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Re: Trenton Computer Festival Exhibit Photos

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  • Jeff Jonas
    ... I was co-commiserating with a fellow who needed a Y adapter to convert PS/2 mouse & keyboard to a single USB plug, for his Raspberry Pi (I do that too!)
    Message 1 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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      >I was fairly disappointed in the stuff in the flea market.

      I was co-commiserating with a fellow who needed a "Y" adapter to convert PS/2 mouse & keyboard to a single USB plug, for his Raspberry Pi (I do that too!) None of the dealers had any! Things like that used to be a staple of any decent computer show.


      my Pi in the Sky musings:

      TCF seems to be suffering an identity crisis. It's not a "Maker Fair" but could be, celebrating clever hacks using vintage or "older" parts. The IBM 1130 folks have hardware emulation using FPGA. Even our own VCF showcased clever hacks such as Guitar Hero and Ethernet to the Commodore 64, SD cards to the Apple ][, etc.

      Computer shows died decades ago. Ken Gordon productions shut down and few remain at all, although Tri-state is still running
      http://www.tri-statefairs.com/

      On the one hand, that means there's less competition. But will anyone attend and what are their expectations? Hamfests still have folks selling smelly old electronic parts that are too cheap to list on ebay or Craig's list, but all those folks have abandoned TCF.

      TCF used to have entire aisles of computer clubs. What happened? Why are none there anymore? Everything I learned about the Amiga was from those club folks.

      The Philly HP calculator/handheld club was tops in hacking them. Where's the modern equivalent: cellphone unlocking, portable devices (breath new life into your PDA)? Wearable computers are still mostly D-I-Y, but I saw NOBODY with a heads-up display or twiddler keyboard.

      TCF may have tolerated consumers just buying Apple/PC parts to assemble, repair or upgrade their own computers, but it was mostly about inventors & hackers looking for strange parts for creating unusual projects. That SPIRIT is alive and well with the "Makers" but too many are satisfied with blinking LEDs with their Arduino.

      I'd like to believe that TCF would be a "step above Makers" since most of us folks have decades of real experience designing systems. Yes, the high school robotics team was clever with their robot, but I wonder how many really understand the Lego modules that constitute most of the controllers. At times like this, I've got to agree with Nick Lordi: where's the diversity in the hardware? Who's using FORTH and the Propeller chip and/or Beagleboard or Raspberry Pi for autonomous robots?

      VCF is held at an engineering college. Where's the "open house" demo of the hard science stuff, other than the wall posters?

      grunt grunt growl

      -- Jeff Jonas
    • B. Degnan
      ... the hard science stuff, other than the wall posters? ... I called the school s IT departments to see if I could fax an announcement letter to be posted in
      Message 2 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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        >
        > VCF is held at an engineering college. Where's the "open house" demo of
        the hard science stuff, other than the wall posters?
        >
        > grunt grunt growl
        >

        I called the school's IT departments to see if I could fax an announcement
        letter to be posted in labs, etc. for students to read that would publicize
        the vintage computer exhibit.

        They're on spring break. TCF is disconnected from the school. I suggest
        that the school is supposedly full of budding engineers and programmers,
        where were they at TCF? A Maker Faire in Daytona?

        Bill
      • Evan Koblentz
        ... have one RUNNING INSIDE Good job. :)
        Message 3 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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          >>> the Sarnoff folks ... had a RCA Cosmac on display, so I said "we
          have one RUNNING INSIDE"

          Good job. :)
        • Evan Koblentz
          Now that Trenton is done, we can start planning the May 18/19 VCF Alternative event. My basic idea is to have a simple vintage-themed swap meet on May 18 and
          Message 4 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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            Now that Trenton is done, we can start planning the May 18/19 "VCF
            Alternative" event.

            My basic idea is to have a simple vintage-themed swap meet on May 18 and
            a tech day on May 19.

            But I have some concerns about the swap meet day. There could be more
            sellers than buyers; the buyers could be people just looking for
            rock-bottom prices; and thus it might therefore stink.

            What can we do to make it AWESOME without being too (V)CF-y?

            I'm open to good ideas.
          • Systems Glitch
            WTB/FS lists would definitely help set the tone for quality and price. I d imagine it will be somewhere below eBay insanity, and somewhere above flea market
            Message 5 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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              WTB/FS lists would definitely help set the tone for quality and price. I'd imagine it will be somewhere below eBay insanity, and somewhere above flea market bargains. Everyone has to have a pile of stuff they'd be willing to part with if someone offered them a not-offensively-low amount of cash. I've got plenty of interesting hardware I'd let go for a reasonable price, but wouldn't just give away.

