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Maker Faire -- Saturday summary

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  • Evan Koblentz
    Just about everything worked out great yesterday. The Mimeo was a hit. Our booth was busy all day long. Our exhibit design also worked great. We put the two
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 30, 2012
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      Just about everything worked out great yesterday. The Mimeo was a hit. Our
      booth was busy all day long. Our exhibit design also worked great. We put
      the two tables end-to-end, with lots of posters, original ads, manuals,
      etc., and then the computer sat at the end. We put "input" and "output"
      signs at either end, so people knew where to enter and exit. It worked
      exactly as planned. There were many times when we had a line to see the
      computer, and everyone waited patiently for their turn. One part of the
      exhibit worked even better than anticipated: there happened to be a light
      on the wall behind us, facing down, directly on top of the computer! The
      light worked all day Saturday; I heard it wasn't so reliable today.

      As expected, the Maker Faire visitors were of all demographics -- old,
      young, male, female, all ethnicities, all technical levels, etc. -- but
      just about everyone knew what about the Apple 1. One comical exception:
      "Wow, the first Mac!"

      We spent about 5-10 minutes with most of the visitors. We focused on the
      Apple/Mimeo for most of that time, and then we added a few bits about
      MARCH and VCF East.

      Also as usually happens, we met several interesting people. One person
      said his Apple 1 is in the Smithsonian. I will follow up on that. A few
      people said they may have equipment donations for us, from the mundane
      (ordinary //e) to the special (KIM sealed/unopened in original packaging;
      Altair; etc.)

      Alise did an excellent job at playing booth barker: she spent most of the
      day standing at our booth line entrance, with a stack of MARCH fliers, and
      proactively encouraged passers-by to come inside.

      I hope the Jeff(s) add their Sunday report tonight. Wish I could've been
      there both days.

      By the way, despite the lack of list discussion, we still had several
      MARCHins attend. We saw Chris L., Brian C., Jim S., David C., Corey, and
      as always, several "friends of MARCH" from other groups, etc.
    • jeff_s_jonas
      ... And we did the GIGO jokes done beforehand to get it out of our systems :-) And it was historically accurate to expect a queue for that venue since it was
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 1, 2012
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        --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "Evan Koblentz" <evan@...> wrote:
        > Just about everything worked out great yesterday.
        > The Mimeo was a hit. Our booth was busy all day long.
        > Our exhibit design also worked great ...
        > We put "input" and "output" signs at either end

        And we did the "GIGO" jokes done beforehand to get it out of our systems :-)

        And it was historically accurate to expect a queue for that venue since it was the site of the 1939 and 1964-5 World's Fairs. I adore the huge glass "great hall" (where ongoing concerts & lighting demos were held). My table was near the great hall for the Queens-wide science fair when I was in high school.

        Sat was almost a train-wreck for many of us. The #7 subway service was totally suspended Sat morning so the buses were instantly overloaded, delaying my arrival. But it was gratifying seeing the parade of folks along 111 St just for the maker fair, almost thick enough to have body-surfed it :-) Street venders must've loved the event for they sold great cheap lunches: grilled corn on the cob, various kabobs, home made drinks (coconut, mango).

        Evan continued to perfect his Apple 1 demo from HOPE by demonstrating BASIC programs with the kids' names as well as lunar lander ("see, it plays games!")[and lunar landing is perfect for that venue, for the Hall of Science was originally built for the 1965 World's Fair, focusing on the Mercury & Gemini missions]

        On Sat I got to look around. Several "friends of MARCH" had our flyers such as the traveling exhibit of Interesting Things. While Atmel dominates the Arduino arena with their AVR microprocessor, Microchip was there and quickly sold out of their PIC32 based Arduino (IXR has 4 of them for their contest). The Allied Electronics table was empty and staffed by 2 very forlorn folks, for their Raspberry Pi supplier stiffed them and never showed up. Apparently others had more on hand and sold out quickly. Fedora's booth was next to MARCH, running Linux on a Raspberry Pi, running the digital camera and serving photos of folks posing with the Tux mascot. (Drat! I forgot to wear my Red Fedora just to tease them!)

        Other booths near MARCH: a joint project of the Cooper Union and Columbia (I attended Cooper for EE), and IEEE (I'm usually a member).

        Sunday was interrupted by rain, so many folks huddled inside just to stay dry, so that diluted the number of folks really interested in the Apple 1 or Apple's humble beginnings. And the halogen spot light fritzed out, leaving us in the dark. Literally.

        I brought my Weird NJ #38 to show off "The Camp Evans Story" to appeal to the non-tech folks and give them yet another reason to visit us! I did my best to feel out what aspect interested each guest the most: the people (Woz and Jobs), the tech, or just "what's the big deal about this?" [kinda like a Passover seder: there are 4 kinds of kids: the wise son, the wicked son, the simple son and the one who does not yet know how to ask a question]. I tried to relate the Apple 1 to the MAKER scene since it's open source software & hardware, and it was kinda the Arduino of its day (a complete & tested ready to run single board computer intended for hobbyists to integrate as they please with their own keyboard & monitor to start).

        Many thanks to Evan, Alise and Jeff Brace for the drive home.

        > As expected, the Maker Faire visitors were of all demographics
        > -- old, young, male, female, all ethnicities,

        One woman was telling me how she was about 10 when she met Dr. Wernher Von Braun http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wernher_von_Braun at an astronomy club. That led to Tom Lehrer's song about WVB and happily she knew it well, so I felt obligated to tell her "if you like http://www.tomlehrer.org/ then you'll love http://www.johnforster.com/ "

        > Also as usually happens, we met several interesting people.
        > One person said his Apple 1 is in the Smithsonian.

        As with MARCH donations, many are never on display. I have a letter for the line printer carriage control tapes & punch I donated to the Smithsonian but I doubt they're on display unless there's a recreation of a programmer or sysop's desk for the mainframe era.

        Many friends of VCF visited on Saturday, even some VCF attendees!

        -- jeffj
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