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Re: [midatlanticretro] Roll Call for VCF E

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  • B. Degnan
    ... bring. ... I had suggested that a early/mid 70 s 8 would be OK for the exhibit. You re correct that it s not homebrew . I was trying to not be too
    Message 1 of 30 , Feb 23, 2013
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      -------- Original Message --------
      > From: evan@...
      > Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2013 5:33 PM
      > To: "MARCH Yahoo Midatlanticretro" <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com>
      > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Roll Call for VCF E
      >
      > >> I have an 8/M (OEM version of 8/F) thats easy to move and could
      bring.
      >
      > What's the connection between that and our theme?
      >
      >

      I had suggested that a early/mid 70's 8 would be OK for the exhibit.
      You're correct that it's not "homebrew". I was trying to not be too
      strict. You make the call Evan.
      bd
    • David Gesswein
      ... I was just going by Bill s post where he listed various 8 s as possible exhibit items. Before that posting (and I guess now) I didn t think I would be
      Message 2 of 30 , Feb 23, 2013
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        On Sat, Feb 23, 2013 at 10:06:31PM +0000, evan@... wrote:
        > >> I have an 8/M (OEM version of 8/F) thats easy to move and could bring.
        >
        > What's the connection between that and our theme?
        >
        I was just going by Bill's post where he listed various 8's as possible
        exhibit items. Before that posting (and I guess now) I didn't think I would
        be exhibiting since I don't have anything homebrew 1974-76.
      • ekoblentz
        ... Well ... I certainly don t want to turn you away. Two ideas if you bring an 8: - Explain to visitors how big computers were often used to develop for
        Message 3 of 30 , Feb 23, 2013
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          >> Before that posting (and I guess now) I didn't think I would be exhibiting since I don't have anything homebrew 1974-76.

          Well ... I certainly don't want to turn you away.

          Two ideas if you bring an '8:
          - Explain to visitors how big computers were often used to develop for little ones
          - Bring your Straight 8, and explain the connection to RESISTORS, Ted Nelson, etc.
        • Dave McGuire
          ... That s an excellent idea. I briefly thought about bringing my PDP-8/m, because (and I d put up a sign of some sort explaining it) I *bought* it at TCF, in
          Message 4 of 30 , Feb 23, 2013
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            On 02/23/2013 07:01 PM, evan@... wrote:
            >>> Before that posting (and I guess now) I didn't think I would be exhibiting since I don't have anything homebrew 1974-76.
            >
            > Well ... I certainly don't want to turn you away.
            >
            > Two ideas if you bring an '8:
            > - Explain to visitors how big computers were often used to develop for little ones
            > - Bring your Straight 8, and explain the connection to RESISTORS, Ted Nelson, etc.

            That's an excellent idea.

            I briefly thought about bringing my PDP-8/m, because (and I'd put up a
            sign of some sort explaining it) I *bought* it at TCF, in something like
            1986. I think that'd be a neat tie-in, but mainly neat for me, not so
            much for other people.

            -Dave

            --
            Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
            New Kensington, PA
          • B. Degnan
            Ted Nelson s 1974 Computer Lib and Dream Machines has a lot of pre-micro references to PDP 8/11, here is an example.
            Message 5 of 30 , Feb 23, 2013
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              Ted Nelson's 1974 Computer Lib and Dream Machines has a lot of pre-micro
              references to PDP 8/11, here is an example.

              http://www.vintagecomputer.net/CISC367/Computer%20Lib%201974%20Selected%20Ar
              ticles.pdf

              bd

              -------- Original Message --------
              > From: evan@...
              > Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2013 7:29 PM
              > To: "MARCH Yahoo Midatlanticretro" <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com>
              > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Roll Call for VCF E
              >
              > >> Before that posting (and I guess now) I didn't think I would be
              exhibiting since I don't have anything homebrew 1974-76.
              >
              > Well ... I certainly don't want to turn you away.
              >
              > Two ideas if you bring an '8:
              > - Explain to visitors how big computers were often used to develop for
              little ones
              > - Bring your Straight 8, and explain the connection to RESISTORS, Ted
              Nelson, etc.
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
            • B. Degnan
              ... Please feel free to bring any pdp 8 that would have been fully depreciated by 1979. Lucky techs took home old pdp s after they were de-commissioned by the
              Message 6 of 30 , Feb 23, 2013
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                > I briefly thought about bringing my PDP-8/m, because (and I'd put up a
                > sign of some sort explaining it) I *bought* it at TCF, in something like
                > 1986. I think that'd be a neat tie-in, but mainly neat for me, not so
                > much for other people.
                >
                > -Dave


                Please feel free to bring any pdp 8 that would have been fully depreciated
                by 1979. Lucky techs took home old pdp's after they were de-commissioned
                by the original company/institutions and given a new life for home use.
              • William Donzelli
                ... The PDP-8 line were certainly used in industry and academia homebrewing , as a cheap processor for all sorts of custom installations (experiments, machine
                Message 7 of 30 , Feb 23, 2013
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                  > Two ideas if you bring an '8:
                  > - Explain to visitors how big computers were often used to develop for
                  > little ones
                  > - Bring your Straight 8, and explain the connection to RESISTORS, Ted
                  > Nelson, etc.

