ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

I Continue To No Longer Attend Vintage Computer Festivals —

As should be expected, a number of individuals have come forward with responses to the initial blog post. While I do not expect everyone to take even a passing interest in the rabbit-hole of the situation or the context, I figured it was worth writing a few quick addendums.

Naturally, as is the case when you post anything anywhere in public, I am called a liar. I’ll simply say that everything I describe in the blog entry happened. I contacted a VCF administrator and was told it was all disposed of, and that they kept the bins. I am fine with people claiming that disposal was not what happened, but this is what I was told, directly, in human words. The fact that I am seeing contradictory and confusing descriptions of what happened is not a checkmark destined for the Win column.

A few people have rushed to indicate that I need to be more careful describing “which” VCF entity is at fault. I am sad to report to them all that the Byzantine VCF structure of name licensing, geographic branding, and internal corporate entity is meaningless to anyone six inches away. You all know each other and you all interchangeably use nomenclature. If you are part of an organization that calls itself some form of “VCF” and need an opportunity to write a statement about how your organization in a solitary/separate entity and should be considered more worthy or ethical than others, feel absolutely free.

A small sliver of people were concerned I was saying that I was never going to go to any computer history conference or event again. I am a free person with the freedom to attend whatever is open to the public. As it stood, however, VCF East was the easiest event for me to attend, so it was where I saw people the most. A minor point is that I considered attendance a form of endorsement, but that is my own personal choice. The chances of me attending other events is, like death by cow, low but never zero.

The rest of the discussions I have seen from the blog entry, raging in the usual stages of social media and posting forums, have failed to require any further response or thought from me personally.

Finally, this is all relatively minor in terms of the work I do and projects I focus on, an event that brought me some fury but which has mostly played the part of filed under “life lessons”. I just got tired of having quiet inward emotion when I was reminded of the event, specifically when VCF announcements would pass by my screen, followed by nice folks asking if they would be seeing me at the event. Now I have made a statement, and rather than the beginning of a saga, I consider it the end of one. My conversations with people and organizations I shift materials to are much longer, much more involved, and with much more contingencies as a result of this event, and things are better for it.

Categorised as: Uncategorized


  1. Bob Lange says:

    You are an incredibly large asshole.

    • D davidson says:

      Bruh. A renowned archivist entrusts VCF with a vast collection, they toss it rather than notify him for retrieving / regifting it, and you think he’s the asshole?


    • Bart says:

      I have a hard time seeing how you get that out of this post?

    • Another monkey says:

      Because he owes someone his presence and is denying it? Or for being transparent about why he’s emotionally shielding himself from a problematic culture? Please, enlighten us.

    • rideontime says:

      You’re going to have to provide some evidence for that statement, because there’s none in either of Jason’s posts about this incident.

  2. Ash says:

    given the tone, tenor, and content of responses from everyone professing involvement with or attachment to VCF, i’m getting a sinking feeling that starting to develop an understanding of what kind of people run the show. deeply unfortunate that it seems to suffer from that common volunteer organizational curse – the people most capable of and motivated to climb its ranks are also people who absolutely should not be given any level of control over anything more valuable than a broom handle.

  3. Nour bob says:

    Why, bob?

  4. ribcage says:

    I am sorry about the loss. I like your website.

  5. StuC says:

    The description of what happened brought Pournelle’s law to mind.

  6. Bruno A says:

    This doesn’t surprise me – “vintage” computing went from a hobby and genuine preservation interest to a business of flipping for parts listings on eBay with recapping, for huge profit. It seems that the current organizers at VCF are all in it for the money, and boxes of magazines ain’t it.

  7. J. Random Slacker says:

    “I am fine with people claiming that disposal was not what happened, but this is what I was told, directly, in human words. The fact that I am seeing contradictory and confusing descriptions of what happened is not a checkmark destined for the Win column.”

    I hope people at least figure out what happened to the documents, and where might they be (if not destroyed). Opens a crate: “Bah! These aren’t computers!”

  8. BA says:

    This for me is the sad reality of modern “retro” computing – there’s too much money in it. And when there’s a lot of money involved, the assholes come out of the woodwork and start running the show. They didn’t see the dollar value in non-computers, because computing history is not their game. Turning a profit on motherboard recaps is.

  9. Darrell Larocque says:

    Sounds like Bob Lange is defending the people responsible for this travesty. Sorry Bob, after reading about this entire affair you look like the Supreme Asshole for such a ridiculous comment. No wonder he doesn’t want to have anything to do with the organization!

  10. Sellam Ismail says:

    So much uninformed and misplaced whining here, over what amounts to just more self-aggrandizement from a perennial narcissist and seasoned blowhard.

    Once all the facts become known, this just becomes a typical Jason Scott presentation: a bunch of useless exhalation with a verbal motif, Twatter Edition.

    Why don’t you tell us what this is really about?

    • VectorGraphicMZ says:

      I mean, Jason’s archiving efforts at least seem more successful than “leaking warehouse of computing history heap left to scrappers to piecemeal off when rent winds up in arrears” which seems awfully similar to what became of Jason’s donation as well. Not exactly archival best practices, but I guess therein lies the collector (hoarder?)/archivist divide. As “Ash” mentions above, seems like a pattern here. Things that make you go “hmmm”….

    • Jacob G says:

      The unprofessional way in which many people associated with VCF past and present, have responded, really soured me on the other side’s perspective here. This comment is about the worst I’ve seen.

      Why don’t you explain *why* the facts seemingly come down so hard on your side? We cannot and will not take your word for it.

  11. random23 says:

    Do you think people care?

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