Proceedings_of_the_Second_West_Coast_Computer_Faire_1978 Proceedings Of The Second West Coast Computer Faire 1978

Proceedings_of_the_Second_West_Coast_Computer_Faire_1978 Proceedings_of_the_Second_West_Coast_Computer_Faire_1978

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Jim C. Warren, Jr., Editor


3 - 4 - 5,


San Jose,Califomia

of the largest convention ever held

Exclusively Devoted to Home & Hobby Computing

over 300 pages of conference papers, including:
(Topic headings with approximate count of 7 1 xl0 " pages)
Friday & Saturday Banquet Speeches (16)
Tutorials for the Computer Novice (16)
People & Computers (13)
Human Aspects of System Design (9)
Computers for Physically Disabled (7)
Legal Aspects of Personal Computing (6)
Hereti c al Proposals (11)
Computer Art Systems (2)
Music & Computers (43)
Electronic Mail (8)
Computer Networking for Everyone (14)
Personal Computers for Education (38)
Residential Energy & Computers (2)
Systems for Very Small Businesses (5)

Entrepreneurs (6)
Speech Recognition &
Speech Synthesis by Computer (14)
Tutorials on Software Sy stems Design (11)
Implementation of
Software Systems and Modules ( 10)
High-Level Languages for Horne Computers (15)
Multi-Tasking on Horne Computers (10)
Homebrew Hardware (8)
Bus & Interface Standards (17)
Microprogrammable Microprocessors
for Hobbyists (18)
Amateur Radio & Computers (11)
Commercial Hardware (8)

plus ---Names & addresses of the 170+ exhibitors at the Computer Faire

Order now from:
Computer Faire
Box 1579
Palo Alto CA 94302
(415) 851 -7664

Proceedings :
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mputer Faire

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(415) 8 51-7664

Jim C. Warren, Jr., Editor

held in
The San Jose Convention Center
San Jose, California

March 3-5, 1978

Box 1579
Palo Alto CA 94302


Computer Faire, Inc.


all rights reserved
printed in the U.S.A.


Library of Congress Catalog card # 78-53026


These Proceedings were made available, on-site, at the Second West Coast Computer Faire
because of the heroic efforts of Marc Kindree, Nancy Hamilton, Dave Brown, Gary Markesen,
and the other humble super-humansworking at Nowels Publications, Menlo Park, Califoniia;
because of the super-human efforts of Mort Levine, Gil Anderson, Shirley Boggs, Chris Yanke,
Mfte Dawson, John Scroggs, and the other humble heroes working at Suburban Newspaper
Publications, Cupertino, Califorria: because of the humbling efforts of Toby Forshee of
Redwood Trade Bindery, Redwood City, California: and, of course, Bill Baumann. Finally I
the Procudlngs could have seen the light of night without the aid of Deft Malloy, and,
in fact, often did.

As a widespread movement, "personal computing" began around January of 1975. It
began as a hobby activity, involving only the dedicated computer hacker and elektroniker
who had the time, talent, and patience to deal with the relatively sophisticated electronics that was available only in kit form, with -- at most -- minimal documentation,
and virtually no software.
Within less than three years, we saw the entry into the markatplace of several fully
assembled, ready-to-use microcomputers, priced as consumer products for the interested
technocrat. In noticeably less time than that, we saw the availability of a variety of
usable -- though certainly limited-capability -- systems software.
That is, by 1977, personal computing had moved beyond the dedicated computer hobbyis
and was beginning to be accessible to the intelligent, logically-oriented novice.
Now -- March, 1978 -- we are seeing the first signs of true "computer power for the
people", as I believe these Conference Proaeedings of the Seaond West Coast Computer Fairillustrate.
In the First West Coast Computer Faire, that took place in April, 1977, we had
slightly over a day of Conference activities regarding very-low-cost computers in education. This Second Faire has over two days of Conference sessions devoted to the topic.
Last year, we had two talks concerning the topic that is perhaps the ultimately
"personal" application of computers -- computers for the physically disabled. This year,
we have a full day of sessions addressing this topic, including demonstrations of several
operational devices. Additionally, the commercial exhibits include several such demonstrations of prototype aids for the physically handicapped.
tn the 1977 Faire, a Conference section addressed the potential of networking personal computers. This 1978 Faire -- less than a year later -- includes details of the
protocols, and demonstrations of a functioning personal computing network facility.
Last year, there were few talks concerning the entrepreneur wishing to explore this
new marketplace, and only one talk addressing microcomputing applications in business.
This year, half-day sessions address each of these topics, presenting both ideas and the
results of experience in these areas.
Though there have been something in the order of 30 other conventions addressing
the topic of home and hobby computing, to date, the Computer Faire remains unique in the
fact that it publishes the abstracts and full-text papers of most of the Faire speakers.
We set this as a major commitment when we created the first Faire; we are continuing that
commitment for the second Faire. These Proaeedings are the result.
The papers herein were -- at most -- minimally refereed. As was true of the papers
in the first Proaeedings, they exhibit a wide range in quality. However, they also
exhibit a timeliness that we feel is essential in a technical area moving as rapidly as
personal computing is -- a timeliness that looks askance at the year-and-more turn-around
time for obtaining publication in the many heavily-refereed, academically acceptable
publications. Additionally, these Proaeedings illustrate the viewpoint that one need not
be "academically acceptable" to do interesting and challenging experimentation. They
also illustrate the view that "novice n is a relative term, and that "state of the art n
has many dimensions.
Jim C. Warren, Jr.
Woodside, california
78 February 18

JIM WARREN, Faire Chairperson
345 Swett Road
Woodside, California 94062
Editor, Dr. Dobb's Journal of Computer

Calisthenics & Orthodontia
People's Computer Company
Box E

Menlo Park, California 94025

ROBERT REILING, Faire Operations Coordinator
Editor, Homebrew Computer Club Newsletter
Homebrew Computer Club
Box 626
Mountain View, California 94042

Box 933

Menlo Park CA 94025
willing co-pilot for flights of fancy
1055 Pine 3, Sweet I
Menlo Park CA 94025

Preface, Jim C. Warren, Jr.................................................................... 3
Computer Faire Organizers ..........................................................•........ 4
Table of Contents ......................................................................... 5

Don't Settle for Anything Less (biographical sketch), Alan Kay ...................................... 9
Significant Personal Computing ~vents for 1978, Adam Osborne ..................................... 10
Dinky Computers Are Changing Our Lives, Portia Isaacson ......................................... 13
Beginner's Guide To Computer Jargon, John T. Shen ............................................. 17
Everything You Never Wanted To Ask About Computers Because You Didn't Think You'd Understand It Anyway, Or,
A Talk For People Who Got Talked Into Coming Here By Someone Else, Jo Murray ........................ 19
Introduction to Personal Computing, A Beginners Approach, Robert Moody ............................. 24
Electronics for the Handicapped (brief abstract), Robert Suding...................................... 31
Microcomputer Communication for the Handicapped, Tim Scully .................................... 32
Speech Recognition as an Aid To The Handicapped (brief abstract), Horace Enea and John Reykjalin ............. 43
Microprocessors in Aids For The Blind, Robert S. Jaquiss, Jr....................................... .44
Blind Mobility Studies With A Microcomputer, Carter C. Collins, William R. O'Connor and Albert B. Alden ........ .47
The Design of A Voice Output Adapter For Computer, William F. Jolitz .........................•....•. 58
Development of Prototype Equipment To Enable The Blind To Be Telephone Operators, Susan Halle Phillips ....... 65
Microcomputer-Based Sensory Aids For The Handicapped, J.S.Brugler ................................. 70
Ambitious Games For Small Computers, Larry Tesler............................................. 73
Epic Computer Games: Some Speculations, Dennis R. Allison and Lee Hoevel ............................ 76
Create Your Own (Computer) Game, An Experience in Synectic Synergistic Serendipity (abstract), Ted M. Kahn ..... 78
Psychological Tests With Video Games, Sam Hersh and AI Ahumada ................................... 79


