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    Cool to see a variety of builds. Here’s my log for various prototypes and revisions: https://atreus.technomancy.us/marki

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      I love the way you experimented with a portrait-oriented version. Even when things don’t work out, there’s a lot to be said for exploration.

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        What was the issue with a portrait screen being unusable? I have been using a tiling window manager (StumpWM) in X and Emacs and/or tmux on the console on a portrait screen for over a decade now with a lot of success. Is the issue in your situation the physically small screen?

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          At the time there was a bug in raspbian’s X server that made the display only show in the top third of the screen when it was in portrait mode.

          But that physical design also necessitated having the display on the same plane as the keyboard, so it would have been very bad for your neck to use. Keeping the display in a separate plane means that the “neck” of the deck is by far the most fragile part of the build, and a portrait-oriented display would put more strain on the neck than landscape which can spread out the strain.

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        Real question. What is this achieving besides another computer in a box differently shaped box? Does it add any functionality? Does the different form factor permit something variant?

        I put in a preorder for - https://pocket.popcorncomputer.com/ - it is designed for a variant use, not nostalgia. Do these do something along those lines?

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          Speaking for myself, it’s nostalgia for the early ’80s when I was trying to learn how to program and reading Neuromancer and the idea of a grim but unlimited future. That what felt open and full of possibility is now just ads and spam.

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            Interesting. I guess I see the unlimited future as something still feasible but demanding new ways of grounding it. overly reductionist and burnt over example: the philosophical vision of Lisp as opposed to C or Java. Going retro always seems like burning time and talent wishing for a past future rather than a now future.

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              Well, yeah, it’s nostalgia, which is, by definition, somewhat fantastical. I do wish for a different future, but there is to the first approximation nothing that I can do to provide that, in this context. So I retreat to visions of the future past, if that makes sense.

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            For some of the machines I’ve seen it looks purely hacker/prepper cosplay. Some of the decks look quite cool but I’d question their purpose. That’s why I picked a modular approach for my setup. I had specific objectives in mind and built something around them. I’m not sure everyone who builds one does that.

            I imagine some of the builds do things similar to the pocket given that many builds are Raspberry PI based. Pocket looks more like the PocketCHIP of years gone by though.

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              I’m mostly keen on the idea of a real computer in my pocket. The fulfillment of Android’s promise. I think there’s a whole lot of use there that isn’t just LoRA etc.

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                Appreciate it.

                The thing I am mostly bothered by is the idea of using artistic and literary visions of the future as a theory of forward motion, when the original writers weren’t really that technologically informed. As a Lisper at heart, I have a few feels about these kinds of thing… I worked through a number of loper OS essays a few years ago, and they persuade me that there are futures that are regularly not taken: not “high tech for low lifes” (what does that mean? honestly it just seems to mean a phone with a chat system to ping a drug dealer, maybe using bitcoin for ransomware. really not sexy stuff). ‘high tech for thinkers’ is a future that is has been shut down regularly since the early 90s. that’d be a future worth hacking in.

                Anyway, good luck.

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                  I (very slowly) try to advance on the topic of “high tech for thinkers” along the way of Engelbart / Licklider. At the moment, partially via http://blog.rfox.eu/en/Programming/tinySelf.html & http://blog.rfox.eu/en/Programming/objWiki.html, but I am also slowly compiling list of possible features / technologies in the spirit of http://blog.rfox.eu/en/Programming/Programmers_critique_of_missing_structure_of_operating_systems.html & all kinds of “structrured” systems.

                  Quite weirdly, twitter is great source of inspiration, when you tweak who to follow. For example:

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              I want to build one, perhaps into the body of an Atari 520st or something.

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                It shouldn’t be that hard and you can probably fit a NUC in there instead of a Pi. The hard part will probably be finding an Atari 520ST that isn’t repairable and isn’t ridiculously expensive.

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                  Yeah, that’s the real problem. See also, C128.

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                The thing I’d really like to see is the Sandbenders PC from Gibson’s later novel “Idoru”. IIRC it’s a handheld device made of a blob of aluminum cast in a pit dug in sand, with beach glass buttons.

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                  “She loved Sandbenders; they were the best. THE SANDBENDERS, OREGON, was screened faintly across the sweating canvas, as though it had almost faded away under a desert sun. SYSTEM 5.9. (She had all the upgrades, to 6.3. People said 6.4 was buggy.)”

                  No guesses where Gibson got inspiration for that ;)

                  Edit Gibson’s Bridge trilogy is probably the most “predictive” of his computing visions. “Cyberspace” just doesn’t make any sense as a user interface, but the pervasive VR of the middle trilogy, complete with beauty-enhancing filters and tiny sites who make up for their small size with bombastic paraphernalia feels spot-on.

                  The Blue Ant trilogy has aged badly, both in terms of computing and story.

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                    Well, also, the Sandbenders thing was that they were recycling parts in beautiful cases, which is exactly something I would love to do.

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                    I guess this is at least partly driven by some nostalgia for the first laptops. When this technology really comes around, it will look like a headband, or more likely invisible, because it will either be implanted, or grown organically inside using gene therapy.

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                      I volunteer for a historic computing group. We have several of those machines. Here’s a good example from 1986 https://nuhc.ncl.ac.uk/view/327

                      One of my favourite examples (because of the mono screen, asymmetry and general ugliness) is this Amstrad from ‘88 https://nuhc.ncl.ac.uk/view/427

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                        The Amstrad PPC series always looked really high-tech and futuristic. The PCW series less so.

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                      These make me think of the SAIC Galaxy portable workstations. Now, there’s a deck: trackball, keyboard, display, big MIL-SPEC case. Have the PA-RISC hip-hop track he has on this page playing while you look it up (it’s based on the 9000/712).