I was at the Living Computer Museum again last weekend. No surprise for people who read this blog. It is one of my favorite places to visit in Seattle. Every time I go there, I find something new that captures my imagination or educates me. Today I would like to talk about another way of experiencing this wonderful facility, as a learning library. It all started when I stumbled across this PDP 11/70 Processor Handbook that someone had left near one of the PDP machines.
I had perused the books before while visiting this museum, but to see it so close to the machine it was meant for was a different experience. Picturing myself as a brand new PDP operator in the seventies, I opened up the book and attempted to start learning. It was a challenging bit of reading at first, but I found myself quickly starting to understand some of the basics of what I would need to know.
Suddenly I was looking for other books near machines. I had seen them before, but has never attacked them with gusto. Before I knew it I found myself watching videos on YouTube and skimming the books trying to learn. Pushing myself just a little to see how each of the machines work. Computer architecture has become so homogenized for the most part, that very rarely am I challenged like I was in the past. It was refreshing and perplexing.
It also peeled back another layer on this fine museum. Will I be running out to buy a PDP because of it? No, but I can find the PDP 11/70 Processor Handbook easily on Amazon. And if I ever want to tinker, the LCM will probably have a machine for me to monkey around with. Surely with the right book and enough time I could master any machine.
Okay, maybe a whole lot of time.