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Issue 026: Hardware

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Issue 026: Hardware

Welcome to the twenty-sixth issue of De Programmatica Ipsum, focused on the subject of Hardware. In this edition, Adrian argues that hardware has lost the marketing appeal it had decades ago; Graham investigates the reasons behind the disappearance of workstations from the computer landscape; and in the Library section, Adrian remembers the IBM PC and Peter Norton's hallmark "Pink Shirt" book.

Breaking The 3 GHz Barrier

My first serious attempt at understanding computer hardware happened during college, in 1994. One of the labs consisted in wiring a 4-bit processor to a series of switches and a LED display. The objective was to make a very simple operation: starting from zero, make the display increment one digit every time the switch is activated. Or, as it is commonly know, to make a bare bones half adder.

The Untimely Demise Of Workstations

Last month's news that IBM would do a Hewlett-Packard and divide into two—an IT consultancy and a buzzword compliance unit—marks the end of "business as usual" for yet another of the great workstation companies.

Peter Norton

Some successful computer books have earned memorable nicknames. There is the "K&R" book, the “Gang of Four” book, and, to please generations of board and role game players, there are also the "Wizard Book", the "Dragon Book", and the "Dinosaur Book". There's the "Camel" book and the "Pickaxe" book. And then, with a decidedly more corporate look and feel, let us talk today about the "Pink Shirt" book, officially titled "The Peter Norton Programmer's Guide to the IBM PC." More corporate, yes, because the PC was after all a business machine coming from a business corporation.

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