PIKO 0015

it's.. a calculator! a computer-hockey game! your private quizmaster! it's.. anything you program it to be!

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The manual

manual coverThe manual is written in german, and german only. It speaks enthousiasticly about the blessings of the new computer age in which virtually everyone, in every profession, is either directly or indirectly involved with automatic calculations, and how important it is for the youth, the future workers of the great German Democratic Republic, to get involved with this 'neues Rechnen', the 'new mathematics'.

And by 'new mathematics' they mean: introducing the binary system and the very basis of computers: Boolean logic (meaning logical operations like AND, OR or NOT which result in TRUE or FALSE). Of course, at the time when this manual was written Boolean logic was anything but new. It was created mid 19th century by George Boole, but it remained pretty obscure until the creation of the first computing devices.

constructing the machineFirstly, the manual explains how to assemble your machine, since you have to put it together from scratch. Then it shows you how to test if all connections function alright and a thorough explanation what every part does, so you can explain its working to all your friends!

The manual describes 29 programs that you can make. Most of them are demonstrations how these logical ports work and do simple calculations like adding, substracting, multiplying and dividing a few numbers, converting binary numbers to decimal. Some others are 'quiz masters'; if you give the right answers (pull the right drawbars), the lights will tell you how many correct answers you gave. Other programs are simple games, there's a 'hockey game', a 'bowling game' and more. Also, there are some programs that you could connect to your model train railway to control which train is allowed to go, and which one should stop.

manual page 21

Like the manual says, the number of possibilities are (almost) endless, and how right they are!

Even though it sounds a bit over the top their claim that in 1969 East Germany almost every worker is somehow involved with computers and that it was only the start of a revolution, they couldn't have imagined how right they were. However, 40 years later we know that even though the vast majority of people in the western world work with computers every day, only a small percentage of them have a clue about Boolean logic or could add up 1 + 1 in binary. It appears that for most people it is perfectly possible to use computers without knowing anything about the stuff the PIKO dat tries to teach you.

Also, this manual proves how much the idea of 'almost infinite possibilities' of this machine has eroded in 40 years time.

On the left side there is a link to the full 72 page manual and the other paper work.

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