When I arrived at the InfoAge Science and History Museum for this year’s Vintage Computer Festival East, I fully expected it to be a reduced event compared to last year. After all, how could it not? Due to the schedule getting shifted around by COVID, show runner Jeffrey Brace and his team had just six months to put together an event that usually gets planned over the course of an entire year. With such a truncated preparation time, they more than deserved a little slack.
But as anyone who attended VCF East 2022 can attest, they didn’t need it. Not only did the event meet the high expectations set by last year’s Festival, it managed to exceed them. There were more workshops, more talks, more vendors, more consignment rooms, more live streams, more…well, everything. This year’s program even got a splash of glossy color compared to the grayscale handout attendees received in October. It was, by any metric you care to use, better than ever.
It does however leave me in somewhat on an unenviable position. As we’ve learned during the pandemic, a virtual representation of an event as extensive as VCF can give you a taste of what’s offered, but all the nuance is lost. Looking at pictures of somebody’s passion project can’t compare to actually meeting the person and seeing that glint of pride in their eye as they walk you through all the details.
So bear that in mind through this rundown of some of the projects that caught my eye. This isn’t a “best of” list, and the Festival is certainly not a competition. But each attendee will invariably come away with their own handful of favorite memories, so I’ll document mine here. If you’d like to make your own memories, I’d strongly suggest making the trek out to the Jersey Shore come April 2023 for the next Vintage Computer Festival East.
Continue reading “Vintage Computer Festival East Raises The Bar Again”
This weekend the InfoAge Science and History Museum in Wall, New Jersey will once again play host to the Vintage Computer Festival East — the annual can’t-miss event for anyone who has even a passing interest in the weird and wonderful machines that paved the way for the supercomputers we now all carry around in our pockets. Ticket holders will have access to a program absolutely jam packed with workshops, talks, and exhibits that center around the dual themes of “Women in Computing” and “Computers for the Masses”, plus a consignment and vendor area that almost guarantees you’ll be going home a little poorer than when you got there. But hey, at least you’ll have some new toys to play with.
For those that can’t make the pilgrimage to the tropical wonderland that is the Jersey Shore in April, all three days of the Festival will be live-streamed to the VCF YouTube page. There’s even an official Discord server where you can chat with other remote attendees. We’re glad to see more events adopting a hybrid approach after two years of COVID-19 lockdown, as it gives the far-flung a chance to participate in something they would otherwise miss completely. That said, there’s no virtual replacement for the experience of browsing the exhibits and consignment areas, so if it’s at all possible we recommend you get yourself to InfoAge for at least one of the days.
Incidentally, don’t worry if you’ve got the sneaking feeling that it hasn’t been anywhere near a year since the last time the VCF descended on Wall Township. The 2021 Festival got pushed to October because of the lingering plague, but rather than permanently change the date going forward, the 2022 Festival has returned to its traditional season. Of course that means the wait until VCF 2023 will seem unusually long after this double-shot, so here’s hoping we see another swap meet at the InfoAge campus before the end of the year.