MARCH frequently asked questions -- last updated 3/30/2006
What is MARCH?
MARCH is a user group for people who enjoy using
antique/vintage computers. Our
name is an acronym for Mid-Atlantic Retro
Computing Hobbyists. Our club's legal
name has an "Inc." on the end
because we're incorporated as a non-profit group.
2. I'm a nerd and
live somewhere between Connecticut and Virginia, yet I never
heard of you
That's because we are relatively new. We began in early 2005 as
discussion group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/midatlanticretro/), became
informal club in the springtime, and didn't become a legal entity until
the year. Now it's 2006 and our ship is moving at full-steam! We
also have a
web site which is VERY under contruction. It's at both
3. So I have to
live in the Mid-Atlantic part of the U.S. to join?
description just conveys where our members and activities are
In fact, we have members from around the country. We have a few
more in the
extremes of New Hampshire, Pittsburgh, and the Carolinas. But as I
we're mostly in a triangle between Connecticut, eastern Pennsylvania,
Washington, D.C. ... our physical home is on the New Jersey
4. Physical home? Huh?
That's right, we have a home of
sorts. Our home is the InfoAge Learning Center
(www.infoage.org) which is a non-profit
science museum currently under
construction. MARCH is one of several groups
residing there, and our job is to
run a computer museum on the premises. We
are making slow but steady progress
5. What else does MARCH
Lots of fun stuff. The most visible thing we do is maintain our
discussion group. Activity-wise, our flagship event will be the
Computer Festival East. Our first edition of that hobbyist
convention (and the
third VCF East event overall) will be held Saturday,
May 13, 2006 at the InfoAge
facility. We also participate in the Trenton
Computer Festival every April.
Once we make it through the VCF event, we'll
start planning other events such as
a swap meet, regional gatherings, and
perhaps a road trip. We also offer an
online inventory database to help you
(and us) keep track of our collections.
6. Okay, this all sounds
interesting. So by "antique/vintage" do you mean my
No, we mean your old Altair, Apple II, Commodore, DEC PDP-8, Epson
HP-1000, IBM PC, KIM-1... we could go through the alphabet a couple
times but we
think you get the idea by now. We're interested in truly
antique computers, not merely "used" computers.
7. I still don't get
it. Where can I learn more about what's antique/vintage?
Pick up a copy of the book "Collectible Microcomputers" by Michael
Or for non-micro aspects, go online. Heck, go online anyway. Check
classiccmp.org mailing lists;
the Vintage Computer Festival
old-computers.com; technologyrewind.com, and many, many,
many others. (If
you're interested in specific machines, just post your
question to our
discussion list and we can refer you to the best
8. What's behind the scenes of this wacky endeavor?
have some de facto officers; an official set of bylaws and all that
stuff is being worked on... we're just so busy having fun that we
procrastinating. The officers (i.e., those who were suckered into the
Evan Koblentz (prez), Bill Degnan and Andy Meyer (VPs), Jim Scheef
and John Allain (web/museum helper-outer). The five of us take
logistical crap so the members can have fun with everything
9. Members, hmm, is it like just you and two
We're much bigger than that! As of spring 2006, we have three
or four dozen
paid members, and 100+ on our discussion list.
Uh-oh, you said 'paid'... is that the catch?
Sort of. We realized early
on that running a real club takes some money. To
help raise money, we ask
members for a $20 donation or a board-approved
alternative. For now,
alternatives include giving us good-quality folding
tables, doing some kind
of work for our club which we'd otherwise have to pay
for, or being a
minor. Anyway, this $20 situation is supposed to be a one-time
deal, but in
real life, it may become an annual deal. But fear not: nobody *
has to *
contribute anything. We offer some perks from time to time for the
members, but anyone can still participate in our group. Basically we're
lot like shareware -- if you like what we do, then please help us pay our
Of course, donations larger than $20 are always welcome, as are
antique computers and various supplies for our
11. So the club is entirely member-supported?
money in other ways as well. For example, in the past we've rented
antique computers to film companies as props, and we hope to make a
dollars from hosting the Vintage Computer Festival and other events. In
museum, we'll also sell t-shirts and such.
12. I have some other
question not on this FAQ.
Okay. Tell us what it is. Do so again by
posting to our message boards or
pinging me (evan@...) ... ask us
anything, we're not shy! (And moreover,
unlike some computer clubs, we're
not cliquey. All are welcome here!)
13. What else should I know before
diving in to MARCH?
If you're a nerd who thinks really old computers
and their related technologies
were cool, then give MARCH a chance. You'll
be glad you did. Also, if you were
wondering, we're NOT a bunch of old
farts who sit around and whine about how
much better things used to be.
Quite the contrary: we're a lot of young and
mid-life farts who ... ooooh
maybe we said too much. :)