Computers for the enthusiast

Discussion in 'Computers' started by tofo, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. tofo

    tofo Funster

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  2. jhorsf

    jhorsf Read Only Funster

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    ITs as simple as you can get and yet twice they have made manufacturing mistakes:Doh:
     
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  3. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    No they didn't the manufacturer made the mistake with the non filtered ethernet connector. The CE marking is not a manufacturing error but legal cover.

    I love the look of this device but I am waiting to order 10 or so of them till after they are in full production and the initial rush is over.

    I will be using one and an i/o board to see how far I can get on with a custom control panel for my self build :) Just for fun you understand :BigGrin:
     
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  4. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    PS: I have been following this since they announced last June. It's been on slashdot a few times since then.
     
  5. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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  6. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    Why on Earth do we need to be aiming this sort of thing at schoolchildren. Surely school is the place to learn the basics which give an understanding of how machines like this work.

    Schools seem to be in increasing danger of going the way that too much of the IT industry has gone in the last 30 years, producing coders who just plug modules together without real understanding rather than programmers who know what they are doing.

    It's no good giving pupils these sorts of things to use unless they are capable of knowing why they are using them and documenting the results of their builds.
     
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  7. jhorsf

    jhorsf Read Only Funster

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    ITs as simple as you can get and yet twice they have made manufacturing mistakes




    :Blush:


    Delivery of the first batch of production machines has been delayed twice - once because the wrong component was soldered on to circuit boards and a second time thanks to confusion about electromagnetic testing.




    I was sure this looked like mistakes but then maybe they did this on purpose?
     
  8. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    You said "[HI]They[/HI] made mistakes" What I was saying is. "[HI]They[/HI]" didn't. One was made by the manufacturer in China not the Raspberry Pi Team who specced the right part.

    The CE thing was not a mistake. Other single board computers are sold without CE markings. It is only because they are being shipped by the two big disti's who are insisting on CE marking to cover their butts. The design sailed through the testing and has it's CE mark.

    I really don't understand why you are being negative about a great little device.

    HillDweller. You are correct to a point. KB/mouse/PSU will be less than £10.
    They don't need a computer monitor they will work on any TV with an HDMI input on them.

    These have been designed to be cheap enough for kids to take home and back to school. The OS is installed on a flash card (SD) so that if you mess it up you just rewrite the flash card or swap it out for the kid.

    The problem with modern PC's is that they are too complicated and you can't let kids just mess around programming them. If you knacker up a windows install it can take a lot of other data with it. Also a PC tends to be a family device so parents tend to be wary about letting kids go wild experimenting with the system.

    The beauty of this device is the kids can be tought programming on a single standardised device across all schools. The device can then be taken home and kids can mess around with it without fear of irreversibly damaging it.
    There is also an interface being made which will allow kids to hook the devices up to sensors, switches and motors and control them very easily.

    This is a much better idea than the current computer classes where they get taught how to use word and maybe a bit of excel.

    Knowing a little bit of programming can't hurt and could lead to much better things. The hardware side may encourage more kids into engineering.

    Anyway, end of Rant. The Raspberry Pi team have done more for the UK computer industry than anyone since sinclair/sugar. The Pi has had more hits than the Apple iPad 3 did.....
     
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  9. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    Here is a quick intro to what it is.
    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BbufUp_HNs[/ame]

    See how fast it boots up.
    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMlOiMXeeP0[/ame]

    Another interview.
    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Gky68aE578[/ame]



    You will need to read the website to find out what the aim of this non profit charitable organisation is all about.
     
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  10. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    Absolutely. So why do so many software houses do it then? :BigGrin:
     
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  11. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    And what is this, a Linux PC, size small.

    That makes it harder work than a mainstream windows PC that kids understand.

    So what can this offer "a kid" ? Sorry, I should not be lazy and look it up, but you know what you are talking about ( not so sure you understand kids though ) so you'll know the answer.

    The bottom line is the smaller the computer the harder is it is to use, no nice user friendly high level languages.

    What is going to make kids love these ? What can they achieve ? My 5 YO grandson can work a Nintendo, PC, iPad, TV, Sat because they are user friendly, he sends text messages, minimal effort/understanding needed.

    Cost isn't important, kids demand £100 trainers today. They've all got Nintendos, they've all got mobile phones.

    It's doomed I tell ye, doomed.
     
  12. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    I hope it takes off, but unconvinced with todays kids. We all had to learn to program the ZX80/81/Spectrum because that was all that was available. OK others (more expensive) were available but you still programmed them yourself.

    Thing is, with so much stuff available off the shelf, are todays kids going to bother, I hope so as there was a tremendous sense of acheivemnt when something you had been working on for hours/days/weeks finally worked.
     
  13. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    OK, to save you reading on their site I will post something here for you to read :Rofl1:

    What you are on about is consuming not creating. You can't create anything on those devices you mentioned.

    Yes this is based on Linux, but are android tablets, washing machines, tv user interfaces, mobile phones, the list goes on and on and on. There are more installed copies of linux than any other operating system.

    This computer doesn't come with an operating system. You can load whichever one on you want. The Raspberry Pi foundation are working on a version of Debian designed for the educational market. It comes with a variety of programming languages (as do all linux systems) including a couple of very easy to use drag and drop languages to whet their apetite.

