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billdeg
May 22nd, 2009, 08:44 PM
Last weekend I gave a presentation to the Philadelphia Area Computer Society (PACS). The topic was the early history of PACS, founded in June 1976. This makes it one of the oldest still active computer groups in the US. The Philadelphia/New Jersey area was quite active during the "homebrew" era of the mid 70'. I talked about how PACS responded to developments in technology and membership during the period 1976 through 1983. I talked about how PACS was involved in the early Trenton Computer Festivals, PC'76 in Atlantic City, electronic music concerts, and other ham fest-type flea markets. PACS had a good relationship for parts and product demos with MOS and Commodore (headquartered nearby). PACS members built their own systems most notibly the DATAC 1000. Over time PACS developed special interest groups (SIGS) for the early processors ( 8008, 8080, 6502, 6800 ) Commodore PET, OSI, Tandy TRS-80 , Apple, CP/M, computer aided education, IBM PC, etc. PACS was one of the first user groups to adopt a BBS system.

At some point after 1983, PACS stopped sponsoring larger events, most of the original hardware hackers left the group, and membership became more application software-centric.

There were a number of old timers present who brought old systems. Evan Koblentz and my wife Kelcey also were there. We demoed some vintage systems.

Here is a copy of the slide show, in PDF format
http://vintagecomputer.net/PACS/PACS_evolution.pdf

bd