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Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
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I don't know about where you live, but around here a small TV with an
HDMI input is a lot cheaper than a laptop. Ditto for a cheap display.

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Keyboard 10 bucks mouse probably even cheaper.

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Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?

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Woolies are flogging usb kbds for $2.99 standard price.


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Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
Hi Keith,

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You can buy a *new* laptop for < $300 here (US).  And, out of the box,
you can start using it -- for other things besides "tinkering".  You
don't have to go hunting for a display, keyboard, disk drive, GB of
memory, network interface, power supply, battery, case, etc.

If you're willing to go for *used*, you can often find a neighbor who
has a sub-GHz machine that you can *have* just for asking.  Second
hand stores often sell them for ~$50 (though the batteries in those
usually won't hold a charge).

TV's with HDMI input here tend to be > $100 (I've seen some little
"portable" ones -- 7" dia -- for ~$80) *if* you can find a "small
one" (the emphasis seems to be on very large displays approaching
a kilobuck).

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And you have a wider range of choices for using the laptop.  When you
are done "playing" with your SBC, can you use it to send email?
Surf the web?  Balance your checkbook?  How many choices will you
have for video capture devices?  Motor controllers?  Touch panel?
Pen interface? etc.

If you are going to do real *hardware* tinkering, an SBC can be
a win.  But, if all you are going to do is slap together some
black boxes and write "scripts" to drive them, you might find
the toy losing its appeal in short order.

I curse myself for discarding several older laptops with integrated
power supplies (no external brick) as they would have been ideal
for "little projects", in hindsight.  :<

I'm not saying there's not a market for this device.  Rather, that
I think many folks buying it will *play* with it for a while and then
set it on a shelf.  I've got a cute little CerfCube sitting on the
shelf here (along with an assortment of other SBC-ish devices).
For its day, a very nice little design in a tiny little *package*.
Two 10/100 NIC's, mini-PCI, two serial, expansion port, Linux, build
tools, and it's own little 2"x2"x2" case!  At the time, I thought I
would use it for "network services", here (DNS, TFTP, font server,
time server, firewall, etc.).

But, by the time I looked at what I would need to add (secondary
storage, even *more* NIC's, etc.) it was easier just to grab swomething
that I could plug COTS hardware and software into.

How many folks do you know who've built MythTV boxes?  How many
still actually *use* them??

Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
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So what is the use then of all the pic boards, Arduino etc, by your
logic we don't need any of them just use cheap laptops.

Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
Hi Keith,

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[much elided]

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I see "little boards" *trying* to address a few markets:
- "one off" projects where the cost of laying out your
   own board (or the expertise required to do so) is not
   within your means.  But, note that you have to be able
   to buy or build whatever "extra" hardware is needed!
- "low volume" production -- for similar reasons as above.
   Here, you *might* be able/willing to "layout a small board"
   for I/O that you can't get COTS
- "high markup" production where you can afford the overhead
   (in components and cost) of a "less than optimal" solution
   (*and* can accept everything that comes with that!)
- "prototypes"/"proof of principle" where you are just
   throwing something together for a dog-and-pony and have
   no plans for the SBC *after* that
- "reference design" alternatives for developers exploring
   new processors but not wanting to pay for a manufacturer's
   "kitchen sink" reference design that tries to address
   every conceivable application
- "tinkerers" who want a building block that they can play
   with.  I.e., the sort of person who installs his own
   "stereo" in his *car*
- "tinker wannabes" who *think* they could use this to "do
   <whatever>" -- but, who often don't have enough of a
   self-starting attitude to actually follow through (without
   peers engaging in the same sort of activity).  The low
   "cost of admission" is seen as "not prohibitive"... "It's
   only $50..." so they write the check (charge), fondle the
   device when it arrives, then end up putting it aside

I know several folks holding Arduino's in this last category.
These are the folks that are *claimed* to be targeted by this
particular device.  Time will tell, a year from now, how many
of those devices are actually in use vs. "never powered up".

