Vintage computing.

I’ve always enjoyed relics. My parents frequently went on antiquing trips when I was young and many of the places we visited provided intriguing looks into the past. I usually found the old tools, clocks, cameras and automobiles most interesting. I still do. I also like looking at old photographs for the same reason. Of course now that the computer age has enough time under its belt, it too can produce a certain nostalgia. I don’t remember how but a few weeks ago I came across this You Tube video of an early 1960’s acoustic modem and really enjoyed it. I think because of what it is, it ties the past so closely to the present in that it was designed to facilitate communication between distant machines, a ubiquitous part of our current existence.

Then, this week at the NJLinux LUG meeting in Union, we had a some guests from the MARCH that provided a coincidental correlation to my discovery of the modem video. As a result of our guests attending the meeting I learned some interesting facts about the early days of computing and some significant roles that the state of NJ played back then, particularly as it relates the research and development that took place at the Marconi stations in Belmar and New Brunswick. A great deal of that history can be found at the Info Age science and history learning center and museum. The LUG meeting also included some discussion of a number of historical moments in computing advancement from the early days of the large ENIAC type machines to mainframes then to minicomputers and microcomputers. Also at the meeting was a functioning Altair 8800 that we were lucky to see in operation. Much vintage computing information can be found at the MARCH site.

If you are at all interested in the vintage computer scene you may consider attending the VCFE 7 later in May.

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