It’s an oft-derided sentiment from a Certain Type of Older Person, that the Youth of Today don’t know how lucky they are with their technology. Back when they were young they were happy with paper and string! Part of the hilarity comes from their often getting the technology itself wrong, for example chastising the youngsters for their iPods and Game Boys when in reality those long-ago-retired devices are edging into the realm of retrotechnology.
But maybe they have a point after all, because paper and string could be pretty good fun to play with. Take the example presented in a Twitter thread by [Marcin Wichary]. A pop-up book from 1984 that presents the inner workings of a computer in an astounding level of detail, perhaps it stretches the pop-up card designer’s art to the limit, but along the way it makes a fascinating read for any retrocomputing enthusiast. Aside from the pop-up model of the computer with an insertable floppy disk that brings text onto the screen we see at first, there is a pop-up keyboard with a working key, a peer inside the workings of a floppy disc, a circuit board complete with a paper chip that the reader can insert into a socket, and a simulation of a CRT electron bean using a piece of string. A Twitter thread on a book is not our normal fare, but this one is something special!
Did any of you have this book when you were younger? Perhaps you still have it? We’d love to hear from you in the comments. It’s probably not the type of book we normally review, but we’ve been known to venture slightly outside tech on that front.
40 thoughts on “It’s 1984, And You Can’t Afford A Computer. Never Mind, Have This Pop-Up Paper One Instead!”
Lol. I had that exact book when i was “little”. I wonder if it’s still around.
I still have that book!
Pictures, or said “youth” never happened. :-D Pop-up books are going to be the lost-art when digital takes over.
No, the pop-ups will be ebooks generating holograms.
While we are waiting on holograms, we could use VR and AR perhaps.
Yay! I’d been looking for that book for a while, and found one at the car boot sale in Clifton, Bristol. It’s a good ‘un!
Awesome find! If I was a bit closer to Bristol I’d be asking for a look.
I took some (not very well-lit) photos, on Flickr here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anachrocomputer/albums/72157695938641202
I found mine at a boot sale near Bournemouth and snapped it up quick for just 50p!
But can it run doom?
Yes, but you have to flip those pages mighty fast before the Cyberdemon gets you.
(Lets hope this embeds)
Control-C, it is stuck in a loop!
My daughter’s Nintendo DS had a flip the pages animation program, which she loved. But I was unable to get through to her that each following picture should be slightly (not completely!) different for the full effect!
Xeon said Doom not Wolfenstein 3D :-P
(Still, well played!)
The crazy thing is that a Pi zero or some equivalent is likely cheaper than what this book could be made for.
You wouldn’t make a Pi Zero for the price that book was made for back in the era that book was made.
Still an indicator of how far we have gone. Horray for our past innovations, and for a who future to invent!
I mean today. You probably couldn’t make that book as cheaply as a Pi zero if it was reissued.
What incredible attention to detail.
I’ve never seen this before.
I guess I must have been one of those who just had paper and string. ;)
His Twitter thread about a terrible ’70s calculator you needed to use a stylus with because it didn’t have any buttons is a good read: https://twitter.com/mwichary/status/1018173292287414272
How has reading these Twitter barrages to get information become an accepted thing?
Why wouldn’t this person (not to single him out, I know many others are doing it) put this information into a more rational format? It’s bad enough so many people are now forgoing the written word in favor of 10 minute videos you have to sit through, but this is an insult on a whole new level.
Those imbeciles that make videos of basically text and some horrid music to explain something that takes 30 seconds to read takes a life time to watch.
UP Next a Car made out of diamonds
Well diamond is the hardest metal known to man.
I have this book since a while since I collect odd books about computers. Very cool indeed and the popup are realy something. Didn’t think it was HaD worthy ^^
In exUSSR we also had paper’s computers https://imgur.com/a/D97xNuM
Cute picture. Although your description reminded me of an actual paper computer “programming guide” I got when young that once assembled actually let you step through writing and running a program.
It was called “Cardiac”, aka “CARDboard Illustrated Aid to Computers”, a fold-up thing with sliders and cutout holes to visually see how a CPU would do its thing. It really helped me wrap my 10 year old brain around assembly language programming.
I’d be surprised if scanned PDFs weren’t out there for the thing.
an excellent version of CardIAC is available here: http://www.kylem.net/hardware/hardware.html
i actually used the design files to upload to ponoko.com and get laser cut cardboard versions!
The next step Hide a micro in the book cover with a battery and a terminal emulator to a epaper display
Ashens does a whole review of the book on his youtube channel if you want to see the motions in action.
thank you. this should’ve been linked by HaD to begin with. scrolling through all the Twitter thumbnails was not very entertaining.
Book ’em Danno
What, no FaceBook jokes yet?
Where can I get a can of these electron beans you speak of, Jenny?
They are on the shelf, just beyond the election beads.
The funny thing is that using modern tech, you could make that paper computer fully functional. :)
“…CRT electron bean”
Well that sounds amazing!
How about a real paper computer called the CARDIAC? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CARDboard_Illustrative_Aid_to_Computation
there is also a great new book available on Amazon that includes about the CARDIAC and other paper computers, as well as including one in the back of the book!
The Paper Computer Unfolded: A Twenty-First Century Guide to the Bell Labs CARDIAC (CARDboard Illustrative Aid to Computation), the LMC (Little Man Computer), and the IPC (Instructo Paper Computer)
GREAT stuff, all…
Except, I do not twiy, nor those others, woise names.I oddly do not recall, suddenly… LOL! What an odd curious sudden mental block! Well, nothing lost, no harm.
Someday, I MUST get a kybd for this ph.
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