Who is Just This Guy and What is He Doing Here?
Who Am I?
My name is Duane Hentrich and I live and work in the Santa Cruz area of California (yes, THAT California).
I've been using and playing with computers since the '60s, first as a teenager (gotta love that DigiComp 1), later as an engineering student (FORTRAN, punch cards, IBM 360's), Field Engineer (read Computer Hardware Repairman)and Software Engineer until Silicon Valley suffered a downturn I could not recover from.
I like run on sentences, puns and parentheses.
What Am I Doing?
In all my years I have been troubled by how horribly such a useful and fun tool as the general purpose computer has been designed, marketed and sold to regular human beings. One of my first jobs was to install POS systems in grocery stores and teach/train checkers to use them. This was in the early '70s and the depth of fear of computers was staggering. I can't say that this was undeserved. These early computerized cash registers would bleep and show cryptic errors and freeze and needed to be unlocked and stroked by managers and technicians seemingly all the time. It is no wonder to me that many cashiers did not or could not make the transition.
I'm planning on a writing stark, simple primer for those who have no idea what a computer is or of what use it could be. Starting at a very high level introducing the computer as a black box and gradually striping away the box to show the black boxes that reside inside and so on down to the level of machine instructions. At that point the focus switches to programming and programs and back up the ladder of machine code, assembler and the several layers/types of higher level languages.
There won't be anything new under the sun here but when it's completed I'm hoping that it can be a place to point The Compleat Newbie to and that when they finish reading they won't be as lost in the woods as before.
Where Is It?
It starts at What is a Computer?
--Any discussion of a sufficiently complex subject is indistinguishable from babble. 21:02, 24 February 2012 (UTC)