|Saturday, November 4, 2006|
|A History of Computing in the LSI Era|
|The history of computers stretches back a couple hundred years, from mechanical calculators in the 1800s to electronic data processing utilizing vacuum tubes in the early 20th century, to the invention of the transistor in 1948 and Large-Scale Integration in the 1970s. The focus of this session is the seminal microprocessor era of the early 1970s.|
|A Million to One|
|Join computer architect Peter N. Glaskowsky, former editor in chief of Microprocessor Report, for a tour of the technical progress achieved by the computer industry over the last 30 years, as transistor counts, memory capacity, CPU performance, and communications bandwidth have all increased by roughly a million to one. Glaskowsky will show items from his collection of industry memorabilia and present his view of where we're going in the next 30 years.|
|Why Technology's Future Depends Upon Passionate Collectors|
|Technological progress is not built on the spires of earlier success, but the rubble of earlier failure. Look behind any shiny new gizmo and its DNA comes from myriad earlier ideas and otherwise forgotten technologies.|
The work of passionate collectors is thus crucial to future innovation because it documents and preserves ideas and innovations that would otherwise be overlooked and lost. Moreover, the period of greatest danger is the recent past: that period when things are no longer new, but also not old
enough to be prized. Much of the history of the Silicon Valley falls into this penumbra, making the role of collectors absolutely central to ongoing technological innovation.
Collectors aren't mere historians, but agents and advocates of future wonders.
|Forty years ago there was Iverson notation and "A Programming Language", the book by Kenneth Iverson. There was a new IBM Selectric type element with an unusual character set, and a small group in IBM was using the book and the ball to make computers run Iverson notation with what became APL360 (and APL1130). Before APL360 had )CLEAR, a way to get an empty workspace was to )LOAD 1 CLEANSPACE. Even today in APL2 one can )LOAD 1 CLEANSPACE and see:|
SAVED 1966-11-27 15.53.59 (GMT-7)...giving us a date to celebrate APL birthdays.
Larry Breed was among the small group assembled by Ken Iverson to work on APL. He'll explain 1 CLEANSPACE and recall his work with Kenneth Iverson, Adin Falkoff, Roger Moore, Phil Abrams and others. Gene McDonnell and Paul Berry will be joining Larry to share some of their memories of the origins of APL.
|01:00 PM||Apple Celebration|
|Apple In the Garage|
|Thirty years ago, in 1976, the Apple Computer Company was founded by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. Working initially out of Wozniak's garage where the Apple-1 was manufactured, the company embarked on a rapid ascent in the burgeoning microcomputer industry, and into the history books.|
Apple is the quintessential Silicon Valley success story, a story that has been repeated countless times in many other lesser known but equally inspiring ventures. But Apple's story is special. Apple itself, even after 30 years in business, is special. Its products, its culture, and its fans are unique in the computer industry today, and harken back to a time when one's identity was tied directly to the machine they chose as their personal computer. No other contemporary computer company has the devoted following enjoyed by Apple, and few products in general enjoy the fanatical zeal that Apple users demonstrate towards their products.
Apple has experienced the highs and lows of the Silicon Valley experience, from triumphant achievements to struggles for basic survival, even recurring speculation that the company's demise was imminent or was to be acquired and absorbed by some larger entity. But for three decades Apple has perservered. For tens of thousands of former and current employees, Apple is the Silicon Valley experience.
So it is with great pleasure, and great honor, that the Vintage Computer Festival is hosting a 30 year anniversary celebration of Apple and its achievements. In particular, we honor its founders and early employees.
This panel features Apple co-founder and legendary hacker Steve Wozniak (employee #1), and Apple employees Daniel Kottke (#12), Randy Wigginton, and more (to be announced).
The session will be moderated by Bruce Damer of the DigiBarn Computer Museum. Bruce has created a special online exhibit in conjunction with this event. Contributions and recollections from former and/or current Apple employees are welcomed and appreciated.
Bring your favorite Apple paraphenalia, because Woz and the gang will stick around after the panel to autograph it!
|Software Preservation at the Computer History Museum|
|Al will describe the current software archive at the Museum, how the physical media is being preserved, and cataloged, and the Museum's "Wish List" for expanding the collection.|
|Sunday, November 5, 2006|
|How Cool is Collecting?|
|Christine Finn has been following the fortunes of the Silicon Valley for seven years. The author of Artifacts: An Archaeologist's Year in Silicon Valley, she has presented her findings in a range of media: at VCF talks in the US and Europe, in news journals, in academic papers, in photography, and in art installations. This year she reflects on her work, the development of computer collecting, and the role of retro-tech in the 21st century.|
|Collecting for Newbies|
|Cool events like the Vintage Computer Festival may make you want to participate in the hobby of collecting vintage computers. But how, and why? Who else does it? What's it really all about? What should you collect? Where do you find vintage computers for sale? How do you keep up with what's happening in the hobby? What about conducting original research? How can you meet other collectors in your area? Where should you keep your collection without getting a divorce? Come to this lecture to learn all the basics about getting started as a vintage computer collector!|
|Ten Years of Preserving Vintage Computer Publications Online|
|In the past decade, the websites AtariMagazines.com,|
AtariArchives.org, and FlightSimBooks.com have preserved 50 vintage computer books, 10,000 articles from classic computer magazines, and a variety of software on the web, all with the permission of the copyright holders. Curator Kevin Savetz will explain the history of these projects, describe successes and failures along the way, and demonstrate how other enthusiasts can preserve their favorite vintage computing books, magazines, and software in their own projects.
|01:00 PM||Sol-20 Celebration|
|The Processor Technology Sol-20 "Terminal Computer", designed by Silicon Valley legend Lee Felsenstein, was one of the earliest fully integrated personal computers on the market, featuring the main processor, RAM, ROM, keyboard, video interface, serial and parallel ports, and cassette tape storage interface as standard features.|
Lee will be joined by several former Processor Technology employees and associated luminaries to discuss the development of the Sol-20 and its impact on the personal computing industry. He'll also be bringing along some rare prototype boards for show and tell.
To commemorate this special occasion, the VCF will be giving away a Processor Technology Sol-20* at this session! Anyone who attends will be eligible to win. Come to the talk to find out how.
* Provided by Stan Sieler of Allegro Consulting.
|The Story of the Fairchild Channel F Video Game System|
|The Fairchild Channel F was the first cartridge-based video game system. Development of the Channel F covers events from pre-Atari days, including creating a new division at Fairchild, trials and tribulations with FCC certification, programming obstacles, productions issues, early challenges in selling consumer video game systems, and much more. The Channel F system pioneered the cartridge based video game console and involved early attempts at software distribution via cable television. This is the story of how it all happened by the man who made it happen.|
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