Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Nerds unite at MIT Swapfest

Filed under
Misc

"All Things Nerdly" is the unofficial slogan of the MIT Swapfest, a monthly electronics flea market at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"That's not meant to be derogatory," said Steve Finberg, who helped found the "Flea at MIT" 21 years ago. "Nerdy is a compliment for most of these people."

Every third Sunday from April through October, hundreds of technophiles gather in a Cambridge parking lot to pick through piles of electronic equipment -- everything from antique computers and ham radios to spectrophotometers and oscilloscopes.

Vendors begin assembling around midnight to secure prime spots in the lot. When the market opens at 9 a.m., buyers scurry inside to scout the choicest bargains.

Mark Peck, 14, spent $20 to add a banged-up Apple II Plus to his growing collection of old Apple computers.

Mark has more than a dozen computers on display in his family's Newton home. His father, Shel, said his son gives school groups tours of the Apple "museum."

"This one is a find," Shel Peck said of the Apple II Plus. "It's like finding a Rembrandt in a flea market."

The MIT flea market isn't the largest of its kind, but its setting on the campus of an elite technical school makes it a destination for people from around New England.

The flea market is run by the Harvard Wireless Club, the MIT Electronics Research Society, the MIT UHF Repeater Association and the MIT Radio Society, a club for ham radio operators that dates back to 1909.

Finberg, who works as an engineer at a MIT-affiliated laboratory, said school officials initially weren't sold on the flea market.

"One of the deans thought it was much too commercial," he said. "And then that dean went away."

Today, Swapfest is as much a social event as a marketplace for electronics equipment.

Marcellus Stamps, a self-described "high-tech recycler" who sells used office computers at flea markets all over New England, sees many of the same faces wherever he and his wife go.

Stamps, a newly retired computer consultant, isn't in it for the money.

"We cover our costs, and I make enough to take my wife to dinner," he said.

Associated Press

More in Tux Machines

Elive 2.7.1 beta released

The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the beta version 2.7.1 This new version includes: Audacity (audio wave editor) included by default Timezone detection improved Detector of systems improved and updated to detect last windows installed systems Linux Kernel updated with a lot of new patches for new hardware, bugfixes and improvements Google Voice search on internet using your microphone Read more

How To Setup Linux Web Server And Host Website On Your Own Computer [Part - 2]

Welcome, everyone. It is the second part of how we can setup Linux Web Server and host website on our own Computer. There are some prerequisites to hosting Linux Web Server that we talked about in part 1. If you've not installed Apache web server or any other prerequisite then you must visit Part 1 before reading any further. In this article, we will show you how you can easily make your local website available for the rest of World! So let's get started. Read
more

15 top Android smartphones we reviewed recently

The second half of 2016 took off with some exciting launches from notable manufacturers like Motorola, HTC, Xiaomi and others. With so many smartphones being launched on a near-daily basis by brands both big and small, it gets quite difficult to keep track of them. To help our readers in making their purchase decisions, here is a list of the 15 top Android smartphones we reviewed recently. Take a look. Read more

Ubuntu tablet and smartphone: a personal "mini" review

So when Ubuntu and Canonical revealed they were partnering with actual, big manufacturers for Ubuntu mobile devices, a spark of hope was rekindled in my heart. Let it be clear, I am by no means an Ubuntu user, not even a fan. I left the fold nearly a decade ago, after having spent quite some time using and contributing to Kubuntu (to the point of becoming a certified “member” even, though I never ascended to the Council). In terms of loyalties and usage, I am a KDE user (and “helper”) foremost. I use Fedora because it just works for me, for now. So, yes, an Ubuntu Touch device would be another compromise for me, but it would be the smallest one. Or so I hoped. Read more