If I remember correctly, "Caves of Steel" had the protagonist using his well-worn pocket computer for calculations. That was in 1953.
Clearly you've never supported a group of salesmen...
There are analogue targeting computers on naval ships that still work, and work quite well. Deck guns that can fire a Volkswagen Golf-sized projectile from (say) Hobart to any tennis court in Launceston. Maybe not the best economical solution, but what's money to the military, anyway?
Point is, you look at the system, and determine whether you can support the subsystem that drives it. As an integrated system it either works or it doesn't, irrespective of the weight, the cost, or the paint job on any subcomponent of it. And sometimes the bit that the computer controls is just as old and slagged-out as the operating system driving it.
Three Ratios for Vintage drivers, under the sky
Seven for Volkswagen in their halls of stone
Nine gears for Porsche, doomed to drive
One Ratio to rule them all, One ratio to drive them
One Ratio for the Musk-Lord, and in the Tesla's windings
Aye, go with the phloem, I always say.
> Unless you're a framework author, chances are you'll have to care very little about mucking with bytes.
Right, because none of us write code that interacts with other code or systems that use bytes.
Like C libraries.
Or binary files.
Or network protocols.
> I never learned to
Don't worry about frameworks right now. This is your problem right here.
The book that helped me best in learning to write modular code was "Analysis Patterns", by Martin Fowler. (http://martinfowler.com/books/ap.html) It's ancient now (from 1996), and you can find used copies on Amazon for under 10 bucks. I came across it back around when it came out (yikes, that's 18 years ago!) while I was buying up every book I could find on OO, and this is the one that really made plain to me how to approach object design.
With book in hand, I might recommend also trying to write a text-oriented version of a card game. Crazy 8's or go fish where the number of players can vary and the "AI" is simple.
And if you really want to focus on modularity, I'd say write this game from scratch in Java. It's a language that definitely prods you towards modularity. Everything is in a class. One class per file. With that constraint, most developers learn to think carefully about how to organize code, and the lessons learned can be used in any language.
New use for the term "chip real estate".
Think of the foreclosures!
That was atrocious.
"There's been a fire."
-- Andromeda Strain
In Australia, we've got Jaycar, half discrete electronics and componentry, half electronic toys, with very knowledgeable staff, and they're expanding. I go there by choice, because they always seem to have at least one of the odd little bits I need, and instead of blank stares I get people who listen, pay attention, and know what I'm talking about. They're able to shift their conversation levels to your level quickly.
Personally I think their educational level is a little better than average. I blame Monash and surrounds.
Look into the logistics business -- specifically the tattle-tale systems that tell whether truck/trailer doors are open and shut during specific time frames. I forget the product names, was too long since I designed one.
Which all leads to the question — If a similar rover were to visit the Earth a billion years from now, would it be able to detect that life ever existed here?"
Grounded until the heat-death of the Universe!
Maybe they just like to subsidise programmers?