Computer Art and Art Related Applications in Computer Graphics: A Historical Perspective and Projected Possibilities,
Beverly j. jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -. . . . -. . . . . . . • . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... -. . . . . . . . . 81
Microprocessor Controlled Synthesizer, Caesar Castro and Allen Heaberlin ......................•........ 85
Designing Your Own Real-Time Tools, A Microprocessor-Based Stereo Audio Spectrum Analyzer for Recording Studios,
Electronic Music, And Speech Recognition, Byron D. Wagner ........... -. ..... ~ ..... ~ ......•.....•.. 96
Personal Computing and the Patent System, David B. Harrison ............•.•..••.....•..••••..•. ~ .• 105
Copyright and Software: Some Philosophical and Practical Considerations, Kenneth S. Widelitl .....•••.••..•.• 115
Becoming A Successful Writer About Computers, Ted Lewis ..........................•..•......... 117
Writing A User's Guide, Douglas j. Mecham .........................................•.....•.. 119
Editing and Publishing A Club Newsletter, Richard J. Nelson .............................•......... 125
Deus Ex Machina, or, The True Computerist, Tom Pittman ........•............................•.. 132
Peoples' Capitalism: The Economics of the Robot Revolution, James S. Albus ......................•.... 135
Thoughts on the Prospects for Automated Intelligence, Dennis Reinhardt .............................. 140
Brain Modeling and Robot Control Systems, James S. Albus ......................•........•..•..•. 144
- -COMMUNICATfONS-NETWORKS-&-PER-SONAL COMPtrfERSA Peek Behind the PCNET Design, Mike Wilber................................................ 153
Communication Protocols for a Personal Computer Network, Ron Crane ...........•........••....•.... 156
PCNET Protocol Tutorial, Robert Elton Maas ......................................•.......... 159
Micro's In The Museum: A Realizable Fantasy, Disneyland On Your Doorstep?, Jim Dunion .............•.... 169
The Marin Computer Center: A New Age Learning Environment, David and Annie Fox ..........•.......... 173
Personal Computers and Learning Environments: How They Will Interact, Ludwig Braun ..•..••........•..•. 177
Personal Computers and Science Museums(brief abstract), Arthur Luehrman .....................•.•••.. 178
Computers for Elementary School Children (brief abstract), Bob Albrecht ..............•...........•... 179
Bringing Computer Awareness To The Classroom, Liza Loop ...............•..•.••.•......•...••... 180
Implications of Personal Computing For College Learning Activities, Karl L. Zinn ..................•...... 182
Getting It Right: New Roles For Computers In Education, Thomas A. Dwyer............•..•....•..•..•. 193
The Role of the Microcomputer in a Public School District, Peter S. Grimes ............................. 195
-Microcomputers in a High School: Expanding Our Audience, William J. Wagner .....•..............•..... 198
Introducing the Computer to the Schoolroom, Don Black ..........•.........................•.... 203
Education or Recreation: Drawing the Line, William P. Fornaciari, Jr.................•........•..•.... 206
Learning With Microcomputers, Richard Harms................... ' ............................• 211
Back to BASIC (Basics), David M. Stone ..........................................•......... 213
A Comprehensive Computer Science Program for the Secondary School Utilizing Personal Computing Systems, Melvin L.
Zeddies ..............................................................••........•. 216
Microprocessor Computer System Uses in Education(Or, You Can Do It If You Try), Robert S. Jaquiss, Sr........• 223
The Computer in the Schoolroom, Don Black ................................................. 232

So You Want To Program For Small Business, Michael R. Levy ..................................... 239
Budgeting for Maintenance: The Hidden Iceberg, Wm. J. Schenker ................................... 245
Microcomputer Applications in Business: Possibilities and Limitations, Gene Murrow....................... 254
MICROLEDGER: Computerized Accounting for the Beginner, Thomas P. Bun ........................... 261

Money For Your Business-Where to Find It, How to Get It, Don Dible............. "................... 267
Selling Your Hardware Ideas: How To Start and Run A Manufacturing Oriented Computer Company, Thomas S. Rose 271
Bringing Your Computer Business On-Line, Stephen Murtha, Elliott MacLennan and Robert Jones .............. 276

Toward a Computerized Shorthand System, W.D. Maurer ......................................... 278
Microcomputer Applications in Court Reporting, Douglas W. DuBrul ................................. 285
Real Time Handwritten Signature Recognition, Kuno Zimmermann .................................. 291
Input Hardware Design for Consumer Attitude Research With a Microcomputer, H.P. Munro .................. 295
Improving Name Recognition and Coordination in Video Conferencing, David Stodolsky .................... 301
The Bedside Microcomputer in the Intensive Care Nursery, Robert C.A. Goff ............................ 303
An Automated Conference Mediator, David Stodolsky ........................................... 307

Synthetic Speech from English Text (brief abstract), D.Lloyd Rice ................................... 317
Machine Recognition of Speech, M.H.Hitchcock ............................................... 318

SSTV Generation by Microprocessors, Clayton W. Abrams ........................................ 321
A Real Time Tracking System for Amateur Radio Satellite Communication Antennas, John L. DuBois ........... 325

Microprocessor Standards: The Software Issues, Tom Pittman ...................................... 343
Proposed IEEE Standard for the S-100 Bus, George Morrow and Howard Fullmer ......................... 345

Two Cheap Video Secrets, Don Lancaster ................................................... 362
A Recipe for Homebrew ECL, Chuck Hastings ................................................ 370
N-Channel PACE 16-bit Microprocessor System, Ed Schoell. ...................................... 383

Microprocessor Interfacing Techniques, Rodnay Zaks and Austin Lesea ................................ 387
Testing for Overheating in Personal Computers, Peter S. Merrill ..................................... 390

Interfacing a 16 Bit Processor to the S-100 Bus, John Walker ....................................... 394
Single Chip Microcomputers for the Hobbyist, John Beaston ....................................... 402
The Disystem: A Multiprocessor Development System with Integrated Disc-Oriented Interconnections, Claude Burdet. 406
A Point-Of-Sales Network, Samuel A. Holland ............................................... 423

A Short Note on High Level Languages and Microprocessors, Sassan Hazeghi and Lichen Wang ............ 429
Compiler Construction for Small Computers, R. Broucke ..................................... 441
Table Driven Software: An Example, Val Skalabrin ......................................... 445
Design Considerations in the Implementation of a Higher-Level Language, William F. Wilkinson ............ 451
An Arithmetic Evaluator for the SAM-76 Language, Karl Nicholas .............................. 460

ALGOL-M: An Implementation of a High-Level Block Structured Language for a Microprocessor-Based Computer
System, Mark S. Moranville .................•.......••.•.....••..........••..•...•.. 469
SPL/M - A Cassette-Based Compiler, Thomas W. Crosley .......•....•....••.•.••....•..•...•.• 477
An Experimental PASCAL-like Language for Microprocessors, H. Marc Lewis ...••...•..•..••••••..•• 489
An Introduction to Programming in PASCAL, Chip Weems ........•.......••••..•.•••••••••••• 494




User documentation, internal specifications,
annotated source code. In the two years of
publication, DDJ has carried a large variety of
interpreters, editors, debuggers, monitors,
graphics games software, floating point
routines and software design articles.













Dr. Dobb's Journal publishes independent
evaluations-good or bad- of products being
marketed to hobbyists. It is a subscribersupported journal. Dr. Dobb's carries no paid
advertising; it is responsible only to its
readers. It regularly publishes joyful praise
and raging complaints about vendor's
prod ucts and services.


po box 6528 denver, colorado 80206 (303) n7-7133

"THE sof'ware source for microcomputers. Highly recommended."
Philadelphia Area Computer Soc.
The Data Bus.

It 1S not very often that there is a journal/newsletter that the Digital Group
is able to recollll11E'nd without some hesitation (and we get them all). However,
Dr. Dobb' s Journal of Computer Calisthenlcs & Orthodontia is one pleasant
exception. Jim Warren, the edi tor, has put together a good concept and is
managing to follow through very well indeed. There is no advertising in the
It is supported solely on subscriptl0ns. That also meCans that
manufacturers have zero leverage over the content of the magazine. The Journal' §
pt~marY'-- p>irpo§-e-i5--to--pl=e-sign-~ficant soft_reintt)the publit:' da!IIo-ip--Ml4 -to
provide a communications medi um for interested hobbyists. The apprua,:h is
pz-ofessional and they are growing quickly.

"It looks as if it's going to be THE
forum of public domain hobbyist
software development.

(In case it might appear otherwise to some people, there is no official link
whatsoever between the Digital Group and Dr. Dobb's Journal - we've taken our
lumps as appropriate just like everyone else when Jim felt they wer-- justi:i"d.)

"The best source for Tiny BASIC and
other good things. Should be on your
shel f."
The Computer Hobbyist,
North Texas (Dallas) Newsletter

We think Dr. Dobb' s Journal is here to stay and
for everyone in the hobbyist world of comFu~er5.


pub 1 ication that is a must
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Alan Kay
Xerox palo Alto Research Center
3333 Coyote Hill Road
Palo Alto CA 94304

As a child. Alan Kay found himself equally attracted to the arts and sciences. In
fact. he has never been able to discover any important distinction between the two.
A short stint as an illustrator and professional musician was followed by the pursuit
of mathematics and biology, occasionally interrupted by involvement in theatrical
Eventually he discovered that the world of computers provided a satisfying
environment for his blend of interests.
A PhD (with distinction) from the
University of Utah led to a research position at Stanford University and then to the
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center where he is a Principal Scientist and Head of the
Learning Research Group.
In 1967-69, while at the University of Utah with Ed Cheadle of Memcor Inc., he
designed the FLEX Machine. the first higher-level personal computer. At Xerox he
started the Learning Research Group, a ten-year project to produce Dynabook, the
personal computer of the 1980's. He is the initial designer of Smal/talk, the
programming system of the Dynabook.
Whenever he can he designs musical instruments, cooks, and plays tennis.

