Gordon French

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dnevil
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Location: Springtown, Texas
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Gordon French

Post by dnevil » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:34 pm

Gordon French passed away October 26, 2019. He was an active contributor to this group.

Gordon was an early member of the Golden Gate Live Steamers and the West Valley Live Steamers. In addition, he hosted the first meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club in his garage in 1975.

Gordon favored 3/4 inch scale live steam models, operating his Maisie and Tich when visiting the GGLS track.

Read more about this fascinating man here:

http://ibls.org/mediawiki/index.php?title=Gordon_French
http://ibls.org/mediawiki/index.php?tit ... rs_and_PCs

Respectfully,
Daris
Daris Nevil
IBLS Secretary
North American Region
http://www.ibls.org

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:19 pm
Location: Midwestern United States

Re: Gordon French

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:44 pm

I was very sorry to learn of Mr. French's passing.

Those of us who have worked with computers many years (I started on them in 1970) have long known about the Homebrew Computer Club and its role in shaping the direction of small computers. Mr. French, being one of the "founding fathers" of the homebrew computer hobby, was well-known to all of us.

At that time, micro-processor chips were just coming onto the market and Gordon started to think about the problems of building a small computer for personal use. He felt there might be others in the area that shared his interest. With that in mind, he started the "Homebrew Computer Club."

Specifically, it was the release in 1975 of the MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor (MPU) that was the impetus for the homebrew computer hobby. Homebrew computer builders' early activities were stymied to some extent by the cost of the Intel 8080 and Motorola 6800, both of which ran to several hundred dollars each. The 6502 could be had for 25 dollars, and was just as capable.

Among those 400 people, two unique free spirits, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, realized there was a market for a small and inexpensive personal computer.

The Apple 1 was built around the 6502 and went up for sale in 1976, about the same time MOS Technology started selling their KIM-1 demonstrator (which was first continues to be a topic of disagreement...er...discussion). Steve Wozniak went with the 6502 because of its 25 dollar price tag and straight-forward design. Incidentally, it was Wozniak who was the brains of Apple. Jobs, comparatively speaking, didn't know squat about digital electronics. His primary role was to find customers for Wozniak's work.

The spirit of the Homebrew Computer Club and Gordon French continues to flourish to this day. In particular, the 6502 microprocessor forum has over 2000 members, many of whom (including me) have scratch-designed and built homebrew computers. In fact, we've had six new members sign up so far in 2020—and the year is only nine days old.

Below is a picture of one of my older 16-bit designs.
pocv1.jpg
POC V1.1 (built 2012)

Below is a picture of a more recent 16-bit design that is able to support preemptive multitasking.
poc_v2.0.jpg
POC V2.0 (built 2016)

..and here is the POST display for the above unit.
poc_v2.0_post.jpg
POC V2.0's Power-On, Self-Test Screen
——————————————————————————————————
I'm a caterwauling curmudgeon. What's your excuse? ☻

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Harlock
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Re: Gordon French

Post by Harlock » Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:16 pm

Gordon was building a Kozo A3 and we had many conversations about it. I was able to meet him a few times and he was so very nice. I did not know about his homebrew computer club connection or I would have had more things to talk to him about, as an early home computing enthusiast myself and user of MOS-based commodore computers (commodore eventually bought MOS)

One time he brought his A3 in progress to Bitter Creek and the workmanship was absolutely gorgeous. I hadn't spoken to him in years but I'm sad to learn I never will be able to again.

-M
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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Harlock
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Re: Gordon French

Post by Harlock » Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:15 am

I found a few pictures from the 2009 GGLS small scales meet.
Attachments
09-09-04_GGLS_small-scales-1431.jpg
09-09-04_GGLS_small-scales-1441.jpg
09-09-04_GGLS_small-scales-1433.jpg
09-09-04_GGLS_small-scales-1536.jpg
09-09-04_GGLS_small-scales-1551.jpg
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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Harlock
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Re: Gordon French

Post by Harlock » Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:17 am

A couple more.
Attachments
09-09-04_GGLS_small-scales-1565.jpg
09-09-04_GGLS_small-scales-1678.jpg
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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