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We have a treat!  Former Digital engineer Ed Mierzwa attended the April 2015 Vintage Computer Festival East, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the PDP-8, and sent us this "guided tour" with his annotations.   Enjoy his photos below (which have been reduced to fit in this gallery but can be seen in high resolution on request to webmaster@decconnection.org).  

Ed's email is ep_mierzwa@verizon.net.

 

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ABOUT WWW.VINTAGE.ORG and the Mid-Atlantic Retro Computer Hobbyists:

 

Thanks for agreeing to help promote our event, the Vintage Computer Festival East.  Here's a bunch of context for you.

I run a user group called MARCH (Mid-Atlantic Retro Computing Hobbyists). We formed 10 years ago and we're a not-for-profit. Our members collect and restore all forms of vintage computing technology, from 1950s mainframes to 1980s eight-bitters and everything in between. MARCH has its own bricks-and-mortar museum, which is co-located at the InfoAge Science Center, in Wall, New Jersey.

InfoAge itself is a very cool place: it formed as a Marconi wireless telegraph facility 100 years ago (similar to the Chatman facility on Cape Cod), became a Navy/RCA communications lab during WW1, served as a college between the wars, and then was a secret Army Signal Corps electronics R&D lab from WW2 until 2000. Now it's a non-profit, all-volunteer, grassroots-led science museum. It became a National Historic Landmark in 2012.

The franchise of Vintage Computer Festival events formed out west in 1997. It was run by a for-profit consultancy, but MARCH since obtained the rights to the VCF East edition (as of 2006). So now the proceeds just benefit our user group and museum, not anybody's pocket. :)

Every year at the VCF East, we try to celebrate some interesting anniversary. For this year we picked the 50th of the original PDP-8.

This year's VCF East is April 17-19 at our museum.

The first day is all technical classes, with a special PDP-8 ceremony at lunchtime. The ceremony will include the unveiling of MARCH's own Straight-8, remarks by our club members who restored it, and remarks by this particular machine's original users (who were members of a high school computer club here in central NJ in the 1960s/1970s).

The second/third day of our show features the exhibit hall. We'll have around three dozen exhibits, all up and running! So far seven of them are devoted to various flavors of the PDP-8 (plus two other exhibits devoted to the PDP-11 and VAX.) The exhibits are organized by MARCH members and by some non-members too.

Typically about 200-300 people attend the show, from hardcore techies to families/children (kids get in free on Sat./Sun.).

The event web site is www.vintage.org/2015/east/ (and we're social at facebook.com/vcfeast and twitter.com/vcfeast).

Tickets are very inexpensive and are sold on the web site and at the door.

We'd love to share this news with the DEC Connection audience. Hopefully some of your members will attend the show. We always get attendees from every U.S. time zone; historically we've had people attend from four continents. It is definitely not just a New Jersey thing.


Thank you,
- Evan Koblentz
(646-546-9999)

 

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