Retro Computing - Vintage Computer Festival Zürich 2023

Retro Computing - Vintage Computer Festival Zürich 2023


This time the vintage computer festival in Zürich was held in the “EWZ Kraftwerk Selnau”. This is a former substation in the middle of Zurich which is a museum, event hall and coworking area now. The enterior is best described as a bunch of ship containers aranged in a middle of a factory hall. In the middle there is a bar now. There are corners with couches and a big room upstears which looks like the former control room (and most likely was one).

EWZ substation at Selnau

As always I’m not listing all exhibitors and exhibited pieces, I’m just pointing out new things, which catched my attention this year (the others can be seen on older blog entries of the series).

This year I was not in for challenges, I rather prefer talking to people, but everybody can do what he wants.

New this year is a full recording of all the talks, this is nice as you don’t have to decide whether you are watching the computers in the exhibition and having discussions with the exhibitors or whether you are watching the talks. This also good for the exhibitors themselves who would love to be able to attend to the talks too.


A full room upstears was dedicated to a bunch of portable computers from the venerable Osborne OCC-1, Commodore SX-64, Amstrad, various PC portables, etc.

Portable computers


It’s nice to see two OLPC XO-1 next to each other, with the mesh wlan in action. My takeaway is that it’s not only the pieces of hardware you have and want to show, it’s also about the story you tell about them and the way you present them - and where.

Two 'One Laptop per Child' OLPC XO-1 on a bench

IBM PC Convertible (model 5140)

I couldn’t resist to play Planet X3 on CGA Composite on a small surveilance monitor thingy (sorry, one photo was blurred and the other one has now a non-syncing output signal, I promise, take my word, it worked just fine in “full” CGA colors).

IBM PC Convertible (model 5140) with external monitor


Thankfully they was a Scrib teletype writer from the Smaky series of computers in that room which you could actually touch without white glowes. It was the technological equivalent of a Chinese fingertrap to me, trying to spin my head around the way you use this thing. Unique is the idea of using a mirror on the back to reflect the image of the CRT (which is mounted on the back). The image is cristal clear compared to other CRT displays of that time.

I managed to print something, but couldn’t remember the key combination I pressed so I spent far too much time to reproduce printing. I managed all kind of “erreurs de casettes” (behind the little shiny glas cover on the right the machine can hold two small tapes) but sadly not a second print.

Smaky Scrib

BBC Acorn Econet school network

It was real joy to see the UKs pride of computing in a series of Acorn machines joined in a Econet network. Of course various Raspberry PIs were serving as coprocessor emulators, network files servers, etc.

It was really pleasant to talk to Mark Usher and his plans collecting and documenting those machines.

Who has the time should see BCC early education series on computing on TV.


Other nice projects

Especially nice was the Fusix on a Dragon32 (something I can also imagine to try on my IMC-2001) and the fully restaurated Sol-20 with wooden borders.

Dragon 32 and Sol-20

Important Lessons Learned

Fix that darn IMC-2001.. ;-)