Selected Writings

FLEX, A f~exible EXtensible Language, Tech. Rep. 4-7. C.S. Dept. U. Utah, 1968
The Reactive Engine, PhD Thesis, C.S. Dept U. Utah, 1969
Early !2x!J.g!!.QQk and §.!!1gUfgl!

A Persona! Computer for Children of All Ages, ACM Nat'( Con., Boston, Aug 1972
A Dynamic Medium for Creative Thought, NCfE Nat'l Con., Minneapolis, Nov 1972

Vintage_!2x!!g!!..QQ!c llnd §.!!1glUgl!
Personal Computing, Con. 20 yrs of Com. Sci.. U. Pisa, Italy, June 1975
Personal Dynamic Media, wi A. Goldberg, Xerox PARe (1975)
, wi A. Goldberg, exerpts: IEEE Computer, Mar 1977
Teaching Smalltalk, wi A. Goldberg, Xerox PARC, June 1977
Microelectronics and Personal Computers, Scientifk Americ.m, Sept. 1977



BOX 1579, PALO ALTO CA 94302

Adam Osborne, President
OSBORNE & ASSOCIATES, INC., 630 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA


one to believe that the 8041 and 8741
are simply:variations of the 8048,
aimed at some obscure corner of the
market. Nothing could be further
from the truth. The 8041 and 8741
are significant devices because they
have clearly filled a need. Let us
explore this need. The concept of the
one-9hip microcomputer was easy enough
to grasp. Based on the high sales of
the two-chip F8 configurations, the
economics of having a very low-cost,
high-volume, low part-count microcomputer were self-evident. But this onechip microcomputer provides a small,
isolated logic system that may well
exist on its own. A more subtle and
troublesome problem is the sub-logic
function, characterized by the device
controller. It is easy enough to identify device controllers such as floppy
disk controllers, etc. Any microcomputer system will contain one or more
of these peripheral devices, each of
which needs its own interface logic.
UnfortunatelY, this interface logic
must usually be custom designed, resulting in support functions costing
far more than the Central Processing
Unit. This is a problem which is more
-signi-fieant than-might--a-"t---:fi-rs-t----appear,since microprocessors are being used
in such a wide and varied set of circumstances. Thus, we are not simply
talking about peripheral devices such
as f10ppy disk printers and video displays - we are talking about an endless
and probably unknown set of interfaces.
The 8041 and 8741 address themselves
to this sub-logic, interface market.
Irrespective of what the CPU and the
peripheral may be, an 8041 will generate the necessary interface "intelligence, providing this interface intelligence can work within the speed, memory
and I/O constraints of the 8041. To
complete the effectiveness of the 8041,
the 8741 allows you to generate interfaces (initially in low volume) by using
an erasable programmable read-only
memory to hold programs as they are

This paper examines the principal microprocessor achievements of
1977, and forecasts significant events
for 1978. The emphasis is on semiconductor parts that have been developed
rather than on home computing system
hardware or software. The three most
significant parts to be developed and
shipped in 1978 are identified.
The recipient of the White Elephant Award for achievement and personal computing will be announced at
the dinner. This award is described
in the paper. In order to be consistent with the strange logic of the
semiconductor industry, the White
Elephant Award is an award for outstanding achievement rather than an
award for lack of achievement, as the
name might suggest.
Significant Developments from 1977
I would like to summarize what
I believe to be the most significant
microcomputer industry achievements
of 1977, while looking at implications for 1978.
At the level of sem1conductor
components, 1977 was a remarkable
year in terms of product announcements and a pretty good year in
terms of products actually being
shipped. Let us look at the significant semiconductor developments
of 1977.
In 1977 the one-chip, 8-bit
microcomputer became a reality.
Mostek started to ship the 3870 a one-chip F8 - in volume. Intel
followed closely behind with the
8048 family of one-chip microcomputers. The 8048 family is remarkable for the presence of the 8748
series, which provides erasable
programmable read-only memory on
the microcomputer chip. This is
a very significant industry first.
The 8041 and 8741
tions of the 8048 that
specially identified.
reading of data sheets

We select the 8741 as the most
significant part to be introduced and
shipped in 1977.

are varianeed to be
A casual
might lead



BOX 1579, PALO ALTO CA 94302

The next area of significant
development has been the lG-bit ,
microprocessor. Fairchild introduced
the 9440 and started to ship this
microprocessor, while Data General
introduced and started to ship the
Both the MicroNova and
the 9440 are one-chip implementations of Data General Central
Processing Units. The MicroNova is
an implementation of the Nova 3, while
the" 9440 is an implementation of the
Nova 1200.
Specialized processors have
also begun to appear. Advanced Micro
Devices has introduced the Am95ll, is an arithmetic processor.
This very significant device finally
makes it practical to use microprocessors in intensive computation
applications. The Am95ll brings
trigonometric functions, logorithms,
exponentials and multiprecision
arithmetic to microcomputer systems.
We select the Am95ll as the second
most significant part to be introduced
during 1977.
The next area where we have seen
very significant developments is in
support circuits for microprocessors.
A wealth of parallel I/O devices,
serial I/O devices, DMA controllers,
priority interrupt controllers and
peripheral interface circuits were
introduced. We believe the most
signi~icant interface circuit to be
introduced and shipped is the Z80 SIO
device. The Z80 DMA device should
also be mentioned, but zilog is not
yet shippi~g it.

stantial deliveries of TMS9900's and
Fairchild 9440's. Given these developments, what impact, if any, can we
expect on personal comptlting?
The answer, surprisingly, is very
little. Even now, three years after the
first horne computers appeared, there is
a crippling shortage of software, even
to support 8080-based microcomputers.
If a manufacturer were to switch in 1978
to a new l6-bit microprocessor, it is
likely to be three or four years before
this new microcomputer system has any
reasonable amount of software support.
Thus, the "software prop" is likely to
keep existing microcomputers in.comrnercial.production for many, many years to
come. This "software prop" will be reenforced by the fact that, for many applications, the existing 8080-based microcomputer systems are more than adequate
in terms of computing power; any switch
to more powerful microcomputers would
have little tangible economic advantage.
Even for those applications where more
computing power is needed, there is
always the alternative of moving to new
8080A Central Processing Units that are
faster - and therefore more powerful rather than moving to entirely new microprocessors and instruction sets.

It is easy to fall into the trap
of looking upon new microprocessor
products as "new waves" which replace
everything that came before them. I
believe this is a very inaccurate
visualization of reality. It is more
accurate to think of new microprocessor
products opening up new markets - for
which older microprocessor products
were inadequate. Once some particular
level of microprocessor product has been
In 1977, Mostek became the first
adopted, it will be used for a long time
company to start shipping l6K-bit dyto come because the .cost of re-engineernamic RAMs in volume. Here again is
ing to take advantage of new, more recent
a development whose significance can
easily be overlooked. Why get excited developments is simply not realistic.
That is to say, new personal computers
about just another memory device?
were manufactured when 8080A Central
Very large, low-cost memory devices,
as they appear in the future, are like- Processing Units and support .circuits
made them economical in the first place.
ly to revolutionize more industries
Since 8080A Central Processing Units
than any other single development.
and support circuits were adopted in
I single out the music industry - the
personal computers, they will be the
recording and reproduction of sound mainstay of personal computing for many
as the one likely to experience devayears to corne. The fact that an 8086
stating changes in the future.
will be available in 1978 does not mean
Although 1977 was a year for
that three years from now all 8080Aannouncements and product releases,
based systems will be obsolete. Far
1978 is likely to see even more drafrom it. The 8086 is going to have to
matic new microprocessor-related promake its own new markets, and will have
.ducts. Specifically, 1978 will be the little impact on established markets
year of the l6-bit microprocessor for past microprocessors. Therefore, if
with the announcement and delivery of
you are looking' at the personal computin,
Intel 8086's, Zilog Z8000's, and sub~
industry and deciding when to jump in,


BOX 1579, PALO ALTO CA 94302

or input from the personal computing

your answer is: as soon as you find
products you can use. Do not wait
until next year for better products
which may appear, because next year
you will be waiting for the following year, and you may finish up waiting forever.

In recognition of~the individuals
who made the selected chip possible,
the award will list these individuals
in addition to the person receiving
the award.

