Using an emulator on modern hardware can be a lot of fun. But the actual experience of using old machines involves much more than the software and its output. It is also the ambience and the environment that informs the experience.
I have long been fascinated by core memory. It is not only an important part of computing history, serving as the working memory of commercial computers for over two decades, but it is also highly instructive on how a memory system works, being approachable and most importantly, visible.
A computer seems to always somehow fit into my best memories. But only on the periphery. Always there but always secondary to the people and the experiences. Computers are the ever-present MacGuffins of my life.
My interest in computing and technology goes back a long way and I was so excited to finally be able to visit the Computer History Museum.
Building the PiDP-8/I was a lot of fun and very rewarding. But using it is the nerdy gift that keeps on giving.