Things I liked about 80's/90's computing:
- Total control over my hardware
- Software that worked with me, not against me
- Superior aesthetics (yeah I said it :3 )
- Overall sense of promise and freedom

Things I like about computing today:
- Easy and open access to knowledge
- Insane amounts of storage
- The sheer computing POWERRRR

Now if only we could make these attributes come together instead of being period exclusive. :blobthinking:

@polychrome Man all I want is GPIO without having to program a microcontroller :(

Dozens of ports for all kinds of peripherals, all that insane computing power… but you can’t just send a signal over a wire. Fuck modern PCs. At least the old ones had parallel ports you could abuse.

@dredmorbius @lachs0r General Purpose Input/Output. Basically a series of pins usually hooked up directly to the CPU that you can either turn on/off to manually send a signal or otherwise listen to an incoming signal. It's pretty great when working with electronic components.

@polychrome So -- device controls / programmable hardware / robotics?

That sort of thing?


@dredmorbius @lachs0r anything at all. The difference from other ports like USB is that it's completely manual and has direct influence over the "powered on" and "powered off" state of each pin so your code has full control over what is happening. Can also be good for low latency input like joysticks.

It's pretty great if you're a programmer.


Pins where you can input/output arbitrary signals (ones and zeroes or analog). You can do a lot with that, from generating a PWM signal for an LED dimmer to hacking your GameBoy Printer to print custom labels.


@lachs0r @polychrome you can always do parallel port stuff, and there's still an ISA bus you can peek and poke at even if they call it a PCI bus.

i would imagine the hardest part is finding relevant and up-to-date documentation for these interfaces, but i'm also fairly confident that whatever TLDP has in a HOWTO is still 100% accurate because this stuff hasn't changed, and unlike floppy drives they're still actively used and maintained.

personally i stopped doing this stuff after frying a 2nd daughterboard in ye olde 486 twenty years ago.

@lachs0r I guess rpi could technically do that, not that it is a computing beast @polychrome

Microchip has several USB based extension chips that you can use for bitbanging. I'm using one of those as a cheap USB to SPI converter.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Tōhō, socialism, and a cute mouse.