The Vintage Computer Festival East Is Happening This Weekend

This weekend is the premier vintage computer meetup on the East Coast. It’s VCF East, and it’s all going down this weekend, Friday to Sunday afternoon, in Wall, New Jersey.

2019 is a fantastic year for computer history, being the 50th anniversary of Unix, and the 40th anniversary of Atari. For that, there will be exhibits of dozens of systems running some sort of *nix, including systems from Apple, AT&T, DEC, IBM, NeXT, SGI, and Sun. For the Atari extravaganza, you’re getting the full line of Atari 8-bitters, some STs, and a Falcon 030. There will be other exhibits about POTS, so bring a landline phone, a progress update on a 1/10th scale, pulse-level simulator of the ENIAC, and someone will assuredly have Super Mario Brothers for the C64 running.

Keynotes reflect this great year of computer history with a keynote by the one and only Ken Thompson, co-inventor of Unix. On Sunday, there’s a talk with Joe Decuir, engineer who helped develop the Atari VCS and Atari 800. There’s also a Homebrew Computing Discussion Panel.

As always, there will be a flea market, an understated highlight of any Vintage Computer Festival. It’s like a museum you can buy. One time there was an LCD for an Apple IIc. Too rich for my blood, but technically the first Apple laptop.

As with all VCF East events, it’s held at the InfoAge Science & History Center the site of the Camp Evans Signal Corps R&D lab during World War II. It’s basically the site of what would become DARPA. You’ve also got the Silverball pinball museum just up the road in Asbury Park. There’s plenty to do and see on the Jersey Shore this weekend, and it’s not even Labor Day.

18 thoughts on “The Vintage Computer Festival East Is Happening This Weekend

        1. Ha! You fell in to my trap! :-)
          (One can argue that the Babbage Engine, Zeuss Z3, Colossus and Manchester Baby all did the things that ENIAC did first before ENIAC did)

      1. Btw, do take that comment as a sarcastical suggestion.

        Seeing what Hackaday does in Europe, London and Belgrade in this case, it’s not really a “US site”, or at least not anymore. Please check out https://hackaday.io/events
        They also didn’t hire 100% US people to write. Miss List comes to mind, as well as Mister Antonić.
        I’m willing to go out on a limb, and say that the SupplyFrame overlords don’t keep it all in the US, and are happy to trade abroad.

        All in all. It’s a site that heavily relies on both the US and far across it’s borders to make it the site that it is today.

  1. “As with all VCF East events, it’s held at the InfoAge Science & History Center the site of the Camp Evans Signal Corps R&D lab during World War II. It’s basically the site of what would become DARPA. ”

    So this place is where Arnim Zola is hiding out, right?

    1. Well, the fictitious “Camp Lehigh” where Steve Rogers trained was in New Jersey, and that’s where we later find the underground facility that made up “Zola’s Brain”.

  2. Mr. Pugh said
    “(One can argue that the Babbage Engine, Zeuss Z3, Colossus and Manchester Baby all did the things that ENIAC did first before ENIAC did)”

    Colossus was not a general-purpose stored-program computer; it was a fixed-program, single-purpose computer, so is not the first.

    The Babbage contraption was a mechanical calculator. Should not be considered.

    The Manchester Baby (1948), while programmable, was essentially special test equipment for CRTs, thus not truly general purpose.

    The German Z3 (1941) was probably the first programmable electronic computer; but was electromechanical (relays).

    The ENIAC (1946) entry for wiki claims it “was the first electronic general-purpose computer”.

    Wiki and other source have multiple entries for the ‘first’ computer. Other than being electrical, general-purpose, and programmable (stored program), the other wonk requirement is Turing Complete.

    The nuke-heads at Oakridge say this: https://www.phy.ornl.gov/csep/ov/node10.html

    So I dunno, and neither do you.

    1. There were two Babbage contraptions.
      The Difference Engine was a non-programmable calculator; as you rightly state, not worth consideration as the “first” computer.
      The Analytical Engine was a programmable, Turing-complete computer; however it was also mechanical and only a design, no complete working example has been built yet (see https://plan28.org/).

  3. Who knew a US-based website might be US focused? The outrage is strong here. There is town near me in Milan, NM, USA. I think its Italian counterpart needs to do a better job preventing confusion between the two places. How dare they! If only Iowa, would comply with Des Moines, NM’s demands too. Too many people are confused. Full stop now!

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