Talks and Concerts at the Vintage Computer Festival, June 2010

by WordChazer

Further details of the talks and concerts held at the Vintage Computer Festival at Bletchley Park, 19 and 20 June 2010.

Whilst the National Museum of Computing staff were entertaining the museum visitors, over in the Mansion, the speakers were also busy, this time with assistance from more modern equipment such as projectors and PowerPoint slides.

Talks were popular, and as such, ticket-only events. Some sold out well in advance, others led to long queues of disappointed would-be attendees on the day. What follows is an account of just three of those talks, to give a flavour of what was on offer that weekend.

The photo was uploaded to Flickr on 20 March 2009 by Steve Parker.

The Retro Computer Museum

The RCM logoKarl Pantling-James of the Retro Computer Museum founding staff presented a short talk early in the weekend. The RCM is a group of enthusiasts who hold two open days a year to showcase their hoard of retro gear. These allow both fundraising to pay for repairs or further equipment and campaigning for a permanent base to store, restore and show it off.

Karl talked about the history of the organisation and expressed the hope that the Vintage Computer Festival would be the first of many. He hoped this would lead to a higher profile for RCM thanks to increased visibility through association with TNMOC. As they specialise in the home computing retro scene and TNMOC at present is focusing on the business and military examples, this would make sense.

Pixelh8 Chip Music: Question and Answer

The first day of the Vintage Computer Festival finished with a concert/question and answer session from chip musician Matthew Applegate, known as Pixelh8. His work combines graphics with music created by ‘re-purposing’ and recording retro and vintage equipment. He has released several albums so far and is working on his latest offering. He interspersed his pieces with answers to numerous questions posed from the audience.

These ranged from how he acquired his scene name to how to program some of the gear he had on show. He used a DS and a stylus-controlled Apple screen running a MacMini as his main controller but had several other pieces of equipment on stage with him.

Pixelh8: Obsolete?: Performance

The Festival closed on the Sunday evening with a performance of Pixelh8’s work Obsolete?, which had been produced by recording and mixing sounds made by the machinery on show at TNMOC. The graphics featured Morse code, 1980s computer game animation and graphic representations of five-hole punched paper tape such as used by Colossus and the Harwell WITCH.

The Vintage Computer Festival was both a fun weekend and a chance to learn about vintage and retro technology. Visitors had a chance to see the interaction between business developments and personal computing as well as learn from those who maintain these machines and even get their hands on some of the kit they probably last saw in their bedrooms 30 years ago. All this in a relaxed environment, easy to reach by car or public transport and geared for dealing with large numbers of visitors.

This article originally appeared on on 25 June 2010. It was removed at the writer's request in February 2013, and appears here with slight revision and additional photographs.

Updated: 12/25/2013, WordChazer
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