The fact that new developments
will not cause old developments to
become obsolete is made more certain
by the huge customer base for personal computing products which
already exist. The personal computing market buoyancy is attested to
by the present show, and by the
success of so many other shows
around the country. This success
has resulted from a cOmbination
of eager customers and willing
visionaries who had the foresight
to see what was coming and the
vigor to help it on its way. My
principal purpose tonight is to
recognize the individual who I
believe has done more in the past
year to further personal computing
than anyone else. The name of
this individual will be announced
at the dinner and not in this
paper. To this individual, I
plan to present a singularly apt
In order to be apt, this
award must recognize the perversities of the semiconductor industry.
Instead of rampant inflation, this is an industry of rampant deflation.
Instead of protecting every new product from
Competi fTo-n, -this--IndusEiy runs
out to find a second source, who
is given all necessary secrets to
compete effectively. Since everything is back-to-front in this
industry, it is only appropriate
that an award for achievement be
given a name more, aptly associated
with lack of achievement. Therefore, the annual award which I plan
to present will be known as the
White Elephant Award. But, instead
of representing the biggest waste
of effort, my White Elephant award
will recognize the best-spent effort.
The award consists of an 8741 chip,
which is my choice for Chip-of-theYear, mounted on a suitable plaque
with a microscopic White Elephant
cemented onto the surface of the
chip. I plan to award this trophy
annually, using the Chip-of-theYear for each year's trophy.
furthermore plan to choose the chip
and the recipient of the award
entirely on my own, without letting
my judgment be clouded by committees



BOX 1579. PALO ALTO CA 94302~




Portia Isaacson, Tne Micro Store
634 S. Central Expressway, Richardson, TX 75080
(2l4) 231-1096

Co~puters can now (or will soon be)
found in cars, sewing machines, tombstones,
typewriters, and pinball machines. The age of
the abundant computer is here. As it completely unfolds we will think we have entered
a land of science fiction. Dinky computers
will permeate virtually all aspects of our
lives. Computers will be used in old ways by
people and businesses who couldn't afford them
before and in many exciting new innovative
ways that we couldn't even have thought of before.
Computers have been around for some time.
Why all the fuss now about change? The answer
is simple. We now realize that computers can
be useful to individual people. A few years
ago the price of a computer dropped past a
threshold that caused a lot of people to understand that the computer was a personally useful tool. A few people understood before, but
now that idea is so popular that it has some
of the aspects of a religion. The idea of the
personal computer certainly has a large and
active following.
The changes brought about by dinky computers will be many and not all will be good.
Change will be rampant in the computer industry. But few institutions or individuals
will escape without change. Businesses both
large and small, the U.S. economy, labor,
women, the handicapped, the data processing
professional, government, the U.S. Postal
Service, and our educational system are among
those that will be changed by dinky computers.

Business, Labor, and the Economy
Small businesses can make use of dinky
computers in a variety of ways--most of them
scaled down versions of the same applications
in big businesses. Applications common to
most small business include: general ledger,
accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and inventory control. Some businesses
will find a use for word-processing in the
generation of letters and reports. Mailing
list maintenance and label generation are
popular computer uses. A small business

Of the many words Ted Nelson has given us,
is one of the best.




might find a computer useful in scheduling
people or equipment. Some businesses will
have applications speCialized to their own
business such as a personnel agency's maintenance and search of an applicant data base
or a savings and loan company's calculation of
amortization schedules. Innovative applications might include sales forecasting, electronic mail for ordering, building security,
energy conservation, games as sales techniques,
and graphics in advertising displays.
A typical configuration for a small
business computer system including 32K bytes
of memory, dual floppy disks and a continuous
forms printer costs less than $5 per day when
amortized over three years. Small businesses
commonly find that a computer costing less
than $5 per day can replace one or more
employees and can give the management more
timely and accurate information than they
were getting before. In general, the effect
of the computer on the small business is to
improve productivity while reducing costs
primarily by reducing the number of employees
in relatively unskilled positions. By reducing overhead an increasing number of small
businesses will find themselves viable. This
experience is not unique to small businesses
but is the same as that of large corporations
which preceded them in the use of business
computers. Future applications could include
conferencing and working at home.
The effects of the managers' use of the
dinky computer will be many. The productivity
of clerical employees will be increased. The
effect of an easily accessible private computer will be to improve budgeting and project
control techniques. Electronic mail will decrease the need for unskilled labor and decrease the use of the post office.
The same $5 per day business computer
system found so helpful in small businesses
will also be useful to the manager in the
large corporation. Now a manager at nearly
any level can afford his or her own private
computing resource. One of the first applications will be word processing for the
preparation of letters, memos, and reports.
Other immediate applications include:
budgeting, project control, maintenance of
specialized data bases, sales forecasting,

BOX 1579, PALO ALTO CA 94302

scheduling, reminders, mailing or routing list
maintenance, and electronic mail.
The overall effect of the use of low-cost
computing in business will b.e an increase in
.national productivity and an improved economic
position for the U.S. in the world marketplace.
The U.S., as the undisputed leader in low-cost
computing technology, will be able to use this
technology as a principal weapon in any future
economic war.
The labor force will experience both
positive and negative effects of low-cost computing. On the positive side, there will be
reduced need for people to do boring work.
However, there will be a reduction in the demand for relatively unskilled labor such as
clerical, mail service, and bookkeeping.
Since·most of these jobs are now filled by
women, women will be hardest hit by the reduced demand for unskilled labor. Countering
the increasing demand for programmers will be
the fact that entry-level programmers will be
in plentiful supply since low-cost computing
will make computer education, even selfeducation, widely available.
Now computer-inventiveness is in the
public domain. Before only large corporations
and well-endowed universities could invent
products containing computers. Now the man or
woman on the street has economic access to
computers and can use them in inventions.
I'm sure they will. The same inventive talent
that brought us the automobile and the electric light will bring us "intelligent" computer-based products that are now beyond our
imagination. The businesses springing up
around these inventions will employ people and
further improve the U.S. economic position.
The Computer Industry

As the demand for dinky computers goes
up, the demand for gargantuan computers will
come down. It will often be found that new
applications, or portions of new applications,
are more economical on small computers. The
traditional corporate demand for bigger and
bigger computers will slacken as fewer new
applications are developed for it. Additionally time-sharing use of the big corporate
computer will be replaced by small computers
in instances that are not locked in by data
bases or applications software.
The corporate data processing center
will lose control of the data processing
function as more and more departments own
their own computers. The DP center will do
less new development since new projects will
be done at the department level if possible.
The DP center may find a new role when departments realize that they want to access the
central data base and communicate with the
computers of other departments. DP's new
role will be in planning the distributed


data base and communications networks. This
role will not be easy since departments will
realize that information is power. The
struggle over how to distribute the data base
will be a power struggle between departments
with DP caught in the middle.
Now that computers can be owned by individuals or dedicated to the use of an individual in a corporation, there is little need
for time-sharing. In fact, time-sharing was
invented as an attempt to give the illusion
that each user had his or her own computer.
Now that each user can have his or her own
computer, time-sharing is no longer needed and
the overhead required by sharing makes it uncompetitive. Present time-sharing customers
will, of course, stay with time-sharing if
they are locked in by software or data bases.
Additionally, there are a few applications
that may need resources too great for today's
dinky comput er •
The big computer will not go down without a fight. We can expect to see significant price cuts in order to keep the
gargantuan machine alive. But ultimately
the giants will be kept only to run programs
too hard to change. Most new architectures
will be based on unshared computers, shared
large disks, and shared fast peripherals
connected. into networks. The heyday of distributed computing will have arrived.
The new computer industry will see many
opportunities. Computer manufacturing and
distribution will be feasible small businesses.
The new small companies with low overhead will
keep the price of computing law; and, in fact,
may provide the solution to the problem of the
present near-monopoly in the industry. There
will· be a new ec-onomics associated with mass
produced software. A complex software package
may sell for just a few dollars because it wil
be sold thousands of times. Individuals may
be able to 'capitalize on their efforts in
software creation'through royalty payments in
much the same way as authors of books do now.
The data processing professional will be
faced with many changes. The data processing
department will need maintenance programmers,
communications and network experts, and data
base designers. Programming will be done in
user departments where application knowledge
will be at a premium. So programmers who
don't fit into the new DP department will find
themselves in user departments specializing
in a particular application area. This
specialization will certainly limit their
Although lower-cost computers will mean
more computers and a great demand for programmers, the gr'eater demand will be offset
by a greatly increased supply of entry-level
programmers and the fact that programming
will be easier. Schools at all levels will
be able to offer computer training since the