                  The PDP-8 line were certainly used in industry and academia
                  "homebrewing", as a cheap processor for all sorts of custom
                  installations (experiments, machine control, test rigs, etc.).

                  --
                  Will
                • corey986
                  Well I am going to be there. I don t know what I should bring. I figured I d help work the MARCH exhibits. I was originally thinking I d bring my restored
                  Message 8 of 30 , Feb 24, 2013
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                    Well I am going to be there.

                    I don't know what I should bring. I figured I'd help work the MARCH exhibits. I was originally thinking I'd bring my restored early 12k MITS Altair (no 3rd party cards) with the see-through top or an Apple II (not plus), but I think it's better if I concentrate on giving Evan some "break" time. The guys bladder can only take so much. LOL

                    The other idea that came to me is to bring a bunch of Briel stuff to sit next to MARCH's real ones. Who knows maybe we can get some new people into vintage computing by wetting their appetite with a Briel replica-1 or Micro Altair. I know more than a few people who started that way and had to get a real Altair or IMSAI.

                    Cheers,
                    Corey

                    --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Sitting here are the airport in Chicago..weather related layover, ug.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Anyway, here is what I have so far for Trenton, the theme is homebrew era
                    > microcomputers. If you have anything from 1974-76 especially something that
                    > works please try to exhibit.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Me (Bill Deg) Altair8800 not sure which model maybe a turnkey this time) and
                    > Altair 680.
                    >
                    > Herb Johnson XITAN Z80 system
                    >
                    > Bill Dromgoole - OSI 300
                    >
                    > Bob Applegate homebrew system(?)
                    >
                    > Jon Chapman (? - do you want to bring your Altair 8800 instead and I can
                    > bring something else?)
                    >
                    > Someone with a exhibit-able working PDP 8i/e/f or a PDP 11 05/10/35/40/20
                    >
                    > Someone with a Teletype-driven system
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Evan/MARCH - Apple I, Mark 8, KIM? and misc other homebrew stuff as needed
                    > to fill the classroom, if we don't have enough exhibits.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > In addition to our club, the plan is to spread the word to the history,
                    > comp-sci and comp engineering departments to encourage a few students to
                    > come visit, even if they were not interested in the TCF otherwise. Maybe we
                    > can get RCF to send out a bulletin about our exhibit too.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Bill
                    >
                  • ekoblentz
                    ... I d appreciate that. I figure you would be our Apple 1 expert.
                    Message 9 of 30 , Feb 24, 2013
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                      >> I think it's better if I concentrate on giving Evan some "break" time.

                      I'd appreciate that. I figure you would be our Apple 1 expert.
                    • B Degnan
                      Corey, This is a homebrew-themed exhibit, pls no systems newer than 1976. No lcd screens or modern equipment should be visible in exhibit. Some latitude on
                      Message 10 of 30 , Feb 24, 2013
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                        Corey,
                        This is a homebrew-themed exhibit, pls no systems newer than 1976. No lcd screens or modern equipment should be visible in exhibit. Some latitude on definition of homebrew but were cutting it off before things like apple II, PET. Pls read earlier posts on this topic to see who is already bringing what.

                        Exception: terminals made on or before 1980 ok

                        B
                        --
                        Sent from my PDP 8/e.
                      • Systems Glitch
                        ... I HAVE AN ALTAIR?! How d I miss that?! I was thinking about bringing my current long-term 8 bit modern-homebrew-with-vintage-processors project, or my
                        Message 11 of 30 , Feb 25, 2013
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                          > Jon Chapman (? - do you want to bring your Altair 8800 instead and I can
                          > bring something else?)

                          I HAVE AN ALTAIR?! How'd I miss that?!

                          I was thinking about bringing my current long-term 8 bit modern-homebrew-with-vintage-processors project, or my Intel SDK-85. I do have the IMSAI up and going as well. Or I could bring the little 8085 SBC system I've designed.

