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Re: [midatlanticretro] Idea for our Maker Faire exhibit

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  • Kyle Owen
    ... Right. I have been a musician for 15 years and am under the impression that musical computers not only appeal to a wide audience (most people enjoy music),
    Message 1 of 30 , Jun 11 11:32 AM
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      On Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 12:20 PM, Cory Smelosky <b4@...> wrote:

      On Tue, 11 Jun 2013, Dave McGuire wrote:

      >
      > On 06/11/2013 12:22 PM, Kyle Owen wrote:
      >> One thing's for sure: dumb down the exhibits for the masses. Be
      >> entertaining. Get folks hooked on how cool technology used to be! Run
      >> music programs on your PDP-8/Es, not FORTRAN! :)
      >
      > Yuck. That just reinforces today's view of computers as being just toys.
      >

      Well, I'd disagree with running music programs as making it a toy...I'd
      work it in to being a real musical instrument. That could be related to
      my interest in music though. ;)

      Right. I have been a musician for 15 years and am under the impression that musical computers not only appeal to a wide audience (most people enjoy music), they also show that this kind of technology existed "back in the day" and that digital music was not invented with the iPod. These programs were developed back in the '60s and '70s, and people surely didn't think of minicomputers as toys, right? Look at games like Spacewar! and DICE.BIN: people had fun with big, expensive computers. The "Expensive Desktop" series of programs too. Anyways, as a "young whippersnapper", I'm thinking about my peers and what appeals to them, not what necessarily appeals to me. Personally, I'm all about creating some practical programs for my machines and using them "like they were intended." But for a display in front of hundreds of laypeople, you have to be entertaining to be noticed.

      Again, it was mostly adults that even were slightly amused at Tic-Tac-Toe on my 6800. The kids went straight for King's Quest. Playing "The Entertainer" on the 6800 drew some more people in. Stuff like this is entertaining, as it's actually pretty good music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w68qZ8JvBds

      Maybe it's just me, but I'm all about sharing this hobby to more people and get some general interest, even if it means emphasizing the more fun aspects of vintage computing. I personally think of it more as a hook into the fascinating realm of vintage computers than a reinforcement of these computers as toys.

      Kyle
    • Brian Schenkenberger, VAXman-
      ... I was back in the day. If you re really interested in computer and music technology of the 60 and, especially, the 70 and what could be done with analog
      Message 2 of 30 , Jun 11 12:18 PM
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        Kyle Owen <kylevowen@...> writes:

        >On Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 12:20 PM, Cory Smelosky <b4@...> wrote:
        >
        >> On Tue, 11 Jun 2013, Dave McGuire wrote:
        >> >
        >> > On 06/11/2013 12:22 PM, Kyle Owen wrote:
        >> >> One thing's for sure: dumb down the exhibits for the masses. Be
        >> >> entertaining. Get folks hooked on how cool technology used to be! Run
        >> >> music programs on your PDP-8/Es, not FORTRAN! :)
        >> >
        >> > Yuck. That just reinforces today's view of computers as being just toys.
        >> >
        >>
        >> Well, I'd disagree with running music programs as making it a toy...I'd
        >> work it in to being a real musical instrument. That could be related to
        >> my interest in music though. ;)
        >>
        >
        >Right. I have been a musician for 15 years and am under the impression that
        >musical computers not only appeal to a wide audience (most people enjoy
        >music), they also show that this kind of technology existed "back in the
        >day" and that digital music was not invented with the iPod. These programs
        >were developed back in the '60s and '70s, and people surely didn't think of
        >minicomputers as toys, right?

        I was back in the day. If you're really interested in computer and music
        technology of the '60 and, especially, the '70 and what could be done with
        analog synthesis coupled with the computer, check out what Larry Fast (Yes,
        I know him and he's a native New Jerseyan.) pioneered by marrying the two.

        http://synergy-emusic.com/

        What Larry did on "Sequencer" in 1975 is still amazing today. It's worth
        a listen if you haven't heard it before. Larry was making serious music;
        he wasn't "toying" around.

        --
        VAXman- A Bored Certified VMS Kernel Mode Hacker VAXman(at)TMESIS(dot)ORG

        Well I speak to machines with the voice of humanity.
      • Jeff Jonas
        ... I forgot the precise genesis of this idea. Evan and I were brainstorming while sorting parts in the H warehouse and I remember suggesting you are the
        Message 3 of 30 , Jun 12 12:54 AM
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          --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "Evan Koblentz" <evan@...> wrote:
          > Here's the big idea for a MARCH exhibit at Maker Faire this year.