BOX 1579, PALO ALTO CA 94302

hardware is now affordable. Many people will
even teach themselves how to program. The
new dinky computers are interactive and much
easier to program than big batch computers.
All this could lead to a decrease in the
salary-level of entry-level programmers. Ultimately this must affect other levels.
As the public becomes more and more
knowledgeable about computers, the job of the
data processing professional will seem much
less glamorous and mysterious and much more
just an ordinary job. This will have more
than just an ego deflating effect on the profession. A computer-literate public will demand that the programming job be done properly
with the good of the public an objective. We
can expect to see a public demand for legislation to control computer usage and programmer qualifications. As the public becomes
more aware that they are becoming increasingly
dependent on unproven computer technology, our
profession may find itself in the fish bowl
of public controversy.
Government at all levels will experience
most of the problems and opportunities of
businesses. In addition, government will face
some unique changes. The increasing use of
electronic mail will bring about further declines in the use and efficiency of the u.s.
Postal Service. Government may be able to reduce the demand for energy by encouraging the
use of computers to control and conserve energy usage in homes and industry. Crime can be
decreased through the use of computerized
security systems. The cost of political
campaigns may be decreased by applying "lowcost computing to the data processing tasks
involved in a campaign. Government must help
solve the problem of protection for the
author's rights in mass-produced software.
Increasing displacement of unskilled labor by
computers will be a difficult governmental
problem. New legislation may be required
to control computer technology. Finally, our
government will be faced with the new ghetto
of the computer "have-nots."
The Individual
All the changes previously mentioned
affect us to some extent individually. There
are other effects, however, that deserve
The computer brings us a new form of
entertainment. It is entertainment through
the simulated experience. Often called computer games, this form of entertainment can
offer very challenging and highly involving
activities. The most popular game of this
class is Star Trek. It lets one pretend to
be captain of a star ship charged with



defending the universe against klingons.
The strategies and events are intricate and
demanding requiring quick and correct decisions. Computer games are often intellectually stimulating as well as just plain
fun. Although the computer games encourage
socialization to an even less extent than
television (there are no commercials), at
least they involve the player in the activity
unlike passive television-watching.
Besides games, the computer offers other
opportunities for entertainment and creativity via computer-generated art and music. For
several years a few artists and musicians
have experimented with the computer as a tool
for creativity and expressi~n. Now the computer as an artist's tool is available to
The low-cost computer coupled with video
disk technology could do much to increase the
availability and flexibility of personalized
education. These new technologies make highquality computer-assisted instruction techniques affordable by educational institutions,
libraries, corporations, and individuals.
The place of education may become much more
flexible. The role of the educational institution may change to primarily that of
preparing courseware and certification of
knowledge or skill levels.
Computers can be used in"many ways to
improve the lives of the handicapped. A
person without arms or legs could control a
wheelchair by voice commands. .A blind person
might use a typewriter,computer terminal,
or calculator that speaks each letter or
number. A deaf person might use a telephone
that visually displayes messages. A speechimpaired person might use a speech synthesis
device that spoke what was entered at a keyboard. The pqssibilities are exciting and
In the gizmo age we will be surrounded
by "intelligent" devices ranging from the
self-dialing phone to the self-flushing toilet.
Most of these devices will be helpful and
friendly, but not all. The computer-generated
junk phone call is with us. A computer-based
device can place calls, play a recorded
message, record a response, and even accept
touch-tone input of a credit card number for
a purchase. The unlisted number doesn't help
since the device could place calls to all the
numbers having a certain prefix--a very inexpensive way of placing calls to a part of
town corresponding to a certain economic
level. The devilish device could remember
that you didn't answer and call until you do.
It could even remember that you hung up and
pester you until" you listen. Unfortunately,
junk telephone calls are a fraction of the
cost of junk mail. A bill has already been
introduced in the Congress to control this
nuisance made possible by dinky computers.

BOX 1579, PALO ALTO CA 94302

What will be next?
Lo~-cost computing will add fuel to the
already threatening invasion of individual
privacy. Abundant dinky computers mean data
bases too numerous to control. An individual won't have a chance of knowing whose
keeping what records about him or her. Cheap
computers will mean increased feasibility of
surveillance of individuals by government or
business. The IRS might be able to check, in
detail, every tax return. Isn't that exciting!
We've surely only glimpsed the brave, new
world being created by dinky computers. The
next few years will be more exciting and
probably less believable than most science
fiction. I want to be there as it happens.
Perhaps I can help • . • • •



BOX 1579. PALO ALTO CA 94302

John T. Shen·
Computer Scientist &Consultant
Naval Ocean Systems Center
271 Catalina Blvd
San Diego, CA 92152

Human nature being what it is, we're always
to develop tools to make problem-solving easier.
We also try to develop tools to do monotonous and
mechanical jobs so we·ll.have more free time to do
the things we enjoy. So, u1tlike humans, the tools
we develop make fewer mistakes, work without getting
tired and dontt go on strike.
One of the best tools wel-ve created is that
creature called "computer. I. But what is a computer?
What's the difference between a computer and a
microcomputer? What do we mean by multiprocessing?
And what do we mean by large scale integration
A computer is an electronic tool that can
accept informati·on supp1 ied by a human or another
machine. A computer also accepts instructions
regarding what to do with the information
supplied. The computer then performs the
operations on the given infonnation. After the
instructions are performed, the computer
supplies the results to the person who requested
them, or to another machine which may need the
results to carry out other operations.
A basic computer is usually composed of
an i.nput and output (I/O) unit, memory (or
"storage") unit.
The input unit accepts the information to
be operated on from people or other machines,
and the output unit makes the results available
in terms a human can understand.
The memory unit stores information until
needed by one of the other units, such as the
arithmetic and logic unit, the control unit
or the I/O unit.
The arithmetic and logic unit (ALU) does
the arithmetic and logic operations necessary
to sort or search for particular items or
perform mathemati'cal procedures.
The control unit manages all the other
units. For example, the control unit decides
when the I/O unit will accept information and
when the information should be sent from the
I/O unit or the memory unit to the ALU for
processtng. The control unit also decides
what operati'ons to carry and in what sequence.
When an operation is completed, the control



unit decides whether the results should
be sent to the I/O unit or the memory
The technology for bu il ding today' s
computers is very different from the
technology that built computers 10 to
20 years ago. Until the late 1950's,
computers were built from electronic
tubes, mechanical relays, resistors
and capacitors. We call these computers
the IIfirst generation"~'
From the late 1950's to the early
1960's, computers were built from
discrete transistors, resistors and
capacitors. We call these computers
the "second generation"~
In the early 1960's, a new technology arose, called integrated circuits
(IC), where many components are fabricated on a chemical substrate called a
"chip"~ which is about 1 centimeter
square. In the early 1960's only 100
transistors could be packed on a chip.
Computers implemented with 100-transistor chips are called the "third-generation".
Later, new fabrication techniques
were developed, so that today we can
pack 1000 or more transistors on a
single chip. We call these computers
"fourth generation".
From the first to the fourth
generation, the physical size of a
computer with the same computing power
shrank drastically. The cost also
decreased impressively', and the computing speed increased several magnitudes.
A computer designed for use in
many fields of business and science is
called a "general-purpose computer
A computer designed for a specific
purpose, such as monitoring a patientts
heart condition, is called a IIspecialpurpose computer".
A small computer is called a "mi nicomputer". A very small computer is


BOX 1579, PALO ALTO CA 94302

a "microcomputer". The central processing unit
(CPU) of a microcomputer is called a "microprocessor" .
If a computer has more than one CPU, and if
the CPU's are operating in parallel, the computer
is called a IImultiprocessing computer" or a "multiprocessor" .
But just having a computer will not solve
your problems. You need a way to instruct the
computer to solve a problem. One way is to write
a "program" (a set of instructions or steps that
tell the computer exactly how to solve a problem.
Since English is our native language the
languages used for writing programs are usually
English-based, examples of English-based languages
are FORTRAN, COBOL and ALGOL. Some of the programming languages are mathematically-oriented,
such as APL. Both types are "human understandable". They are called "high-order languages".
But all computers are built on the simple
language of "yes" and "no" or (1 's and o's), which
is the "machine language". To use high-order
languages, we must build translators to act as
interpreters between man and machine.
The programs programmers write to solve
their particular problems are called "application
programs". The large program developed by the
computer manufacturer for managing the computer
resources such as I/O devices, memory spaces and
CPU time is called the "operating system".
Programs that facilitate the easy use of I/O
devices and peripheral memory are called
"uti 1i ty programs".
The application programs, language translators, operating system and the utility programs are called "software".
Wheti- a language- transl ator complete-ty trans-~
lates a program before the execution of that
program, the translator is called a "compiler".
If a translator translates one statement of a
program at a time and executes that statement
immediately, the translator is called an
"interpreter" .
When a portion of a control unit is
electrically programmed into a device call
"read-only memory' (ROM), or when some of the
software is electrically programmed into one or
several ROMs, the programming is called "microprogramming" .