    There is also an IO board called the GertBoard. Here is a quick video.

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp_PNI9Qo2k[/ame]

    As you can see this is something that is quite capable but simple to use. Children starting on this will be able to experiment to their hearts content. I am sure kits will be produced to make is accessible. Can you imagine any parents letting their kids pull the home PC to pieces to do stuff like this? That's not even safe to be honest because they run on 240V whereas this works of a cheap phone charger.

    When I was a kid in the 80's I messed around with electronics and computer. I had interface cards for my Vic 20 and Electron.
    This little computer with a gertboard would be a great introduction to PLC's which are what run most if not all production lines, power stations etc etc.

    They 'can' learn how to program with it without worrying about breaking the computer and ruining the family PC. They can experiment with different OS's and in the process learn how they work under the bonnet rather than just click the pretty icons to get stuff done.

    I was brought up in the 80's on computers and taught myself to program, how to interface electronics and much much more. With the massive community effort going into these devices and the internet I am sure kids will be able to achieve far more today than what I did then. This is the tool to help them achieve that.

    I will be getting 3 for my nephews. I can see them getting the interface up and running to mess around with their warhammer stuff and other toys. In the process they will learn some great skills.

    Because this device uses the same core as most portable devices such as the iPad, iPhone and most android devices. Stuff they learn will be useful should they decide to get into mobile app development.

    I could go on but I am sure you see where they are heading with this.
     
  14. jhorsf

    jhorsf Read Only Funster

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    I think the kids today will show no interest at all in something that would have been popular 30 years ago,but then its just my opinion that they want it all now without having to work for it in all aspects of their lives
     
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  15. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    The question the designers and you seem to miss is how many want to ? If they want to they are already doing it. There is nothing new here. Everything this can do has been available for years and years.

    Lego Mindstorms.
    Old PC.
    Many Arduino type kits have been available for years.
    Android tablet and free HHL.

    I do hope it inspires some kids, the problem is that bit bashing is not going to give them a future, computers are too sophisticated now, if they want a good future they need a first class degree and the ability for teamwork.
     
  16. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    It was new, it was cutting edge, even a game of Pong. Not any more. My 5 YO is used to gyrating in front of an X-Box with full 3D images entertaining him.
     
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  17. wivvy's dad

    wivvy's dad Read Only Funster

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    This is a fascinating thread - keep it going

    :thumb:
     
  18. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    I sincerely hope not, Brian. We will always want people with the ability to work with their hands. Practical skills are just as vital to any society as theoretical skills despite the different market values placed on them. I include labouring tasks in practical skills because if nobody undertakes labouring tasks the place will soon grind to a halt.
     
  19. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    I never said it would appeal to all kids it obviously won't.

    My nephews want to get into programming but there is absolutely no easy route. Back in my day you switched a computer on and it dumped you at a command line or basic interpreter. You had to get on with it.

    jhorsf: I think you will be surprised at the curiousity of children and think you underestimate them.

    The likes of Arduino are not computers they are micro controllers and as such are seriously limited. This is a full computer capable of full HD graphics as well as everything the arduino does it can host a complete and usable OS. It is also half the price. I know price isn't everything.

    How much is a lego mindstorm kit these days??? The Mindstorm kit can be connected to this device. You could make a vehicle with a robotic arm on the back and have it controlled by an onboard computer using the Pi. I can see lots of potential there for kids to create events which the mindstorm microcontroller wouldn't be capable of.

    Please remember this is just the bare board that has been released so far. There are literally thousands of people now working on community based resources to make these thing useful to kids and others. It is not just a computer it is part of a developing community.

    The first 10,000 of these sold out pretty much instantly. Demand is incredibly high. There are at least 6 different OS's being cross compiled.
    There are loads of open source projects and educational projects either being converted or started from scratch, Talking about scratch this is built into the edu release of debian which is being actively promoted by the Pi Foundation.

    http://scratch.mit.edu/

    This is not the golden cure to our IT problems or educational needs but it is a step in the right direction. Rather than kids being taught how to use word and excel they will now be given proper computer classes where they will have the opportunity to [HI]create [/HI]games, demos and other multimedia stuff. This is just the start. Once you pique their interest kids will surprise you and go a lot further. These devices are so cheap kids will be able to carry them home and play further. In my day we were lucky if we got an hour a week in the computer lab and home computers were a luxury.

    Jhorsf and Hilldweller, I am afraid you guys will just have to wait and see. I am guessing it will take around 2-3 years for this to come fully together into a cohesive package and a syllabus built around it. But in 5 years I reckon we will start seeing lots of clever projects coming out of schools and more children involved in the technical aspects of computers due to it. Even if it only gets 5 kids per classroom excited, repeat that across the nation and it is a vast army of computer and tech literate kids coming through who can make a living even if they don't fancy A Levels and degrees. I know I didn't.
     
  20. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    I should hope there remains absolutely no easy route. Programming is a skill which, like any other complex skill, has to be learned properly if it is to be used properly. We wouldn't expect a school pupil (or anyone of any age come to that) to simply get in a car and start driving properly with no instruction and control so why should we expect anyone to develop software without the equivalent training?

    There are relatively few people who can just switch on a computer and get on with it with no training - as demonstrated numerous times by the rubbish that has been published as working software.
     
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