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Bbc Micro Anniversary And Raspberry Pi


Riedquat

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I don't get why you would want this thing instead of just running a regular PC with applications and emulators.

To me this just seems like extra clutter , and yes i did love 8 bit games as well 20+ years ago but time has moved on.Most of them are completely unplayable now.

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I don't get why you would want this thing instead of just running a regular PC with applications and emulators.

To me this just seems like extra clutter , and yes i did love 8 bit games as well 20+ years ago but time has moved on.Most of them are completely unplayable now.

You can use it as a simple home server. Host a website, store files accesible overe the Internet, streaming music server. It's an awesome bit of kit. I'll be getting one.

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It's a cool piece of kit and I'd probably buy one, but I don't think he'll be able to get kids interested in it, and I think he is wrong about it being the cost of hardware stopping kids learning.

I had a spectrum passed down to me in the late 80s (the Acorn was for rich kids) I did tons of basic programming but didn't progress to assembly as there were no books available. Then in late 90s when I started uni the information was much more easily available on the internet so I learnt x86 assembly and quite enjoyed it.

When I left uni I realised no-one wanted assembly programmers, they all wanted Java and C#. Over the last 10 years I pretty much had all the procedural programming drilled out of me from using the OO languages and the fact it's such a mammoth task on modern computers now.

If kids are not interested in it now, this computer won't make any difference.

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Not sure this will catch on with the younger generation - where do you stick the cartridge / DVD in?

I think we (35+) were lucky in living through a quirky time when you had to actually program a computer to get it to do anything, even if it was just typing LOAD "" (just entering that again that gave me a rush of nostalgia...).

For hobbyists of a certain age it is a great Christmas present though.

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I'm not sure about this.

I was never a 'normal' kid. And although I think from TV you might get a feeling that all children today are 'much-of-a-muchness', I'm sure there are still kids obsessed with the violin. Or building robots. Or creating music on computers. Or loving maths.

Yeah, but the modern day tech freaks won't want to play with this - they'll be too busy knocking up experimental Android or iPhone apps, something they can play with on a phone, share with mates and maybe even make a bit of cash with. Plenty of fun tinkering under the bonnet to be done there, with real world potential.

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I don't get why you would want this thing instead of just running a regular PC with applications and emulators.

To me this just seems like extra clutter , and yes i did love 8 bit games as well 20+ years ago but time has moved on.Most of them are completely unplayable now.

I agree. A normal PC with Linux allows you to tinker around at least as much as this pointless landfill device.

I can understand that it could make a decent basic PC in third world countries (due to the price) but the lack of a VGA port will limit that use too, since in third world countries CRT monitors with VGA ports are still plentiful.

If they had at least added some SATA ports and a second ethernet port it could have been useful as a home server/router.

To learn in a very simple environment, where the machine code actually reflects the simple machine (not a virtual emulation).
But it's not a simple environment, it's still a 32bit computer running Linux, it's orders of magnitude more complex than a classic 8bit home computer of the 80s.

An 8bit emulator is actually the better choice.

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Yeah, but the modern day tech freaks won't want to play with this - they'll be too busy knocking up experimental Android or iPhone apps, something they can play with on a phone, share with mates and maybe even make a bit of cash with. Plenty of fun tinkering under the bonnet to be done there, with real world potential.

I'd go along with that.

Nice idea with the pi, but ultimately the educational goal is a miss - there has been a load of scope with computers in classes, microcontroller kits to do all sorts of neat stuff.

Bottom line, this country has spent the last ten years undermining all those with technical education, bailing out and filling the pockets of the banking sector and importing tech staff to undercut wages.

Result - few want to enter the field and one of the highest unemployment rates for grads is in computer science. Way to go bravo.

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Yeah, but the modern day tech freaks won't want to play with this - they'll be too busy knocking up experimental Android or iPhone apps, something they can play with on a phone, share with mates and maybe even make a bit of cash with. Plenty of fun tinkering under the bonnet to be done there, with real world potential.

Yes but no but...

