photos from VCF UK etc

RodSmallwood rodsmallwood at
Tue Jun 22 00:02:06 CDT 2010

I did not attend either but went to my local amateur radio clubs boot sale.
I picked up a DEC Multia for £5.00. It was marked £10.00 but when the guy
selling it said "It's not a PC" I offered £5.00 and got it!

Somebody had added a 2.5" 4Gb IDE drive. It had been installed using one
screw and double sided sticky tape!  They will take them but there are
issues booting from them. I mounted it correctly pending its removal and the
installation of a DEC RZ series 1" high SCSI drive. 

Next job was to remove the battery (4.5V Alkaline) and replace it with three
1.5V Duracell AA's wired in series and insulated with tape. Multias will
never boot with a flat battery.

It should then be a case of plug in the external DEC SCSI CD drive, boot the
ALPHA VMS CD and install VMS7.3

So who had the better day? Me or those who went to BP?


-----Original Message-----
From: cctech-bounces at [mailto:cctech-bounces at]
On Behalf Of Tony Duell
Sent: 21 June 2010 19:15
To: cctalk at
Subject: Re: photos from VCF UK etc

This may well me my last post to the list for many reasons...

Of course I did not go to to VCF-UK, and after seeing the photos, etc, I 
think I meade the right decision. 

> Other than PDP-11s, the minicomputer era was practically ignored; Perqs
> the only obvious examples of the workstation era; the disappearance of
> from the primary mainframe era is easier to understand - but it would have
> been nice to have had at least one information board on the Ferranti Atlas
> that innovated so many of the things we now take for granted.

Having looked at many of the photos on flickr, etc, I think you need to 
distinguish between the stuff which is at BP all the time (the NMoC etc) 
and the stuff that private collectors brought along specifically for the 

Several people have commented on the Colossus rebuild and the talk, for 
example, but I don't consider that to be specifically part of the VCF.

Of the enthusiast displays, it appears most, if not all, were 1980s UK 
home micros, often running commercial games of the time. Which to me 
seems like something to attract the general public, not something that a 
classic ocmputer fanatic would rave over. Were there any minicomputers or 
workstations brought along by enthusiasts? I suspect the PERQs you 
mentioned were the ones that were in the NMoC anyway (As an aside, if I 
had been coming, and if I had had time to prepare it, I might well have 
brought alon a PERQ 2T4, a machine which is _not_ in the NMoC. Or at 
least one Philips minicomputer. Or HP calculators from discrete 
transsitor to 68000). 

Waht was the fleamarket like? The photos I've seen of it showed (again) 
1980s micros selling at what I consider ot be high-ish prices -- 
certainly more than I would pay for such machines. I used to frequent 
radio rallies, not to get complete transmitters or receivers, but to find 
odd bits -- the connector I needed to fit $device, an odd PCB that I knew 
would fit the machine I was working on (or that contained ICs I needed), 
things like that. Was there anything like that at the VCF?

> one of the two visitors wearing T-shirts with the motto:
> There's no place like

I saw a girl (OK, female homo sapiens, in her twenties, I guess, what is 
the acceptable term for that) wearing what I believe is called a 'hoodie' 
the other day. On the back it said 

'I wanted to change the world, but they wouldn't give me the source code'

Perhaps fortunately (since i don't really know how to interact with 
females), I was on an omnibus and she wasn't, so I couldn't ask her about 

> I should obviously have found my "Happiness is Honeywell" Snoopy Tshirt
> instead!

I would wear the jumper my late mother knitted for me. There's at least 
one picture of me wearing it on the net, it has a pattern which is 
appicable to me (both what I studied and what I enjoy). 


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