from 1984 to 1996.
  16. Forth and Moore – David Henderson – This hands-on exhibit features variations on Chuck Moore’s Forth language based on eForth, Forth-79 and fig-Forth running on vintage systems including the Cantab Jupiter Ace 4000, Open University Hektor II, IBM PC 5150, Commodore 64, AIM 65 and Apple IIe. Also exhibited are books including Leo Brodie’s Starting Forth, user manuals and historical information about Forth.
  17. Colby Computers – Bruno Marchon – A showcase of recently restored computers and prototypes from Chuck Colby’s estate. The exhibit will also show some corporate information about his “Colby Systems” company, created in the 1980’s, that developed a line of Macintosh conversion computers.
  18. RRAuction Computing History – Jon Siefken – Early space, Apple, Computer related artifacts.
  19. From Apple 1 to LearningQuest – Liza Loop – See the First Apple 1 computer in person and hear about the journey from there to the Knowlege-based Environment for Personalized Learning using an Artificial Intelligence Recommender (KEPLAIR)
  20. 1970s/80s Microprocessor Based Electronic Scales – Francis Bauer – Working examples from pioneering Electronic scale manufacturer NCI (National Controls Inc.). Included are scales utilizing the following microprocessors: Intel 4004, Intel 8035 and Signetics 2650.
  21. MakerLisp Machine – Luther Johnson – Personal Lisp Computer
  22. Novasaur – Alastair Hewitt – The Novasaur is a full-featured personal computer built from less than three dozen Advanced Schottky TTL chips (circa 1979). It support an 80-column VGA text display, PS/2 keyboard interface, programable sound generator, RS232 serial, and an Intel 8080 byte-code interpreter. The machine is capable of running early 80’s computer games and even CP/M using a built-in 250k RAM disk.
  23. Retro PC Expansion Cards – Eric Schlaepfer – Come and see the legendary Snark Barker ISA sound card, the Snark Barker MCA (Micro Channel edition), the Graphics Gremlin ISA video card, and other modern expansion cards designed to run in vintage systems.
  24. Rare Computers from Japan – Duncan Mac Dougall – Japan had its own world of personal computers that, while popular in their native land, 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 several playable examples of an X68000, as well as several PC-98 systems, an MSX2+, a PC-88, and at least one FM-TOWNS.
  25. Amiga ROM upgrades and other hacks – Stefann Reinauer – I redesigned the Amiga ROMY hardware (See to allow larger ROMs on A3000 and A4000 (without soldering on your Amiga!)
  26. BBCMicroBot live & the Acorn RISC Machine (ARM) CPU – Acorn User Group SF Bay Area – Send BASIC in a tweet and the influential 1980s British 8-bit machine will run it live – what could wrong?! Experience an Acorn Archimedes featuring an Acorn RISC Machine (ARM2) 32-bit CPU – the original reference design for which was created in BBC BASIC by the legendary Sophie Wilson. Come celebrate the BBC Micro’s 40th birthday in VCF style!
  27. ATLAS CPU-8 Minicomputer – Hayden Buscher – An 8-bit homebrew minicomputer, built with 74LS series TTL logic.
  28. IBM 1620 Jr. – Project Epilogue – Dave Babcock – Begun in the fall of 2016, the IBM 1620 Jr. project is nearing its end. This will be the team’s fifth and final VCF sharing the progressive work on the project. All physical & electrical aspects of the project are complete and the final software & documentation work is underway. Come, see, and operate a 1960’s IBM 1620 at its final VCF appearance.
  29. The Brewing Academy – Marlin Bates – Atari 800/XL/XE stuff, including the 1088XLD and the 576NUC+ on display and for sale. The TI 99/4a TIPI and accessories. VectorBlade for the Vectrex, 2600-UNO for the 2600. The Ultimate cart for the Atari, Mouse adapters for the Jaguar, more if we can fit it in the van!
  30. Live Recapping Demo – Arion Paylo – A live demonstration of vintage circuit board capacitor replacement, trace repair and cleaning. See the detail up close with a microscope camera connected to a large TV.
  31. SLCC Presents – ATARI 8-Bit Computers into the Future – Kevin Lund – Atari stopped developing new 8-bit products in 1987. What this means to the 8-bit user base is that new technology and standards would not be available to them. But, rather than moving on to newer systems from Atari and other hardware developers, the Atari 8-bit community worked together to provide future products to current Atari 8-bit users. The SLCC (San Leandro Computer Club) will be exhibiting several of these new technologies for the Atari 8-Bit line.
  32. Mainframe Services – Dan Hembry – A re-creation of the Unix mainframe experience: sign up for an account, grab a serial cable, plug in your terminal, and login! Remote TTY service provided over RS-232 links. The ‘mainframe’ is a Raspberry Pi Zero running NetBSD, with custom USB-to-serial cards.
  33. Friends of the Palo Alto Library – David Cortesi – Vendor Table selling used on-topic books and magazines to benefit the Palo Alto Library.

VCF West — Speakers

** back to show homepage **

The following are our registered speakers, so far.  Please Contact me if you would like to be added to the list.

Bil Herd – Commodore as seen through the eyes of a young, long-haired designer

Bruno Marchon, Mike Moore, Dan Kottke – The Chuck Colby Collection

Stephen Edwards and Bill Mensch – A Conversation between Stephen Edwards and Bill Mensch

Michael Steil – Disk drives using the Commodore 1541 as an example

Stefany Allaire – C256 Foenix

Bob Roswell – History of computerized Tic Tac Toe

Liza Loop – How PCs changed teaching and learning

Bob Purvy – Inventing the Future.

If you would like to volunteer to speak at VCF West 2021 or if you would like to recommend a speaker please contact Erik Klein.