              For instance, I don't think things in the consignment area at past VCFs have been flea market cheap, but they're also nothing like eBay prices. You'll have some cheapskates who want everything for nothing, but you have those anywhere. Keeping the selection to a higher quality than junk bin stuff will probably also help, though some junk bin stuff is always good too!

              Thanks,
              Jonathan
            • David Riley
              ... Well, exchanging lists of WTB/FS now would help a great deal. Now that I have my BA11, I ve probably blown my budget for at least a couple months (and
              Message 6 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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                --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Evan Koblentz <evan@...> wrote:
                >
                > Now that Trenton is done, we can start planning the May 18/19 "VCF
                > Alternative" event.
                >
                > My basic idea is to have a simple vintage-themed swap meet on May 18 and
                > a tech day on May 19.
                >
                > But I have some concerns about the swap meet day. There could be more
                > sellers than buyers; the buyers could be people just looking for
                > rock-bottom prices; and thus it might therefore stink.
                >
                > What can we do to make it AWESOME without being too (V)CF-y?
                >
                > I'm open to good ideas.

                Well, exchanging lists of WTB/FS now would help a great deal. Now that I have my BA11, I've probably blown my budget for at least a couple months (and it's during a busy season for my wife), but if there's something sufficiently tempting, I might be able to make it in.

                For me, my WTB list is pretty sparse at this point, since I'm going to be spending the next few months on some quality time with RSX-11M. :-) I'm always on the lookout for SCSI drives for old Macs, etc, but their limited lifespan and relative rarity tend to conspire to make them worth more than I want to spend.


                - Dave
              • Christian Liendo
                ... I can t go because as always these events fall on reserve duty days. I thought the main idea was a get together first and a swap meet second. I mean, since
                Message 7 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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                  >From: Evan Koblentz <evan@...>
                  >My basic idea is to have a simple vintage-themed swap meet on May 18 and  a tech day on May 19.

                  I can't go because as always these events fall on reserve duty days.


                  I thought the main idea was a get together first and a swap meet second.


                  I mean, since VCF couldn't happen in scale, I thought this was the Spring Party + Swap..

                  If so then you are good. The goal is to meet up and the swap is the icing on the cake. 
                • Systems Glitch
                  ... Good point(s). I m also more interested in the workshop! Thanks, Jonathan
                  Message 8 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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                    > I have to admit, I am more interested in workshop than swap, although I
                    > will have some items on the side to sell or give away like I usually do.
                    > Can't we start the workshop Sat and have a separate swap meet nearby
                    > running concurrently all weekend? If a person stays both days why can't
                    > they sell items on Sunday too?

                    Good point(s). I'm also more interested in the workshop!

                    Thanks,
                    Jonathan
                  • B. Degnan
                    ... a tech day on May 19. ... Party + Swap.. ... on the cake. ... We have had workshop activity and sales in the same event, why segregate the two by day? I
                    Message 9 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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                      >
                      > >From: Evan Koblentz <evan@...>
                      > >My basic idea is to have a simple vintage-themed swap meet on May 18 and
                      a tech day on May 19.
                      >
                      > I can't go because as always these events fall on reserve duty days.
                      >
                      >
                      > I thought the main idea was a get together first and a swap meet second.
                      >
                      >
                      > I mean, since VCF couldn't happen in scale, I thought this was the Spring
                      Party + Swap..
                      >
                      > If so then you are good. The goal is to meet up and the swap is the icing
                      on the cake.
                      >

                      We have had workshop activity and sales in the same event, why segregate
                      the two by day?

                      I have to admit, I am more interested in workshop than swap, although I
                      will have some items on the side to sell or give away like I usually do.
                      Can't we start the workshop Sat and have a separate swap meet nearby
                      running concurrently all weekend? If a person stays both days why can't
                      they sell items on Sunday too?

                      Bill
                    • Evan Koblentz
                      The main reason why I don t see a swapmeet and workshop running simultaneously is because the swapmeet would be a revenue-generating event for MARCH. For
                      Message 10 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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                        The main reason why I don't see a swapmeet and workshop running simultaneously is because the swapmeet would be a revenue-generating event for MARCH. For example we could charge $25 per table and $10 for regular admission. That wouldn't work if sellers are busy doing workshop stuff.

