[vcf-midatlantic] Putting the Federation in Vintage Computer Federation

Adam Michlin amichlin at swerlin.com
Sun Aug 30 18:03:18 EDT 2020

Hi Everyone,

So much has happened in the last 6+ months, all of which has been 
eclipsed by the pandemic.

To start, you can email all of the Steering Committee (SC) Members at:

<steering_vcfma at vcfed.org>

A while I spoke about what a Federation does and I wanted to share with 
everyone what has been going to make the Federation even more of a 
Federation. Some of this will be formally documented in the upcoming 
by-laws and some is just cool news of all the collaborations going on 
between various vintage computer groups and our progress towards opening 
up VCF resources to the membership at large.

Artifact Sale and Checkout:
We are very aware that much of the equipment in the warehouse needs a 
significant amount of TLC. To that end, we have set up a system where 
anyone can request an artifact for checkout. Checkout can be for repair, 
restoration, or just because you need to borrow it for some reason. In 
all cases, checking out an artifact will require a reasoning, approval 
of a majority of the 5 member SC and you will have to sign something. 
The SC will consider the nature of the request, the purpose of the 
request, and the person requesting. For obvious reasons, we cannot 
guarantee a yes to every request. We are also doing everything in our 
power to protect any repaired/restored artifacts from the elements in 
the warehouse when they are returned as the most commonly asked question 
we get is "why clean it if it is just going back to the dirty warehouse?".

This makes official an unofficial policy we've been experimenting with 
over the last few months. Ian Primus and Bill Lange, in particular, are 
doing some great work restoring terminals (ADM-2 and Teletype (CRT) 
Model 40) and Atari equipment (most notably Atari Mega STe now on 
display in the museum with keyboard provided by Dean Notarnicola) 

And if you want to come to a workshop and work on something bigger, make 
a proposal. Bill Inderrieden, for example, has been doing meticulous and 
awe inspiring work in documenting  the Wang Minicomputer in the museum 
and hopefully getting it up and running. A whole host of people who will 
be named later in this post have been getting one of our Xerox Stars 
working. Feel free to think big!

We felt sale of artifacts deserves a higher burden, so sale of artifacts 
requires a SC supermajority vote (4/5). Note, this is to purchase 
something that has not already been designated as surplus since surplus 
is already approved for sale. It will be a lot... and we mean a lot... 
more difficult to get non-surplus items to purchase from the warehouse 
since we are working very hard to proactively identify surplus equipment 
for sale. For obvious reasons, it should be expected the answer will 
most commonly be no for these requests, but everyone is allowed to make 
a request. You'll also see a lot more stuff naturally coming up for sale 
as surplus, though.

If you are interested in buying, repairing, restoring , or just 
borrowing something, email one or all of the Steering Committee members 
and we will take it from there.

The Warehouse:
As some people have heard, we are directing all funds generated by 
surplus sale to an account dedicated to climate controlling and 
otherwise updating the warehouse. This project has been a dream for so 
many of us for years and it is starting to become a reality. Donations 
to this end are most graciously appreciated, too.

Other Groups:
So many great things. I stopped by System Source in Maryland (you must 
go!) on the way down to South Carolina and we now have someone (Ryan 
Schiff) who is interested in restoring the Cray in the museum (owned by 
LSSM and Dave McGuire - on loan to us - he has approved the initial 
investigation). How cool will it be to even possibly have a working Cray 
in the museum? Power, you say? First world problems we will deal with! 
And to have people from three museums involved!?

We're working on a deal to swap an extra Apple II+ and Mac 512K with the 
Homecomputermusuem in the Netherlands for an Exidy Sorcerer and a ZX 
Spectrum. Two machines common in the US that we are swapping for two 
machines common in the UK that we don't have.  Hopefully the first of 
many trades as one of the things we lack are non US computers (most of 
the international machines in the museum are on loan from members).

A Xerox Star mouse has been found through a private party connected to 
us via the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. The person donating 
wishes to remain anonymous. I personally am most excited by this (and 
the work done by David Gesswein, Ian Primus and countless others to get 
the thing to work in the first place!). A working Xerox Star in a museum 
where museum goers can put hands on. Mind blowing.

And, finally, which I think I've posted on already, this all started 
with the loan of working Canon Cat (sitting in a plastic bin in the 
warehouse - boo!) to Kennett Classic (on display for people to use - yay!).

Our general philosophy going forward is that we can't display 
everything, so it makes much more sense to loan out artifacts for the 
world to see (and repair!) than to have artifacts sit in the warehouse 
(climate controlled or not). Everything is now backed by a formal 
process, though, so we have checks and balances and really want to 
encourage people and organizations who have never asked before to 
consider asking.

Is there something we haven't thought of? Let us know!

Best wishes,


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