When the Trenton Computer Festival started in 1976 to educate the public about the coming revolution in computers, the concept of computers in the home seemed so novel that news of the first festival was featured on the front page of the New York Times.

Almost everything else in the world of computers has changed drastically since then, but the Trenton Computer Festival soldiers on. The 34th Trenton Computer Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 25 and 26, at the College of New Jersey in Ewing. Show hours on Saturday are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. There will be indoor vendor exhibits and an outdoor flea market.

As always, the TCF offers a weekend of computer entertainment including shopping, socializing and essential free education in the form of seminars, workshops, and interactive demonstrations. The organiers promise that attendees will “meet some of the people who are turning out New Jersey’s innovative digital technology.”

Featured sessions include: Microsoft’s Peter Laudati on Windows 7; Apple’s Dave Marra on MacOS X (Leopard, iLife 9 and iWork 9); Princeton University’s Alain Kornhauser on the Robotic Car of the Future; plus talks on “What You Need to Know About the Digital TV Change Over” and ways to attract students to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

There will also be a two-hour circuit bending workshop, where participants can learn how to create musical instruments out of kids’ old electronic toys. Robotics events will include the IEEE Region 1 Micromouse Competition, Robot Navigation, and a Robot Parade.

A two-day TCF admission pass is $10 if $15. Passes for Sunday only are available for $10. For more information call 973-388-7194.

The IT Professional Conference is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 24, and is part of TCF’s sessions on Saturday. For more information, visit www.tcf-nj.org/web/TCF-2009-Professional-Conference.html@CR.

Special Programs for Educators

Much has changed in the 34 years since the first year’s event, but the festival’s commitment to education has remained constant. Today one of the major problems facing our country is the lack of young people entering the fields of science and engineering. Turning around this issue is one of the missions of TCF. Funds from TCF are used to support the College of New Jersey’s School of Engineering Scholarships. The TCF Robotic Competitions were initiated to introduce students to the challenge and joy of design.

This year TCF has added the IEEE Region 1 Student Conference with its highly competitive student paper contest and micromouse competition. Engineering students from across the Northeast will compete to see whose design papers are the best, and student teams will battle to see whose hardware and software-embodied micromouse can finish this year’s maze in the fastest time.

The program also includes a full day of talks and workshops intended for teachers and parents to help them turn their students and children on to science and engineering.

Technological change has become part of our daily lives. Educators need to embrace and incorporate new technologies into their classes if they are to attract students to the study of science and engineering. However, many educators have no formal training in these new disciplines and face the question of how to deliver such content while also teaching students the basic skills they need. Many of the talks at TCF will help them achieve this goal.

Ursula Wolz from the computer science department at TCNJ will introduce a new language from MIT that allows even very young kids to program computer games and interactive stories. She also will discuss another new computer language developed for artists. She will explain how such languages can be used as an easy entry point to learn the fundamentals of programming. Her talk is on Saturday, April 25, at 10:15 a.m..

Eva Kaplan, founder of Computers + Kids Camp/Pennington Computer School will give her recommendations on the best websites, search engines, and software sites for parents and teachers. These sites and software options are pretested, currently up and running, and meet her criteria. Her presentation will be offered Saturday, April 25, at 11:20 a.m. and Sunday, April 26, at 12:50 p.m..

David Odrobina, a high school teacher for 14 years with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, has for the past seven years been involved in integrating English, math and science into career and technical curriculums. He will talk about project-based learning and performance-based assessment on Saturday at 12:25 p.m.. He will be a little more technical and present a workshop on tele-robotics during which he will set-up and then demonstrate how to navigate a wireless mobile robotic platform from your laptop. This workshop is also on Saturday starting at 10:15 a.m.

Kel Smith, a nationally recognized authority on web accessibility and social technology, will discuss web accessibility for educators on Saturday, April 25, at 1:30 p.m.. In this presentation, he will speak about the concept of a barrier-free user experience from both a technical and legal perspective. He will introduce the practical benefits of compliance, what questions to ask a potential vendor, and how to ensure that educational content benefits students of all abilities.

Haimonti Dutta, an associate research scientist at the Center for Computational Learning Systems at Columbia University, will introduce the exciting world of machine learning. She will explain why machines must learn to search for relationships and patterns hidden in data and how to handle changes in environmental conditions. She will also discuss applications of machine learning in diverse domains such as astronomy, medicine and molecular biology. This talk is on Saturday, April 25, at 3:40 p.m.

