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29709TCF - questions people asked?

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  • s100doctor
    Mar 17, 2013
      I exhibited my Heath H8 and H19 at MARCH's vintage computer exhibit at TCF yesterday. It had the H17 5.25-inch drives and hard-sectored controller, and I ran HDOS 1.6 and BASIC games. I worked with David Comley, who kindly transported me and equipment, we shared two tables. David showed a KIM-1, a cassette recorder for storage, and a TI Silent 700 portable thermal-paper terminal to operate it. We took turns showing an ADM-3A+ and an ADM-3A terminal.

      Many people old and young came to the TCF event and saw our MARCH exhibits. I have an interest in COSMAC RCA 1802's, so I'll mention a surprise: the TCNJ Sarnoff Museum hosted a table at the entrance to the MARCH/Vintage room, and their director was on-site. They are working on the museum facility, but a laptop in their exhibit showed the digitized portion of the collection, plus they had some artifacts on display. Some COSMACS were running in the MARCH room also.

      I'm sure the MARCH exhibitors will report their results here in the MARCH 'list - I'd like to see that. I'll put my edited photos on my Web site with my report, and post a link here, as others will of course.

      It occurs to me the event was a learning opportunity for the exhibitors. It's a slightly different crowd from VCF and Infoage. For many, TCF is now a MODERN computer show or digital technology show (or robotics or ham radio), plus speakers; not a "vintage" show. For repeat attendees it IS a vintage show. I have a request for my colleagues, and I think Evan et al won't object if I lead to ask...

      "What were the five most common questions or comments of those who looked at your exhibit?" and

      "What was the most UNEXPECTED comment or question?"

      "Five" is just a suggestion, of course, and it gives room for people to post some of the same things. That's informative if "everyone" got the same questions. Let's see what I got...

      ...generally, when people showed interest, I explained briefly what they were looking at. So I did not get the "what IS that thing?" kind of question. A terminal ran BASIC, many people remember what those are. A few pre-teen kids actually started re-writing the programs.

      1) "I remember using that Heath H-8...does it have (various Heath options) installed?"

      2) "I really wanted that H-8 when it came out, but could not afford it."

      3) "The H-19 is a *really sharp* screen display."

      4) "how does this BASIC game work?"

      5) "that's pretty neat/impressive stuff! (general how-about-that kind of comments.

      The surprising comment, was when someone pulled out a smart-phone and said "...and look where we are at now." I said, "yeah, but in five years, that phone will be worthless - but THIS (pointing to the H8 system) will STILL be worth a thousand bucks". Not the kindest thing I said, but it's a point worth noting.

      I enjoyed the show and it went well, and many MARCHers had a nice early dinner together at the Ewing Diner. I don't think anyone had a bad experience. I'll say more on my own site, but my thanks go to Evan and Bill Degnan, and our hosts at TCNJ (Al Katz foremost), and to my colleagues in attendance.

      Herb Johnson
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