                          Thanks,
                          Jonathan
                        • Systems Glitch
                          ... Does the back seat still come out? We were able to get a PDP-11/05 comfortably in the back of the Rabbit with the seat just folded up. Thanks, Jonathan
                          Message 12 of 30 , Feb 25, 2013
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                            > Since this is smaller event I was planning to go with what will fit in my
                            > Golf. I might be able to remove the Teletype from the stand to be able to
                            > bring it. That does cause problems for chad collection.

                            Does the back seat still come out? We were able to get a PDP-11/05 comfortably in the back of the Rabbit with the seat just folded up.

                            Thanks,
                            Jonathan
                          • B. Degnan
                            ... can ... modern-homebrew-with-vintage-processors project, or my Intel SDK-85. I do have the IMSAI up and going as well. Or I could bring the little 8085 SBC
                            Message 13 of 30 , Feb 25, 2013
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                              -------- Original Message --------
                              > From: "Systems Glitch" <systems.glitch@...>
                              > Sent: Monday, February 25, 2013 10:38 AM
                              > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Roll Call for VCF E
                              >
                              > > Jon Chapman (? - do you want to bring your Altair 8800 instead and I
                              can
                              > > bring something else?)
                              >
                              > I HAVE AN ALTAIR?! How'd I miss that?!
                              >
                              > I was thinking about bringing my current long-term 8 bit
                              modern-homebrew-with-vintage-processors project, or my Intel SDK-85. I do
                              have the IMSAI up and going as well. Or I could bring the little 8085 SBC
                              system I've designed.
                              >

                              Please bring something that would have primarily made up of stuff from
                              1974-1976 if you can. that's why I was suggesting the Altair 8800. The
                              target theme for TCF is "homebrew" era.
                              bd
                            • Systems Glitch
                              ... Can I bring the Intel SDK-85? That s from 1977 and was popular as a hobbyist controller board and educational tool. It ll talk to a teletype over current
                              Message 14 of 30 , Feb 25, 2013
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                                > Please bring something that would have primarily made up of stuff from
                                > 1974-1976 if you can.

                                Can I bring the Intel SDK-85? That's from 1977 and was popular as a hobbyist controller board and educational tool. It'll talk to a teletype over current loop too.

                                > that's why I was suggesting the Altair 8800

                                It would have to be someone else's Altair as I don't own one. If you want to bring yours I can bring a bunch of the homebrew boards I've got. I can write a program to scroll a message across the little LED display on one of my Solid State Music IO-2 boards or control something else.

                                Thanks,
                                Jonathan
                              • B. Degnan
                                ... hobbyist controller board and educational tool. It ll talk to a teletype over current loop too. ... That s perfect, yes. ... to bring yours I can bring a
                                Message 15 of 30 , Feb 25, 2013
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                                  >
                                  > > Please bring something that would have primarily made up of stuff from

                                  > > 1974-1976 if you can.
                                  >
                                  > Can I bring the Intel SDK-85? That's from 1977 and was popular as a
                                  hobbyist controller board and educational tool. It'll talk to a teletype
                                  over current loop too.
                                  >

                                  That's perfect, yes.


                                  > > that's why I was suggesting the Altair 8800
                                  >
                                  > It would have to be someone else's Altair as I don't own one. If you want
                                  to bring yours I can bring a bunch of the homebrew boards I've got. I can
                                  write a program to scroll a message across the little LED display on one of
                                  my Solid State Music IO-2 boards or control something else.
                                  >

                                  That's right, Ian's Altair 8800. Nevermind.

                                  Ian - are you coming?

                                  Bill
                                • s100doctor
                                  I have some comments about homebrew and what might be shown about that era in microcomputing. I m someone who was THERE in the so-called homebrew computer
                                  Message 16 of 30 , Mar 1, 2013
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                                    I have some comments about "homebrew" and what might be shown about that era in microcomputing.

                                    I"m someone who was THERE in the so-called "homebrew computer" era in discussion. I'm not particularly comfortable with the phrase "homebrew computers", as it suggests something less than professional, ad-hoc, non-commercial - second class. Computers often shown from that era typically look like a rat's nest of boards and wires; or are contrasted with production designs in smooth custom fiberglass cases that play video games.

                                    But "honmebrew" is a kind of reference to the now-iconic "Homebrew Computer Club" in California, where several founders of vintage computer companies, or principals in those companies, met and started.

                                    The phrase also refers to what Bill Degnan is talking about. People - we - in the era, were obliged to MAKE computers, and wire them up to things not meant for "computer control". That's because computers of the mid-1970's were not produced as ready-for-use, or for use by themselves, for applications alone - that's a modern view.

