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Many years ago, I was given a small packet from Bell Labs (which still existed as a part of the Bell System at the time) containing an entire "computer" made of cardboard. The CardIAC manual gave the name as an acronym for the Cardboard Illustrative Aid to Computing, and it certainly lived up to that name. The computer "operator" performed all of the operations to run through the "microcode" to run the program. It was a great learning experience - I was able to easily grasp the concepts of assembly language programming because of this "system." To this day, I believe that this is one of the best, if not the best, way for a programmer to get started in this field.
My CardIAC - Click for larger image
There is a Facebook page dedicated to this old computer, and Tom Higgins (the founder) has declared a "Summer of Code" for the CardIAC. Now, you may think that not much can be done in only 100 (decimal) words (from 000-999) of memory, but you may be surprised. And, since Tom has expanded the contest to more than just CardIAC coding ("A time to work on our CardIAC collections. Write some code, do a translation, build a custom unit, make a video tutorial, ....come up with something completely out of the box.") it gives endless possibilities.
I have decided that I am tired of trying to manipulate the endless inanity of trying to get a new business registered, and off the ground, and so I am adding some scheduled play time. For this "Summer of Code," I will get a simulator up and running on an Arduino. This is a project which I did way back in highschool, on our HP-2000 timeshare system. I don't remember a lot about it, except that it used many IF...THEN statements, of maybe a big ON...GOSUB statement. That prepared me for the CASE statement in ForTran, C and other languages. I think that this will go well, at least I'll have some fun doing this.
If you want more info about this, or want to join, take a look at: https://www.facebook.com/events/4396464 ... null%22%7D
Also, if you would like to build your own CardIAC system, Kyle Miller has put up some PDF templates (http://www.kylem.net/hardware/hardware.html) so that you can print your own, and play with the CardIAC very cheaply. Make sure to print it on 110 Lb card stock, or it will be too flimsy to work. The Guide Book near the bottom of the page is a scan of the actual manual that came with the CardIAC; it includes an introduction to computers, as well as the CardIAC operating manual.
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