[vcf-midatlantic] On our hobby

Adam Michlin amichlin at swerlin.com
Sat Mar 14 18:05:52 EDT 2020


Federation: the formation of a political unity, with a central 
government, by a number of separate states, each of which retains 
control of its own internal affairs.

Thinking back, I started my involvement in this hobby around 1993. My 
computers weren't so vintage then, I had no idea what CP/M was or any 
awareness of machines prior to the Apple II. I had to give up that 
collection in 2004 to move to NJ. What I remember most of all was that 
it was a lonely hobby.

My interest was rekindled when I started teaching Computer Science in FL 
around about 2008. I'm a huge believer in teaching history in any 
subject I teach and it seemed obvious to not only teach the history but 
to show the history. I had kept a Mac SE from my first collection that 
had traveled from CA to NJ to FL and used that as my first prop in 
teaching Computer Science and, by extension, Computer History.

I was lucky that we had a district warehouse (that makes the VCF 
warehouse look small) where all the old tech went to rest (we couldn't 
recycle for complicated financial reasons). And thus began my second 
collection. Primarily Apple II.. because, well, schools and Apple II.

I then left my job as a CS teacher and moved into the music retail 
industry. As such, I again had to give up my collection. Still the hobby 
was lonely.

I moved to NJ to again teach CS in 2014. Kept only my one Apple IIc. But 
something different happened. I found you people. My classroom became 
stocked with machines donated by people like Tony Bogan, Dean 
Notaricola, Alex Jacocks (and I'm forgetting so many, sorry!).It would 
take me pages to list just the knowledge I've gained from everyone 
reading this very email. Thank you to each and everyone of you.

The hobby wasn't lonely anymore.

We are the Vintage Computer Federation. We are not just a museum and 
warehouse in Wall, NJ. We are not just an online forum or mailing list. 
We are people. We are people throughout the world. We are events 
throughout the world.

We are growing and the nature of growing is that there will be 
conflicts. I, however, look at the conflicts as a good thing rather than 
a bad thing. It is easy to avoid conflicts... don't grow.

I dream of a world where we have so many workshops that people have to 
choose. That people in Maryland have a Maryland workshop, NJ in NJ, NY 
in NY, and PA in PA all on the same day because there are too many 
events to avoid date conflicts. Heck, I'd love to see an Idaho workshop! 
And, of course, someone really needs to get going on that North NJ 
workshop less than 10 minutes from where I live. ;)

As one the primary people responsible for the VCF Social Media, I have 
done my best to promote *every* organization that does anything at all 
to push our hobby in a positive direction. LCM, CHM, museums and other 
organizations in Holland, Finland, Russia, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, 
Maryland.. on and on and on.

As a Steering Committee member, I have pushed very hard to increase 
access to our collection to members and create a formal way for 
organizations to borrow our artifacts for display in their own museums.

I do all this because I have a vision that VCF exists to promote the 
hobby. The entire hobby. This is what a Federation does. Yet the nature 
of a Federation is that independent entities (officially or 
unofficially) within it will sometimes have conflicts.

But I don't see conflicts as a bad thing. I see conflicts as an amazing 
problem created by a growing hobby. No one is trying to create 
conflicts, but they will arise. We will, however, overcome them together 
to take this hobby to the next level (or four).

I just can't imagine going back to that lonely hobby.


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