I agree with what you're saying but there isn't a lot of 'under the bonnet' tinkering you can do using the iOS SDK or the Android SDK. The difference with this bit of kit is it is pretty much the same hardware that is running in those mobile phones, but you can play with all of the low-level stuff. Writing drivers to talk to USB devices, playing around with display output etc.

It's also got the JTAG pins so you can plug in a proper stop mode debugger. That means you can pause the whole device and see exactly what is going on. You can't do that on a production iPhone or Android phone because it would it make it too easy to break any DRM or other security Apple or Google don't want you to break.

The sort of low-level skills you could learn on this are actually fairly useful and profitable. Writing apps on an SDK is more of a commodity hence why it is being outsourced to India, China, etc.

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Not sure this will catch on with the younger generation - where do you stick the cartridge / DVD in?

I think we (35+) were lucky in living through a quirky time when you had to actually program a computer to get it to do anything, even if it was just typing LOAD "" (just entering that again that gave me a rush of nostalgia...).

For hobbyists of a certain age it is a great Christmas present though.

It was quirky when we could make a stereo, adapting old mono headphones and things, and playing about with a barbones record deck like the Garrard SP25, pop in that magnetic cartridge and amaze your friends

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There may or may not be educational potential in this...but I think is is far more useful when viewed as a general purpose device that can run on a couple of AAs. Want to build a temperature logger...easy. Want to build some sort of IP interface to a mechanical device - again easy.

By way of example, I have a very old diesel generator - 1960s technology. With this I could have a web page showing me oil pressure, RPM, fuel level, power out etc etc - all for £35 + some programming + some sensors and at a few watts consumption. Yes I could do exactly the same with an old PC, but that is big, won't like living next to a vibrating engine and consumes several hundred watts.

If it takes off, then stripped down OS and sensor interfaces will be all over the web.

The nice thing is, with real practical purpose, I can see my children getting interested in hacking away at something like this.

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I'm getting one.

It may only appeal to the geekier schoolkids but I think so many schools are so lame on science and tech these days if it plants a few seeds with a few kids then great.

I agree that big, powerhungry PCs and Macs stop children really thinking about what a computer is and does. Computing has been reduced to learning a bit of MS Office and not much else yet 'underfunded' schools seem to have vast labs of new Dells or iMacs doing, frankly, nothing of great note. £15 Pis and Linux will meet their needs for 'typing stations' and will be much better for 'learning computers' in a more scienfic sense.

Interestingly, the Pi will also run Risc OS, the Archimedes opertaing sytstem still nominally developed. This OS, while in some ways archaic like a Windows 3.1 or Classic Mac OS, had/has a ludicrously small footprint and a 200mhz machine still feels fast. Even when I started using Macs in the mid-90s I thought my RISC OS machine blew it away and would use Artworks and then export to Illustrator because the latter was so much more clunky. In the early 90s Acorn even sold a 'Desktop Publishing' system based on these freaking great programs by Computre Concepts. The GUI was to die for and I laughed when Mac OS X suddenly seemed more like RISC OS. By the time it was spun-off (a la ARM) operating systems had moved on. A bit of a shame.

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I'd be surprised if it'll run RISC OS without some degree of effort. Most versions of RISC OS are fairly well tied into the specific hardware, although it's easier to port to other ARM-based platforms (i.e. there are some groups of enthusiasts who are capable of it) these days. I still use it occasionally for email (I like having an email program that doesn't handle anything other than plain text email, because that's all it's supposed to be), although mostly running on an emulator.

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I'd be surprised if it'll run RISC OS without some degree of effort. Most versions of RISC OS are fairly well tied into the specific hardware, although it's easier to port to other ARM-based platforms (i.e. there are some groups of enthusiasts who are capable of it) these days. I still use it occasionally for email (I like having an email program that doesn't handle anything other than plain text email, because that's all it's supposed to be), although mostly running on an emulator.

