Taken: AT 286 motherboard with mathco

C. Sullivan feedle at feedle.net
Sat Oct 20 17:13:02 CDT 2007

On Oct 20, 2007, at 1:18 PM, Tony Duell wrote:

> It is a lot easier to connect you hamster wheel/ relay-to-control- 
> lights/
> homebrew circuit to an 8-bit parallel port than to a serial port (or
> worse a USB port). Yes I know there are microcontrollers with built-in
> serial ports, USH interfaces, and whatever. But the thought of  
> having to
> write the firmware for the microcontroller, get it debugged, etc, puts
> people off. COnnecting a couple of resistors and a transistor  
> together is
> an easier introduction to hardware hacking.

As somebody who got their start hacking the Commodore VIC-20 and the  
CBM "user port", I don't find a BASIC Stamp plugged in through a USB  
port that significantly different to experiment with, at least from  
an ease-of-use perspective.

There's almost as much power in some of the BASIC Stamp products as I  
had in the entire VIC-20.  A couple of teens I know who are just  
starting to "hardware hack" are doing the exact same sorts of  
"thermister controlled fan in the window" stuff I was doing on the  
VIC-20.. except now they are doing it all outboard.  Even with a  
small webserver.  On  a BASIC Stamp, you can have your "thermister"  
project done in about an hour, assuming no previous knowledge of even  
basic electronics, just following the instructions in the Stamp's  
application notes.

When a PIC chip based system that has more CPU power (and in some  
cases, even more RAM) than we had in entire computer systems can be  
had for $80 at RadioShack with a breadboard, manual, and programming  
software.. what do you need to bring it all into the computer for?   
When you are finally advanced enough to want to talk to a bigger  
computer, you'll have enough of the basic understanding to get the  
USB-based stuff working.

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