          > We can get a 20x20 space and build a "Be the Bit" maze
          > out of PVC (frame) and painter's tarps (walls).
          > The exhibit will target families.

          I forgot the precise genesis of this idea. Evan and I were brainstorming while sorting parts in the "H" warehouse and I remember suggesting "you are the program" where you must execute a basic-like program with a GOTO with every step so you cannot just follow the charts in order. Like a "choose your story" book, it allows for multiple stories and different endings (ABEND! core dump!), or all the same ending (exit 0). More advanced programs would gosub/return, perhaps using musical notation like "to coda" since that's the same concept! So to answer those asking for more complex things: we already thought of that and Evan applied KISS.

          More complex would be punching everyone a paper tape with their name and perhaps some binary, so reading back the tape "runs the program" as they sneakernet the tape from one device to another. At least it would be an excuse for not just getting a paper tape but having to use it for something.

          Evan even thought ahead to layout/composition and keeping the staffing to just 2-3 people.

          And as folks have realized, it's extremely re-useable and applicable to MARCH's addressing the younger audience at Infoage too.
        • Mike
          My assumption is that most of the Maker Faire attendees have at least a passing interest in making stuff. Flash Corliss at VCF-atlanta had a display of
          Message 4 of 30 , Jun 13 11:00 AM
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            My assumption is that most of the Maker Faire attendees have at least a passing interest in "making" stuff.

            Flash Corliss at VCF-atlanta had a display of reproduction/kit computers - Mark 8, Cosmac elf, etc. Would have been a very relevant Maker Faire exhibit. Another angle might be restoration of original gear - show a badly beat up garage find next to a completely restored and operating unit.

            Kids like games, but I have noticed that the the more modern the game is, the better they like them. Color graphics and a joystick seem like the minimum baseline for most (but not all) kids.

            By the way, does MARCH have handouts/info sheets that they give away to interested parties at these shows? If not, I may be able to help in that area.

            Regards,
            Mike W.
          • Dave McGuire
            ... Just one data point here...My PDP-11/70 at VCF-E last year had a few terminals running various text-based games. (and one just sitting at a RSTS/E prompt,
            Message 5 of 30 , Jun 13 11:53 AM
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              On 06/13/2013 02:00 PM, Mike wrote:
              > Kids like games, but I have noticed that the the more modern the game
              > is, the better they like them. Color graphics and a joystick seem
              > like the minimum baseline for most (but not all) kids.

              Just one data point here...My PDP-11/70 at VCF-E last year had a few
              terminals running various text-based games. (and one just sitting at a
              RSTS/E prompt, of course) Young kids, age 10 or so, took to those games
              like ducks to water. They'd never been exposed to that sort of thing
              before, but they seemed to intuitively "get it". It was fascinating to
              watch their facial expressions as they figured it out, and then started
              playing.

              -Dave

              --
              Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
              New Kensington, PA
            • Bill Sudbrink
              ... That sort of matches up with a VCF display I m planning to do some day titled So You Say You ve Built A Computer . The display would be broken into
              Message 6 of 30 , Jun 13 11:56 AM
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                Mike wrote:
                > My assumption is that most of the Maker Faire attendees
                > have at least a passing interest in "making" stuff.

                That sort of matches up with a VCF display I'm planning to
                do some day titled "So You Say You've Built A Computer".

                The display would be broken into segments like:

                Did you use a screwdriver? How about a drill or saw?
                This section would contain information and artifacts
                about the simple mechanical aspects involved in a
                vintage computer chassis. I have a number of hacked
                up chassis examples. Would contain various info about
                mounting your own power supply, fans and other cooling
                requirements, various switches, etc.

                Did you customize your OS? How about your bus?
                This section would show various add in cards (mostly S-100)
                and describe the process involved in setting them up and
                modifying the OS to use them. It would also describe the
                loose interpretation of some "standards" that ended up making
                cards that should be compatible incompatible. Display some
                of the really "wacky" cards with dozens of jumpers to try to
                cover all of the bases.

                Did you use a soldering iron? How about wire wrap?
                Did you copy the circuit out of a magazine? Did you
                design your own?
                This section would show full kits, bare boards and
                proto-boards and describe the process of construction
                and testing. I have a couple of unassembled S-100
                card kits. Also show vintage hobbyist magazines with
                construction/design articles.