Not that I use it these days but I understand that it's now very portable, running on various ARM development boards like the beagle board, which people have turned into Archimedes successors:

http://www.armini.co.uk/

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Not that I use it these days but I understand that it's now very portable, running on various ARM development boards like the beagle board, which people have turned into Archimedes successors:

http://www.armini.co.uk/

Yes, it can be done, and I'd be very, very surprised if no-one makes the effort to port it onto this device but the point is that you won't be able to pick up a current version of RISC OS and get in running without doing the port. RO is certainly more abstracted from the hardware than it was but I think there's more involved than writing some drivers.

RO still has far and away the best user interface I've ever encountered. Also, being relatively simple and predictable (still no pre-emptive multi-tasking) there's possibly still a niche for it somewhere, although there are probably better options.

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Thanks for all these fascinating replies.

Of course, it will run RISC OS! I hadn't even thought of that. The graphics and responses on my old Archimedes still feel faster than my sister's PC running Windows 7.

The idea of using it as a battery powered controller for non-computerised machinery and gadgets is brilliant. It's a Heath Robinson dream.

Code base and componentry to do this (for most circumstances) already exists in the Arduino and PIC platforms - only is you had processor intensive stuff would this board actually be of benefit. This sort fo embedded application ridding up to an HDMI/VGA monitor is not (probably) the best way to do it.

Where it gains is in having Video out and Network support (for remote monitoring) - the networking only comes with the more expensive version though. You might choose this baord rather another embedded board de to the networking support.

Still don't see this board as a game changer - there are things like the Beagle board and other STM (ARM) based baords around that do similar without the publicity and lower price point.

Definitely get one to have a play with though.

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Yes, it can be done, and I'd be very, very surprised if no-one makes the effort to port it onto this device but the point is that you won't be able to pick up a current version of RISC OS and get in running without doing the port. RO is certainly more abstracted from the hardware than it was but I think there's more involved than writing some drivers.

RO still has far and away the best user interface I've ever encountered. Also, being relatively simple and predictable (still no pre-emptive multi-tasking) there's possibly still a niche for it somewhere, although there are probably better options.

Yep, co-op multitasking - say it quietly - makes hardware feel blazing fast. When Apple finally ditched Classic mac OS many were appalled how sluggish their computers became after the upgrade. Great stability - slow as treacle.

Anyway, RISC OS IS going to be on the Rasberry Pi.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasberry_Pi

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Most on here have missed it's real potential though. It's connectivity is amazing, pins in and out to do what you want. So as one person stated, hook it up to a temp measurement device or a video camera. And it does all this using only 5W or less. You can leave it on 24x7 and it will cost pennies. Less than £5 a year in electricity.

For students Braben is right. Schools teach typing and they call it ICT. But real computer skills are only garnered when you learn what's under the hood. You can do it with this device and you can't brick it. Play and break it, play some more and fix it. It's like electronic lego but dirt cheap unlike the limited Micro Controller type kits. It's also going to be user friendly, you can go as deep as you want or play around the edges building a server for example. This is an educational tool that laptops can never be, and it's cheap enough for kids to buy.

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Most on here have missed it's real potential though. It's connectivity is amazing, pins in and out to do what you want. So as one person stated, hook it up to a temp measurement device or a video camera. And it does all this using only 5W or less. You can leave it on 24x7 and it will cost pennies. Less than £5 a year in electricity.

For students Braben is right. Schools teach typing and they call it ICT. But real computer skills are only garnered when you learn what's under the hood. You can do it with this device and you can't brick it. Play and break it, play some more and fix it. It's like electronic lego but dirt cheap unlike the limited Micro Controller type kits. It's also going to be user friendly, you can go as deep as you want or play around the edges building a server for example. This is an educational tool that laptops can never be, and it's cheap enough for kids to buy.

Apart from video - all the sensor and (albeit more limited) display capabilities already covered by microcontroller boards, there are hundreds of off the shelf sensor boards of all types that you can (almost) plug and pay to create systems, so I don't see this being a step change in educational availability of such stuff. Might do in third world countries where there there aren't computers though!

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