Notes from last years Vintage computer festival

I went to it last year when it was at the new Computer Museum on Shoreline. Anyways, I took some notes on my Palm Zire and I wanted to preserve them, so I’m writing them here.

When I got there, they had the Alto birthday party going on. There were too many people gathered around them and there was this Apple ][e with a DuoDisk playing Karateka on the other side of the room. I decided to play that from start to finish. The area is a mini ‘Apple’ history section. They really looked nice on those desks with space around them and the architecture of the old SGI building. There was this other interesting game playing on an Apple 2 that I didn’t recognize by one of the smaller software publishers. It let you setup some machines that would react to a ball that moved around on a board. It looked really neat and is probably still 25 years ahead of its time 🙂

After the crowd died down, I checked out the Alto’s briefly. I couldn’t get the Mazewar game to work, so I moved on.

I moved on and saw the perenial display of the original wirewrapped prototype of the Amiga. Still so damn cool. There was also an individual nearby who had a DECTalk box hooked up to a terminal and playing the original crowther and woods adventure.

The next interesting thing was the other perenial attendance of a C64 afficianado. This guy had a C64 hooked up to the internet via an ethernet cartridge. It was running the ConTiki OS. I surfed to Google and to my own web site for fun. It actually works.

Then there was some more old PDP collectors. Some guy had what seemed like a wall of DEC computers. Those things are probably zero fun to move.

I did spot a Bell & Howell ‘black’ apple 2. I had almost forgotten about those. I used one in Jr. High.

The Forth priesthood was there with literature. I tried to get the guy to chat about it, but I think they aren’t that truly objective about programming.

There was a 3B1 there… and it was running. I remember how I used to pine for one of those back in the 80’s so I could run a ‘real’ multi-user OS and system 🙂 The guy running it was there with Bill Gosper and he was very young. Bill was hacking on a completely decked out Symbolics LISP box with a color framebuffer.

I then met some guys who told me about the Intellivision. They came out here from Chicago or Detroit. We all joked about how life changes when you have kids. They watched little breaks in their side projects turn from days into weeks 🙂 … but of course, we snapped back into talking about tech. The Intellivision was truly designed by cable people. The architecture was one where you had to wonder what the hell they were thinking when they did X, Y, or Z. I never really got into that console since I didn’t have one, but I did spend one summer in North Carolina playing their Vegas Poker and Casino in the basement. The dealer would shift his eyes when bluffing sometimes 🙂

That gets me thinking… you know a lot of people back then found some very interesting algorithms or polynomials that were manageable by such simple processors, yet could fool most humans into thinking that something complex or intelligent was going on. Ah, those 8 bit days are long gone.

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