State of the Hobby

From: William Donzelli <>
Date: Fri Jul 2 21:21:24 1999

> But also, I've learnt a lot about _real_ computer design and operation
> from these old machines. You'll learn a lot more sitting down for a day
> with a PDP8/e and a logic analyser than you'll learn from most books on
> computer logic.

Oh yes, indeed, there is nothing like an old machine to learn about
computer architecture. This does not mean that modern machines are not
learning tool - no way. One can learn all sorts of nifty things about
operating systems (NO M$ slams, please) and higher level languages -
things that sometimes are near impossible on an old system (OOP for a
PDP-8/e? I don't think so!). Learning basic computer architecture (gate
level) and assembly is basically impossible on most of today's machines
simply due to complexity - most processors are becoming dataflow and/or
superscalar, and these days compliers have to deal with all sorts of
conditions that do not exist on (most) classic machines, like
instruction ordering to keep the pipes full. In other words, the learning
potential has changed - not for the good or for the worse, but just

> Please remember that this list is international. And that not all of us
> have well payed jobs, or even jobs at all. I couldn't consider spending
> twice my _annual_ income on an Altair. Heck, I have to stop and think
> before I spend my weekly income on common 8-bit micro.

> > This is (mostly) America, as they say. Work your butt off and get ahead
> I am _NOT_ in America. Please remember that the conditions in other
> countries are very different.

I knew this was going to happen. "Mostly" means that 95% of this list
goes to Americans. Anyway, can you not do the same in the the U.K.,
Germany, Japan, or whatever developed country we may live in? Are foriegn
electronics and computer industries (again, assuming that many of
us are in the industry) really in that bad of shape?

William Donzelli
Received on Fri Jul 02 1999 - 21:21:24 BST

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