Archive for the ‘VCFB’ Category

Vintage Computing Festival Berlin 2020

October 8, 2020

In contrast to some other events, the VCFB 2020 will actually take place. This weekend (depending on when you read this), on October 10th and 11th, it will take place via a Wiki, BigBlueButton, and some streaming.

Find all important information on https://wiki.vcfb.de/2020/start?id=en:start

Most exhibitions, presentations and workshops are in German, but there are also some English things:

I will also hold a presentation (on “Collecting Computers as an hobby: An Introduction“), but it will be given in German (as some information relates to the German situation).

Also, I will moderate an event on “Technology Museums and Collectors: Question Time“, but again, in German, because these are German museums.

Report on the VCFB 2019

November 1, 2019

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© Ralph Niese

As you may know, I again participated this year at the Vintage Computer Festival Berlin (VCFB). I did not only help maintaining the web site, but also had an exhibit (the Gepard computer) and a presentation (on the Gepard Computer company). I even joined the newly established VCFB association which will be the organizational body to (co-)organize future VCFBs.

The number of visitors further increased this year to over 2800.

This time the exhibition area was really packed! 44 different exhibits showing between one and like 15 computers, 20 presentations, (again) an entire room full of old consoles, a short conference on “Computer Space”, areas where children and adults can solder small robots, devices, and jewelry, a crypto and a chip tune party, there was so much to see, listen to, play, and experience.

This year’s highlights for me were the A-series computers of the HP-1000 family exhibited by Wolfgang Wilker. I never knew that HP had a series of Real-Time computers with hard- and software completely different from their “normal” computer lines.

All presentations were recorded and can be viewed on the media.ccc.de website.

There are also a number of photo collections and videos from the VCFB 2019, e.g. here and here.

I’m looking very much forward the VCFB 2020 and hope to see you there!

VCFB 2019 Announcement

February 17, 2019

If you have read my blog, you know that I participated in the Vintage Computer Festival Berlin (Germany) in 2018 and 2017. As I contribute to the organisation this year a little bit, here is the announcement of the 2019 event:

Vintage Computing Festival Berlin (VCFB)

Date: October 12 & 13, 2019
Location: The “Ladestrasse” area of the German Museum of Technology (Deutsches Technikmuseum) Berlin

(Access via Möckernstr. 26, 10963 Berlin, Germany)

The Vintage Computing Festival Berlin (VCFB) is an event about historic computers and computing technology. In exhibitions, talks and workshops, participants from all over Germany and beyond present many different aspects of Vintage Computing. Established in 2014, the VCFB has steadily grown and has attracted well over 2500 visitors in 2018.

In addition to retro computers, also historical operating systems, programming languages, network technology as well as pocket and mechanic calculators will be shown. Most of the exhibited devices are still in working condition and can be used by visitors.

Admission is free!

Special Exhibition “Computers from Germany”

Leibniz, Zuse, Nixdorf and others – German inventors and companies have had a long lasting effect in computing history. As a location for research and development, as an important market, and as a place of manufacturing, both the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic have played an important role in history. As the 50th anniversary of renowned East German manufacturer Robotron approaches, we celebrate the event with a special exhibition on computers from Germany. We thus invite exhibitors to present (working) historic computers with a relation to Germany independently of whether they came from a German company, were designed or “Made in Germany”.

Game Room

The “House of Computer Games” presents the history of computer games. Visitors get a hands-on experience of past digital games on over twenty historic game consoles and home computers.

Short Conference “COMPUTER SPACE – 50 years of hardware, software, and wetware in space”

On July 16, 1969, not only the first men landed on the moon – but also the first computer. The moon landing as part of the Apollo 11 mission was an unprecedented symbiosis of humans, hardware and software. Since then, many anecdotes and myths have grown around these protagonists. Five presentations in our short conference will demonstrate that Apollo 11 was not the beginning but only a first climax in the convergence of computer and rocket technology. The conference will further explore what came before and how the moon landings had a long lasting influence on technology and culture (even extending to literature and computer game history).

Information for exhibitors will follow.

VCFB 2018: Short Report

October 21, 2018

As you might know by now, I attended the VCFB 2018 in Berlin. I had an exhibit and a presentation. I was most kindly mentioned on a popular German news page. I met many nice people.

The location was held at and co-organised by the German Museum of Technology  which was enough space and resources to support this event in a succesful way. Speaking of success: 2600 visitors have been counted, even more than last year.

