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'Slightly Off Topic the Human Interface'
1997\09\02@121013 by Martin McCormick

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       I recently posted a message about up/down scrolling displays and
how difficult many of todays systems were to use if one could not see the
display.  I had an amusing experience in the art of alternative I/O, once
that I will relate.

       I was given a memory tester that checks the DRAM used in the older
P.C/XT type mother boards.  The device has a ZIF socket on it and a
LED display that shows whether the chip is good, a 64 K RAM, or a 256 K
RAM.  I can't read the display so I needed to figure out what I was going to
do.  I could butcher it up and maybe connect the LED drivers to a PIC or
some other kind of processor and make a grand cluge out of it all, but
I had a major attack of laziness and a flash of inspiration.  I laid a portable
AM radio next to the tester, tuned to a quiet spot on the dial, and put
in a 64 K chip and pressed the button.  The EMI from the tester made a little
blerp on the radio.  Now, I tried a 256 K RAM.  It made a longer
double-blerp much like a British telephone ring.  Memory that was
misinserted or bad makes no sound at all except for a faint click as one
presses the button.  Problem solved.  I didn't even have to drill any holes.

Martin McCormick

1997\09\02@124432 by Engineering Department

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Dear Martin,

Thanks for the eye opener (pardon the pun)!

All to often I forget that we all rely on combinations of senses.

Pressing a typewriter key without the "clack" makes me
feel uncomfortable -- even if the key has the exact same
"feel."

So when I sugggested the exponential scroll I was
thinking in the context of a video editing system *not*
a thermostat -- bad reasoning.

Your last comment was a supurb example of
inventiveness.  I enjoyed it and am sure to repeat it <g>

So thanks for the reality check,

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation
spam_OUTImageLogicTakeThisOuTspamibm.net

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{Quote hidden}

older
> P.C/XT type mother boards.  The device has a ZIF socket on it and a
> LED display that shows whether the chip is good, a 64 K RAM, or a 256 K
> RAM.  I can't read the display so I needed to figure out what I was going
to
> do.  I could butcher it up and maybe connect the LED drivers to a PIC or
> some other kind of processor and make a grand cluge out of it all, but
> I had a major attack of laziness and a flash of inspiration.  I laid a
portable
> AM radio next to the tester, tuned to a quiet spot on the dial, and put
> in a 64 K chip and pressed the button.  The EMI from the tester made a
little
> blerp on the radio.  Now, I tried a 256 K RAM.  It made a longer
> double-blerp much like a British telephone ring.  Memory that was
> misinserted or bad makes no sound at all except for a faint click as one
> presses the button.  Problem solved.  I didn't even have to drill any
holes.
>
> Martin McCormick

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