Corrections or additions?
These articles by Barbara Fox were prepared for the
May 2, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Trenton Computer Fest: At 26, Still Evolving
The Trenton Computer Festival is one of Central Jersey’s
pride and joys, and many say it is the nation’s oldest computer
It started out 26 years ago as a giant techie garage sale with a
ham radio component. Then it was moved from the College of New Jersey
to Mercer County Community College. Now it is so huge that it is held
at the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison and has a professional
agency (KGP Productions) overseeing the details. This year, the TCF
is Saturday May 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, May 6, from 10 a.m.
to 4 p.m. The flea market opens at 9 a.m. Tickets are $12 ($10 if
you purchase them in advance on the website at www.TCF-nj.org or call
But the backbone of this hoary but youthful festival is still the
staff of volunteers, who determine the tone of the event each year.
In the 1980s the speakers were the hardware gurus from Intel and
(yes, Bill Gates was a keynoter). This year, as debate over copyright
laws roils the music industry, an expert on hackers, Emmanuel
has been brought in to keynote.
Goldstein led the movement to free Kevin Mitnick, one of the more
notorious hackers. In his publication "2600: the Hacker
he questioned whether Mitnick’s victims — Sun Microsystems, NEC,
Motorola, and Nokia — lost as much as they said they did and
out that the $300 million in alleged losses was not reported to
or to the IRS.
Meanwhile, TCF has something for everyone, from newbies to experts,
from how to buy a basic computer to how to automate your house with
robots to whether there is intelligent life in space. The flea market
numbers nearly 1,000 cars, hawking anything and everything, and there
are 500 indoor exhibit spaces. You can park your purchases for free,
and use a free shuttle bus to get there from the 10,000-car lot.
One of the last workshops on Sunday, appropriately enough, will be
given by one of the two co-founders of the festival, Allen Katz,
who will talk about the intriguing subject of bouncing radio signals
off the moon.
Look for the complete schedule at www.tcf-nj.org and you will receive
one with your ticket. All sessions described below are on Saturday,
unless otherwise stated.
Room 1, the Internet
Starting at 10:15, Brenda Bell , a veteran of the online-database
production industry, explains the difference between a portal and
a vortal, and how to find information quickly and efficiently. She
repeats this session at the same time on Sunday.
Wehrhahn of Application Technologies gives advice on taxes and
bookkeeping to consultants and would-be consultants. He has been out
on his own for three years. It’s at 11:20 a.m. He repeats this on
Sunday at 2 p.m.
will incorporate the principles of classical rhetoric in a workshop
entitled "Designing Websites To Inform and Persuade."
the delicate question of how to get a job in an Internet-related
after the dotcom crash. The answer, he says is to go after an IT/web
job. Critical knowledge areas include Cisco routers and firewalls;
Oracle, Siebel, Sybase, and SAP databases; C/C++ and Java; Unix and
Linux; and Asp, Cold Fusion, Perl, and XML. His remarks will be short,
and he will spend the rest of the time giving free, one-minute reviews
of resumes. Hsu teaches advanced webmaster development tools in Room
4 at 3:40 p.m.
basics with an introduction to the Internet and a question-answer
session ending the day’s Internet track at 3:40 p.m.
Wetterling has also been tapped to discuss "Dynamic Planning for
Autonomous Robotics," geared for both computer scientists and
anyone with an interest in robotics. He speaks both Saturday and
at 1:30 p.m.
Room 2: Varied Themes.
can tell them how to use their Palms as a computer. He wrote "The
Ultimate Modem Handbook," published by Prentice Hall.
design of the world’s first commercial home satellite TV receiver,
now uses microwave technology to search for intelligent life in space,
the SETI Project Argus. 11:20 a.m.
On a more mundane level, Gary Deckelnick of the Asbury Park
Press tells how to organize your hard drive at 12:25 p.m. Randall
Whittle gives a similar seminar on Sunday in Room 2 at 10:30 a.m.
California share a lectern at 1:30 p.m. to make the case for an
post office that would provide digitally watermarked electronic
digitally-watermarked copyright-registrations from the Library of
Congress, and digital tickler files to advise periodically every
whose private data has been either requested or released.
on technology subjects for U.S. 1 Newspaper, tells about
Media on Your Desktop" at 3:40 p.m. Learn about the three major
streaming formats — Apple QuickTime, RealNetworks RealMedia, and
Microsoft Windows Media — and their associated compression
"We will then discuss and demonstrate desktop tools for converting
and producing your own streaming media files," says Dixon.
