How It Works …. The Computer (Ladybird books, 1978)


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2014/06/03/how-it-works-the-computer.html

I found a copy of one of my favorite childhood books about computers. And now you can enjoy it too!


#2

… and always remember, to Look Around You


#3

IF I COULD FEEL, I WOULD FEEL LOVE
IF I COULD TOUCH, I WOULD TOUCH GOD
IF I COULD SEE, I WOULD SEE TRUTH
IF I COULD DREAM, I WOULD DREAM
AND IF I COULD KILL, YOU WOULD BE FIRST

ah, memories


#4

I visited the Ladybird book factory once as a kid.

True story.


#5

The Big Red Data Rinsers in the first picture are 10 MB disk drives. You could make them dance across the floor by running a program that would constantly alternate between data on an inner ring of the disc and some on the outer ring: get that muscular drive arm pumping!


#6


#7

When are you going to let me out of this BOX?


#8

Is there a word for this type of humor? As mentioned, it is somewhat akin to that of “Look Around You” – starting plausible and slowly getting weirder and weirder.


#9

British satire?


#10

From the 1971 non-spoof edition P38 http://www.pointlessmuseum.com/museum/howitworkscomputer021.php:

“Programming in machine code is a job for a highly-trained person, whereas
programming in a high level language is something most people can do
provided they are given time to learn the rules that must be followed.”

By the 1979 second edition doubt had set in, and this passage was amended to many people.


#11

I mourn no longer needing the knack of loading one of those giant voice recorders.

And when I am a trillionaire I’ll buy a chain printer and the world’s surviving stock of landscape-format green bar paper, solely so that I can die of nostalgia.


#12

Pfft. That’s clearly a launderette.


#13

“If computers are not regularly fed with programs they may become listless and unhappy” Absolute quality


#14

My phone looks at that picture and laughs.


#15

“French cannot be converted”. How true, how true


#16

“Sub-lethal electric current”. True story; we once had a short on a big wirewrap board (if you don’t understand that, you are too young to read this post). After a day of frustrating attempts to trace it we removed all the components and connected the offending tails to a car battery. The shorting wire obligingly melted its insulation and we were just quick enough to stop before any more damage occurred.
I believe this was a common hardware debug in those days, but it only got passed around by word of mouth.


#17

in 1979 i was working at storage tech , one or 2 models past these washing machines , about 350 megabytes per spindle , dual spindle , early linear voice coils ~ and i was on my commodore pet at home , my 2nd home computer , after my cosmac vip 1802 board that i soldered myself !! heheheh ahhh , the old days ~ why i dismember . . .
running a nova ( a pdp 8 clone ) on paper tape , before cassettes , and we **liked it **


#18

My husband, a computer engineer from way back, has several old books with pictures of big computers like these. One day while babysitting the neighbors 8 year old, he brought one of the books to show her. The picture showed several people in suits standing beside the computers. He asked her what she thought of this scene from the past. Her response was “You mean people used to dress like that to go to the laundromat?!”


#19

If there is ever the appearance of fault, it must be the result of human error.

Nothing but HAList propaganda.


#20

"When the kitten is ready, the Encyclopedia Britannica is fist consulted, then Wikipedia. If the answer is not obtained, the kitten hands control of the operation to be puppy, which then consults Google. "

Seems legit for a 1979 edition!