[Smaug] Dawn of Personal computing: West Coast Computer Faire

Peter Belew abcruzww at gmail.com
Tue Apr 19 14:22:18 PDT 2011


Nearly all such events I went to were at the Cow Palace, a few at San
Mateo, a couple in Oakland,  and a few at the fairgrounds in San Jose.
I'm not sure who ran the San Jose swapmeets. I *might* have gone to
one in Pleasanton - I knew about those, at least.

Right now I'm still using a couple of KVM switches I bought at the Cow Palace.

On Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 2:10 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> Quoting Peter Belew (abcruzww at gmail.com):
>
>> And the computer faires were replaced by the so-called "swap meets",
>> with lots of small vendors, mostly local, selling bargain-price
>> software and parts at the Cow Palace, San Mateo Fairgrounds, a civic
>> auditorium in Oakland, etc.
>
> There were two companies that did that:  One was Robert Austin Company
> of San Bruno, which did the weekend events in the Cow Palace, Oakland
> Convention Center, and (sometimes) Pleasanton & San Mateo Fairgrounds.
> They quietly folded in 2005.  A second company whose name eludes me --
> CompuMart? -- held events in Hayward, Livermore, and Vallejo.  No idea
> what happened to them.
>
> (These were distinct from the Vintage Computer Festival and ham events,
> which persist.)
>
> One interesting thing about Robert Austin Company is that its employees
> had no understanding whatsoever of computing.  They strictly were in the
> middleman business, selling admission tickets (sometimes) to attendees
> and charging per-table fees to vendors.  That was enough to keep them
> afloat for a decade.
>
>
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>



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