Report from the Bletchley Park Vintage Computer Festival 2010
21 Jun 2010
Two days of retro delight at the Bletchley Park VCF, starting with an introduction by Mr. Chris Searle of the BBC's seminal TV show of the era, The Computer Programme. The trader's stalls were well packed with goodies to buy or just drool over, there were plenty of systems around to play the games on display in the Mansion. Steeped in WWII history Bletchley made an excellent venue for the show especially with its own top trumps with machines like the code breaking Colossus, or the Elliott 803.
Talking of the Elliott 803, I had a go at machine code programming on it, but I was soon sent away with my tail between my legs by Mr Peter Onion. I need to get my logic straight before I go up against a guru like Mr. Onion again!
Some unexpected highlights for me were the talks by Delwyn Holroyd on the ongoing restoration project of an ICL mainframe system, Peter Onion's passion and expertise on the aforementioned Elliott 803, and of course seeing the Colossus executing and reading punched paper tape at what seemed a phenomenal speed without a transistor in sight.
Other highlights for me were the videos on display in the cinema about EDSAC and Ferranti, The SpectraNet ethernet interface for the ZX-Spectrum, which if it had been available on the day I would have definitely purchased one!