Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

MIT Team Working On a $12 Apple (II) Desktop

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the guide-kids-worldwide-to-oregon dept.

Education 401

Barence writes "A new project to create a $12 computer is underway at MIT, the same University that spawned the One Laptop Per Child non-profit laptop. The PCs will be loosely based on Apple 2 machines, first unveiled over 30 years ago, and the team are actively recruiting enthusiasts of the retro computer to help develop the new PC." Update: 08/05 14:13 GMT by T : The original story at the Boston Herald has more information, as well as a photo of the team.

cancel ×

401 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Sweet (2, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 years ago | (#24479203)

Maybe I can finally play Ultima II on the Apple. Seriously, it doesn't work in any emulator I've tried. Kegs, AppleWin, Mess, nothing wants to recognize when I swap in a player disk.

Re:Sweet (2, Informative)

192939495969798999 (58312) | about 6 years ago | (#24479521)

two words: virtual apple.

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479845)

Play the Atari 800 version in Atari800WinPlus. It works great!

Re:Sweet (4, Informative)

Stellian (673475) | about 6 years ago | (#24479863)

Maybe I can finally play Ultima II on the Apple

I know you are joking, but let's make this clear - it's not inspired by the Apple in the sense that it's has an 8 bit/1MHz CPU and 4KB of RAM.
It's an 70's stile of personal computer by using the TV as a display screen. I would also assume it uses a small form factor where the case is also a keyboard, and all you need is a DC adapter and the video cable. The hardware would be probably comparable to what you get in an XO: low speed x86 CPU and SSD storage.
As a person who has long used a PC attached to a TV as what it's now called a "Media Center", I can say the text quality on a CRT television is absolutely horrible, totally unusable for browsing or programming. Games, movies, sure. But not anything that would increase the computer literacy of the masses.
Sure, if you get a flat panel TV things look good, but those are not likely to be found in the homes of the people this project targets.

But...but...but... (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | about 6 years ago | (#24479207)

Apple 2's BASIC was broken!

Re:But...but...but... (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | about 6 years ago | (#24479337)

So, is this basically a Lisa 2, hackintosh? [wikipedia.org]

And the problem is the cost of display, not the cost of computers...

Re:But...but...but... (1)

jandrese (485) | about 6 years ago | (#24479781)

Which is why they're designing it to be hooked up to a TV, just like many computers of that era.

How long until Apple sues? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479231)

Haven't they learned from Psystar or Psyduck or whatever they're called.

Re:How long until Apple sues? (1)

ccandreva (409807) | about 6 years ago | (#24479999)

But that's what I want to know ? Psya duck Psya no chicken ?

Funkay... (4, Funny)

wcrowe (94389) | about 6 years ago | (#24479241)

Each one comes with a free leisure suit.

Re:Funkay... (3, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about 6 years ago | (#24479665)

Each one comes with a free leisure suit.

Larry will be pleased

How to solve world hunger: (5, Funny)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | about 6 years ago | (#24479243)

1) Give children in third world countries old computers
2) Get children addicted to Oregon Trail
3) Watch children forego sex, and therefore reproduction, in favor of Number Munchers
4) Profit!

It's bullet-proof!

Re:How to solve world hunger: (4, Funny)

russlar (1122455) | about 6 years ago | (#24479269)

Until they get the "You've died of starvation/cholera/dysentery" message.

Re:How to solve world hunger: (1)

encoderer (1060616) | about 6 years ago | (#24480019)

The secret will be to equip each PC with an infectious-disease version of Smell-o-vision.

When it says "You've died of dysentery" well, you had better get your affairs in order.

Re:How to solve world hunger: (1)

vertinox (846076) | about 6 years ago | (#24479273)

Nah. It will just teach children to start out as bankers.

That or the wholesale genocide of all moving animals on the plains regardless of whether you can carry the food or not.

You got step 3 wrong (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#24479395)

Step 3 is ??? or optionally ????.

Do decreed CmdrTaco in the early days of /.

Re:How to solve world hunger: (4, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | about 6 years ago | (#24479645)

Actually, if you could get children to forgo sex in many of these third world countries, a large number of their biggest issues would be solved.

Re:How to solve world hunger: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479959)

Actually, if you could get children to forgo sex in many of these third world countries, a large number of their biggest issues would be solved.

But a lot of those kids need the money! How can you be so heartless?

