VCF West — Exhibits

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Hands-on demonstrations of historic computing are the heart of the Vintage Computer Festival series. Click here to learn about exhibiting and register your booth for the show.

The following exhibits are registered so far. Please check back often for updates.

Floppy Disks — Foone Turing, Milpitas, California — They’re everyone’s favorite digital storage medium, and the icon of saving to this day. We will show floppies from the original 8″ to the high-capacity “superfloppies” of the late 90s, plus all the rare floppies along the way that only got used in one computer. We’ll also have a Copy That Floppy! station so you can copy any floppies you bring to the table.

Electronic Patterning on a 1985 Computerized Knitting Machine — Adrienne Hunter, Santa Clara, California — See a 1980s method of designing your own knitting pattern using a TV as the monitor, then knitting it by machine. The Brother company in Japan designed and manufactured a series of knitting machines from the 1950s to the 1990s. Automated patterning was introduced with punchcards in 1970, followed by electronic patterning in 1980. The demonstration will show how to use Brother’s computerized add-on box from 1986 hooked up to a TV to design your own patterns, then we’ll download the pattern to the vintage electronic knitting machine and make it. The patterns are stored on 3.5″ floppies using a Tandy drive.

Newbear 77-68 6800 System — Simon Wynn, Redwood City, California — I will show a fully restored and functional Newbear 77-68 6800-based system. The 77-68 was one of the earliest home computers available in the UK. It was available as a kit and I’ve  owned the system that will be shown since 1979. The system was restored and expanded to include a simulated floppy drive system using an SD card, and now runs the FLEX OS, BASIC, and PL/M. I will have a full set of documents, photos, and articles. This is one of only two or three systems still in existence.

DEC PDP-11/45 — Fritz Mueller, Oakland, California — A fully restored and operational PDP-11/45 will be exhibited (two cabinets, dual RK05 drives, LA30 Decwriter, several VT52 and VT100 serial terminals). This is the culmination of several decades of parts collection, followed by a three-year part-time restoration effort, as documented at and on several threads in the Vintage Computer Forum. Multiple operating systems may be demonstrated throughout the day. Please stop by and swap restoration/troubleshooting tips and techniques, or write and run some MACRO-11, MU BASIC, or FORTRAN code!

Voice Coil CDOS — Jeff Albrecht, Mesa, Arizona — My exhibit is Cromemco-branded Persci 299 double-sided, double-density voice coil stepper as part of 8-inch floppy drives booting Cromemco CDOS in a Cromemco Z-80 system. Their speed will be compared to Altair hard-sectored disk disks with stepper motors running CP/M.

Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) — Ian Finder, Alex Handy, Keith Kaisershot, Laurence Miotto, Matt Swanson — Oakland, California — We’ll show vintage and retro computing & gaming featuring the Commodore Amiga, DEC PDP-11 text adventures, and more.

Acorn Computers — Dominic Pajak, San Jose, California — I will display influential British home computers from the 1980s, including the BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, and Acorn A3000 — one of the first commercial uses of an ARM processor.

CompuServe: Their PDP-10 Clones — Madeline Autumn-Rose, Alameda, California — This exhibit is an operational CompuServe SC-40! Remote access won’t be present at the exhibit, but a single-user operational state will be.

1980s HP Desktop Workstations and Handhelds — Francis Bauer, Santa Rosa, California — I will be demonstrating test & measurement and instrument/device control through the use of a number of HP Series 9000 desktop computers/workstations and some handheld computers. The primary I/O mechanisms are the HP-IB/GP-IB/IEEE-488 and the HP-IL interfaces. In addition to using 1980s HP storage hardware I will also use some software/hardware packages to emulate the vintage HP-IB and HP-IL storage devices using a GPIB card on a reasonably modern PC.

Vintage Computer Replicas as Open-Source Hardware — Oscar Vermeulen, Walchwil, Switzerland — Computers from before the microprocessor era are hard to find and even harder to keep going. Making a replica can be a good alternative to experience their history. Shown will be a small range such as the 1950s LGP-30, 1960s DEC PDP-8 / PDP-10, and 1970s DEC PDP-11.