The "foundation" could do everyone a service and conduct a poll
a year from now to see how -- or *if* -- the devices were
actually received.  I suspect such a poll would be biased
towards "higher usage" than "never powered up" as the level
of enthusiasm associated with "higher usage" would motivate
those folks to respond, more.

If a "tinker wannabe" isn't motivated to "try <whatever>" using
the laptop/desktop/surplus PC that he already has (which can just
as easily run Linux, has a keyboard, has a video display, has a
disk drive, has...), then, IME, he/she may BUY such a "toy"
but never actually invest the time to *use* it (since there
is a far higher hurdle to use it than there would be to
repurposing a laptop/desktop)

In my case, I use SBC's like this for prototype/PoP's *or*
to get an idea for how a particular CPU performs.  In the days
before accurate simulators, often the only way to get a
*real* feel for performance was to run real code on real
hardware and *time* it:  "Gee, with X wait states on program
memory and Y wait states on data memory, the routine took
Z seconds to execute.  That compares favorably/unfavorably
to this *other* CPU for constant memory dollars/constant
CPU dollars/constant system cost/etc."

I, personally, wouldn't design something like that into a
product simply because I'd have to design the I/O's, anyway,
so what does a "CPU on a board" buy me (besides another
sole source supplier)?

Similarly, I had need (recently) for a "handful" of low power
SBC's for "control terminals" in the house.  Should I buy *this*
and figure out what else I have to add to it and how I have
to modify the kernel to support those changes?  Or, just put
*everything* on a board and "build three of them"?

YMMV

Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?

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Wrong and wrong.  Everybody that i know who does development work
(hardware or software) has a complete computer, usually more than one.
Since the model B has an Ethernet connection and can have linux all you
need to do is ssh to it and there you go.  No additional costs.  Plus it
will do various discrete IO that your laptop cannot do.

?-)

Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
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And for those that do want a display, the board has an HDMI output - so
you plug it into your TV, just like in the good old days of home computers.


Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?

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For this kind of products the costs are not in the hardware but in the
software.

--
Failure does not prove something is impossible, failure simply
indicates you are not using the right tools...
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Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?

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That part is easy. Now try to store the data and present it (turnover,
utilisation). And while you are at it, add some management functions
like different tarifs for different times & days. Lock-out during
certain hours, etc, etc. Oh, and how about being able to do things
remote from on -say- a tablet? Thats what customers want these days.

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IMHO you are whining because you missed out on that opportunity.

--
Failure does not prove something is impossible, failure simply
indicates you are not using the right tools...
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Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?

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 You'rean idiot.I made a complaint about some label software we use.

 Stop being a Larkinesque pathetic little bitch.

Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
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I see that the price on the RS Australia site has dropped to $A38.00

Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
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It is retailing at 25 ($40). There is another rival development single
board of similar size and lesser capability for about 10 (but much less
sophisticated). At least part of the intention is educational to make
computing and electronics engineering more interesting to school
children. The existing UK syllabus churns out MickeySoft Office drone
users with no clue at all how PCs and software work. In a reference back
to the BBC Micro they have even called them Models A and B.
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I think they expect to sell a lot of them and since the opening day took
down both the major UK electronics suppliers websites they could well be
right. It is priced to allow every schoolchild to have one.

I reckon they called in a lot of favours to get it designed for maximum
capability, minimum cost and built for that price. I wish them good luck
with the project. We need to get more youngsters interested in
engineering at school as opposed to soft options "meedja studdis".

Brian Cox and Jim Alkalili have already turned round the decline of the
hard sciences. The former making Physics very "cool" at the moment!
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I expect there isn't a lot of margin but the price isn't completely
impossible either. Just look at the cheapest PC graphics cards.

If it becomes the new BBC Micro it will engage a new generation of
children in direct connection with real electronics and software at a
level where it can be relatively easily understood and played with.

--
Regards,
Martin Brown

Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
On Sun, 04 Mar 2012 10:07:11 +0000, Martin Brown

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In many areas, every high school student gets a laptop.  It hasn't changed
anything outside the school budgets.