                                    The technology for a use, the need for an application, DID NOT EXIST YET, or was too new. The price of much of existing technology was ENORMOUS in modern dollars - costs greater than a running used car. Much of the affordable computing technology, was second-hand, in the used MINIcomputer market, and still not that cheap. and microcomputing technology was changing rapidly - standards we consider obvious today, were in many cases established in that era; thus surviving technology from the era is deemed "non standard" and therefore second-class.

                                    Regarding VCF, which is also a ham radio activity - radio amateurs also have a proud legacy of "homebrew", as in construction, of not only radio-related items, but of early microcomputers. 73 and QST contained many early digital and computer construction articles. 73 publisher Wayne Green, cofounded BYTE and founded Kilobaud, essential microcomputer magazines. Ham established digital networks before the wired Internet.

                                    I have a lot to say about the mid-1970's era of vintage computing, because in a way I'm fighting the common (and well paid-for) view that IBM and Apple and Microsoft "created" personal computing, and what came before was junky stuff which didn't matter - the phrase "homebrew" does not help. But it's otherwise forgotten, how hard it was to work with vintage computing, before you had computers to help you! Or to adapt hardware and software, before there were "standards" which later made transfer of prior work much easier. And before computing power was sufficient; before whole classes of software were established as familiar "apps"; before computer networks; before mass storage; on and on.

                                    Today, personal computing is so standardized, common, and cheap, that these ideas sound like the Wild West to 21st century people today. I often consider early vintage computing as "pioneer computing" because of that.

                                    So I agree with Bill Degnan, that a serious exhibit of mid-1970's computers should not be just a box or a board. It should show how it was tied to some thing, to do some thing. But the facts are, that vintage computers are rarely sold or traded, or shown that way. Even I have removed the "homebrew" wires and parts, because frankly nobody cares to see that stuff, it means nothing for people only interested in computer brands, models and dates.

                                    I was asked to bring the TDL Xitan, and I can do that. But it won't be tied to a particular use or original configuration. it wasn't when I got it. I appreciate Bill's suggest to at least have a TOKEN application of a vintage microcomputer - blink some lights at least. I'll see if I have something still intact of that sort, but it's rare to get such assemblies intact. Harder still to KEEP them that way, and to have something that looks "presentable", next to the Apple II's and Atari, and other professionally-crafted packaged computers that look "personal" by today's standards.

                                    This is hardly my last word on the era or my best thoughts, it's simply a response to a discussion. I'd welcome comments and considerations. Maybe at another time- there's only two weeks before TCF, people interested in showing items should focus on that.

                                    And of course, I'm not responsible for MARCH's exhibit or their interpretations of the era. These are my words from me, I don't work for MARCH or vice versa.

                                    Herb Johnson
                                    retrotechnology.com
                                  • B. Degnan
                                    ... Computer Club in California, where several founders of vintage computer companies, or principals in those companies, met and started. ... - in the era,
                                    Message 17 of 30 , Mar 1, 2013
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                                      > But "honmebrew" is a kind of reference to the now-iconic "Homebrew
                                      Computer Club" in California, where several founders of vintage computer
                                      companies, or principals in those companies, met and started.
                                      >
                                      > The phrase also refers to what Bill Degnan is talking about. People - we
                                      - in the era, were obliged to MAKE computers, and wire them up to things
                                      not meant for "computer control". That's because computers of the
                                      mid-1970's were not produced as ready-for-use, or for use by themselves,
                                      for applications alone - that's a modern view.
                                      >
                                      > The technology for a use, the need for an application, DID NOT EXIST YET,
                                      or was too new. The price of much of existing technology was ENORMOUS in
                                      modern dollars - costs greater than a running used car. Much of the
                                      affordable computing technology, was second-hand, in the used MINIcomputer
                                      market, and still not that cheap. and microcomputing technology was
                                      changing rapidly - standards we consider obvious today, were in many cases
                                      established in that era; thus surviving technology from the era is deemed
                                      "non standard" and therefore second-class.
                                      >

                                      It might not matter to everyone the same way, but TCF is the perfect place
                                      to help educate.

                                      It says something if you can accurately answer the question "...what would
                                      all this have cost in year x ...?"

                                      bd
                                    • s100doctor
                                      ... Just an annoying note: the actual RESISTORs straight-8 was already exhibited at TCF. ... As I posted, what s being called homebrewing , was normal
                                      Message 18 of 30 , Mar 1, 2013
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                                        Bill Degnan wrote:
                                        >
                                        > > Two ideas if you bring an '8:
                                        > > - Explain to visitors how big computers were often used to develop for
                                        > > little ones
                                        > > - Bring your Straight 8, and explain the connection to RESISTORS, Ted
                                        > > Nelson, etc.