Re:How to solve world hunger: (2, Funny)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 6 years ago | (#24479671)

Nah, you get them to play Zork, so at least they get to know what a Grue is :)

Buy 2 get 1 program??? (2, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#24479245)

Where do I send my £12?

neat idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479247)

This is kind of a neat idea. Vintage PCs like Apple II and Commodore 64 were very useful tools. Mostly character based, but still lots of apps like Word Processors, and there's no reason why you could have terminal-based email, and computer programming languages, too.

4Mhz processor, 64k RAM ... such a computer, could theoretically be built on a single integrated chip very inexpensively.

Yeah, but... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 6 years ago | (#24479285)

Can it run LINUX? *ducks*

Re:Yeah, but... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479587)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these!

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | about 6 years ago | (#24479833)

Not quite running Linux, but with one central Linux servers and a bunch of C64 terminals, you're almost there......
http://members.elysium.pl/ytm/html/linux-term.html [elysium.pl]

But you can run Linux on several models of the Amiga. http://www.anytux.org/hardware.php?baureihe_id=137 [anytux.org]

Or maybe you can find another old computer model that you'd like by browsing this list: http://www.anytux.org/hardware.php [anytux.org]

Layne

Re:neat idea (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479367)

4Mhz and 64k RAM? Don't be silly, you could get a 40 Mhz and 512k RAM along with some eeprom for less than $2 in a micro controller.

I am not sure how they are going to get the Monitor and keyboard so cheaply though....

Re:neat idea (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | about 6 years ago | (#24479937)

I am not sure how they are going to get the Monitor and keyboard so cheaply though....

mod parent up, the interface is what kills it. It's hard to find a keyboard for less than $10 that isn't used or some orphaned clearance model.

Re:neat idea (1)

mikael (484) | about 6 years ago | (#24479595)

The Commodore 64 and Atari computers did have basic pixel framebuffers and sprite programming (much like a mouse cursor). Sprites could be programmed to have a multi-colored (16 color) pixelmap and moved around just by setting XY coordinates.

The most advanced demo I saw was in PCW, where someone has implemented a basic physics engine to run during the vertical blank interrupt. It handled position, velocity, acceleration and gravity. Collision detection was done automatically by the sprite hardware.

Have you seen the latest graphing calculators [calculators-online.co.uk] - they have a small LCD display that is enough to display 3D wireframe grids.

You ain't seen nothing yet (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479745)

To say that the C64 had a "basic pixel framebuffer" is a big understatement.

Soiled Legacy [youtube.com]

That is a 1MHz 8-bit processor pushing the VIC (video) and SID (sound) to their limits.

Re:neat idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479609)

This is kind of a neat idea. Vintage PCs like Apple II and Commodore 64 were very useful tools. Mostly character based, but still lots of apps like Word Processors, and there's no reason why you could have terminal-based email, and computer programming languages, too.

4Mhz processor, 64k RAM ... such a computer, could theoretically be built on a single integrated chip very inexpensively.

Imagine a beo*whack*

Another option: (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | about 6 years ago | (#24479251)

Just buy them all C=64s and a Beowulf Cluster of 1521 floppy external drives.

The world would probably melt in a day.

=Smidge=

Clustering C64 drives (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#24479437)

Don't laugh - it's been done.

Those drives were very smart for their day. With the right magic incantations, you could connect a C64 to two drives, initiate a drive-copy, and disconnect the computer and the drive-copy would complete.

Re:Clustering C64 drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479569)

IIRC, they also had more sectors on the outer tracks than on the inner tracks.

The early Macs used variable-sectors too (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#24479723)

The Mac 400KB and 800KB floppies used more sectors on the outer tracks than the inner tracks.

The PC would format a Mac 800KB floppy as a 720KB floppy.

The 400- and 800KB Mac disks also had meta-data attached to each sector to aide in file-recovery of deleted files.

Re:Clustering C64 drives (4, Interesting)

querist (97166) | about 6 years ago | (#24479631)

The 1541 floppy drive (the floppy drive used with the C64) had its own processor and memory. A popular (and fun) "trick" was to write code that would load into the 1541's memory and run on its processor, and have it talk to the C64. Essentially, a two-processor "cluster" back in the 1980's.

The C64 was a wonderful "playground" for experimentation.