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I don't see how that follows, either.  It may entice some latent code monkeys
but I don't see how a finished product like this is going to create a
significant number of budding engineers.  That's a tough one, given the level
of integration today.

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Never heard of them but it looks cool.

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Amazing.


I don't see how a canned computer interests anyone in electronics.  Software,
maybe.  More script kiddies, sure.  I don't see the latter as being
particularly useful (in the global economy), though.

Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
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The idea in this case stems from academia and the shortage of new
undergraduates interested in the nuts and bolts of computing.
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I agree. I cut my teeth taking apart TTL from failed ICL1900 boards and
sorting the house codes into 74xx chips to test and build new things.
These days with tight multilegged surface mount devices you stand no
chance of getting bits to play with from old scrap boards.
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We will have to wait and see how it plays out. The BBC micro in its day
spawned a whole bunch of DIY add-ons as did the ill fated Sinclair QL.

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The modern PC is just too complicated for children to learn to program
well and interface to DIY external hardware.

I just hope that they have got the software programming toolset for this
device right. Since Alan Mycroft is an expert in compiler design and
static code testing there is a sporting chance that it will provide a
useful environment for teaching computer internals at school.

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~am21 /

I haven't seen one in the flesh yet. But the pedigree of the trustees of
Raspberry Pi is excellent in terms of computer science skills.

--
Regards,
Martin Brown

Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
On Mon, 05 Mar 2012 09:02:16 +0000, Martin Brown

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 Most college coursework is enhanced with laptop ownership.  Any student
in his or her right mind will have one, and it has nothing to do with
interest in the science.

 ALL engineers have them.  There are only a few engineers' offices at
work which are not fitted without a computer, but *with* a laptop docking
station.

 It also poses policy and protocol logistical needs for drive encryption
to keep your company's data theirs.

Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
On Mon, 05 Mar 2012 09:02:16 +0000, Martin Brown

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How does highly integrated, and even *closed*, hardware accomplish that?

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Yep.  I started taking apart military stuff to salvage 2N697s and TVs for the
passives.  

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Those weren't closed and certainly weren't highly integrated. This thing just
looks like an appliance.  "Don't look behind the curtain."

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I'm not buying it.  It can still be done.  I don't see that a modern PC does
much, either, though.  OTOH, I don't see that this does *anything*, certainly
less than any number of SDKs.  Seems like a Broadcom gimmick.

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It's *DOOMED*.  ;-)

Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
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According to what I've read, the point is to use the RPi as something
to which one can "bolt-on" hardware which you can then play with by
writing software to run on the RPi.

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An appliance with a GPIO header, which I presume is documented and
accessible to the user.   I would have preferred an 8-bit or 16-bit
expansion bus with a couple pre-decoded chip-select lines as well.

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Yea, I've got a few stories about CS majors who tried to get a little
too close to the hardware...

--
Grant Edwards               grant.b.edwards        Yow! Clear the laundromat!!
                                  at               This whirl-o-matic just had
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Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
On Mon, 5 Mar 2012 19:16:35 +0000 (UTC), Grant Edwards

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So it is a script-kiddy toy.  You can do that with a PC.

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USB to whatever.  <yawn>

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I love it when they try to do VHDL.  ;-)

Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?
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AFAIK, the only thing "Closed" about the Pi is the graphics processor
which has to be access through and API to a closed blob.

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It seems to me that there is a good deal of fear and loathing about the
Pi from entrenched interests.


Re: Is the Raspberry Pi real at that price?

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monkeys
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level
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Software,
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I admit that I haven't studied this thing in detail (I do hardware not
software, if I can help it) but it seemed to me that the whole middleware
slice was closed, as well as the hardware platform itself.  Specs?  What
specs?

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Me?  Fear and loathing?  No, disappointment.  I'd *love* to see something that
would get kids interested in electronics again.  I'm close enough to
retirement that they're not a threat to my lunch (which has benefited
immensely from the lack of kids' hardware skills).  ;-)

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