The complete line-up of events at the festival, co-sponsored by U.S. 1 newspaper, includes the following:

Saturday, April 25

Roger Amidon, DX Computer Company: “What’s New in Video Games,” 11:20 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Room FH 201.

Mike Barlow, Sensor Technologies: “Architecting Web Applications Using RESTfull Web Services,” 10:15 to 11:10 a.m.; and “Workshop on Developing Web Apps Using RESTfull Web Services and Open Source Libraries,” 11:20 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. Room FH 224.

Andrew Barry, Olin College: “A Marauder’s Map Implementation,” 10:15 to 11:10 a.m.; Saturday Poster Session, 11:20 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. Room FH 201.

Brenda Bell, diabetes online community: “The Role of Online Communities in Diabetes Management,” 1:30 to 2:25 p.m. Room FH 132.

Paul Bergsman, author and independent consultant: “Controlling the World with PICs,” 10:15 to 11:10 a.m.; “Making Your Own PC-Boards Room,” 11:20 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Room FH 203.

Joe Budelis, Persimmon Telecommunications: “How to Do Webinars,” 11:20 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Room FH 132.

David Corbino, Pratt Institute: “Project PISCES: The Open-Source Electric Vehicle,” 12:25 to 1:20 p.m. Room FH 201.

John DeGood, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories: “The Digital TV Transition: Are You Ready?” 11:20 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; “Over-the-Air Digital Television Antenna Workshop,” 12:25 to 1:20 p.m. Room FH 130.

Haimonti Dutta, Columbia University: “Machine Learning: An Introduction,” 3:40 to 4:35 p.m. Room FH 202.

Douglas Ferguson, EMC: “Workshop on Upgrading Your Router with Open Source Firmware,” 12:25 to 2:25 p.m. Room FH 203.

Donn Fishbein, Neuroquant: “Why You Simply Must Time the Stock Market: A Method Using Artificial Neural Networks and Genetic Algorithms,” 1:30 to 2:25 p.m. Room FH 224.

Scott Frase, crazedmuleproductions.blogspot.com: “Video Production Using Open Source Tools,” 10:15 to 11:10 a.m. Room FH 134.

Robert Gezelter, software consultant: “Safe Computing In the Wireless Home,” 12:25 to 1:20 p.m. Room FH 226.

Ron Graham, Devotional Chef Enterprises: “Twitter 101,” 12:25 to 1:20 p.m. Room FH 132.

Herman Hinitz, H. Hinitz Photography: “Getting Started With Microcomputers, the Internet, and Digital Photography,” 10:15 to 11:10 a.m. Room FH 204.

Donald Hsu, Dominican College: “Project Management Opportunities,” 3:40 to 4:35 p.m. Room FH 226.

Joe Jesson, General Electric Asset Intelligence: “Solar Power and Energy Harvesting Applied to Mobile Telematics and the APRS System,” 3:40 to 4:35 p.m. Room FH 223.

Louis Judice, Round Mountain Group: “A Survey of Tools for the Digital Artist,” 12:25 to 1:20 p.m. Room FH 134.

Eva Kaplan, Computers + Kids Camp/Pennington Computer School: “Best Websites, Search Engines, and Software 2009,” 11:20 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Room FH 202.

Evan Koblentz, Mid-Atlantic Retro Computing Hobbyists: “The Vintage Computing Hobby for Newbies,” 3:40 to 4:35 p.m. Room FH 224.

Peter Laudati, Microsoft: “Microsoft Windows 7,” 1:30 p.m. to 2:25 p.m. Room FH 130.

John LeMasney, John LeMasney Consulting: “Designing Exquisite Artwork Using Open Source and Creative Commons,” 1:30 to 2:25 p.m. Room FH 226.

Cass Lewart, freelance writer: “All You Ever Wanted to Know About HDTV,” 10:15 to 11:10 a.m. Room FH 130.

Kevin Meredith and Rebecca Mercuri, Lonely Robot Audio/Notable Software: “Circuit Bending Workshop,” 11:20 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. Armstrong Hall Electronics Lab.

Shabbir Moochalla, IEEE Princeton: “Advances in Digital Photography,” 11:20 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Room FH 134.

James Mikusi, Web-Kong.com: “Build Your Own Car Computer,” 3:40 to 4:35 p.m. Room FH 201.

