[vcf-midatlantic] What we can learn from vintage computing - what we can do about this - Museum

Douglas Crawford touchetek at gmail.com
Wed Dec 14 16:59:44 UTC 2022

All of this folds in to how the museum can be configured
to point in this direction- give kids and parents a
taste of the reason to dig deeper into an old computer-
-like Dave said and experienced-
as an ideal vehicle for learning foundations applicable
moving forward.

You'll see soon how this will find expression in exhibits
with exposure to architecture- around our fine examples
of machines restored from over the decades
The microprocessor exhibit is expanding into
discussing logic gates and building blocks of computers
- in tube and diode form, transistor form, LSI form,
and microprocessor form.
And hands on activities: probably for gates,
machine language and BASIC.

A tour would elaborate on these items as appropriate,
if the visitors are interested and motivated and have the
time, otherwise it would just be history tour glossing over the
technicals.  And I have found this is dynamic, I have often seen
a visitor interest grow and want deeper information than they
initially thought they did!

We can only do so much as a tour, but it can be significant.
We can give a taste that really inspires.

Hopefully they carry the exposure on for their own study
or also maybe we expand into extra curricular activity on site
with clubs playing with the machines and exploring software.

AND - more to this articles point - we can provide an opportunity
for young engineers to use this old equipment and back-fill
with the old tech exposure to fortify their knowledge.  We
can invite such into the fold to come in and work with the
museum machines.  Yes they can do it all on their own with
emulation, but I think the real machines would have an appeal
and interaction with knowledgeable folks (who lived this old
tech) in person would have to
be very inspiring.

Maybe it spills over into an interest in restoration too.
We will need a lot of help refurbishing items in the warehouse
in prep for the big museum - inexperienced young people- with 
supervision- can disassemble and clean!

On 12/14/2022 10:43 AM, Dave McGuire via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> 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

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