This is the last vintage computer festival in Zürich in the “Rote Fabrik” (which has to be restorated after a bad fire back in 2012) - at least for now. It was held on November 19th/20th.
It was back to what it was before the pandemic in terms of exhibits, the amount of people attending, the talks (which where held again this year).
It’s an ever growing community of exhibitors, most of them try to attend every year, so I’m just pointing out the new things, which catched my attention (the others can be seen on older blog entries of the series).
This year we had challenges, so visitors could try their skills by solving puzzles or programming tasks at the exhibition desks. This is a good idea to get visitors more involved and it’s not just a museum then, where exhibitors have to say 20 times the same stuff or people are just walking by the computers and making photos.
I was sceptical in the beginning (basically because I don’t like puzzling), but in the end I also did one or two of the challenges: trying to use a Lisa desktop and trying to get a message to Mastodon from an old Unix System V.
Again we had the ETHZ Lilith and Ceres as local Zürich computers, but this time also the group around Prof. Jean-Daniel Nicoud from the EPFL Lausanne. He showed some really interesting things.
Those blocks are basically 74xxx series logic chips in a block with schematics on top. You use cables to connect them and form logical blocks like for instance a small adder with carry. This is much nicer to deal with than with breadboards and the real logic chips.
This is a series of 8-bit computers, the first one based on Intel 8080, later on Z80. This one is based on a 68k processor. The really nice thing is the graphical interface, the keyboard and the mouse which feel absolutely modern.
On Youtube you can find a lot of people doing their own computer projects based on 6502 and Z80 CPUs. This one is a really early example of it (and totally without Youtube - the green one on the left with the high voltage sign and the cards sticking out as in a toaster):
This is a computer you usually see not running and only behind some centimeters of glas. At the VCF you had the chance to experience the GUI (especially its speed, ahem).
Hidden in a corner were some really nice CP/M-based machines:
Important Lessons Learned
My IMC-2001 is still not running and I’m currently fighting all kind of broken stuff (keyboard circuit, power supply, broken ROM-chip). Not having an exact twin of this machine makes it hard to repair.
..and yes, I know how to create a document on the Apple Lisa now. ;-)
- general links
- Vintage Computer Festival Zurich: official webpage
- Smaky (sadly a lot of the links are broken)