Study History Or Repeat It


By Nils Dahl

Date: July 30, 2002

This Internet page provides some nice insight into the world of microcomputers and progress. Study this page very, very carefully - including the Heading at the top. Read the words. Savor the words.


Now do a Google search on 2901 bit slice and see what you get. Folks, the AMD 2901 from 1975 is STILL BEING MADE AND USED. Heck, there are tales that Russia copied it to form the cpu of its own minicomputers.

Anyone seen any 8080 motherboards lately?

Okay, so only certain people would ever want to assemble their very own custom cpu from bit slice parts, write microcode, and proceed to do very strange things with the result.

But for those who wonder at AMD's achievements, I would like to point out that NOT EVEN ONE minicomputer ever used an 8080, 8085, or even 8086 - as far as I know. You never can be completely sure of anything. Of course this has a lot to do with the memory mapped to hard drive addressing/paging systems of minicomputers - easily implemented in a bit slice design. Well, implementable. Not necessarily easy.

AMD has a long history of innovation and of producing products that outlast ALL the designs of the competition. I wonder why that is? Could it be putting design goals first and profit from sales as a sort of 'result of good design'? That used to be the way companies did things in days long past.

Now I will say this. Many of our best products were stolen. Yes, folks, designs were deliberately stolen. Many of the Universal Appliances made by Landers' Frarey, and Clark of New Britain, CT (all Swedes) were copies of Husqvarna products. I have quite a few of them sitting around, part of my legacy from when the grandparents left Sweden to escape the decline after WW I and ended up in the US, making things. Royal Typewriter invented the typing sphere. IBM made it work. Royal was founded by another Swede.

And while I am on a tear, I must also mention a curious but widespread bit of nonsense. When the factories in New Britain ran out of skilled help, the government of Poland was contacted and asked to help with an immigration program to send highly skilled people here. The best of the best - yet some people still make jokes about any group from another country. New Britain was a fabulous and fine multi-cultural town long before we even had Liberals shouting about such things - maybe even before we had Liberals. So there, maybe this all began with my unknown ancestors from Prussia - the side of the family that we don't talk about. The Hochmuth group.

Finally, the danger that the United States represents to certain cultures is simple to explain. We can and, mostly, do live together in the world's most diverse group of cultures ever to assemble in one country. There are people who cannot comprehend this - sadly due to their heritage of conflict with other cultures. People can pick where they live and often do find community by living with others from their own cultures. Nobody sets up such communities. They just grow by the choice of individuals. On my small street in a residential suburb are people from India, Poland, Germany, England, Italy, and other countries as well as first and second generation Americans. We are all different. It works.

nils dahl

just an old man


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