[vcf-midatlantic] List of Candidates for Upcoming Steering Committee Election
dean.notarnicola at vcfed.org
Tue Nov 23 20:23:49 UTC 2021
It is almost time for the VCF Mid-Atlantic steering committee member
election. As a reminder, there will be a voting form sent to this list on
11/27/2021. There will be two seats up for re-election this year, so please
vote for up to two candidates.
Here is a list of candidates and their bio where one has been made
available. If a bio is not listed, I encourage the candidates to send them
to the list.
I’m an engineer in my early 50s, and I’ve been passionate about
technology since I was a child. As a teenager in the mid-1980s, I lucked
into a DEC PDP-11/34A, a powerful computer system about the size of two
household refrigerators placed side-by-side, and it resided in my
bedroom. It wasn’t an “antique computer” at the time; it was just old
enough to be mostly unwanted in a typical commercial environment. But it
belonged to a class of systems known as “minicomputers”, which are
powerful, serious machines designed for scientific or business
applications. While all of my friends were playing games on their little
Atari, Apple, and Commodore systems, I taught myself a half dozen or so
programming languages on that big PDP-11. This naturally and directly
led to my career as an engineer.
Using large, powerful computers both at work and at home is just how my
life has always been. I loved my systems, and I ended up just keeping
the old ones as I upgraded, occasionally running them for fun an
nostalgia in my free time.
I’ve been peripherally involved with VCF for many years, starting early
in the MARCH era, helping out here and there behind the scenes with
hardware donations and swaps, donation transport, and general advice and
guidance. If elected to a Steering Committee seat, my intention would
be to provide further, much closer guidance and technical assistance on
the “big iron” side, to round out the VCF presentations a bit. And, as
the head of LSSM in Pittsburgh, another big focus of mine would be much
closer collaboration and involvement between VCF and LSSM.
I've been fiddling with computers, and by proxy vintage computers about as
long as I can remember. When you're just getting started cast-off old
machines are your playground!
In 2003 my father and I made the trip from Michigan to DC to visit the
Smithsonian museums. At that time there was a whole section at the National
Museum of American History dedicated to the history of computers. I was
really looking forward to this - and was so disappointed. Static machines,
turned off, behind plexiglas. There was an Alto that either had the worst
case of screen burn, or the CRT replaced with a plastic slide. In either
case it wasn't illuminated. There was an IBM PC and Mac 128k, behind
plexiglas, turned off.
This is one of the main things I like about VCF: We are able to present
systems that work, systems you can touch, systems you can experience.
Having a static display of "Oh, look at this hunk of metal and beige
plastic" just doesn't do it for me.
If elected to the board, I'll continue this tradition of making the full
experience of a system available to our guests.
My own personal history, experiences, curiosity, and affinity toward
vintage computing has set me firmly in a hobby that I enjoy. I believe in
the goals of the VCF-MA, not only for the preservation of vintage computer
systems, but for the opportunities the organization provides to the public
for those who want to discover and learn about the earlier days of
computing. It would be an honor to be a committee member in part of the
process that helps to define the operation and future vision of the VCF-MA.
As suggested, here is a brief bit about myself... (OK, maybe not a "brief
bit", but the text will still fit on a SSDD floppy disk of any kind.)
I have been a "vintage" computer fanatic since back when these systems were
called "cutting edge." I was the guy, um... kid, who would walk into a
Radio Shack, much to the chagrin of the store manager, to play with the
TRS-80 computers they always had on display. That is, of course, after I
ran out of money at the mall arcade first. :)
Throughout my childhood and young adulthood, I have always been into
computers. Especially after getting my first computer, a Commodore VIC-20,
back in October 1981 (which I still own, BTW). Shortly after that, I bought
a second computer for myself, a TI-99/4A.
(WHA...??? What kind of nerd wants TWO computers for themselves in 1982?!?
---- >THIS NERD, That's who!!!)
Since then, I have rolled on personal computing as a commonplace activity
in the home. I just happened to do so by riding on the Commodore bandwagon
throughout the 1980s (please don't hold that against me. LOL) and had to
have the newest model of their computers as soon as I could afford them. I
had an appreciation for other systems that were available to consumers, but
just didn't have the space or income at the time to support the continued
ownership and upgrade of two or more cutting edge systems from multiple
I got a Commodore 64 in 1985, then a Commodore 128 in 1987, then a
Commodore Amiga 500 in 1989, selling each previous system to be able to
afford the new one. Staying informed about what computers could do, and the
growing pains within society as they grew into important appliances for
work, home, and fun, turned personal computing into a hobby which I have
continuously explored to its limit.
Then the 1990s came...
I found myself unable to continue the run of what are considered uniquely
vintage computers today, along with the other specialized home
computer systems that were earning a vintage status even then. Trends were
changing. 8-bit was dying. 16-bit was even dying... I ended up (GASP!!!)
buying my first IBM PC compatible, a 386DX. And like a junkie, I fell deep
into the monotony and dependence of the architecture. I sold my soul to the
industry, repairing and upgrading PCs for a living... in hopes that I could
get a hit on a slightly used and outdated 30-pin SIMM that was leftover
from the customer's upgrade. Maybe even a disk drive/multi-I/O controller
card, or if luck graces me, a 2x CD-ROM with sound card!!! All just to keep
my frankenstein PC alive and contemporary as the years went by. I still
remember a lot of the "PC compatible days" from the 1990s, and even the
1980s. Many still consider them too closely tied to modern PCs, but as the
recent VCF-East showed everybody, they are far enough removed from their
modern cousins to break the perception of those close ties. But I digress.
In the 1990s, I missed the 'ol 8-bit days. And there was hope... I was able
to find those now near vintage 8 and 16-bit home computers, the ones I
couldn't afford to buy more than one of in the 1980s, for next to nothing
at many of the flea markets and yard sales I visited. Some people actually
GAVE them to me because they thought they were junk at the time... Hello
So now I find myself at the turn of the century. I'm knee deep in a lot of
vintage 8 and 16-bit home computers that I just HAD to have, and could not
see going to scrap. I had quite the collection, and I started to work
through that collection, repairing and using them, reliving my youth, and
enjoying every moment of it.
Then somewhere around 2004, I learned about M.A.R.C.H. and what the
organization was all about. I was even asked to design the organization's
logo. It was then that I knew I wasn't the only one who (secretly) held a
fondness for vintage computing, thus re-energizing my hobby toward the
appreciation and preservation of vintage computing.
I eventually found myself attending the VCF East as an exhibitor so I could
show off what I had in my collection, and demonstrate to the next
generation what we had available to us in my generation. I have been doing
a completely different exhibit each year in an attempt to show off the
variety of vintage computers, along with an array of uses.
As my attendance as an exhibitor continued, I became increasingly involved
with M.A.R.C.H. events, like the Workshops and Festivus. When my kids got
older, I found even more time to become involved with the (now) Vintage
Computer Federation. You would (and still could) find me at almost every
Workshop, if not for working on my own stuff, but working through items in
the warehouse and museum.
I hate to see broken vintage computer systems. The Workshops give us an
opportunity to do our part in keeping these systems alive, and even more
so, allow us to share that experience with others bearing the same
interests. Those are just a few of the many reasons VCF-MA exists for the
avid hobbyist, or the piqued interest of a museum visitor, or whatever
insight the organization discovers that can promote the knowledge and
history of vintage computing.
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