                Bill S.
              • Cory Smelosky
                ... I like that guyÆs stuff. His stuff is what made me want some DECtalk gear so I could do some similar stuff. ... On 11 Jun 2013, at 14:32, Kyle Owen
                Message 7 of 30 , Jun 13 11:59 AM
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                  On 11 Jun 2013, at 14:32, "Kyle Owen" <kylevowen@...> wrote:





                  Again, it was mostly adults that even were slightly amused at Tic-Tac-Toe on my 6800. The kids went straight for King's Quest. Playing "The Entertainer" on the 6800 drew some more people in. Stuff like this is entertaining, as it's actually pretty good music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w68qZ8JvBds

                  I like that guy’s stuff.  His stuff is what made me want some DECtalk gear so I could do some similar stuff.


                  Maybe it's just me, but I'm all about sharing this hobby to more people and get some general interest, even if it means emphasizing the more fun aspects of vintage computing. I personally think of it more as a hook into the fascinating realm of vintage computers than a reinforcement of these computers as toys.

                  Kyle



                • Ray Sills
                  ... That s the way a lot of kids operate: they push buttons, flip switches, and observe what happens. Eventually, (often quickly) they figure out what does
                  Message 8 of 30 , Jun 13 12:01 PM
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                    On Jun 13, 2013, at 2:53 PM, Dave McGuire wrote:

                    > On 06/13/2013 02:00 PM, Mike wrote:
                    >> Kids like games, but I have noticed that the the more modern the game
                    >> is, the better they like them. Color graphics and a joystick seem
                    >> like the minimum baseline for most (but not all) kids.
                    >
                    > Just one data point here...My PDP-11/70 at VCF-E last year had a few
                    > terminals running various text-based games. (and one just sitting at a
                    > RSTS/E prompt, of course) Young kids, age 10 or so, took to those
                    > games
                    > like ducks to water. They'd never been exposed to that sort of thing
                    > before, but they seemed to intuitively "get it". It was fascinating
                    > to
                    > watch their facial expressions as they figured it out, and then
                    > started
                    > playing.
                    >
                    > -Dave
                    >
                    > --
                    > Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                    > New Kensington, PA

                    That's the way a lot of kids operate: they push buttons, flip
                    switches, and observe what happens. Eventually, (often quickly) they
                    figure out what does what and are able to map that into their brains
                    and begin serious usage. They simply are not intimidated by something
                    "complex and difficult" to understand. You should see my 2 1/2 year
                    old grandson navigate his way around my iPhone! Grownups, for
                    whatever reason, seem to be afraid of "doing the wrong thing" and
                    messing it up. Kids don't care.

                    73 de Ray
                  • Cory Smelosky
                    ... I still solve problems that way. IÆm a /bit/ more cautious, but without that method of problem-solving, some of my problems would never get solved. ;) I
                    Message 9 of 30 , Jun 13 12:17 PM
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                      On 13 Jun 2013, at 15:01, "Ray Sills" <raysills3@...> wrote:



                      On Jun 13, 2013, at 2:53 PM, Dave McGuire wrote:

                      On 06/13/2013 02:00 PM, Mike wrote:
                      Kids like games, but I have noticed that the the more modern the game
                      is, the better they like them.  Color graphics and a joystick seem
                      like the minimum baseline for most (but not all) kids.

                       Just one data point here...My PDP-11/70 at VCF-E last year had a few
                      terminals running various text-based games. (and one just sitting at a
                      RSTS/E prompt, of course)  Young kids, age 10 or so, took to those  
                      games
                      like ducks to water.  They'd never been exposed to that sort of thing
                      before, but they seemed to intuitively "get it".  It was fascinating  
                      to
                      watch their facial expressions as they figured it out, and then  
                      started
                      playing.

                                   -Dave

                      -- 
                      Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                      New Kensington, PA

                      That's the way a lot of kids operate:  they push buttons, flip  
                      switches, and observe what happens.  Eventually, (often quickly) they  
                      figure out what does what and are able to map that into their brains  
                      and begin serious usage.  They simply are not intimidated by something  
                      "complex and difficult" to understand.  You should see my 2 1/2 year  
                      old grandson navigate his way around my iPhone!  Grownups, for  
                      whatever reason, seem to be afraid of "doing the wrong thing" and  
                      messing it up.  Kids don't care.

                      I still solve problems that way.  I’m a /bit/ more cautious, but without that method of problem-solving, some of my problems would never get solved. ;)

                      I got a broken I/O module to work in a Cisco 7200 by removing a burning transistor or resistor from the board through brute force once.  It made it (mostly) work believe it or not...