                        Also the OMARC hamfest is 5/18 from (I think) 7am-11am. They want to send people to our event, and we should send people to theirs too. (Also, I should look into what they charge for general buyers -- we should have the same price, even if it's less, so that cross-honoring admissions is fair to both sides.)

                        But the question is, other than OMARC folks, would there by any outside buyers who show up at our event -- or just ourselves? I am afraid of that.

                        I suppose we could limit the "public" swapmeet hours to the same as OMARC's, and then have it be just a MARCH workshop for the rest of Saturday and Sunday.
                      • corey986
                        FYI: I will be teaching an all day Robot building class on the 19th at InfoAge in the classroom attached to IXR. So keep that in mind when looking for space
                        Message 11 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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                          FYI: I will be teaching an all day Robot building class on the 19th at InfoAge in the classroom attached to IXR. So keep that in mind when looking for space for a workshop.

                          Cheers,
                          Corey

                          --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "Evan Koblentz" <evan@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > The main reason why I don't see a swapmeet and workshop running simultaneously is because the swapmeet would be a revenue-generating event for MARCH. For example we could charge $25 per table and $10 for regular admission. That wouldn't work if sellers are busy doing workshop stuff.
                          >
                          > Also the OMARC hamfest is 5/18 from (I think) 7am-11am. They want to send people to our event, and we should send people to theirs too. (Also, I should look into what they charge for general buyers -- we should have the same price, even if it's less, so that cross-honoring admissions is fair to both sides.)
                          >
                          > But the question is, other than OMARC folks, would there by any outside buyers who show up at our event -- or just ourselves? I am afraid of that.
                          >
                          > I suppose we could limit the "public" swapmeet hours to the same as OMARC's, and then have it be just a MARCH workshop for the rest of Saturday and Sunday.
                          >
                        • Dan Roganti
                          ... I get the impression this swap meet is intended only for those list members on this email list and not for the general public. Where everyone is swapping
                          Message 12 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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                            On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 1:23 PM, Evan Koblentz <evan@...> wrote:
                            Now that Trenton is done, we can start planning the May 18/19 "VCF
                            Alternative" event.

                            My basic idea is to have a simple vintage-themed swap meet on May 18 and
                            a tech day on May 19.

                            But I have some concerns about the swap meet day. There could be more
                            sellers than buyers; the buyers could be people just looking for
                            rock-bottom prices; and thus it might therefore stink.

                            What can we do to make it AWESOME without being too (V)CF-y?

                            I'm open to good ideas.


                            I get the impression this swap meet is intended only for those list members on this email list and not for the general public. Where everyone is swapping their WTB/FS lists several weeks in advance on here. And then there's basically nothing of interest left to sell to the casual visitor. Frankly, that's not how to attract more buyers.  There's certainly way more people >not< on this email list that like to buy. Imagine if all of those people, who normally attend VCF in the past, knew they could come there in person and buy any of the vintage stuff they see. I remember the consignment area during VCF was usually a success. If it's going to be a real swap meet, you might want to run this as such - much the way as a Hamfest operates. It's the difference between sitting at home looking at eB@y and actually going out and looking. Use some of the simple incentives they have used - besides having lots of stuff to sell - to lure buyers from all the various places where you have advertised the VCF events in the past. You have the room to attract more people, even more room now. You certainly don't need keynotes, lectures, nor exhibits to make this work. 

                            Dan

                          • Evan Koblentz
                            ... I assume that was scheduled * after * we cancelled VCF East 9.0, because we had that room reserved on the InfoAge calendar. Either way, we still have
                            Message 13 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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                              >> I will be teaching an all day Robot building class on the 19th at InfoAge in the classroom attached to IXR.

                              I assume that was scheduled * after * we cancelled VCF East 9.0, because we had that room reserved on the InfoAge calendar.

                              Either way, we still have 9032-A reserved, which is a bigger room with more outlets.
                            • Evan Koblentz
                              ... Right. That is what I meant. Except we d be indoors, not working from parking spaces ( cause what if it rains?)
                              Message 14 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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                                >> If it's going to be a real swap meet, you might want to run this as such - much the way as a Hamfest operates.