Re:Clustering C64 drives (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#24479831)

Yep I remeber that was one of the things I hated about PCs.
On my little C64 with two drives I could start it formatting a disk and the go do something else. Or I could format two disks at once.
On the very expensive PCs you had to wait for the drive to format the floppy!
Man they sucked.
Then when I got my Amiga I was helping a local BBS test Zmodem. I downloaded a GIF and then the sysop asked me if it downloaded. I told him yes and to wait just a sec while I checked. He jumped right back and told me that I didn't have to log off and check it right now. I could wait until I was done on the BBS:) He was so confused when I told him that I didn't have to log off to check a GIF :)
Man how did PCs ever win....

cool (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#24479275)

a few years back (2004?), Tiger had the Tiger Learning Computer, which was based on the IIe. $149. It looks a lot like what the OLPC should have been.

Re:cool (1)

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) | about 6 years ago | (#24479467)

I remember seeing the TLC. Unfortunately, the box made it seem like any other so-called "pre-computer".

A description is at http://www.applefritter.com/node/239 [applefritter.com]

How many does it take for.. (-1, Redundant)

rodney dill (631059) | about 6 years ago | (#24479293)

... a Beowulf Cluster?

Re:How many does it take for.. (2, Funny)

zigziggityzoo (915650) | about 6 years ago | (#24479703)

Uh, More than one?

Not much details... (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24479295)

All TFA says that it is loosly based on the Apple II. So what does that mean? Have the same CPU? Same OS? Same amount of RAM? Looks like the Apple II?

Re:Not much details... (1)

Zobeid (314469) | about 6 years ago | (#24479399)

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd imagine some degree of binary compatibility -- or at the very least, the ability to run BASIC programs from the Apple II.

Apple II. . . Not the computer I personally would have chosen, I had an Atari 800XL which I would prefer any day. But then, the Atari had more proprietary, quirky stuff (custom graphics chips) which might have been a problem, and it had a more non-standard dialect of BASIC.

Re:Not much details... (2, Interesting)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | about 6 years ago | (#24479599)

Doesnt binary compatibility depend on the OS, which id guess to be BSD/linux.

Based on appel II is much more likely to mean in terms of architecture & hardware

Re:Not much details... (0)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#24479803)

You can download Apple System 7.5.3 [apple.com] directly from Apple, for free if you want. Why not run System 7 on it?

Re:Not much details... (2, Funny)

Constantine XVI (880691) | about 6 years ago | (#24479899)

System 7.5.3? On a ][e clone?
ARE
YOU
OUT
OF
YOUR
FUCKING
MIND?

Re:Not much details... (4, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | about 6 years ago | (#24479435)

I guess it's neat that they're doing this. But if wanted a computer and I only had $12, I'd just find one on Craigslist. There's usually a Pentium type computer on there going for cheap.

Re:Not much details... (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 6 years ago | (#24479439)

I'm gonna guess they forego the floppies. Please no on the floppies. Imagine an Apple II with a 2x CD-ROM!!!

Re:Not much details... (1)

Remloc (1165839) | about 6 years ago | (#24479815)

A CD-ROM would be a huge waste in Apple DOS 3.3, without nearly a full re-write of the FileManager layer, which would break most legacy software. Even if you enabled all 200 possible VTOC bytes, creating 50 32 sector tracks per volume and used all 254 volumes (2 were reserved), that's only a little under 100Meg.

Re:Not much details... (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 6 years ago | (#24479901)

Or one CD with 600 virtual floppies!

Re:Not much details... (1)

Remloc (1165839) | about 6 years ago | (#24479987)

I'm sure you're talking .DSKs or .NIBs, but for the less informed, that's kind of what the "volumes" in my comment do. That's how DOS 3.3 handled hard drives. Normally, DOS 3.3 fills up a disk at 140K, but there are normally unused bits in the data structure where you can enable more. That still only gets you to 400K. To enable more, they used the fact that you can issue a command like: LOAD HELLO,V117 And the "V117" tells it to barf unless the disk in the drive is volume 117. Hard drives used that to make V1 (V0 was reserved) as the first chunk of disk, V2 as the second, etc.

Re:Not much details... (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 6 years ago | (#24479993)

But sure...I guess 1MB flash chips are CHEAP.

Simple... (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 6 years ago | (#24479841)

It aims to carve a niche among the third world's richer poor children.
Or at least the ones with better taste. More like chicken, less like monkeys.

Oh and... 12$ is probably a typo. To be LIKE Apple II it should be something like US $1298. [oldcomputers.net]

Re:Not much details... (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | about 6 years ago | (#24480005)

All TFA says that it is loosly based on the Apple II. So what does that mean? Have the same CPU? Same OS? Same amount of RAM? Looks like the Apple II?

