Collections of (physically) small computers

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at
Sun Oct 29 18:33:20 CST 2006

On 10/30/06, Fred Cisin <cisin at> wrote:
> On Sun, 29 Oct 2006, Tony Duell wrote:
> > More seriously, I think we need to define 'computer'.
> a very risky endeavor

A slippery-slope indeed.

> > It should have alphanumeric (and not just numeric) I/O.
> KIM-1?

One can do alpha on a 7-segment display, plus one could connect a
TVT-6 "TV Typewriter" to a KIM-1 without too much difficulty
(installing the "upstream tap" being the most invasive step).

I think the point here was to differentiate simple "four-banger
calculators" from computing devices, not to exclude something that is
by nearly all definitions a "computer".  Think of the basic Elf design
- the primary display is a pair of LED hex displays (TIL-311 or
similar HP displays) - unlike a KIM's soft-driven 7-segment LEDs, a
TIL-311 can *only* display 0-9/A-F, hardly full alphanumeric, but who
would dispute an Elf is a computer?


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