                                Right. That is what I meant. Except we'd be indoors, not working from parking spaces ('cause what if it rains?)
                              • Dan Roganti
                                ... It would be safe to keep it indoors at first. If it gets bigger in the future you can always expand :) Besides making a flyer and sending it around, these
                                Message 15 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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                                  On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 5:57 PM, Evan Koblentz <evan@...> wrote:
                                  >> If it's going to be a real swap meet, you might want to run this as such - much the way as a Hamfest operates.

                                  Right. That is what I meant. Except we'd be indoors, not working from parking spaces ('cause what if it rains?)



                                  It would be safe to keep it indoors at first. If it gets bigger in the future you can always expand :)  
                                  Besides making a flyer and sending it around, 
                                  these are just some of the simple incentives that are used elsewhere - I'm sure there's others you can add to the flyer.
                                   - hold a raffle with several diff prizes, that runs hourly the whole day (using the admission ticket)
                                   - advanced visitor tickets get in early (hour early) and a discount (paypal)
                                   - advanced seller table registration get a discount (paypal)
                                   - ticket promotion, every 377th(octal) visitor gets in free.
                                   - visitors who wear a VCFeast t-shirt get a small discount.
                                   - visitors who bring in copy of flyer get a small discount
                                   - Get the announcement added to the Northeast Electronic Flea market list (MIT Flea) 
                                      http://w1mx.mit.edu/flea-at-mit  (visitors and sellers look here too)


                                • Jeff Galinat
                                  ... Hi Evan, I guess I don t understand the concerns. I think that you would attract many of the same people that attend the VCF event, but this time it is a
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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                                    On 3/19/2013 1:23 PM, Evan Koblentz wrote:
                                     

                                    But I have some concerns about the swap meet day. There could be more
                                    sellers than buyers; the buyers could be people just looking for
                                    rock-bottom prices; and thus it might therefore stink.

                                    What can we do to make it AWESOME without being too (V)CF-y?

                                    Hi Evan,
                                      I guess I don't understand the concerns.  I think that you would attract many of the same people that attend the VCF event, but this time it is a vintage computer related flea market. I've been doing hamfests and the TCF flea market for 35 years. The seller sets a reasonable price and the buyer almost always wants it for less, and usually there is some middle ground and a price is agreed upon.  In my opinion, while poor sales may be a possibility it is like that at any hamfest or other technology fleamarket.   That would affect the sellers but many of the sellers are also there to add to their own collections.  If the price of a vendor table includes an admission and is reasonably priced at $25 or so, most sellers jump at that chance to do some trading before the public even gets there.  I may be wrong, but most collectors I know have collected duplicate or excess items over the years and need to "thin the herd" periodically to purchase more unique items for the collection.  Many hamfests I go to every year, are little more that a parking lot with some type of restroom facility and everything is fine without being AWESOME as this is typically what is expected.  
                                      While a tech day event is great for those that want one, I am only interested in the vintage flea market/swap meet.  Assuming the OMARC hamfest is still being held just down the street on Saturday (I didn't see any announcement on their website), that should also boost your traffic if you get the word out in the ham radio community.  Quite a few hams got started early in the microcomputer movement so there is some crossover.
                                    Regards,
                                    Jeff


                                  • s100doctor
                                    ... In related news, I got one of my rejected for failure to run computers running this week. See the Motorola equivalent to the MOS Technology KIM-1, namely
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Mar 22, 2013
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                                      --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "s100doctor" <hjohnson@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > http://www.retrotechnology.com/restore/tcf13_march.html
                                      >
                                      > Photos of the TCF MARCH exhibit and related. Anyone take photos of the Sarnoff table at the entrance to our room?
                                      >
                                      > Herb
                                      >

                                      In related news, I got one of my "rejected for failure to run" computers running this week. See the Motorola equivalent to the MOS Technology KIM-1, namely the 6800-based D2!

                                      http://www.retrotechnology.com/restore/6800D2.html

                                      Herb
                                    • s100doctor
                                      1) I m still looking for photos of the Sarnoff Collection table. 2) I ll add links from my page, to other MARCH members who have TCF photos on their site. YOu
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Mar 22, 2013
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                                        1) I'm still looking for photos of the Sarnoff Collection table.

                                        2) I'll add links from my page, to other MARCH members who have TCF photos on their site. YOu can of course link to mine.

                                        Herb Johnson
                                        retrotechnology.com
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