[vcf-midatlantic] VCF @ Brickfair NJ report

Evan Koblentz evan at vcfed.org
Sun Nov 3 22:23:12 EST 2019

Friday I gave a lecture at Brickfair on the history of Lego robotics from
before Mindstorms (1980-1997). Only 5 people attended, but they were all
enthusiastic about the subject. One guy knew about VCF. Another said he
came to Brickfair solely because he heard about my topic. So that's cool.
IMO the event management did a terrible job of advertising their Friday

Saturday I demo'd my favorite of the various pre-Mindstorms sets, #9700,
using the Apple II platform. I didn't bring the IBM version. The demo
worked well until about 4pm. I troubleshooted it as best I could while also
talking to visitors. Some of the basic diagnostics between the computer and
the interface box stopped working. I know it's not the computer, so this
will take more fixing than I can do. I will bring it to the workshop next

I told the show managers there was no point in me coming back today without
having a working demo. My table was in an island of its own, so they
understand and said it's fine.

The show traffic Saturday was pretty good. I had a steady stream of
visitors all day, most of which liked what I had to show them.

Lego is an excellent gateway drug to vintage computing. :) Tons of parents
my age (40s) came over to reminisce about 8-bit computers. Only one person
ever heard of Laser. A lot of people came over and told their kids it's a
"Mac II". I enlightened them...

I found out there are several dozen Lego shows nationwide. They experts
said Chicago and DC (Northern Virginia next summer) are the biggest. I'll
look into Virginia next year. My goal is to have a schematic of the
interface box done by then (Nevell agreed to do it) and a working replica
made in time.

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