Things-to-see-and-hear-wise, it was equally interesting. All the presentations were recorded and are available. There were many interesting exhibits. To me, the most interesting was “Smalltalk, Unix, Plan 9” by Angelo Papenhoff.

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He showed off:

  • A Xerox Alto simulator (Contralto) showing a very early version of Smalltalk
  • Research Unix (Bell Labs) and their GUI for it(!)
  • Plan 9 and its 9front forks (they develop the system further despite the fact that there is noone “official” from the original project left)

He gave also a presentation on “The GUIs of Research Unix and Plan 9” (German).

For the next year, I offered to contribute to the organization of the event, so maybe next year there will be more information on this event in English.

My VCFB 2018 Exhibit: PDAs using Magic Cap

October 21, 2018

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At the VCFB 2018 I had an exhibit called “PDAs using Magic Cap”. It showed off a Sony PIC 1000 and 2000, a Motorola Envoy 100, and an Icras/General Magic DataRover 840. As the focus of the VCFB this time was “Graphical User Interfaces”, I concentrated on the Magic Cap GUI a little bit. Except the Envoy, all devices were up and running (I still have no power supply for the Envoy).

Interest in the exhibit was ok, the biggest group of people said my favorite sentence (“I have never seen something like that”), some were enthusiastic about the comic strip quality of the Magic Cap GUI, and a few people always wanted to have such a device.

There was also one (German) article about the VCFB 2018 which featured my exhibit and the presentation quite prominently.

If you want to read the posters next to the exhibit, either refer to this older blog entry of mine (English) or find it here (German).

My VCFB 2018 Presentation on “Mobile Agents and Telescript”

October 21, 2018

I had a presentation at the VCFB 2018 in Berlin on two topics on one of which I actually am an expert in :-). The title was “Mobile Agents and Telescript” and it dealt with the third topic of the General Magic topic: What would have happened technically if the first wave of Magic Cap devices would have been successful?

I gave my presentation in English for the sole purpose that you can also watch it as it was recorded (as all talks) by a CCC crew. So, without further ado, here is the link to the video recording of the presentation. And here are the slides that I presented that I presented.

VCFB 2018: I’ll be there

October 11, 2018

I’ll be at the Vintage Computing Festival Berlin (VCFB) 2018 exhibiting some General Magic Magic Cap devices and holding a presentation on Mobile Agents and Telescript. The VCFB start October, 13th and 14th in Berlin, Germany.

I would be thrilled to meet some of you there (I never really met a reader except people that read this blog because they know me).

I tried to be able to show the General Magic documentation movie there, but to no avail. Would have been a nice thing, rounding up the General Magic, Magic Cap, Telescript trifecta. However, I’m sure I will see it one day.

VCFB and Classic Computing 2017

December 29, 2017

This year (still 2017) I attended the VCFB 2017 in Berlin that took place October 7th & 8th, 2017. I mainly participated because this was also the host of the yearly Classic Computing exhibition of the (very German) club “VzEkC” (Verein zum Erhalt klassischer Computer) whose member I am since some years now. The club name translates to “Association for the Preservation of Classic Computers”. It is active all over Germany.

But back to the event. It took place in the German Museum of Technology Berlin, in an area that used to be part of the Goods Yard of the former train station “Anhalter Bahnhof” that does not exist anymore. It was spacious and well-equipped, and the event was really fun. The museum itself is something you have to visit if you happen to visit Berlin because it will interest you for sure as you read this blog 🙂 It contains planes, ships, and trains and has e.g. a quite high Trip Advisor rating. The permanent exhibition on Computer Science includes such things as replicas of the first German computer and other Zuse machines.

The event had over 2000 visitors, and featured a Lectures & Workshops track. You can find reports and pictures about it here (German) and here (German).

WarGames

There was also an Award for the Most Popular Exhibit and it was deservedly won by Ansgar Kückes showing his exhibit “WarGames” (picture above). It showed a HP 9845C setup that was used to produce the “War Room” graphics for the movie “War Games” including some original hardware used in the movie production. The point was that the production team had (in 1983) no huge displays to show the graphics in the war room. Therefore, they used the above setup to pre-record the graphics (using such tricks as the rotating three color filters as the used vector display was monochromatic) on film. During filming the movie the recorded film was then projected on the screens and the actors had to act in correspondance with the shown graphics. This was the end result in the movie:

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Very impressive. Both the movie and the exhibit on how these scenes were made.