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 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 and you will receive

one with your ticket. All sessions described below are on Saturday,

unless otherwise stated.

Room 1, the Internet

Sessions for Internet novices book-end Saturday’s presentations.

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.

In "The Self-Incorporated System Consultant," Fred

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.

At 12:25 p.m. Donald Egoff of the University of Pittsburgh

will incorporate the principles of classical rhetoric in a workshop

entitled "Designing Websites To Inform and Persuade."

At 1:30 p.m. Donald Hsu of Dominican College brings up

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.

Rowan University’s Joseph Wetterling goes back to the

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.

Palm Pilot aficionados gather at 10:15 a.m. so Cass Lewart

can tell them how to use their Palms as a computer. He wrote "The

Ultimate Modem Handbook," published by Prentice Hall.

H. Paul Shuch , the aerospace engineer credited with the

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.

Danielle and G. Arthur Mihram of the University of Southern

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.

The Sarnoff Corporation’s Douglas Dixon, who also writes

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

Paint and Draw programs are explained at 10:15 a.m. by Leonard

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.

All you ever wanted to know about digital photography and


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.

Doug Dixon returns at 12:25 p.m., this time with Sarnoff cohort

Jeff Posdamer , for a reprise of their popular Computer Graphics

Theater — commercial graphics for television and movies,


visualization, and current computer graphics research.

Scott Marshall , one of the tech gurus profiled by Dixon,

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.

Roger Amidon , who is currently writing and designing new

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.

Stephen Heffner of Pennington Systems Incorporated on

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.

Christopher Uriarte uncovers "The Real Story Behind

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


Rebecca Mercuri of Bryn Mawr College tells why computers

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: See also

Room 5: Using Technology

Rick Elbanna , who works for Iselin-based Online Marketing

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.

"Control the World with Your PC," admonishes Paul

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

2 p.m.

At 1:30 p.m. Shabbir Moochalla will discuss digital


At 3:40 p.m. learn about "Neural Networks For Stock Market


from Donn Fishbein.

Room 6: Education

The very basic basics in getting started with word processing

on microcomputers will be covered by Herman Hinitz of HBH


at 10:15 a.m.

At 11:20 a.m. Eva Kaplan of the Pennington Computer School

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.

Elizabeth Dunbar of Baltimore’s technical high school

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.

Author Matthew Paris , who has been successful in publishing

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

Weber Foundation.

Zelda Provenzano has another update on E-book technology on

Sunday at 12:25 p.m.

Room 7: Hardware

Learn how to buy a basic computer from Steven Orlando

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.

"Digital Music on Personal Computers and the Internet"

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

founded 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.

The last workshop, at 3:40 p.m., is by Dinkar Bhat of

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

archiving metadata.

Room 10: Amateur Radio

A standard but unusual feature of every TCF is the amateur radio

license testing area. Now is the chance for dozens of ham radio


to get tested.

At 3:40 p.m. John DeGood of the David Sarnoff Radio Club

and Brian Boccardi of the ACGNJ will be on a panel discussing

new digital modes of transmission.

Allen Katz , a professor at the College of New Jersey and

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


— Moonbounce.

— Barbara Fox

Previous Story Next Story

Corrections or additions?

This page is published by

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments