[Coco] Thoughts on modern computers (sort of off topic)

Andrew keeper63 at cox.net
Fri Feb 3 00:38:13 EST 2012

Regarding "what the kids are learning"...

I wouldn't worry too much about it; from what I understand, the "big 
thing" in some schools (jr and high school, mainly) is FIRST robotics, 
and there they are exposed to microcontrollers, which are almost as 
constrained as the CoCo was.

Rather than writing their name on the screen, they are writing it to an 
LCD, or controlling some servos, or learning how to control that old R/C 
car gathering dust in the corner using their smart phone.

I see these youngsters posting all the time on the Arduino forums, and 
on the Electro Tech forums (and right now there's an uptick of people 
needing help with educational projects - happens regularly).

So - there's interest, and these environments (and others that have been 
mentioned) are the ways those that are interested are learning. Those 
that really want to know what is going on can dig deeper; some are even 
interested in getting old stuff working (not too long back someone was 
asking what was needed to build a 6502-based system, as they had some 
old parts lying around; they were waaaay out of their depth, but they 
wanted to learn!).

How much of this will translate over to a PC, or how long interest will 
hold, is anybody's guess. Those of us who continued with our computers 
past typing in a few programs were, and always have been, few and far 
between. For most people, the modern computer is a magic box (and 
despite knowing more about their internals, I still think they are magic 
boxes, no matter how simple or complex - I only know how the magic 
works, but that doesn't make it any less magical for me).


-- Andrew L. Ayers, Glendale, Arizona

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