andrew's blog

because it's 1999

VCF East 2018

May 23, 2018

Dafne and I drove up to New Jersey this weekend for the Vintage Computer Festival.

Some notable things I saw were:

  • CommodoreZ's Cactus Homebrew Computer which at the time could use both front panel switches or a serial terminal. Dafne entered the BASIC code to print a sine wave, and I entered some danged magic toggle code. I probably would have understood it more if I had any knowledge of assembly, but Z said that I "copied a value (I think it was 5) into Register X, then dropped that value into a specific address."
  • An Altair 8800 with a camera attached to it, making for cool low-res video
  • A C64 also with a camera attached to it, from which we printed our mugs
  • Thom Cherryhomes, who recently put a PLATO server online for retro computer enthusiasts.
  • The director of the documentary Viva Amiga, who was there to promote his next film Arcadia about Arcade culture. We had a good talk about arcades and I'm excited to see the finished film.
  • An informative demonstration of the Apple Lisa's hardware. There was a lot of misinformation I had received over the years!
  • A librarian from the Living Computer Museum in Seattle, who talked about software preservation and the methods of digital archiving. I hoped to spend some time talking to her about Library & Information Sciences during the exhibits, but I don't think we were around at the same time.
  • There were two Atari exhibits listed that I did not find, but would have loved to see. One was 8-bit publishing software and printers, the other was an exhibit of the Atari ST emulating other computers.

I also spent some time in the museum's makerspace, soldering components to the 8085 Single Board Computer by Glitch Works. I'm not very far along with it, but once I've finished it I'll be able to hook it up to a terminal and play with it. I've never done a project like this, so I'm excited about that :)

We found two great diners while in New Jersey, Neptune City Diner which was right across the street from our airbnb, and Sunset Diner in Ocean, NJ.