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A project log for Discrete YASEP

a 16-bits YASEP computer (mostly) made of DIP/SOIC chips like in the 70s and 80s... with 2010's twists!

Yann Guidon / YGDESYann Guidon / YGDES 12/25/2015 at 02:210 Comments

The problem with ideas : we know when they start but not when (or if) they end !

Some famous historical computers have a "dead start panel", a plate covered with switches that encode the first instructions to execute when the power is turned on.

For the Discrete YASEP, the interface is pretty nice but data are volatile. The users have to retype everything at each boot sequence, if they want to load some amount of code that changes rarely.

Of course, I could get a SPI Flash chip for less than $1 and store everything and more inside it. But this is the reverse of the spirit of the project. How can somebody understand how and why it works ?

Then the idea of a crossover of the century-old punched cards and the toys-cards (for teens' "computers") popped up in my mind.

Sheets of paper are actual, physical, tangible, alterable and understandable objects with "nothing up the sleeve". People can print them (laser, ink jet, offset...) or simply make them by hand with a black marker. They can code and learn to organise informations with the best tool ever : a brain, a pen and paper.

But the scanner is not some easy to design reliably. So I created another sub-project : #Low-resolution scanner for cheap data input (can anyone come up with a better name ? :-D)

Hopefully, this optoelectronic device will plug into the #Discrete YASEP and people will easily input pre-made programs or write their own. It could also be used as output so people can save their programs (by hand, by copying LED outputs). What do you think ?

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