20141Re: Speaking of building stuff ...
- Mar 1, 2011--- In email@example.com, "Evan Koblentz" <evan@...> wrote:
>Ask the kids if they know what a modem is... If they know, tell them that once upon a time, people didn't *have* COMPUTERS in the house, they were too big, so, terminals allowed people to connect, over the modem, to a distant computer.
> >>> My kids are baffled by that
> Another example: I'm always trying to explain to our young visitors how terminals differ from keyboards and monitors. Consider the SWTPc 6800: there's a box (the computer), a standalone screen, and a large-ish thing with a keyboard. Best I could come up with is to explain that keyboards and monitors are just accessories that plug into PCs, while terminals are separate products that "talk" to a computer over a network. Seems like a decent way to explain this to the masses, technical details aside, right?
These days we use computers to connect to the internet. But back in the old days, a single computer was kind of like a small, self-contained internet in that many people shared it's resources and worked collaboratively within a computer system. They could even "chat" with each other using a chat program on the computer that sent messages from terminal to terminal.
When computers got smaller, but were still housed in separate boxes from the keyboard and monitor, the terminals acted as keyboard/monitor "emulators" via a serial connection.
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