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'[EE] The plastic computer is back ...'
2006\02\28@080246 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
www.mindsontoys.com/kits.htm

2006\02\28@123353 by James Newtons Massmind

face picon face
How on earth did one program that thing? Was it the little plastic caps on
the front of the horizontal cards? I googled for a while but couldn't find
anything on "theory of operation"

---
James.



> -----Original Message-----
> From: spam_OUTpiclist-bouncesTakeThisOuTspammit.edu
> [.....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam@spam@mit.edu] On Behalf Of Alan B. Pearce
> Sent: 2006 Feb 28, Tue 05:03
> To: PicList
> Subject: [EE] The plastic computer is back ...
>
> http://www.mindsontoys.com/kits.htm
> -

2006\02\28@131430 by Robert Rolf

picon face
It never really left...

Programmed with the little blue plastic plugs that you see at the front edge of
the various planes in the unit.
http://www.mindsontoys.com/images/digi_sm4.gif

Their position represented the 'value' you were adding or
subtracting to the count (which is about all it could do).
You just pushed a plug onto a peg to extend it's length enough to catch
the vertical wires and toggle their position (updating the 'register')

You clocked the unit by pulling then pushing on the slider at
the lowest plane (see tab sticking out to the right on the lowest level).

Quite clever mechanical design. But nothing like Babbage's design <G>.

I presume you've read some of the posts in the group
groups.yahoo.com/group/FriendsOfDigiComp/
It's been active since 1999.

James Newtons Massmind wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2006\02\28@132432 by Bob Blick

face picon face
> How on earth did one program that thing? Was it the little plastic caps on
> the front of the horizontal cards? I googled for a while but couldn't find
> anything on "theory of operation"

I had one of them back in 1965. The little plastic caps were like pieces
of drinking straw. You are correct, that's how you programmed it. It was
very simple and you couldn't do very much with it - add, subtract, and,
or, xor, etc. And it was octal :)

Don't waste your money on it, though. It is not something that is going to
teach anyone about logic or computers.

Cheerful regards,

Bob


2006\02\28@133100 by Danny Sauer

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face
Bob wrote regarding 'RE: [EE] The plastic computer is back ...' on Tue, Feb 28 at 12:26:
> very simple and you couldn't do very much with it - add, subtract, and,
> or, xor, etc. And it was octal :)
>
> Don't waste your money on it, though. It is not something that is going to
> teach anyone about logic or computers.

Sounds great for the "introduction to Unix" course - why not provide
students with the most obtuse way possible to see how "umask" works?
It'd be great for those people who insist that they're "hands-on"
learners... :)

--Danny

2006\02\28@133203 by Robert Ammerman

picon face
I had one.

IIRC, it was the little plastic tabs. They effectively "wired" the "pins" on
the flip-flops (each of three horizontal plates was a flip flop) to
appropriate clock "lines".

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

----- Original Message -----
From: "James Newtons Massmind" <EraseMEjamesnewtonspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTmassmind.org>
To: "'Microcontroller discussion list - Public.'" <piclistspamspam_OUTmit.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 12:33 PM
Subject: RE: [EE] The plastic computer is back ...


{Quote hidden}

>> --

2006\02\28@134726 by William Couture

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On 2/28/06, Alan B. Pearce <RemoveMEA.B.PearceTakeThisOuTspamrl.ac.uk> wrote:

> http://www.mindsontoys.com/kits.htm

Is there a Linux port for it?

Bill

--
Psst...  Hey, you... Buddy...  Want a kitten?  straycatblues.petfinder.org

2006\02\28@150716 by David VanHorn

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On 2/28/06, William Couture <spamBeGonebcouturespamBeGonespamgmail.com> wrote:
>
> On 2/28/06, Alan B. Pearce <TakeThisOuTA.B.PearceEraseMEspamspam_OUTrl.ac.uk> wrote:
>
> > http://www.mindsontoys.com/kits.htm
>
> Is there a Linux port for it?


XP pro, but it weighs 2500 tons and booting up takes significantly  longer
than the time between crashes.

2006\02\28@215933 by Gerhard Fiedler

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David VanHorn wrote:

>>> http://www.mindsontoys.com/kits.htm
>>
>> Is there a Linux port for it?
>
> XP pro, but it weighs 2500 tons and booting up takes significantly
> longer than the time between crashes.

Yes, that was bad. But ever since I upgraded to solid state hardware, I
never had an XP crash again.

Gerhard


'[EE] The plastic computer is back ...'
2006\03\02@045216 by Howard Winter
face
flavicon
picon face
Alan,

On Tue, 28 Feb 2006 13:02:42 -0000, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

> http://www.mindsontoys.com/kits.htm

Good grief, I had one of those!  Isn't it amazing how you can forget something completely until someone
reminds you of it...  I seem to remember that building it took quite some time, and the operations it would
perform were very limited, but it was fascinating at the time.

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


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