[vcf-midatlantic] Young Innovators Faire

Jeffrey Brace ark72axow at gmail.com
Tue Jan 5 23:55:14 EST 2016

I was one of those Drexel University students who had to buy a Macintosh
when I entered as a Freshman. Mine was an SE/30.

Also yah! Someone not only knowing what Lode Runner was, but *requesting*
it! They missed the Atari/Commodore/Android I had running it at Maker
Faire. I would be happy to bring it there next year! :-D

On Tue, Jan 5, 2016 at 9:33 PM, 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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