PDP-8/L value

Tony Duell ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Mon Jan 18 13:27:08 CST 2010

> >> Is any classic computer 'useful' _as a computer_ now? Even I  realise 
> >> that
> >> a modern PC will beat the heck out of just about any classic  manchine...
>     Hmm, maybe. I **do** prefer an original MSX to play nemesis than the 
> best emulation (BlueMSX) avaiable. Also, for running old hardware compatible 
> of course it is preferable!

And I am sure you know which I'd rather have to repair or keep going :-). 
<ARD looks around at the 20 or so classic machines still in very active 
use here...)

>     Also, a MSX (or a TRS-80, or a CoCo, or something useful as a computer) 

Actually, I think I'll put in a plug for the BBC Micro again here. It has 
an excellent structured BASIC (but it's still interpretted BASIC, so you 
can type 
10 FOR I = 1 TO 10
20 PRINT "Hello World"
40 END 
and RUN it with no more rigmarole, it also has a built-in 6502 assembler, 
USER and ADC ports for easy hardware add-ons, and so on. 

> is waaayyyy better to teach computer programming and general workings to a 
> child than a core2quad running crapXP with tons of icons and bilions of API 
> calls to learn before you write "hello, (expletive deleted) world" on the 
> screen.

Yeo. And if you want to understnad how a computer really works, I think 
it's a lot easier to do so with a PDP8 or (old, Unibus) PDP11, the tech 
manuals, and some simple test gear than with any modern machine (even if 
by some piracly you have scheamtics...)

And that's a perfectly good use of this 8/L, I suyspect...

There's been a bit of talk in the UK recently about the use of computers 
in education. I still feel Seymor Papert (?spel) got it right and just 
about everyone else gets it wrong. The child should learn to program the 
computer, not have the computer program the child. I know that if I had 
children, I would object most strongly if computer lessons consisted of 
learning how to use popular-for-the-time applications (under any OS, this 
is not Windows-bashing!). I believe most people should learn to program, 
not because they are going to be employed as programmers, but because 
programming involves the essential skills of breaking a problem down, 
thinking how to solve each part, testing the solution, and so on.


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