[vcf-midatlantic] Young Innovators Faire

Evan Koblentz evan at snarc.net
Tue Jan 5 21:38:19 EST 2016


Thanks for posting, Todd.

Everyone -- as I said before (I forget whether it was in public or just to Doug / Todd / Chris), I had NO IDEA this event is so big, otherwise we would have planned a larger exhibit. Next year!

On Jan 5, 2016, Todd George via vcf-midatlantic <vcf-midatlantic at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org> wrote:
>Date: Sun, 03 Jan 2016 19:50:29 -0500
>From: Evan Koblentz <evan at snarc.net>
>Subject: [vcf-midatlantic] Young Innovators Faire
>
>>Big thanks to you, Chris F., and Todd G. for representing us there!
>>Generally speaking how did it go?
>
>Here's my report from the show (slightly modified from a previous
>version
>of the report I sent to Evan, Doug and Chris)!
>
>I had a nice long talk with Gabe (co-founder of The Young Innovators
>Fair),
>he told me how much he appreciated us being there.  He thought our
>booth
>was a gigantic hit, and said he thought we were one of the busier
>stand-alone/standard-sized booths at the event.  As of ~2 pm (??? it's
>all
>a blur) on Sunday when I talked with him, they were far in excess of
>20,000
>(!!!) tickets sold for the weekend NOT INCLUDING something like a few
>thousand (rumored) free/donation/charity tickets that they gave out.
>Apparently those "free" tickets went unaccounted-for.  Saturday was
>definitely the busier day, but Sunday proved to be a strong contender. 
>I
>also need to brush up on my rollerskating skills, as Gabe had the
>brilliant
>idea to wear roller skates at the event.  Definitely helps him get
>around
>the place in an expedient fashion.
>
>Some of my favorite moments, a dad stopped at the booth while walking
>by
>with his family, comes over to me and says "If you had asked me this
>morning if anything here would make me stop dead in my tracks, I'd have
>said 'No Way'.  This is amazing and has definitely stopped me in my
>tracks".  We also received tons of positive feedback from the booth
>guests.  There was a girl at our booth for nearly the entire day on
>Saturday, she was 16 and "wants to be an engineer".  She was so
>knowledgeable about all things computer and was really digging our
>booth.
>She was extremely smart and was chatting with us off and on all day.  I
>also had a great long talk with a gentleman who indicated his son had
>two
>apps in the Apple App Store, had been programming since he was 8, was
>probably 13 or so by my guess now.  He had never programmed in BASIC,
>so I
>gave him some brief instruction.  He took to it like a duck to water. 
>His
>first program in BASIC?  "Hello World".  I only told him to "Put
>whatever
>you want the computer to display inside the quotes."  A few people
>commented how much they appreciated that our booth was "something
>different".  I also directed a few people to actually join VCFed based
>on
>discussions I had.  One guy had a bunch of Apple equipment set up on
>display in his basement, said he curates and restores it.  He expressed
>interest in improving his restoration skills (participation in
>workshops)
>and really seemed interested in our group in general.  He had mentioned
>he
>has no idea a group like ours existed.  I also lost count of how many
>parents told us "how old we were making them feel", told me the story
>about
>how "Drexel made us buy that Macintosh" (at least 20 people told me
>some
>variant of this story), and indicated to their kids when we showed them
>the
>5 1/4" and 3 1/2" floppy disk props we had at the table how "they used
>to
>store all of their high school/college work on those" while the kids
>just
>looked as us with a blank stare.
>
>There was definitely an interesting combination of "parent-types" being
>attracted to our booth, with their children in tow explaining to them
>how
>these were the old computers they used to use.  The other side of that
>was
>kids being attracted to the games we had up and running and then being
>suckered into listening to their parents wax nostalgic once they
>realized
>what hardware was running the games.
>
>The only failure we had at the VCF booth was our KayPro II.  The floppy
>disks were warm when we pulled them out, but letting the machine cool
>down
>didn't "fix" the problem.  Who knows, it was a long two days and this
>computer probably isn't used to that kind of workload.  The one at the
>booth wasn't mine, but I still feel bad that it gave up the ghost. 
>Funny
>side story, my wife is tired of hearing me curse and complain about
>working
>inside of my KayPro II.  To prove it, I sent a text to her and said
>"Hey,
>the KayPro at our booth died".  Her reply was "Why, did you yell at it
>too
>much?".  To put this into perspective even more, my wife doesn't know
>many
>of the names of the computers I work on.  So that tells you how
>excellently
>engineered the innards of the KayPro are that she knows what it's
>called
>and has heard me bitch about it that much.
>
>The venue wasn't so lucky... Apparently their failures were numerous,
>including the credit card processing at the concession stands failing,
>the
>ATM machines logically emptying shortly thereafter, and to top it off
>the
>vending machines emptying by around 11 am on Saturday.  Apparently
>their
>credit card processing never came back online throughout the rest of
>the
>weekend.  Between that and the ATM machines being empty, who knows how
>much
>potential revenue they lost due to our "cashless society".
>
>We didn't have an Apple II with us, turns out that was a bit of an
>error as
>we got lots of flack from people... "Where's Oregon Trail?", "Where's
>Loadrunner?".  Surprisingly, the TRS-80 Model 4 was the star of the
>show in
>my opinion.  I would have expected the Macintosh SE/30 to garner more
>attention but it did not (ran a close second though).  So many people
>commenting "Oh I had one of these in college" (about the Macintosh) or
>"this was the computer I learned to program on" (about the TRS-80).  I
>was
>also pleasantly amused by the sheer number of people walking up to the
>table and yelling "Oh my gosh a Trash 80!".  I was also asked many,
>many
>times how in the world we had a working TRS-80 of any variety.  Seems
>they
>have a reputation of some sort for being troublesome or something.
>
>All-in-all, a great time!  I was so tired Saturday and Sunday night,
>tired
>stretched into Monday.  But I'd do it again tomorrow, that's how much
>fun
>we had.  :)
>
>Special thanks to Doug and Chris with whom this wouldn't have been
>possible.  And of course Evan for putting it all together for us.
>See ya!
>-Todd



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