[bct] Re: Speech plus calculator by Telesensory Systems

  • From: "Debee Norling" <debee@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 14:36:41 -0800

MessageI demoed the old Speech plus last November at the
Vintage computer fair along with a whole pile of synthesizers from the

I bring this up because

says the next Vintage Computer Festival will be held on May 13th. This is
Vintage East so it will probably be in Boston or somewhere nearby. But I
think they are still working out the location.

I'm friends with the guys who organize VCF and I have been both a speaker
and presenter. They are very disability friendly and would probably love to
have some of the speeches podcasted, or have visually impaired people
exhibit or speak. I know I'm welcomed back every year and get lots of help
setting up and tearing down.

Also, unlike many exhibits, I'm welcome to touch everything on display.
There is also a VCF Europe held in Munich, and Hans, the guy who runs that
is wonderful.

VCF is a very low-budget operation so you wouldn't get paid, but it's fun to
hang out with collectors of old computers.  And you get to meet some really
famous people. For example, last year, I got lost trying to find my exhibit
hall and it turned out the person who helped me was Tom Jennings of Fidonet
fame. He's a terrific guy in person.  He had never heard of BlinkLink and I
told him how much Fidonet meant to all of us in the eighties!

So if you are an old-timer you'll get to see all that blast from the past
technology,  and if you are younger, you can get to actually touch and see
computers like the Altaire, the Apple II and the TRS-80 up close.

My husband collects and restores old dec computers, so I have a whole garage
of hardware to play with. I had a PDP-1173 running genuine BSD 2.11 UNIX
driving twelve serial ports with synthesizers and old laptops, a
VersaBraille,  and real VT220 terminals hooked up to it in my exhibit.   My
theme was about how computers brought blind people in to the employment
mainstream and we also had an original Dectalk cabled to a terminal being
driven by a PDP-8 so sighted people could play the original Adventure game
with speech. My talk was on some more technical aspects of early speech
synthesis. It was great fun.


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