to ignore them.
Actually. when computers were first
invented, just about everybody did ignore them. Hard as it is to believe,
there was a man back in the early nineteenth century who invented all the
prlnciples ot computers. His name was
Copyright Jo Murray, 1918
Charles Babbage, and he got a lot of
help in lnterpreting h1s 1deas from the
Countess of Lovelace. You may know her
Jo Murray
better as the only daughter of the
2325 Leimert Blvd.
poet Lord Byron. Other people call her
Oakland. Ca. 94602
the tirst computer programmer.
Her parents separated just atter she
This talk w1l1 trace the h1stor" of was born, and she never saw her father,
computers, beg1nn1ng w1th Charles Bab- but he d1d wr1te her letters and he
bage, Who m1ght have g1ven us computers apparently referred to her 1n some of
more than 100 years ago If he had only hls poems, although he didn't seem enknown more about electrlclty. Babtlrely pleased wlth her intellectual
bage was alded by the Countess of Love--talents. A lot of people th1nk he may
lace. the daughter of that soulful and have had her in mind in the passage ln
anti-machinery poet Lord Byron. Then Don Juan which reads:
there was George Boole. another nlne- ------teenth century flgure who gave us the
"'Tis pity learned v1rgins ever wed
symbollc 10glc that lets computers deWith persons ot no sort of education
cide what to do next. The history
For Gentlemen although wellborn and
contloues 1nto the current centur,y wlth
a few references trom such technioal
Grow t1red of sclent1fic conversation.
publlcatlons as Alloe Thro~ The LookI don't choose to say much upon this
log Glass, a br1~scrlp on-o? ---head,
vacuum tubes, translstors and the s11I am a plain man and in a Single
lcon ohips that run the computers at
the Falre, and no formulas whatsoever.
But. Oh ye Lords of ladie~ intellectual.
It you're one of those people who
Inform us truly, have they not henhave been thloking that all~computers
pecked you all?"
do ls prlnt out b1lls in tunn, looklng numbers and letters and then conOther people thought a little more
fuse your orders wlth your next door
ot her lntellectual talents. When she
nelghbor's, then this is the place tor tirst met Babbage, she was with a group
that was described as looking at his
You know, you Just kept thlnklog
mach1ne as If they ware a bunch of
that If you 19nored them long enough.
savages looking at a gun tor the first
they'd go away. Then the humans who
time. But Lady Lovelace apparently
could do thinks like talk on the tele- grasped the principles of Babbage's
phone and read names and addresses in machine the first time she saw it.
longhand instead of making you put them She even predicted that some day the
in block letters in little squares
englnes would be used to write music.
would come back.
Babbage got the idea because he was
But so far they haven't. And If
fed up with the mathematical mistakes
you're like me. one day you decided
of the times. In his day, sailors and
lt is convenient to have computers
astronomers and anyone else interested
that know whether there are seats on
in math carried huge books of tables.
planes and telephones you oan use to
But they were calculated by hand and
call across the countr" and little
they were set in type by hand, and the
calculators you can hold in your hand. number ot mistakes was incred1ble.
That's not even considering all the
One book of calculat10ns for sailors
wonderful machiner,y here today.
was so bad that the captain of one
Not all of the electronic marvels
ship, who got it as a gift and didn't
we have today are computers, strictly
realize it was more vaulable for its
speaking. But it is getting very hard beautiful bind~ than its accuracy,


BOX 1579, PALO ALTO CA 94302

was never heard from again.
ered a moving ma~et would induce an
So Babbage sat down and invented
electrical current in a coil of wire.
his difference engine, as he called
For another thing, toolmaking was
it. It worked by calculating tables,
a relatively new art. Clocks were
using the difference between two numabout the most complicated mach~nes
bers. The idea was that if one pound
that eXisted, and they were all individof meat cost five shillings, two pounds ually made by hand. Since hecould not
would cost ten shillings and three
use electricity, his machines needed
pounds would cost fifteen shil11ngs.
an enormous number of gears. He
So instead of multiplying three times
had to have a workman make most of
five to find out how much three
the tools he needed to make the prepounds of meat would cost, you could
cise gears, and then his chief workman
look at a table that was constructed
got mad and quit and ran off with the
by adding five each time.
tools. But that was another problem.
The machine was also capable of
Babbage d1d gain a sort of prominence
making tables involving squares of
for his time. There were Just aoough
numbers, using the principle of the
people who appreciated his genius that
second derivative, or "difference."
when he died in 1871, the Royal College
This principle was not new: this
of Surgeons of England preserved his
was the way most mathematical tables
brain, which is still there today.
were constructed at the time. What
But the surgeons who examined it to
was new was the idea of having a
see if brain looked different from
machine do it, and the idea that a
anybody else's COUldn't find anything
machine could be constructed so it
espeCially remarkable about it.
After Babbage and the examination
would never make mistakes.
Babbage used punch cards, which
of his brain, computers faded from
had been developed in France to conthe scene for awhile. There we~e Just
trol looms so they would weave pata number of minor steps that all had
terns in cloth, to feed his machine
to be taken before the first modern
information. He even devised an incomputers could be built during World
genious system, based on logarithms,
War II.
so the machine would stop and ring a
For one thing, Babbage wanted hIs
bell if the attendant gave it the
engine to be smarter thanmost computers
wrong card. The engine printed out
are today. He wanted it to be able
the answers itself to eliminate the
to do sophisticated things like add
possibility of mistakes in typeset204 and 311. Both of his engines-ting. He then went on to design a
which were never completed--were to
more sophisticated machine, which he
do this using the decimal system in
the same sort of way that the odometer
called the analytical engine, that
on -acar-yorklr~When one-row-6f-ng~-----------would- d-o--almost ev-ery-th-1ng computers
ures reached 10, it was to automaticaldo today.
Babbage's principles were so close
ly cause the wheel of figures in the
to today's that Howard Aiken, who
next row to turn.
Today's computers don't even try
helped build one of the early modern
computers, once said, "If Babbage had
to count as high as 10. They're like
lived 75 years later, I would have
the Red Queen in Alice Through the
been out of a Job."
Lookini Glass. YoUlremember when-ihe
Babbage, who held himself in very
asked l~"What' s one and one and
high esteem, apparently agreed. He
one and one and one and one and one
wrote that if anyone later developed a
and one and one and one?"
similar machine, "I have no fear of
"I don't know," Alice replied. "I
leaving my reputation in his charge,
lost count." And then the Red Queen
for he alone will be able to fully
yelled, "She can't do addition."
appreciate the nature of my efforts
Well, the difference between us
and the value of their results."
and computers is somewhat like the
When Aiken came across these lines,
difference between Alice an the Red
he said he felt like it was a voice
Queen. Just about anybody here can
personally addressing him from the
add 204 and 311 in their heads if
they put their minds to it. But if I
But Babbage had two things going
stood here and said "one" over and
against h1m, and his engines were
over again, first tor 311 times and
then for 204 times, I doubt that anynever completed.
For one thing, electricity had
body could tell me exactly how many
Just been d18covered~ It was only
times I sa1d "one."
in 1831 ( that Michael Faraday discovWell, th1s is what computers do.


BOX 1579, PALO ALTO CA 94302

TOey say one, one, one, one, one, one,
one, etc. and they keep track of it.
Or they subtract·onti' two or three hun.
dred or thousand times. And if you
think about it, multiplication is
simply a matter of adding numbers and
division is simply a matter of subtracting the divisor over and over.
Actually, it's a little more complicated than thiS, but this is basically how they work. The don I t know any
numbers but ones and zeros and they
count them over and over again.
This is known as the binary system,
and when you take the binary system
and electricity, you can do some incredible things with computers.
The reason we use 10 as a base is
probably because we have 10 fingers.
Babbage used base 10, too. But the
modern computers don't have 10 flngers
or even 10 rows of digits like the
early machines. They just have electrical switches. They're either on
or off. They either have current flowing through them or they don't.
If they're on, the computer counts
them as one. If they're off, the computer counts them as zero. This gives
you a numbering system that's very
easy for computers, even though it's
d1 tticul t fo r humans.
Probably people who work with computers a lot can look at binary figures and read them as easily as we can
read the decimal system. But I can't.
So I'm going to refer to this little
card to explain the blnary system.
The digit in the righthand column
represents the number of ones. The
other columns are not powers of 10,
but powers of 2.



is the

2 (2'+0)
3 (21+1)
4 (22+0+0)
5 (2~+~t' )
6 (2 +2+0)
7 (22+2'+0)
8 (2 3+0+0+0)

You can add them just like you
add in the decimal system, except
that as soon as the total is 2,
you have to carry a digit to the
next column.