Good question. Based on the price, I would assume there WON'T be any proprietary software on it. And if they're going with a different OS, I wouldn't think they'd need to faithfully emulate the original CPU, either. My guess is that they just mean "comparable" hardware in terms of computing power, probably a system on a chip.

Very cool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479311)

I can't help but think how cool this will be if it actually gets off the production line and into the hands of those in developing countries.

Back when the Apple II was initially released, we wondered what computers might look like in the future. For those in developing countries, they might be able to actually *see* 30 years into the future of computing whilst they enjoy their "new" Apple II. Pretty neat.

That's great (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479315)

I've always advocated that kids should be introduced to programming on the classic 8-bit machines. These systems, especially on the assembly language level, expose how computers work better than any modern computer which can only be programmed through layers of APIs. The modern equivalent to these computers are the Atmel AVR and Microchip PIC microcontrollers, but they lack the instant gratification because they don't come with "shiny" peripheral options. If this project can recreate Apple II or Commodore 64 environments at the price of a movie ticket, it should be the ideal learning environment.

Re:That's great (2, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#24479455)

I agree.

My kid is into his second year of ICT at his secondary school (like High school for you American types), and I found to my horror that neither he, nor any of his friends who take that class even know what a sub folder is. Text files? A mystery, CLI? No idea...

What they do know is how to use Word, Powerpoint and (at a push) Excel. I hear they now use Dreamweaver instead of Frontpage. I see this as barely an improvement.

I think kids should spend a little time using computers that are as functional as the ones we used as kids (I'm from the Apple ][ Era myself), just so they can understand that a computer != a windows machine, and that there's more to it then the desktop and shortcuts. With the right teaching plan it would probably be a lot of fun.

I'm not proposing we throw out the modern PC, just that is be part of the process of learning about the computing subject, not the main focus.

Re:retro computers (1)

Migraineman (632203) | about 6 years ago | (#24479847)

My 7-year-old has been playing games on an old Dell running EduBuntu, but I found that the environment was too structured - power up, log in, menu, menu, menu, etc. I remember having an Apple ][ and a C64, and you just hit the power switch, and were greeted with "OK."

I considered building an FPGA module that contained all the necessary C64 or Apple hardware, and it's clear that today's devices are certainly up to the task (with a little help from an external SRAM.) In 100-piece quantities, MSRP would need to be nearly $100 to be viable though. I can buy a refurb desktop at that level. So I went down a different path - VICE. [viceteam.org] We're now running a C64 emulator on the linux box, and my daughter takes great pleasure in opening a terminal window and typing a command to launch a program. She still has all the hoo-haw to get to the desktop, but given the opportunity, about half the time she runs the x64 emulator. I've tossed a handful of BASIC programming examples at her, including my ancient C64 User's Guide. It has great examples that are dirt simple ... something that is difficult to find these days. Poke-ing values directly at the SID chip has the "instant gratification" factor that's missing with today's desktop computers.

I'll probably end up buying an old C64 from eBay for her, so she can bang on it without all the Ubuntu overhead. There's a gap in the learning path - today's kids don't have the hands-on opportunities we did. Based on cost and performance, a modern equivalent of the C64 should retail somewhere around $20-$40 (relative to the mainstream desktop offerings.) I don't think that's going to happen, as there are more effective ways to spend that same money (i.e. I can buy a used C64 with the floppy and the joystick and a pile of discs for $40.)

skip to the end, please (5, Insightful)

eekygeeky (777557) | about 6 years ago | (#24479317)

can we just mark down a pile of old engineering calculators and call it a day? I remember watching some smarty-pants play Mario on his calculator during enviromental engineering classes lo these many years ago.

or cell phones, for gods' sake, my cell phone has a 314MHz processor in it, I played duke nukem 3D and watched streaming video on PCs that were slower, this cannot be that difficult.

figure it out, people and stop cluttering up /. with these endless utopian woolgathering snipehunts; please, and thank you.

Re:skip to the end, please (4, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | about 6 years ago | (#24479559)

Seriously... don't we toss thousands of cellphones a day-- each more powerful than an Apple ][, into landfills?

Re:skip to the end, please (3, Insightful)

74nova (737399) | about 6 years ago | (#24479721)

each more powerful and more broken. Phones apparently aren't made to last too terribly long.

rescue raiders (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 6 years ago | (#24479333)

If it can play Rescue Raiders and Ultima, I'm in.

grammar, please.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479341)



...the team are actively recruiting enthusiasts...

