[Coco] CoCo Fest video and chat

Frank Pittel fwp at deepthought.com
Mon May 1 17:05:10 EDT 2006

I'm going to leave the original email intact and encourage all to read
it again. A while ago I posted a question to the list asking what the
people here actually did with their Cocos. Did they actually use the
hardware or did they mostly use emulators. I was disappointed by the
number of responses.

Before going on any further maybe I should answer the question I asked.
These days I like to putter around on the actual hardware. ( I did get
an emulator machine saturday so that may change a little. :-)) Mostly
I write "toy" programs in basic and assembly as a way to remind myself
of the "good old days" when a person could actually understand how their
computer worked. :-)

I got my first Coco back in the late '80s. It was a Coco-3 that I got at
a Coco-fest. As memory serves I got it there because Radio Shack was selling
them at a reduced price at the show. I also got a tape recorder and service
manual for it. I remember after getting the service manual that I may have
been better off getting the source listing of the ROMS. (these days I'm glad
I got the service manual!) Not to much later I got the assembler rom and
learned 6809 assembly. Having recently graduated with a bsee it didn't take
to long before I unsoldered the expansion port socket and wired in some
ribbon cable that connected to a board with the original socket and a connector
that had "prototype" boards available for. After showing coworkers and the
owner of the company I worked for some of what I was doing with it. A coco
was ordered by the company and I made the same modifications to it. The
company was involved in industrial process control and while I worked for the
engineering side there was a repair department that did component level
repair of equipment. Before long I had programmed the little coco to test
components (ram,rom,asics,etc) reprogram eproms and about anything else they
asked for. During that time I removed the ribbon cable from my coco and
reinstalled the expansion port connector.

After a few years the owners of the mom and pop company sold and the new owners
were only interested in the repair department so I moved on. The next company
I landed at was heavily involved in embedded machine control using the 68hc11.
I spent seven years designing hardware for it and often time writing the software
in assembly. I was surprised at how familiar the assembly instructions were and
picked up on it quickly. By this time I was using PCs and my coco was packed up
and moved into the back of a closet. Although I wanted to a few times I could never
bring myself to throw it away.

Last year I was going through the closet and came across the coco that I had by then
all forgotten about. I had fuzzy memories about being able to use disk drives with it
as well as other hardware. A google search later landed me at coco3.com and it didn't
take long for me to discover that there were still coco fests going on!! The best part
was that there was one scheduled for the upcoming weekend!! (I normally find out about
these kinds of things a week after they've happened :-( ) Of course I went and although
the turnout was much smaller then during the heyday of the coco I was pleasantly
surprised by how many people were there.

I bring all that up because I think that there are a lot of people that would be interested
in going to the fest if they knew they were still going on. I know that RS sold many
thousands of cocos in the midwest and would be willing to bet that like me a lot of them
would consider going if they knew about the fest. It would be nice if Radio Shack would
help in getting the word out again. It also would have been nice if you (Mark) would
have sent out this email a month or so ago in an attempt to implore more people to go.

I do agree that it's nice to see hardware and software being sold at this years fest that
didn't even exist last year!! I hope that the volume of sales of those products encourages
others to create new products for the Coco for next years fest.

It is good to hear that Cloud-9 will at least resume software sales again
in the near term. I hope that we'll be seeing a superboard for sale soon. :-)
One thing I would ask that you do is post an update on the superboard on
this list every few months with a status update for those of us that are
waiting impatiently for it to be released!! Even a sentence or two every
3 months would be nice. I think I speak for all of the customers of cloud-9
when I say that I don't expect you to put your life on hold getting it out
and I certainly don't want you to put your health at risk getting it done.

It would just be nice to hear about the progress of the board. 


