Archive for March, 2010

Not the only geek in the village

March 4, 2010

Seeing this thread at UK Angels brought back some nostalgic memories. From the olden days of the 1970s when owning a computer was a dream through to having a Commodore Pet at school which I got to borrow for the summer holidays (only posh schools had a Research Machines – not mine), then to owning a Spectrum until I got my hands on an XT clone with the wonder of a hard disk.

Then there were the others. The broken Dragon32 that I never managed to fix, The Newbrain AD with it’s integrated 16 character union jack vacuum flourescent display and two RS232 ports which could be run on batteries which is still around somewhere.

The coming of the PC really made the early computers redundant as a tool since interoperability is key. There is no fun in reinventing the wheel for a niche machine when the PC can already do it.

Bring on the embedded system. Lots of fun in developing systems that can enhance the functionality of otherwise simple objects at minimal cost because they only contain a couple of chips – not the big computer of old.

First it was the Intel 8051 series. Lovely little processors but not quite little enough for every application.

Now we have PICs so that I can put a computer in pretty much anything – and even the awesome SX processors for those little applications that need an embedded RISC processor running at 150 MIPS! Processing power that would not dare be dreamed of a few years ago.

Parallax SX28 processor

Suzie x