The Second West Coast Computer Faire (Jul, 1978)

The Second West Coast Computer Faire

By Chris Morgan, Editor

San Jose was the place to be last March 3, 4 and 5 for the Second West Coast Computer Faire. The Convention Center was easily able to handle the crowd of 14,169 who came to see the latest developments in personal computing.

A quick examination of some of the hundreds of manufacturers’ booths revealed some trends: floppy disks are on the increase, with new models being shown or promised by Heathkit, Apple, Radio Shack and many others; more and more personal computers are now being offered with built-in floppy disks; peripherals and add-ons are now available for a wide variety of computer buses.

I enjoyed the many special features of the show, particularly the excellent computer generated art on display in the lobby. The microcomputer chess tournament proved to be one of the hits of the show. Larry Wagner from Atari presided over the 3 day battle of the processors, taking time out to give me a guided tour of the tournament. The level of play was impressive, and the winning program, called SARGON, was a 16 K byte Z-80 assembler program written by a husband and wife team, Kathe and Dan Spracklen. It beat some highly touted com- petition. (A copy of the SARGON program is available for $15 postpaid from the Spracklens, 10832 Macouba PI, San Diego CA 92124.) I was impressed with the professional appearance of the show, which held its own with many of the established engineering and computing shows. The Third West Coast Computer Faire will be held this coming November 3, 4 and 5 in Los Angeles. Plan to see it if you can.”

Photo 1; Some of the 14,000+ crowd amble by a young hacker programming music on a Video Brain computer.

Photo 2: Robot trials at the Dynabyte booth, a popular attraction at the Second West Coast Computer Fa ire.

Photo 3: IBM’s booth, an auspicious addition to the show.

Photo 4: Ira Baxter’s chess playing system display, which competed in the Microcomputer Chess Tournament at the Faire.

Photo 5: Apple Computer’s new minifloppy drive.

Photo 6: Objective Design’s Larry Weinstein displays Star Wars graphics.

Photo 7: Heath’s new H27 dual floppy drive, scheduled to be available later this year.

Photo 8: Students from Mills College Center for Contemporary Music in Oakland demonstrate- a digital and analog hybrid music synthesizer system, one of many special exhibits at the Faire.

Photo 9: Cromemco color video unit displays chess program at the Computer Room of San Jose booth.

10 comments
  1. Hirudinea says: September 20, 201110:12 am

    March 1978!? Damn, I missed it! The IBM booth is pretty neat, who could tell from that display that today we’ed all (mostly) be working on decendents of IBM PCs?

  2. Mike says: September 20, 201111:01 am

    I got a chuckle that in 1978 “minifloppy” meant a 5 1/4 inch drive. Of course I remember people saying “hard drive” and meaning 3 1/2 inch disks, “because they are hard”

  3. John Savard says: September 20, 201112:44 pm

    Not only is a 5 1/4 inch disk a “minifloppy”, but it’s only a minifloppy if it’s by Shugart – they trademarked the term and had an ad campaign to protect that trademark.

  4. Toronto says: September 20, 20116:27 pm

    Mike: I used “not mini” floppies (8″) as late as ~1990 or so, but only for booting.

    And for a while, we called the 3.5″ diskettes “stiffies” around our office. That didn’t catch on, though.

  5. Hirudinea says: September 20, 20119:06 pm

    I can just imagine the conversations in your office…

    “Hey Jill, do you have that report I need?”

    “I gave it to Bob.”

    “Could he give me some photocopies of it?”

    “I gave him a stiffie.”

    “Yea, but I still need some photocopies of the report.”

    No wonder it never caught on.

  6. Alan B. Barley says: September 20, 20119:22 pm

    IBM spared no expense in the design & layout of it’s booth for this trade show. It’s screams, “Look at me and remember”!

  7. Rick s. says: September 21, 201112:44 pm

    If you look at the upper right of Photo 8 on the last page of this article you’ll see Moe from the Three Stooges looking over the shoulder of the guy reading the paper. Can’t find Larry or Curly, though.

    Rick

  8. JMyint says: September 21, 20111:34 pm

    Rick S., I think you meant Larry.

    http://www.findagrave.c…

  9. qyooqy says: September 21, 20116:01 pm

    I think he looks more like Steven Wright. The guy in front of him looks like Gene Shalit.

  10. Gary James says: September 21, 20116:26 pm

    No IBM computer in 1978 was a PC (or at least the PC which is an architectural descendent of today’s Wintel PC); that was released in 1981.

    We called them disks just simply. Either 5.25 or 3.5 . I got in too late to use 8″ floppies.

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