[vcf-midatlantic] Ken Thompson video
go4retro at go4retro.com
Tue Nov 10 21:25:51 EST 2020
Since I'm quite a ways away (in Iowa) from many of the rest of the
group, I'm not privy to all of the politics and such occurring here, but
perhaps my thoughts will be seen as an "outsider's view":
* Bill Degnan: I'm not sure I understand the statement "VCF MW and
VCF E are two different kinds of show." Are you referring to the
fact that VCF-Midwest shares the name VCF with other shows but is
not managed by the VCF Federation? Is it that the show style is
significantly different than the other shows? (As Alexander notes, I
think other VCF shows run the same was as Midwest). I worry about
this continuing need to single out MW as a different thing.
* I'll be honest. I attended at least 2 VCF-East shows, but skipped
attending in the past few years, for the following reasons:
o VCF East did not seem welcoming to hybrid exhibitor/seller folks
like myself. While I have not attended the last few fests, the
2 I attended I was placed in the consignment room, which was a
poor fit for many of us (Bob Applegate selling his new
reproductions, the Model M KB restoration guy and a few others
next to the pile of broken machines and stacks of old software
titles). In all the fests, there are those who just want a
sales table and some sell old stuff. but it felt demeaning to
lump everyone who was selling something into 1 space, and a tiny
space at that. Even if more current shows allow a larger space
for sales, I still prefer to be in the exhibitor space.
o I was not a fan of the exhibit/sales floor being closed for
presentations. Yes, it presents some logistic challenges to run
an exhibit or a sales table when a popular speaker is giving a
presentation, but someone else noted and I agree: I feel my job
is to be at the exhibit as part of the overall show.
o I especially abhorred the "we're closing at 5PM and not coming
back to the show until tomorrow" mentality. Mind you, I am sure
the VCF-E venue imposes some usage and scheduling restrictions,
and I can understand any of that, but the tone was overbearing.
Given that (as I noted above), I feel my exhibit is a part of
the show, and I need to man it all times, the afterhours time at
the other shows (especially MW) is the "fruit for my labors".
It's time to spend time talking to fellow exhibitors and diving
deep into their projects with questions they would scarcely get
from the main public, time to hack on a neat idea some of us
came up with at the show, or just sit with the exhibits behind
us and converse on topics of personal interest.
o I think the after show dinner is a thing of the past, but I went
once and I would never do that again :-)
o Everything seemed so military in planning. None of the other
shows I attend (and I attend VCF-SE, MW, Tandy Assembly, World
of Commodore, CRX, CoCOFEST!, and have previously attended
C4EXPO and LUCKI EXPO) seemed so regimented in comparison.
Possibly some of this list may not think highly of VCF-MW, but
it's pretty loose and every year it seems to have just enough
structure to be fun for all, but no more. I also think it's
easier for the showrunners to run. I think part of the reason
it works is that there's quite a few of us "early exhibitors"
that form a second level of management at the show, handling
lots of little things as a cabal so they don't overwhelm the
primary team. It makes us nobodies feel just slightly important
and invested in the show. Of course, the primary team is always
in charge, but they know they can ask any of us to help out, and
we know they want to enjoy the show as well.
* There are thing at the other shows that draw me more to those shows
in comparison to VCF-East
o The "solder up a small project" idea at VCF-SE was a neat idea.
I didn't participate (I solder quite enough, thanks...), but
lots of kids ran through that setup and all seemed very happy
o The video game wall at VCF-SE was also a neat idea. I'm not a
huge gamer, but 2600 Pitfall on 4 huge screens on the wall is
something to behold.
o The "build a computer badge" at some of the shows is a neat
idea. I think you all did that as well this year, and I say
continue on if so.
o The after hours impromptu musical jam session at CoCoFEST! is a
neat thing. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but it's mostly
harmless fun and a nice way to see a different part of the
o The Auction at VCF-MW, CoCoFEST!, and Tandy Assembly is a big
draw. All of us who attend love seeing all the variety of crap
that gets sold, and we're always up to pay premium for useless
junk when the money goes to the club to run future shows.
o Off-beat things seem more possible at some of the other shows,
like WoC, CoCoFEST!, and VCF-MW, for example.
