From Commodore to Clones: Uncovering Computer History - Episode 327 - Show Notes

From Commodore to Clones: Uncovering Computer History - Episode 327

Sunday Apr 14, 2024 (00:39:55)


The Vintage Computer Festival East is an annual event held in New Jersey that celebrates the history and nostalgia of old computers. Attending this festival is like taking a trip down memory lane, where you can see, touch, and even play with vintage computers from the past. The Vintage Computer Festival East was a showcase of a wide array of old computers, each evoking a sense of nostalgia and admiration. The unique features of each computer were highlighted, from the small keyboard of the Cosmac to the green CRT monitors that are no longer commonly used.

Vintage Computer Festival East memories

One of the highlights of the festival is the museum portion, where visitors can see a collection of old CPUs, including the 8086, 286, 386, and 486. These CPUs may bring back memories for those who have used them in the past, and it's a reminder not to throw away old technology as it can still hold value and significance.

Another interesting exhibit at the festival was the Xerox Star 8010, a computer with a GUI that predates the Macintosh GUI. This computer was primarily used for business purposes but had a user interface that resembled the iconic Mac interface we know today. It's fascinating to see the evolution of technology and how certain features and designs have influenced modern computing.

The festival also featured the PCjr, a less successful sibling of the IBM PC, and a TI-branded luggable computer. These computers may not have been as popular or successful as their counterparts, but they still hold a special place in computer history.

One of the most memorable experiences at the festival was playing with an original Commodore PET. The PET was Commodore's first major personal computer, released around the same time as the Apple II and the TRS-80 in 1977. Playing with this computer brought back memories of the early days of personal computing and the excitement of exploring new technology.

Overall, the Vintage Computer Festival East is a unique and nostalgic experience for computer enthusiasts and history buffs alike. It's a reminder of how far technology has come and the impact that these vintage computers have had on the evolution of computing. Attending this festival is not just a trip down memory lane, but a celebration of the history and innovation of old computers.

Old computers evoke nostalgia

A key theme that emerged from the event was the sentimental value that these old computers hold for the attendees. Stories were shared about first computers, such as the TI-99/4A and the Apple II, and anecdotes about the software and games that used to run on these machines. These old computers evoke a sense of nostalgia, transporting individuals back to a simpler time when computing was still in its infancy.

Technical aspects of the vintage computers were also discussed, such as the PowerPC chip inside the BeBox and the monochrome screens of the Osborne and TRS-80 computers. There was a fascination with the sharpness of the text on these old monitors and a lament for the inability to replicate the same experience on modern LCD screens. This longing for the unique features of old computers speaks to the emotional connection that individuals have with these machines, beyond just their functionality.

The history of certain prototype computers, such as Microsoft Neptune and the Mac OS version that never came to fruition, was also explored. These failed attempts at innovation serve as a reminder of the risks and challenges that come with pushing the boundaries of technology. Despite their lack of success, these prototype computers still hold a special place in the hearts of computer enthusiasts, as they represent a glimpse into what could have been.

Conclusion: History and nostalgia at once

In conclusion, the Vintage Computer Festival East exemplifies the nostalgia and reverence that old computers evoke in individuals. These vintage machines are not just relics of the past, but symbols of innovation, perseverance, and the enduring impact of technology on society. Events like the Vintage Computer Festival allow individuals to connect with the history of computing and appreciate the journey that has led to the advanced technology we have today.


Scott Ertz


Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.

Avram Piltch


Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.

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