You can also use the on-off switches,
or the zeros and ones, to represent
letters. You can say A=O, B=1, C=01,
and so on. By the time you get up to
five digits, you have 32 different
combinations and that's enough for
the entire alphabet. From there,
you can write anything.
So now you've got all this material
in the computer represented b.1 ones
and zeros. But you still have to do
something with it. That's where George
Boole comes in.
Boole was an Englishman who lived
during Babbage's lifetime. Boole
lived from 1815 to 1864, and Babbage
did most of his workfrom 1812 to 1842,
but I haven't come across any evidence
that the two knew each other.
Boole developed something called
Boolean algebra, which is really more
symbolic logic than algebra. He
also was one ot the first people who
argued that logic should be. a branch
of mathematics, not philosophy, and he
cert&1nly had someogood reasons tor
it. Today youfind a fair number ot
philosophy majors working with computers, and it's not as odd as it first
sounds. The computers work on the
same principles ot logiC that philosophy departments teach.
Boolean algebra is the type ot logiC
where you have those little puzzles
that look as it they came out ot
algebra books, such as "It A is true,
B is not."
Nobody tound much practical use for
this until this century when a man
named Claude Shannon was working on
his master's thesis, and discovered
you can change these logical statements
into sets of ones and zeros and let
~.he computer
use the rules ot Boolean
1gebra to make its own decisions about
.l.8.t to do next. This is the sort ot
logiC that Should tell the computer it
doesn't have to send you a bill if
you don't owe the store ap money. The
computers that haven't been programmed
very well are the ones that send you
a bill, anyway.

They say one way to tell if you'd make
a good computer programmer is to take a
puzzle like this one from Litton Industries. If you can figure this out and
think it's fun, you'd probably make a ~
good programmer. If you're ready to
throw up your hands in despair, you'd
better stay away from programming.
" I f Sara sho uldn' t, then Wanda
would. It is impossible that the statements: 'Sara should' and 'Camille
couldn't' can both be true at the same
time. If Wanda could, then Sara should
and Camille could. Therefore Camille
could. Is this conclusion valid?"
Now that you know whether you should
be a programmer or not, we'll go on.
Another name you hear a lot i. that
of John Von Neumann. He's the one who
figured out that you could put the
entire program into binary form. Just
why he decided to do this I'm not sure
because if there was anybody who didn't
need computers, it was Von Neumann.
One story about him is that one of his
fellow researchers had stayed up until
4:30 a.m. doing five problems with a·
desk calculator. Then he decided to
play a trick on Von Neumann. Von Neumann came in the next morn1ng, and his
friend asked for help in solving the
problema. In five minutes, Von Neumann
had worked out four of the problems in
his head. The other person, who still
didn't say he already knew the answers,
then announced the fifth answer. Von
Neumann apparently was quite perturbed
that someone could figure out a better
solution to tlle . problem tl1~ he .col.ll.d
liritil ,. .·hey-told him what was going on.
The early computers worked on
vacuum tubes, and that soon got to be a
problem. Vacuum tubes get very hot and
they burn out. They're like a light
bulb. It doesn't matter how good they
are; sooner or later they're going to
burn out. The ENIAC, which was the
first totally electronic computer, had
17,000 vacuum tubes. And it wasn't long
before computers were getting so big
that if you made them any bigger, it
would take 24 hours a day just to replace the vacuum tubes that had burned
Fortunately, about this time--in
1947 to be exact--the transistor was
invented. Transistors do the same thing
as vacuum tubes, but they're much tinier
and they never burn out. It is possible
to destroy a transistor by dropping it
or by running too much current through
it, but you really have to work at it.
This solved a lot of problems, but
lt basically got computers down from


the size of a small house to about
the size of a smal 11v1ng room. You
oould, ii.bJ the late 1950s, use transistors to make radios small eno~
to piok them up and carry them around
with you, but computers still needed
too many transistors to be very
B,y this time, you had to do your
work under a microscope, but scientists
kept on work1ng. In the l&e 196Os,
somethlng called an integrated circuit was produced. Dr. Robert N.
Noyce, the president of Intel Corp. in
Santa Clara, is generally credlted
with belng one of the co-discoverers
of It. What the lntegrated circult
means ls that you oan put the entlre
electronlc ciroult on a single plece
of materlal, usually silicDn.
These are so minute tba t 1 t' s hard to
belleve. Thls is a s11icon ch1p.
What's even more amazing is the faot
that lt's Just the 11ttle gray spot
in the middle that does all the computatlons. The rest is here beoause you
can't connect wlres to somethlng as
small as the chip. But these gold
lines eventually oonnect with Jttle
halrlike silver wlres that lead lnto
the sillcon. I don't know how many
translstors are on thls partlcular
chip, but some have 100,000. It may
soon be posslble to put a million
transistors on someth1ng thls size.
To glve you an example of the differences ln slze the lntegrated oircult has meant, It's possible to put
tb.e_.en.tire UNIVAC computer ,.wh1ch.. W&s . . . _.the first commerclal computer, on one
of these.
If your ·famlly was one of the flrst
in the nelghborhood to have a television, you may remember the UNIVAC
which was a guest of sorts of "People
Are Funny." It used to spew all 1 ts
cards out in front of the camera and
Art Linkletter would plck them up and
read off the names of two people who
would get to go on a bllnd date
The UNIVAC ls now in the Smi thsonlan
Instltutlon, and it's the 11ttle ch1ps
l1ke these that are taking over the
world. Probably every pieoe of mach1nex,
at the Falre here depends on these
sillcon ch1ps for lts operations.
The sllicon chlp starts wth a very
unexotlc raw materlal: sand. A
shovelful of sand can supply the baslc
raw material for an entire computer.
Sllicon companies take sand and pure
sillcon "seeds," whlch are sold by
only three companies in the world. They
BOX 1579, PALO ALTO CA 94302~

use these and 1tgrow" cylinders of
material which look like shiny, gray
Once you get the silicon, the hard
part comes. You have to put the transistors on it. The way you do it is
sort of a cross between batik and
In batik printing, you first draw
the design on a pieoe of oloth. Then
you deoide which parts you want to turn
out a particular color and cover everything else with wax. You dip it in
a vat of dye, let it dry and scrape the
wax off. The next time you cover
ever,ything but another oolor with wax,
dye it again, scrape the wax off again,
and keep on going until the picture is
To make a silicon ohip you do al~~
most the same thing except that layers of silicon oxide take the place
of the wax and tiny lines of metal
form the picture. The lines are so
small and so thin that they are put
on the chip through a photographio
process in much the same way that
shining a light through a negative
produces a picture on a sheet of
photographic paper. In this case, the
negative is called a photomask.
To make a photomask, you need a
master diagram of the ohip. These
drawings start out several feet square
and are reduced to the size of a
chip, again through a photographic
process. The masks, which are made
out of glass, are made from these
Each ohip needs eight to ten different photomasks, but there are 90
to 100 steps in vo 1 ved by the t iae
the chip is cleaned and new layers
of oxide are formed on it and scraped
off between photography sessions.
And people are already working on ways
to eliminate the photomasks and write
the diagrams directly on the chip.
So far, though, the machines that do
this cost over a million dollars.
All along the way, it's a very delicate process. People who make chips
don't even let you take pencils inside
the laboratory because they produce
dust when they write on paper. The
water used to wash the chips between
the different processes has to be so
pure that companies sometimes have
their own water purification plants.
One firm--Monolithic Memories in
Sunnyvale--says its water is 100 times
purer than distilled water. And when
the plant finishes with it, it's still
100 times purer than the regular city

When you start talking about chips
this size, you find that computers
are almost becoming self-perpetuating.
It would be imposs~ble to make them
this small if you didn't already have
computers to help do it. Oomputers
are used to test the models of the
circuits, they draw the layouts for
the photomasks and tay control the
manufaoturing eqUipment.
But theyoan't do it all by themselves
yet. When the whole thing~is finished,
that's when they oall in the humans.
The humans look through a mioroscope
to oheok all of the oirouitry on the
tiny chips. The people at MOnolithio
Memories tell me that after a few
weeks of training, people learn to
check one in about a minute. The
reason they need people is that there
are so many different struotures and
so many differenoes in the size and
the color of the lines that are
still acoeptable that there's no way
to program a computer to remember
them all.
There's still not a computer that
can remember as muoh as even the
average human brain.


BOX 1579, PALO ALTO CA 94302


Robert Moody
2233 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, Calif. 94306
Phone: Home (40B) 225-3341, Work (415) 327-8080



use for communication between you and your computer.

