Okay, i'm sort of getting my mind blown away here; or rather having the veil of ignorance being lifted from my mind's eye !
It's quite a general topic, and i decided that this General Electronics section would be the proper place to put it seeing as Electronic Engineering is the foundation (or forebear) of Computer Science/Engineering anyway.
I caught a thread about data-logging with the Arduino and it started me thinking about what else the Arduino can do.
I'm aware of the Ethernet shield with built-in microSD card storage (which i've not started tinkering/playing with) and then got to thinking, one really doesn't need Ethernet just to store data - so what other ways are there ?
That thread mentioned GoBetwino which i looked up and then realised "how deep this rabbit hole goes
So GoBetwino is for Windows, and there must be some more generalised picture to view all this, i got to;http://playground.arduino.cc//Main/InterfacingWithHardware
Meaning the Arduino can interface not just with inputs, outputs as these Starter Kits deal with, but User Interface & Storage - so we're talking "monitors" (LCD screens, etc) and "storage" like hard disks and keyboards (keypads).
The question then is, could one (theoretically, possibly impractically) rig up the Arduino as some kind of "mini*-computer" with a screen, keyboard, hard disk and Arduino as the "CPU" ?
Wouldn't that be a more comprehensive learning experience than say the Raspberry Pi which sets everything up to be 'just plug and play'-easy (relatively speaking) ?
I guess it depends on what level of learning about computers one wants to focus on, the Arduino environment is already making things "easy" compared to banging out '1's & '0's on chips...
I had some experience with BASIC programming long ago, without any electronic engineering knowledge, and am only now piecing it all together.... i didn't even realise until recently that AND, NAND, OR, etc logic gates weren't even actual discrete components !!
I suppose the point of this thread is just musing out aloud, and maybe getting others' thoughts on this "Big Picture" - perhaps we could plot some kind of generalised (hierarchical?) map covering all the related knowledge on Computers, Electronics, and even down to Physics (the actual electrons themselves !)
High-level languages (C/C++) ?
Low-leve languages (?)
Assembly Language (these would be specific to a chipset, right ?)
Logic gates ?
Components (resistors, capacitors, diodes, etc) - whoops, transistors !!
Electron flow ?
(QUANTUM PHYSICS ??!)
Any ideas on how to shape this properly ?
* = i'm aware that the term "mini-computer" actually refers to something much bigger (!) , bigger than a micro-computer which itself is bigger than a "personal computer" - or at least that's how i've understand "computers" through history.