[vcf-midatlantic] OT: people don't understand computers anymore

Dean Notarnicola dnotarnicola at gmail.com
Tue Jun 7 16:24:31 EDT 2016


"So what demonstrations, explanations, and presentations, will show the
context and operation and "meaning" of these 1970's, 80's and even 90's
systems and artifacts? To today's mere mortals?"

It's a difficult question. The part of the importance to us as historians
is to preserve the knowledge of the systems and show the evolutionary path
from past to present. So, how to build interest in those with who may have
given no thought to the past?  It's a hard question. How do history
teachers communicate the importance of knowing what came before? I believe
that the key is to relate the subject to what is familiar in the here and
now, to put the older systems in context in relation to what they know so
that a clear line is drawn from past to present.  Would that be a home run
with everyone? Probably not, but it may be the best we can do.

On Tue, Jun 7, 2016 at 4:11 PM, Herb Johnson via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org> wrote:

> I'm working up some responses, but I'm about to "throw a flag". A good
> part of the discussion has become "why engineers today are no good at the
> deep stuff". I'm a BSEE myself, I get that. But my question is not so much
> about "how can we reach the engineers of today or tomorrow?". And certainly
> not about teaching differential equations, or linked-lists.
>
> My question as posed, was how we as vintage computer owners, can reach and
> inform - at least answer some questions, catch the eye - of ORDINARY 21st
> century people who see our stuff and show some interest?
>
> To the technical point: ordinary people (but including some engineers)
> lack familiarity with the simple but "deep" operating principles and
> features of these ancient devices and software. And they lack the notion
> that stuff like this was repaired, even redesigned, and built - often by
> semi-technical people of the era? And they can *still* be repaired and
> operated today?
>
> So what demonstrations, explanations, and presentations, will show the
> context and operation and "meaning" of these 1970's, 80's and even 90's
> systems and artifacts? To today's mere mortals?
>
> ...all in the light of the 21st century circumstances many of you have
> described, either for the non-techical masses, or our recent engineering
> colleagues. I'll post some EE-type responses, but my point is not about
> them, that's the easy lift.
>
> herb
> BSEE 1976
>
>
> --
> Herbert R. Johnson,  New Jersey USA
> http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
>



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