+ Every year, I get requests to bring my MIDI Tesla Coil
(oneTesla.com) to the show, and we play MIDI from new and
vintage PCs on the unit after hours (in the dark). I think
there's some youtube videos out there with footage.
+ Last year, I brought a full size console television to
VCF-MW and we played video games on it and watched laserdisc
movies on it. It was a huge hit and it'll make a return
+ And, a true hit of the shows in Chicago is my daughter who
attends with me and sells baked goods at the show (she
decorates some with computer logos, so there's at least a
very minimal topic-ness to the exhibit/sales table).
Obviously, the connection is dubious at best, but she gets
requests months ahead of time asking if she's going to
attend MW or CoCoFEST!, and folks make a beeline for her
booth when the show opens. She extremely enjoys it, and
it's a neat way to involve my daughter in the event.
+ As well, I know for a few years, MW had one young gentleman
making "Perler Bead" pixel representations of logos, game
characters, etc. It was a big draw.
+ I would never have even considered asking to bring/do those
things at VCF-East.
* In general, I think it's unfair to compare speaker quality and
quantity at this time. It seems petty. Yes, Ken Thompson is a more
influential speaker than Michael Tomczak, but I think it takes time
to cultivate speakers and win slots on the calendar.
* That said, it's possible that VCF-E has a great speaker solictor in
Evan and that's not Jeff's strong suit. That doesn't mean Jeff is
unqualified to run the show, but that I hope in time Evan will be
able to help out in speaker solicitation.
* On the other hand, good shows don't necessarily need high profile
presenters to be of good value. A cool presentation from someone on
the periphery of history can yield lots of good new information,
because it's not yet been mined like the more well known speakers
* I can see both sides of the Speaker cutoff issue. It's too late
now, but I think the best thing to have done was to canvas the
attendees (none of the exhibits were open anyway, as I believe, and
so most if not all folks would have been in attendance). There
could have been 3 options: 1)open the exhibits and close down the
presentation, 2)open the exhibits, but continue the presentation, 3)
keep the exhibits closed an continue the presentation. Again, as
noted above, this in one of those cases where a looser show would
have probably helped. But, to Evan's credit, the schedule was
posted, he felt the show needed to move forward, and folks must have
some respect for the man/woman that is in charge. Someone would
have hated any option chosen.
* Dave, I thought Evan's initial response was passive aggressive.
But, I've seen dozens of them over the past few months and it
doesn't look like commenting on them will accomplish anything. I
wish all of the principals could make peace, as this hobby is mainly
for fun, and the tone seems the opposite of fun. I will continue to
wish that for all of you.
* Evan, I know some of the above will seem dismissive of how you ran
portions of the the shows, and I hope you will not take it
personally. You and I probably don't agree on how a show should be
run. Though, I will always respect those who run the shows,
including you, in the decisions you make and the way the show is
run. Nevertheless, it does sometimes affect my desire to attend.
* That said, if you value the work you started and championed for so
long and the VCF community in general, I hope you can find a more
constructive way to vent your frustrations about the the change in
how the group is run and show specifics. From my vantage point, the
tone and dismissive attitude in your notes concerning the group/show
just tears down the entirety of the community, and I can't possibly
think you're interested in personally dismantling the very
idea/community you yourself helped to create. In time, of course, I
hope everyone can make peace and move on, and I suspect now is too
soon, but perhaps there's a more constructive path to pursue.
I doubt anyone asked for the above information, so I apologize if it is
unwanted. I realize some of this might be confusing in text form, and I
also realize I did not attend the 2019 show, so perhaps things have
radically changed and I'm unaware. Not that my opinion means anything,
but I'm always happy to Zoom/Teams/Discord/BlueJeans/Skype/etc, with
anyone on any of the above topics or for any reason.
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