                      73 de Ray






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                    • Mike Loewen
                      ... It s not just kids. Here s Alex Bodnar engrossed in Mystery Mansion on my HP 2109E:
                      Message 10 of 30 , Jun 13 1:10 PM
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                        On Thu, 13 Jun 2013, Dave McGuire wrote:

                        > On 06/13/2013 02:00 PM, Mike wrote:
                        >> Kids like games, but I have noticed that the the more modern the game
                        >> is, the better they like them. Color graphics and a joystick seem
                        >> like the minimum baseline for most (but not all) kids.
                        >
                        > Just one data point here...My PDP-11/70 at VCF-E last year had a few
                        > terminals running various text-based games. (and one just sitting at a
                        > RSTS/E prompt, of course) Young kids, age 10 or so, took to those games
                        > like ducks to water. They'd never been exposed to that sort of thing
                        > before, but they seemed to intuitively "get it". It was fascinating to
                        > watch their facial expressions as they figured it out, and then started
                        > playing.

                        It's not just kids. Here's Alex Bodnar engrossed in "Mystery Mansion"
                        on my HP 2109E:

                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/osr/7151170579/in/pool-810295@N25/lightbox/


                        Mike Loewen mloewen@...
                        Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
                      • Mike
                        What I m saying is that if you have two systems, each loaded with a game, one with color and joystick and the other with a monochrome text and a keyboard
                        Message 11 of 30 , Jun 13 2:44 PM
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                          What I'm saying is that if you have two systems, each loaded with a game,
                          one with color and joystick and the other with a monochrome text and a keyboard sitting side by side and a kid walks up, the vast majority of kids will gravitate towards one rather than the other.

                          I know that there are games running in monochrome text mode that any literate person would enjoy.

                          Regards,
                          MIke W.

                          --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Mike Loewen <mloewen@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > On Thu, 13 Jun 2013, Dave McGuire wrote:
                          >
                          > > On 06/13/2013 02:00 PM, Mike wrote:
                          > >> Kids like games, but I have noticed that the the more modern the game
                          > >> is, the better they like them. Color graphics and a joystick seem
                          > >> like the minimum baseline for most (but not all) kids.
                          > >
                          > > Just one data point here...My PDP-11/70 at VCF-E last year had a few
                          > > terminals running various text-based games. (and one just sitting at a
                          > > RSTS/E prompt, of course) Young kids, age 10 or so, took to those games
                          > > like ducks to water. They'd never been exposed to that sort of thing
                          > > before, but they seemed to intuitively "get it". It was fascinating to
                          > > watch their facial expressions as they figured it out, and then started
                          > > playing.
                          >
                          > It's not just kids. Here's Alex Bodnar engrossed in "Mystery Mansion"
                          > on my HP 2109E:
                          >
                          > http://www.flickr.com/photos/osr/7151170579/in/pool-810295@N25/lightbox/
                          >
                          >
                          > Mike Loewen mloewen@...
                          > Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
                          >
                        • Dave McGuire
                          ... Oh yes, absolutely. ... Sure. I was just sharing what happened, as I was surprised by it. -Dave -- Dave McGuire, AK4HZ New Kensington, PA
                          Message 12 of 30 , Jun 13 2:45 PM
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                            On 06/13/2013 05:44 PM, Mike wrote:
                            > What I'm saying is that if you have two systems, each loaded with a game,
                            > one with color and joystick and the other with a monochrome text and a keyboard sitting side by side and a kid walks up, the vast majority of kids will gravitate towards one rather than the other.

                            Oh yes, absolutely.

                            > I know that there are games running in monochrome text mode that any literate person would enjoy.

                            Sure. I was just sharing what happened, as I was surprised by it.

                            -Dave

                            --
                            Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                            New Kensington, PA
                          • Dave McGuire
                            ... -Dave -- Dave McGuire, AK4HZ New Kensington, PA
                            Message 13 of 30 , Jun 13 2:46 PM
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                              On 06/13/2013 04:10 PM, Mike Loewen wrote:
                              >>> Kids like games, but I have noticed that the the more modern the game
                              >>> is, the better they like them. Color graphics and a joystick seem
                              >>> like the minimum baseline for most (but not all) kids.
                              >>
                              >> Just one data point here...My PDP-11/70 at VCF-E last year had a few
                              >> terminals running various text-based games. (and one just sitting at a
                              >> RSTS/E prompt, of course) Young kids, age 10 or so, took to those games
                              >> like ducks to water. They'd never been exposed to that sort of thing
                              >> before, but they seemed to intuitively "get it". It was fascinating to
                              >> watch their facial expressions as they figured it out, and then started
                              >> playing.
                              >
                              > It's not just kids. Here's Alex Bodnar engrossed in "Mystery Mansion"
                              > on my HP 2109E:
                              >
                              > http://www.flickr.com/photos/osr/7151170579/in/pool-810295@N25/lightbox/

                              :-)

                              -Dave

                              --
                              Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                              New Kensington, PA
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