using new technology on old machines. Was: PDP-12 Restoration at the RICM

Mark J. Blair nf6x at
Mon Jun 15 23:50:42 CDT 2015

> On Jun 15, 2015, at 21:28, tony duell <ard at> wrote:
> As am I. I've learnt a heck of a lot since I started (there is a common myth
> that there is something magic about a processor. This hobby has taught
> me to understand quite a few at the gate level). And the day I stop learning
> is the day I am in a pine box.

In my opinion, the magic is inside the transistor. Once you bottle enough magic to make a good transistor, the rest is pretty straightforward. :)

> As an aside, I am not overly enamoured by the RPi. I think there are 
> possibly better alternatives like the Beagleboards (?) which I need to
> investigte.

Shockingly, I agree with you! The RPi is neat for what it is, but I have a mental hangup on openness, which the Beaglebone Black has more of (i.e., I think I could buy the main chip on it from DigiKey, unlike the Broadcom chip on the RPi. Not that I'm eager to route my own SDRAM bus... that's actually kind of hard, particularly with the open-source PCB tools I use for home projects). The BeagleBone also has lots more delicious IOs. 

> This is one of my main dislikes with USB. It is so complicated that you 
> have to use a microcontroller. Unlike any of the more sane interfaces that
> you can implement with simple logic if you want to.

I have a love/hate relationship with USB. I liked moving away from having to figure out which way the danged plugs were wired at both ends for any given pair of devices. But on the other hand, a UART is dirt simple to implement, and I still use them for debug ports even on vastly complex FPGA-based stuff. I don't see async serial dying off any time soon.

Mark J. Blair, NF6X <nf6x at>

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