                                        Just an annoying note: the actual RESISTORs straight-8 was already exhibited at TCF.

                                        Will Donzelli wrote:
                                        >
                                        > The PDP-8 line were certainly used in industry and academia
                                        > "homebrewing", as a cheap processor for all sorts of custom
                                        > installations (experiments, machine control, test rigs, etc.).
                                        >

                                        As I posted, what's being called "homebrewing", was normal practice in the era. Most everyone was adapting whatever they could get, old or new, to do whatever they were trying to do.

                                        About PDP-8's. It's fair to say they were the period alternative to having a microcomputer, until microcomputers became available. It's useful to see a PDP-8 or some other minicomputer to compare and contrast. Some kind of DEC computing widget, should be at every VCF.

                                        Um, there's actually a lot I could bring from around 1975. It's hard to decide among single-boards like KIM, or systems like the Northstar Horizon. I've committed to bring the Xitan TDL system, it's a "local" product, but it won't be running. Its Z80 board was pretty early.

                                        I've got a couple of thoughts about a running system. The Northstar Horizon is pretty "clean" but age-appropriate - you guys won't call it "homebrew". But it runs, CP/M at that. So does (or did) my Heath H-8. I suppose I could add an ADM-3A to keep it all period. But it's not like I can run Spacewar, or even Adventure, just not my thing to run games. I could at least show a papertape system with it (the H-10 reader/punch), again not running. I did not expect this event.

                                        One of the more unusual computers in retrospect, is "the digital group", now kind of scarce. the model I happen to have certainly LOOKS "homebrew" as it's hot-wired up in various ways. Again, not running. It's in-theme by date and appearance. But as I've posted I have mixed feelings about showing stuff that looks wired up (in other words, NORMAL for 1977) just to be ridiculed as hopelessly primitive.

                                        I won't bring it all, I'm an old man not a pack mule. And I dont' want to crowd other MARCHians out. If people have some particular preferences, I'll follow the thread every few days, see what is said. I have some ideas and themes I'll consider in the meantime, see what I can wake up.

                                        Herb
                                      • B. Degnan
                                        Herb, ... decide among single-boards like KIM, or systems like the Northstar Horizon. I ve committed to bring the Xitan TDL system, it s a local product, but
                                        Message 19 of 30 , Mar 2, 2013
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                                          Herb,

                                          > >
                                          >
                                          > Um, there's actually a lot I could bring from around 1975. It's hard to
                                          decide among single-boards like KIM, or systems like the Northstar Horizon.
                                          I've committed to bring the Xitan TDL system, it's a "local" product, but
                                          it won't be running. Its Z80 board was pretty early.
                                          >

                                          I had written earlier that it'd be better for this particular exhibit that
                                          we try to bring one complete and functional "system" rather than a
                                          hoge-podge of stuff. Don't feel obligated to bring the XITAN, if it does
                                          not work.

                                          > I've got a couple of thoughts about a running system. The Northstar
                                          Horizon is pretty "clean" but age-appropriate - you guys won't call it
                                          "homebrew". But it runs, CP/M at that. So does (or did) my Heath H-8. I
                                          suppose I could add an ADM-3A to keep it all period. But it's not like I
                                          can run Spacewar, or even Adventure, just not my thing to run games. I
                                          could at least show a papertape system with it (the H-10 reader/punch),
                                          again not running. I did not expect this event.
                                          >
                                          > One of the more unusual computers in retrospect, is "the digital group",
                                          now kind of scarce. the model I happen to have certainly LOOKS "homebrew"
                                          as it's hot-wired up in various ways. Again, not running. It's in-theme by
                                          date and appearance. But as I've posted I have mixed feelings about showing
                                          stuff that looks wired up (in other words, NORMAL for 1977) just to be
                                          ridiculed as hopelessly primitive.
                                          >

                                          If you want to keep it simple, an SBC that turns on a light when you change
                                          the value of a memory location would be just fine and would demonstrate the
                                          homebrew principles we discussed. But a Horizon that works is fine too. I
                                          assume Evan will be bringing the Apple I, which is effectively an Apple II
                                          without a case, not really homebrew in the traditional sense except that
                                          you could buy the kit version. But it's a crowd pleaser.

                                          Please don't stress this. We have a small classroom, not much space.
                                          Choose a nice compact, labeled system. I will be bringing (probably) my
                                          Altair 680 with hacked SWTPc RAM cards. Not sure what kind of terminal.

                                          We'll do another roll call of items being exhibited in about a week.

                                          Bill

                                          Bill
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