Frank O’Brien, Infoage Science/History Learning Center: “The Apollo Guidance Computer: Architecture and Operation,” 10:15 to 11:10 a.m. Room FH 223,

David Odrobina, Ormsby Educational Center: “Workshop on Remote Control Over the Internet,” 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Room FH 226; “Project-based learning & Integrated Academics,” 12:25 to 1:20 p.m. Room FH 202.

Bala Prasanna, IBM and IEEE Region 1: “Working in 21st Century — A few Tips to Survive & Thrive,” 3:40 to 4:35 p.m. Room FH 132.

Bryan Quigley, NJ Ubuntu LoCo Team: “Linux Desktop Report Card,” 12:25 to 1:20 p.m. Room FH 204.

Michael Redlich, Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey: “Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming and Design Principles,” 1:30 to 2:25 p.m.; “Hands-On Java Programming Workshop,” 3:40 to 4:35 p.m. Room FH 204.

Orlando Rivera, www.TimeView.TV: “Hollywood Digital Effects on a Indie Budget,” 1:30 to 2:25 p.m. Room FH 134.

Kel Smith, Anikto: “The Use of Virtual Worlds Among People with Disabilities,” 10:15 to 11:10 a.m. Room FH 132; “Web Accessibility for Educators,” 1:30 to 2:25 p.m. Room FH 202.

Michael Smith, Mike Tech Show: “Podcasting: Can You Make Money?” 3:40 to 4:35 p.m. Room FH 130.

Mark Streitman, Evolutionary Thought: “Build Your Own Home Theater PC and Entertainment System,” 3:40 to 4:35 p.m. Room FH 203.

Joseph Terranova, Ubuntu New Jersey Local Community Team: “Free Your Phone with Asterisk,” 1:30 to 2:25 p.m. Room FH 201.

Ursula Wolz, College of New Jersey: “Scratch and Processing: Graphics Programming for the 21st Century,” 10:15 to 11:10 a.m. Room FH 202.

Sunday, April 26

Brian Boccardi, state OEM: “Ham Radio APRS Tutorial,” 11:20 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Room FH 130.

Joe Budelis, Persimmon Telecommunications: “How to Do Webinars,” 11:40 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. Room FH 226.

Donn Fishbein, Neuroquant: “Why You Simply Must Time the Stock Market: A Method Using Artificial Neural Networks and Genetic Algorithms,” 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Room FH 226.

Donald Hsu, Dominican College: “Internet Job$$$,” 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.; “Getting a Job as a Visual C#.NET Programmer,” 11:40 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. Room FH 201.

Eva Kaplan, Computers + Kids Camp/Pennington Computer School: “Best Websites, Search Engines, and Software 2009,” 12:50 to 1:50 p.m. Room FH 201.

Allen Katz, College of New Jersey/Linearizer Technology: “Introduction to Software Defined Radio,” 2 to 3 p.m. Room FH 226.

John LeMasney, John LeMasney Consulting: “Designing Exquisite Artwork Using Open Source and Creative Commons,” 12:50 to 1:50 p.m. Room FH 132.

Dave Marra, Apple: “iWork ‘09 — Impressive Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations,” 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.; “Introducing Mac OS X v.10.5 Leopard,” 11:40 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.; “Welcome Windows Users — Mac/Windows Compatibility,” 12:50 to 1:50 p.m.; “iLife ‘09 — Digital Multimedia: Get Your Message Across,” 2 to 3 p.m. Room FH 134.

Danielle Mihram, USC, and G. Arthur Mihram, “Why Computer Programming is Not Quite Math: Implied Telecom Policy,” 2 to 3 p.m. Room FH 201.

Frank O’Brien, Infoage Science/History Learning Center: “The Apollo Guidance Computer: Architecture and Operation,” 2 to 3 p.m. Room FH 132.

Michael Redlich, Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey: “Introduction to C++,” 12:50 to 1:50 p.m.; “C++ Advanced Features,” 2 to 3 p.m. Room FH 130.

Robert Schroeder, state OEM: “Digital TV Changeover: What You Need To Know,” 12:50 to 1:50 p.m. Room FH 226.

David Soll, OSIsoft: “Should You Upgrade to Windows 7?” 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Room FH 130.

Quincey Xavier, Project Porchlight: “About CFL Bulbs — How to Save Money and Help the Environment,” Sunday Poster Session, 11:20 a.m. to 1:20 p.m.

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