[vcf-midatlantic] What we can learn from vintage computing

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Wed Dec 14 15:43:55 UTC 2022

On 12/14/22 09:44, Neil Cherry via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> I really can't imagine how hard it would be to pick up something like
> Software defined networks and try to understand it without knowing
> the basics of networking and the OSI stack.
> Same here, learned a lot from Don Lancaster's articles on the Apple
> II (amazingly simple, complex machine). That and my electronics
> and I'm now reverse engineering the Liebert controller for a CDL
> project. Got Motorola Lilbug assembled last night. Need to make a
> few tweeks to the code.
> Learning a simple architecture made it possible to understand what
> the asm code was doing and how it worked with the electronics. And
> while I can pretty much identify what todays chips are and what a
> board can do so much of it is hidden inside the system on a chip
> or worse FPGA.
> Everything is built on the basics.

   This is inescapably true.  It's one reason why I love PDP-8s so much, 
in particular the 8/e.  The processor is simple enough that one person 
(even a kid, as in my case) can understand the operation of the *entire 
thing*, without dedicating a lifetime to it.  I think it took me about a 
week of after-school afternoons.  All the way down to the gate level. 
If someone truly wants to understand how computers actually work, it's 
one great design to study.


Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

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