On Mon, May 01, 2006 at 01:34:58PM -0500, Mark Marlette wrote:
> I'm sure there will be a fest report to follow. I would like to add, 
> and I know I'll get flamed for this but...it is true.
> More people need to attend this once of a year function. Without it we 
> would have less if anything. Is it a cheap event to attend? No. Is it 
> worth while? Without a doubt.
> There are an endless number of excuses on why one could not make it. 
> Some indicate money, schedule conflicts, etc. All valid at some point 
> in time but after 25yrs, people that have never attend a fest, that 
> means it is not a priority.
> Money issue...Most all of being adults or seniors now :) Can plan for 
> the once a year event. Putting a little money aside each, week month 
> what ever gets you there. Even if you can't put away enough money to 
> attend every year then attend every other year or what ever works.
> Conflicts..They do happen. Glenside has done a good job scheduling 
> these events so that they don't happen on the same weekend every year. 
> You might not be able to attend every year but should be able to get to 
> them, if it is a priority.
> The web cam is OK for people overseas or the ones that don't not attend 
> every year. It seems there is emphasis put on this technology so that 
> people don't have to attend. Believe me the web cam is nothing like 
> being there.
> Glenside..Thanks again for putting on the fest again in 2006. I'm sure 
> it is a drain on resources. You try to recover some of the costs but as 
> indicated this year, prices are going up. This means that more people 
> need to attend to help out the community. Another is membership. I'm 
> not going to go over the figures that Gator announced Sunday afternoon, 
> I'll let Glenside do that. I can say that is something to be VERY proud 
> of! This shows that the people that are present are committed to the 
> CoCo and the event. Hats off to all that made to Elgin and reup'd their 
> dues.
> Next year? Jury is still out. I can say that it was VERY enjoyable to 
> see new products out. Roy's VGA, Chris Hawks's S-Video and CD file 
> manager, Carl England's Backup Magic program. I bought one of each from 
> all of the new product vendors. Many did and on the hardware side, I 
> believe they all sold out of product.
> Goes to show ya, there is a CoCo market. Many indicate that there 
> isn't. Boisy and I can tell you that there is. The vendors that sold 
> out of their products at the fest will say the same. So come on....lets 
> see some products.
> Cloud-9 had little sales this year at the fest do to inventory being 
> sold out. It was like a much needed vacation this year for me. It was 
> great to walk around and see others booths and products. Something I 
> hardly ever get to do there. I also indicated that hardware sales would 
> not start back up until the SuperBoard is completed. So we are in a 
> holding pattern on hardware sales. Boisy will be updating our home page 
> to indicate that software sales are going to resume and be handled by 
> him. SuperBoard will continue to be developed, please don't ask, you 
> will know, I won't be silent about... :)
> Closing....More people need to attend, bottom line. More planning needs 
> to go into getting people there, advertising of the event other than 
> this list. A published event schedule prior to the fest, seminars, 
> notable people, etc.
> Flame me all you want, it wouldn't be the first time. In this case 
> action of the fest attendees do speak louder than the words.......
> Regards,
> Mark
> Cloud-9
> uoting Jim Cox <jimcox at miba51.com>:
> >Roger, Roy, Justin, and others:
> >
> >Thanks for putting this together for those of us who couldn't make it.
> >
> >-Jim
> >http://www.miba51.com/
> >http://www.cloudymidnights.com/
> >
> >On Sun, 30 Apr 2006 15:50:58 -0500
> > Roger Taylor <webmaster at coco3.com> wrote:
> >>Well, for the second year we've managed to pull off some last-minute 
> >>miracles and come up with a webcam feed from the Last Annual Chicaco 
> >>CoCo Fest.
> >>
> >>This year we missed Saturday alltogether due to connection problems 
> >>but much to my surprise when I got up this morning (Sunday) there 
> >>appeared to be some attempts from the fest at uploading cam pictures 
> >>to the coco3.com server.  When I checked the last image out it was 
> >>definately a shot from the fest floor, so I went to work right away 
> >>setting up the CoCo Cafe to display these images.  For a while they 
> >>weren't updating for long periods of time, but all of a sudden 
> >>things started coming together.
> >>
> >>So, before the day was wasted we managed to build up some 14+ 
> >>chatters at a time in the CoCo Cafe complete with an updating 
> >>picture from the fest floor.  Ofcourse, the images had to be 
> >>repainted over a blank background due to how the chat system 
> >>refreshes the web page, so the fest images had to "ride along" as a 
> >>static image on the page and get updated whenever the page did.  
> >>Since the cam rate and the chat rate were about the same, I didn't 
> >>bother putting in any fancy JavaScript to make the image refresh 
> >>while the chat page was idle, but I could have. I'll save that for 
> >>the next event that comes along with a cam feed.
> >>
> >>Actually, right now the cam is still going and it looks like those 
> >>guys are cleaning up and stuff, so if you wanna catch it before they 
> >>turn the cam off, here's the link:
> >>
> >>http://chat.coco3.com
> >>
> >>Night, all.
> >>Cheers,
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>-- 
> >>Roger Taylor
> >>
> >>
> >>-- 
> >>Coco mailing list
> >>Coco at maltedmedia.com
> >>http://five.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/coco
> >
> >
> >-- 
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> >
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