Time for a little Sinclair news from the West Coast. I attended the 5th Vintage Computer Festival, held at Moffet Field, CA (in the heart of Silicon Valley). I exhibited my Sinclair collection (ZX80, ZX81, T/S 1000, T/S 1500, T/S 2068, Spectrum, Sprectrum+, QL, and Z88). I had a display board that covered the history of Sinclair Research Ltd and the various systems. In front of each system I had a card that described the hardware of each system (CPU, Memory, I/O, etc). The attendees (regular, exhibitor, and vendors) all voted for their favorite exhibit.

You'll be happy to know that my display won third place. Second place went to a gentleman with a whole bunch of Mac's and Mac portables. First place went to a gentleman displaying Xerox 8065 workstations.

I did get a lot of complements from folks. Some were interested because they had used a ZX81 or T/S 1000 years ago. Others were interested in seeing systems like the QL that they had not seen before. Most were puzzled over the Microdrive cartridges. One guy even said that the size reminded him of those new IBM hard drives, called ...... Microdrives.

There was an attendee from the UK who brought over a number of UK systems (Acorn, Dragon, & Sinclair). One UK QL went for $75. A 48K Spectrum went for $40.

One of the organizers is from the former East Germany and organizes VCF Europe in Germany. The next VCF Europe should be this Spring. He even asked me about getting some Sinclair folks (like the Q60 developers) to come to the show. At the VCF shows, the more odd and unusual the computer is, the more interest people have.

At the show I met Peter Jenning, who wrote the first Chess program microcomputers (on a Kim-1). His company went on to become Visacorp, who ruled the market with Visicalc, the first spreadsheet program. He said that for 5 years his company was bigger than Microsoft and that the two companies almost merged. I also met Mr. and Mrs. Jolitz, who did the first work on porting BSD Unix to the 386 chip (and published in Dr. Dobb's Journal). There also was a guy who helped develop the Amiga and had the design breadboards for some of the customer Amiga chips.

Now I have to figure out what to do next year to win first place. :-)

Tim Swenson


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