Friday, May 12, 2017

Exciting Times

It doesn't seem very long ago, back when I started thinking about the event that has become known as Tandy Assembly. It started as a bit of a "pipe dream", partly as a reaction to the fact that the retro computing events that appealed to me seemed to be concentrated in the Spring, and partly out of a desire to have such an event physically closer to my home. Over time I talked about it enough that I convinced a few of my Tandy Color Computer (CoCo) friends that it was worth doing, but we still lacked a good location. Then, fate stepped-in...

First Capital of Ohio

Last fall I was desperate enough for another retro computing event that I agreed to meet my CoCo friends (and podcast partners) Neil Blanchard and Mike Rowen at the VCF MidWest event in the Chicago area. Over the last few years I have enjoyed driving to various events, partly for the "road trip" and partly just secure in the knowledge that I can acquire more stuff and be able to bring it home without any big problems. Unfortunately, Chicago is many hours from my home and some rest is required along the way. I had been stopping in Ohio near the Dayton area during my CoCoFEST! trips over the past few years, but for some reason I reevaluated my stopping place this time and found Chillicothe, OH as being slightly closer to the "half way" point of my trip. So, I found a hotel in Chillicothe and there I stopped.

It turns out that stopping in Chillicothe was a great idea! While not a "big" city by most standards, this little oasis in southeastern Ohio has plenty of amenities for hosting just the sort of event my friends and I had been envisioning. When I reached Chicago, I shared the news with my friends. Mike Rowen lives reasonably nearby in Indiana, and within a few weeks he and his wife took some time to visit Chillicothe as well. Mike was equally impressed, and before long he was pressing me and Neil to get serious about running a new retro computing event!

Tandy is Dandy

As CoCo folks, we all have CoCoFEST! as a defining example of what a retro computing event should be like. Yet, it remains unclear as to whether or not the CoCo community can support another Color Computer event each year in real life. In any case, we wanted to limit any direct competition between our new event and the venerable CoCoFEST! For months we had tossed around ideas for how to change or expand the event in a way to have a different focus while still retaining a solid place for our main interest, the Tandy Color Computer. Eventually, we found the perfect new theme -- Tandy computers, all of them.

By this time, the TRS-80 Trash Talk podcast had appeared. This indicated that there might be a big enough following of Z80-based Tandy folks to pair with some dedicated Tandy Color Computer folks in order to fill-out a new event. In the same spirit of fraternity, we decided that representatives of any machine under the Tandy umbrella would be welcome. We have yet to make good contact into any existing Tandy 1000 or other groups, but they are welcome and we still hope to make their acquaintance. In the meantime, we are already months into planning our inaugural (and hoping to be annual) assembly of Tandy computer enthusiasts -- Tandy Assembly!

Casting a Wide Net

So there you have it -- the teams behind the CoCo Crew and TRS-80 Trash Talk podcasts have joined forces to bring you an event in real life, conveniently located in the middle American town of Chillicothe, OH. Whatever model of Tandy computer brings you the fondest memories, and whatever stories you have to share about youth wasted at Radio Shack or the profound influence your Tandy computer had on your life, we want to meet you, greet you, and hear your stories. So whether your "daily driver" is a CoCo, a Model III, a Tandy 1000SX, a PC-2, a Model 100, or even a Zoomer, then come and be with your people on the 7th and 8th of October this year (2017) in Chillicothe, OH...see you there!