Archive: Computer Collector Newsletter / Technology Rewind, Jan. 2004 - March 2006

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2005: A year in vintage computing

by Evan Koblentz

It's just about time to bring the year 11111010101 / 3725 / 7D5 to a close and to welcome in 11111010110 / 3726 / 7D6. In simpler terms, 2005 was an eventful year for collectors and for us at Computer Collector Newsletter, and we're looking forward to 2006.

January: The vintage computing hobby got off to an exciting start in 2005 with science collector Jeremy Norman conducting an auction of museum-quality artifacts through Christy's in New York City. The big winner in that auction was Lotus software pioneer Mitch Kapor, who is working with the Computer History Museum to ensure the items get a good home. Visit to read our Norman interview and for our Kapor interview.

February: Our excitement turned into sadness on the 26th when Jef Raskin died of cancer. Raskin, who in addition to fathering the Macintosh and writing the groundbreaking book "The Humane Interface", was also an artist, family man, model airplane expert, and musician. He was just 61. Visit for more on his life.

March: In March, computer history found itself in the courtroom. According to an article in The Register (at, Seattle Computer Products' Tim Patterson is claiming libel and defamation against "They Made America" book author Harold Evans for writing that Patterson's 86-DOS (QDOS) was merely a "rip-off" and "slapdash clone" of Gary Kildall's CP/M operating system. We'll try to find out the latest news in this case for you after the holidays. Also, is hacking back? The new "Make" magazine debuted this spring as well (see judging by the success of Make so far, many people would say yes, hacking's back and it's a lot more than just the lame trend of case modding.

April: You've got knowledge, or at least a knowledge base via the mailing lists. Knowledge is gradually creeping in and you can find some for yourself at ... but try leave some of your own for other people to learn from! April also was time for Ralph Baer's autobiography, "Videogames: In the beginning"; see for our review.

May: VCF Europa 6.0 was its usual success in Munich. "Enthusiasts wander around the sports hall clutching massive steins of beer, and conversation continues well into the night," our Christine Finn wrote. Click over to for her full trip report. The LUCKI Commodore Spring Expo followed soon after; see our report at by Robert Bernardo.

June: Happy 25th birthday to Pac-Man and his rivals Blinky, Clyde, Inky, and Pinky -- it's all explained at by the Associated Press. Unfortunately June saw another death in the family, that of Jack St. Clair Kilby, also from cancer. He was 81. See for the EE Times article.

July: It was a busy summer, with VCF Midwest 1.0 in Indiana bringing 13 exhibitors and 70 attendees; Commodore Vegas Expo 2005 happening out in Las Vegas (; and KFest 2005 in Kansas City. Meanwhile IBM finally retired OS/2 (; the Hewlett-Packard Interex user group closed; and HP itself dared to lay off industry legend Alan Kay.

August: Although one of the HP user groups shut down, IBM's SHARE user group celebrated its 50th birthday in Boston. For users of smaller computers, Jim Brain's QuantumLink Reloaded project was making great progress; he kept everyone updated on the cctalk list. (The project officially was done in the fall at

September: Google hired Vint Cerf (; Moore's Law turned 40 years old; there was an Apple II sighting on the popular television show "Lost" -- but did Apple steal the iPod design from a 1954 transistor radio? Visit and decide.

October: There was some interesting museums news: the San Diego Computer Museum (formerly the Computer Museum of America) made some progress on finding a new home for its collections, and the Computer History Museum announced a $15 million gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. See for our article. In more strange news, Interex said it was selling its mailing list data -- see for more on that controversy.

November: VCF 8.0 is our favorite event of the year, and 2005 was no exception with its 30th anniversary celebration of the Homebrew Computer Club (thanks to Bruce Damer and Read for our full report. Or for collectors who prefer some dichotomy, Windows ( turned 20 years old! Think about that, you 10-year-rule critics. :)

December: Hey, that's now. We started this newsletter in Jan. 2004 with less than 350 subscribers; now we're up to 875 which makes us quite happy. Next year should see the big 1,000 milestone -- anyone care to make a guess of when we'll reach that goal? We also had some good response so far to our call for big-iron writers; we intend to publish the first columns of this new series early next year.