[vcf-midatlantic] Steve Dompier's coding...
touchetek at gmail.com
Fri May 6 13:13:01 EDT 2016
Hey folks- that quiz could be a great activity at a VCF festival-
distribute a listing like this, of historical significance and compete on
On Fri, May 6, 2016 at 11:17 AM, Dean Notarnicola via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org> wrote:
> I remember that feeling. Its why I got into computing. It's a feeling that
> is hard to recapture in the modern age of auto configuring hardware
> and drivers. This is why I love vintage computing, even when it's
> retrofitting a modern part to an old machine to extend its usefulness; it
> helps recapture that magic I experienced when it was all new and exciting.
> On Friday, May 6, 2016, Dan Roganti via vcf-midatlantic <
> vcf-midatlantic at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org> wrote:
> > On Fri, May 6, 2016 at 10:05 AM, Herb Johnson via vcf-midatlantic <
> > > Thanks to Bill Sudbrink for starting this thread, and to other
> > > participants for their response and encouragements for some kind of
> > > "lecture" on this subject. Bill notes he got questions about
> > > front panels. I'm often asked, why are S-100 cards so big? Why the
> > > boxes of big boards"? It's all related.
> > >
> > > As I see it, I'd talk about how early microcomputing (1970's, pre and
> > > early CP/M era) was mostly what I'd call "resource scarce". The
> > > would be post IBM-PC, certainly 1990's, I'd call "resource adequate",
> > > later "resource rich".
> > >
> > > In the early 70's, everything was expensive in terms of then-current
> > > income, and then-current technology. Memory. Circuit boards - big, to
> > hold
> > > all the TTL chips needed. Low speed of processors. Speed and real cost
> > > storage and display. And 100 pins? Sort of circumstantial, but it's a
> > > to bring out all the decoded 8080 lines and features, so other cards
> > didn't
> > > need to decode them, and to manage a front panel.
> > >
> > > As Dave McGuire and others pointed out, front-panels were necessary as
> > I/O
> > > devices; "storage" was pencil and paper as others noted. Good work
> > be
> > > done, as writing 1K or 2K or 4K programs was well within the capacity
> > > one person, working in his/her head, in octal (or hex, or binary). (I
> > have
> > > modern examples of this, in 1802 coding.)
> > >
> > > But, once there were ROM monitors, terminals or text-video, and some
> > > storage (cassette and diskettes), a front panel was an extra expense,
> > time
> > > consuming, complicated. It went away. The Ithaca Intersystem DPS-1 I
> > > exhibited, across from Bill's Cyclops display, was the last S-100
> > > front-panel system (I think), produced in 1980.
> > >
> > > Herb
> > thank Herb for putting things into perspective, it helps.
> > Which is why I keep your website on my short list,
> > when it comes to rejuvenating my memory cells :)
> > Another perspective which I think is often neglected in history books is
> > the emotion.
> > We had a school computer, Honeywell H1646 in the 70s
> > This is the timesharing version of the H-316, except it had dual H-316
> > minicomputers in a rack.
> > The H-316 is one of the many systems used as a IMP for Arpanet.
> > Plus the associated hard drives, Mag tap, Line printers, and terminals in
> > the Lab.
> > So you would spend all day here, without any astonishment because that
> > the norm of the day.
> > But then you come home, working on a homebrew S-100 machine,
> > And you experience that enormous elated feeling because you just upgraded
> > your machine,
> > with a parallel ascii terminal keyboard for the first the time, another
> > homebrew project
> > and you can start typing in your code
> > Dan
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