Computers are now within everyone's reach!
Whether you are a housewife, small businessman, Bit: The smallest unit of measure in a computer
student, professional, musician, or in real es- word; several bits make up a byte, or computer
tate -- computers are being made and sold at
prices you can afford, and they will set you
The cause of a malfunction, usually in a
free in ways you never dreamed of! A personal
They're called "bugs" because they can
computer will open possibilities; it will albe hard to find.
most certainly change your lifestyle.
Most people, when they visualize a compute~Byte: The space which a letter or digit (one
they think of monstrous machines that tower over character) takes up in a computer. Space in a
us, seeing all and doing all. It's really not computer is measured in bytes. A megabyte is a
that way. Everybody has been communicating with million bytes.
a computer in one way or another most of their
adult lives and not really known it. For exComputer: A machine for handling repetitive inample, all your tax ~eturns are processed by a formation. Basically it can calculate, compare,
computer, most amjor- 1epartment stores handle
alter, send and receive information very rapidl~
their buying, stocking, and billing by computer. Core: See memory.
All your credit card buying is handled by com- ---- V
t '
our compu er s "TV screen", showing you
pu er, every check you wr~te ~s processed y
hat' IN there
The CRT is your computer's way
computer. Dentist, doctor, hospital, gas, elec- wf t ~k"
It is also something refertric, phone bills are handled by computer. Why II! 0 d ~ ~ng ~" yO~.
"t or terminal.
Take a city the size of San Jose for inst- re
0 as a ~sp ay un~ ,
ance. Just think of the tremendous amount of
Data: The information that gets WORKED OVER,
-manpower it wCluTd take to tty-a"fld post all the wtTem-your pro-gram runs. Data is all the inchecks that were written in one day, or the
formation you have your computer use, everything
amount of phone calls to be logged in one day.
that is sent into your computer to store and
Handling that amount of information - having
0" k
A Mass st orage d"
"th er fl oppy or
t d
~s :
ev~ce, e~
0 aye
~ d" k
The most important think that I want to
convey to you is: computers are not just for
Display: Same as CRT.
geniuses!!! You don't have to be a special
Floppy Disk: A mass storage device, which uses
gifted person to own or operate one.
a flexible platter to store a large amount of
This presentation, I hope, will enlighten
you a little as to what are these things,
personal computers, how you can talk and ask
Fortran: Another type of computer language.
questions about them, what makes them up, and
Hard COPy: Computer output ON PAPER, for perwhat you can do with one.
manent storage.

Buzz Words

" dus t"
As you know, a 11 t ypes 0 f ~n
ey use.
e as a group
th e~r own anguage
and a new up-coming industry, are no exception.
As you scan down the second page of the handout
I have given you, there
is a short. list of these
buzz words, and a s1mple explanat10n of each.

~eginners ~ll-purpose ~ymbol

tional £ode:

Instruca mode of language that you will



Hard Disk: Much like a floppy, a hard disk
stores "
a tremendous amount of information, but__
~ts platter ~s much larger and not so portable~
Input: The information that goes IN to your
computer system. The computer's "food".
I n t er f
t or th a t"t rans 1a t es "b eace:A
t ween t wo par t s 0 f a sys t em. Vou genera 11 y nee d
ene interface for each peripheral, to hook it to
your computer.

BOX 1579, PALO ALTO CA 94302

Mass storage: Any way of keeping a lot of information OUTSIDE your computer, but available
to it. This is your computer's "memroy". Most
common kinds of mass storage are tape and disk.

rest for later.
Now that the CPU has changed, calculated,
or compared this data, it needs to store it
someplace. This is where mass storage comes in.
Here again there is a wide variety and different
Micro, Microcomputer, or Microprocessor: Same
types to choose from i but basically it is comas computer. The hmicro" came in when we
pared to an inactive file. This file holds much
learned to make them physically tiny - they are more data than the RAM in your computer does.
about the size of pencil erasers.
You as a computer operator put in and take out
these files at will, making one active and anOutput: What your computer system produces.
other inactive.
Peripherals: The devices attached to your comTo be able to accomplish the task of moving
puter, such as the display, keyboard, printer,
all this data around, you have to be able to
talk to your computer and have it talk baqk to
~andom ~ccess ~emory.
This storage device you. A peripheral device called a Terminal is
is used by your computer to change the data you necessary. This is usually made up of a keyhave put into it, then it is transferred to a
board, much like a typewriter keyboard, and a
mass storage device.
display unit. The Terminal is attached to your
computer through an interface device. There
Storaqe: The part of your system that remembers
are two basic types: serial and parallel.
information, as opposed to the parts that
The serial I/O, or input-output, interface
takes the data you are typing in and sends it
one bit at a time to the RAM. Parallel, on the
Software: A list of instructions to the computer, telling it what to do and when to do it. other hand, sends all the bits that make up the
computer word or byte, and puts them all in at
Terminal: A unit for conversing (input or outone time. This might seem very confusing to
put) with your computer. It has a keyboard,
you, but all that is necessary to know is what
plus Display or Print-out.
kind of interface is incorporated on the periTVT: "Television typewriter". A keyboard and
pheral you are attaching to your computer, and
match it up with the proper I/O device.
electronics specially designed to turn your TV
Now that I have thoroughly confused you,
into a TERMINAL.
we will push onward.
III What Makes Up a Computer?
In your handout you will find a block dia- IV Programming
gram of a computing system. As you notice,
there are not many modules or components that
are needed to do the job. The technology today
has made this possible with microelectronics.
With this tremendous reduction in physical size
of transistors and diode& it enables us to compact a large amount in a ~3ry small ~rea. Also,
the power requirement is small as well.

Now that all this hardware has been
assembled, we have all 'the physical things that
are needed, but there is something that is
lacking: software. What this thing does is
allow the computer to try and make some sense
out of what you are trying to tell it, and vice
versa, have you understand what it is trying to
tell you. Fundamentally there are two types:
and applications.
The first and most important module is the
Systems software is what the computer uses
CPU, or Central Processing Unit. This is the
as its language. It takes the information in,
brain of-the per;onal computer. The CPU does
all the actual work of calculation, comparison, in this special language, and acts on it. What
alteration, receiving and sending data •. Every- you do as an-operator is use this language to
thing else that we attach is a fu~ction from the develope an application.
There is a lot more to programming than
just a couple of sentences I have used to deThere is a wide variety of CPU's on the
scribe it. I could ramble on about all the
marketplace today. Depending on who you talk
different types of systems software, but I have
to, one is better than the other. Don't let
to spend more time on the biggest question that
this discourage you now; all that you need to
I'm asked, and that is "I would like to have
know at this point is that they work. You can
of these things called personal computers,
get into particulars later.
but what the hell do I do with it?"
The CPU cannot operate by itself; along
with it you need some memory. RAM or Random
Access Memory does the job. This portion of the V What Can I Do With It?
computer allows the CPU to activate a section of The most asked question that I receive is:
the data at one time. For instance, the RAM
"what can I do with this thing, now that I have
could be compared to an active filing system.
it?" The uses for personal computers are endThe data is stored in some kind of order and the less; the list below only shows a few uses CPU only pulls the data it needs and keeps the
let your imagination -go and you will see!



BOX 1579. PALO ALTO CA 94302

Inventory management
Routine correspondence
and form letters
filling out forms
Calculation of all
Receiving and placing
phone calls
MATCHING any information with any other
Polls and surveys
Solving problems
Printing out results
Maintaining LISTS,
Sales analysis
Travel and route

per second, all accurate and up-to-date. It can
store all your records on products, sales, customers and ad results. It will compare or change
any part of these you'd like, without touching
the rest. In other words, it gives you SALES
ANALYSIS and MARKET PROfILES which only "multimillioners" have had until now!
Your computer keeps inventories.
It does accounting and billing of all type a
It does ~ entry (live).
It can hold and index your "~ private
library" of whatever information interests you.
for example, it can help in health care by
keeping track of each patient's medical history
and alerting you to patterns you might have missed. Or give you a quick way to look up the
newest therapies by ~ they remedy -- you type
in the condition and your computer gives you
back a list of indicated drugs or treatments.
If you are a pharmacist: you may presently
be keeping "card files" of each customer's
contra-indications and other medication history.
With a computer, you'd no longer have to look
each of these up for each prescription! You'd
just type in the customer's name and Rx, and UP
would come the pertinent information on him! It
would be shown on a little TV screen -- just
like at the airlines. You could also tell your
computer to remember a list of "potentiating"
drug combinations and warn you if it detects one
in a customer's combination. YOU OON'T HAVE TO
Your computer can run fLEXIBLE fORM LETTERS
Lists - Computers are lovely at working with
for you! You tell it to change this word or
~. The nice thing is that you can change
that, add or delete a paragraph, date a letter
anything in the list -- even one letter "B" for. next Monday, and address it to, say, all the
e~ample -- without affecting the rest.
people in your "Best Prospects" file. OUT will
likes_ sto_red-away blJ~c::J