What did computers without screens do?

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at gmail.com
Mon Dec 14 14:16:33 CST 2015

On Mon, Dec 14, 2015 at 2:05 PM, Mike <tulsamike3434 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Dec 14, 2015, at 12:34 PM, Chuck Guzis <cclist at sydex.com> wrote:
>> The subject brought up the thought of how many display-less computers we encounter every day without giving it a thought.  I think that probably 100 would be a safe bet.
>> Looking over past this screen, I see my network hub, mouse, keyboard and heaven knows how many display-less computers inside the actual shell of my PC.
> .... if you think about it almost everything we touch has some kind of a computer cycle! ! ! GREAT POINT!!!

Even lighting... I've pulled (and reused!) 8-pin PIC microcontrollers
out of discarded emergency lighting.  "In the old days", a switching
supply might have a 555 timer for an oscillator.  These days, an 8-pin
uC is cheap ($0.75 or far less) and allows the behavior to be changed
without a soldering iron, or allows the hardware design to be
completed and sent out for manufacture before the software is
complete.  If you want to change the frequency of a 555 oscillator,
you have to design in a potentiometer or remove and install different
value components.  If you want to change the frequency of a uC
oscillator, you reprogram it (or if you have enough pins, design in
some removable jumpers).

Short version is, even the cheap and simple 555 has been replaced in
many products with a cheap-as-or-cheaper-than microcontroller, not
because it's simpler, but because it allows for greater flexibility
and reduces the overall product cost.


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