[vcf-midatlantic] MARCHIAN invasion of Trenton

Chris Fala chrisjpf33 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 23 16:57:42 EDT 2017

Herb, thanks for the update. I feel like I was there!

Did anyone record any of "our guys'" talks?

On Mar 23, 2017, at 3:47 PM, Herb Johnson via vcf-midatlantic <vcf-midatlantic at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org> wrote:

I attended the TCF and saw talks by Frank OBrien (Apollo Guidance Computer), Neil Cherry (Home Automation / Internet of Things) and Evan and Jeff's robotics presentation.

The TCF "flea market" was flea-sized to be sure. But good people brought vintage computing things, proportionally it was a large piece of a small pie. One of my friend bought an SGI Octane 2 (newer model) , a SGI Indigo 2 High Impact and a BeBox ($1000) were also offered. Ther were even a few 360K floppy drives and diskettes for sale.

I bought, from another vendor of many things vintage, another TI 99/4A, with transformer and TV interface, to test the TI I bought not long ago - both worked by the way. A book vendor had many vintage computing books, some VERY vintage (my era); from his father's collection so he said.

Neil's talk was most informative, despite his protests as posted here. The key concept from it, in my opinion, was "MQTT", which is a message-based protocol between sensors and controllers - "publishers and subscribers" in the lexicon. The widespread adoption of a messaging protocol is a signifigant step - akin to TCP/IP for networking, my impression. The rest of the talk was about things talking with things to do things. Neil, practice this phrase: "details of implementation or scope are beyond the limited time I have available today. Contact me afterwards and I can give you references. Thank you."

Evan is correct, in his reportage that I said his and Jeff's robotics talk was more technically informative, than my discussion with a student and faculty-member of their $40K demonstration robot. I could not get those persons, to describe the programming interface to their tower of plastic and motors. Evan showed a BASIC program with peeks and pokes. The 20th century won that "battle of the 'bots". Am I a judge? I worked on robotic system interfaces to minicomputers in 1975.

Frank always gives an entertaining talk, and he's a published expert on the Apollo Guidance Computer. He claims the DSKY human interface designed in the early 1960's, presaged personal and embedded-computer human interfaces to come. It may be fun to confirm that claim, the interface has a design history. But "success has many parents..."

I have photos, to answer another post, which I'll put on a Web page in due course; a link will be posted here. I'll point to other photoed sites or sources, if their publishers give me Web links and permission for use of selected photos. Those who are photographed should contact me and name themselves.

Herb Johnson

Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net

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