Room 3: Fun and Games
Sragow , a character actor and club member from New York. "Even
if you can’t draw a wobble-free period, your pictures can be replete
with resplendent colors, perfect shapes,lines, dazzling typography
and calligraphy," he promises. "You can also rearrange and/or
re-size any components until the final depiction represents precisely
what you had in mind. Those interested in establishing a personal
web page will find these programs an easy way to quickly get
images up there while struggling to master the mysteries and esoterica
of HTLMese." He repeats this on Sunday at 2:50 p.m.
will be on the agenda at 11:20 a.m., led by Randall Whittle ,
a well-known speaker with an MBA from the University of Southern
He repeats the seminar in Room 1 at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Jeff Posdamer , for a reprise of their popular Computer Graphics
Theater — commercial graphics for television and movies,
visualization, and current computer graphics research.
speaks at 1:30 p.m. In a lecture entitled "The Theremin: Music
from the Ether, Analog, and now Digital Domains," he will explain
that the Theremin was the first electronic musical instrument and
is still the only instrument played without touching it. Invented
eighty years ago in Russia as vacuum tube radio circuits, it was
in America and is now available as a digital MIDI device. Marshall
will perform on the "Etherwave" instrument currently
and marketed by electronic music pioneer Robert Moog.
games for the Nintendo Color Gameboy, will showcase the new Advanced
Gameboy machine at 3:40 p.m. Last year he was the first to demonstrate
the new PS2 Sony Playstation. He will also demonstrate some of the
latest generation of quality games and discuss Microsoft’s entry into
the field, the "X-Box".
Room 4: Software & Systems.
Independence Way starts off at 10:15 a.m. Heffner created XTRAN, a
proprietary expert system for symbolic translation of computer
His subject: "Cable and DSL Internet Connections: Implementation
and Security." He repeats the seminar on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
Opening Up Shop Online: Understanding the Credit Card Industry and
its Business Risks" in a 12:25 p.m. talk. He is the chief
architect at Retail Decisions, the London-based world leader in
card fraud detection and teaches at the Rutgers University Internet
shouldn’t count votes at 1:30 p.m. Internet voting, said Mercuri in
Doug Dixon’s November 15, 2000, story for U.S. 1, is "chilling.
It will compromise voter anonymity and auditability. It would solve
the recount problem, because we won’t be able to do a recount."
Her website: mainline.brynmawr.edu/~rmercuri. See also
Room 5: Using Technology
Network, tells how to use the Internet as a marketing vehicle to
your existing marketing efforts at 10:15 a.m. in Room 5. He repeats
this on Sunday in Room 3 at 10:30 a.m.
Bergsman of the County College of Philadelphia at 11:20 a.m. The
author of a book by that name will use live demonstrations to show
how to control lights, stepping motors, and even the kitchen coffee
pot. Also how to input temperature, motion, stress, and pressure,
for data logging, and analysis. He repeats this on Sunday, in Room
3 at 11:40 a.m.
Bergsman then takes the 12:25 p.m. time slot to tell how high
(and their parents) can incorporate computers in Science Fair and
Science-Olympics projects. He repeats this on Sunday in Room 3 at
At 3:40 p.m. learn about "Neural Networks For Stock Market
from Donn Fishbein.
Room 6: Education
on microcomputers will be covered by Herman Hinitz of HBH
at 10:15 a.m.
covers which websites and software are best for children from
through eighth grade. Kaplan’s Computers and Kids Summer Camp is among
the longest running in the region, and she consults to Microsoft for
both children’s software and for website design. E-mail:
This repeats on Sunday in Room 3 at 12:50 p.m.
tells how to supervise student technology teams at 12:25 p.m. She
repeats this on Sunday in Room 2 at 11:40 a.m.
17 books online with X-libris, will give the inside view of this new
"print on demand" industry at 3:40 p.m. He is with the Ben
Zelda Provenzano has another update on E-book technology on
Sunday at 12:25 p.m.
Room 7: Hardware
at 10:15 a.m. Orlando used to be a retail salesperson for Comp-USA
and a help desk agent for IBM and now teaches at a New York technology
high school. At 11:20 a.m. he tells how to buy the peripherals —
the printer, the scanner, etc.
is the topic for Marty Fries of TeamCom at 12:25 p.m. Fries
wrote "The MP3 and Internet Audio Handbook" and will share
his views on copyright laws. A resident of Laurel, Maryland, he
www.imagimedia.net. He repeats this on Sunday at 12:50 p.m. in Room
At 3:40 p.m. Ray Lazinski of Wyncote Instrumentation explains
how, with GPS (Global Positioning Systems), you may never get lost
Rooms 8 & 9: Networks, Databases, Systems
The presentations include sessions on C++, home networks, DreamWeaver,
Linux, knowledge management for small business owners, and the
of metadata in the Digital Age.
Triveni Digital on Washington Road. His subject is metadata —
large amounts of data that could be text-based or image-based, or
any information that describes important features of data succinctly.
He will address such issues as syntax, extraction, presentation, and
Room 10: Amateur Radio
license testing area. Now is the chance for dozens of ham radio
to get tested.
and Brian Boccardi of the ACGNJ will be on a panel discussing
new digital modes of transmission.
the founder of Linearizer Technology on Nami Road, will have the last
word at 2 p.m. He is co-founder of the Trenton Computer Festival,
festival director for 20 years, and co-director this year. His topic:
bouncing radio signal off the moon, and he will play tapes of radio
echoes from the moon. It’s the latest up-to-date hobby and
— Barbara Fox
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