[members of] the team are actively recruiting...

the team is actively recruiting....

Re:grammar, please.... (2, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | about 6 years ago | (#24479601)

...the team are actively recruiting enthusiasts...

[members of] the team are actively recruiting...

the team is actively recruiting....

No, not in British English. Substitute "the team" with "they", and it makes sense.

Hmm, but.... (1)

Puffy Director Pants (1242492) | about 6 years ago | (#24479353)

Will I have to put it together myself? Cuz labor is expensive.

Count me in! (1)

Hackerlish (1308763) | about 6 years ago | (#24479361)

> the team are actively recruiting enthusiasts of the retro computer to help develop the new PC.

Cool! Anyone know what they are they paying?

Re:Count me in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479397)

Sounds like fun. I do have my original Apple II and C64 here.. How do I enroll?

Good work from MIT. (1)

rugatero (1292060) | about 6 years ago | (#24479363)

Was this story posted in response to a comment on the previous article [slashdot.org] ?

I don't think anyone could argue that is not a more meaningful project than the WiFi trolley.

$12 !! (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 years ago | (#24479365)

For twelve dollars perhaps they should codename it the abacus. It will probably be an abacus if they cut functionality to cost rather than increasing cost to cover functionality.

Re:$12 !! (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 6 years ago | (#24479465)

I don't know about you, but I've purchased an *electronic* calculator for less than $12.

Something is wrong with /. article title (1)

orogorhotmail.com (744478) | about 6 years ago | (#24479373)

The original article says than: "second generation XO, which it claims will cost $75 " "To anticipate them costing $20 each is not out of the question." That's not a 12$ laptop, but then i guess the article submiter didnt read properly this part: "that can be the difference between earning $1 an hour instead of $1 a day." I guess that s where the 12$ comes from , but it s not the laptop price, but rather the eventual buyer's income for 12h of work at 1$/h

No, though I can see why you read that (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 years ago | (#24479445)

If you follow the link in TFA to the Boston Herald [bostonherald.com] article it is apparent that this is a different project to the XO 2. The article itself is a bit muddled though so it does look as though it is talking about the same system.

Re:Something is wrong with /. article title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479457)

They are two separate machines, maybe you should have read the articles?

Re:Something is wrong with /. article title (2, Insightful)

RandoX (828285) | about 6 years ago | (#24479657)

That's because by the time this comes out, $12 worth of Chinese components will cost $75.

Plugs into a TV? That was called... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479389)

... the TRS-80 Color Computer.
- 64K OF MEMORY!!
- EXTENDED COLOR BASIC!!
- PLUGS INTO TV!!
- CARTRIDGE EXPANSION for 6809E ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE PROGRAMMING
- OS9 DISK OPERATING SYSTEM FOR "ADVANCED" USERS
    (ALSO CAME WITH C COMPILER)

(note: the above was written in uppercase because the CoCo ONLY supported uppercase)

Radio Shack marketed it as a toy, unfortunately, even though it was light-years ahead of it's Z80-based counterparts. In fact, that 8-bit processor family (6800) is still going strong as the 68HC11 and related CPU's.

loosely based on the Apple ][? (2, Interesting)

reiisi (1211052) | about 6 years ago | (#24479415)

Not many details.

6502? Hang a keyboard on a gameboy?

Flash instead of cassette tape, to be sure.

Sixteen bit addresses?

6809 would give it enough horsepower to actually run an early version of unix, but then you couldn't get the low-low power out of programmable logic that you can out of hard-wired 6502 cores. And you'd still have that problem of virtual addressing facing any kid with enough ambition to try to (re)program it.

Freescales m-core might be interesting as a CPU, but then they would potentially collide with the goals of OLPC.

I'm rambling, but this touches a kind of long-term fantasy of mine -- basically, put the equivalent of a Radio Shack Color Computer (but with something better than MSBASIC) in every kid's pocket.

Regression (5, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 6 years ago | (#24479421)

If we follow the pattern to its natural conclusion, we'll have $6.00 Altair 8800's, then $3.00 PDP-8's, then $1.50 UNIVAC's, then 75 cent ENIACS, then 3 Babbage Difference Engines for a nickel, and finally a Jacquard loom that you couldn't give away.

Re:Regression (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 6 years ago | (#24479637)

Well, I already have an abacus. I guess I'm just years ahead of my time.

Re:Regression (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 6 years ago | (#24479643)

Or looking at it another way, since the apple IIe was about $1300 in 1983, $12 twenty years later, we can expect a clone of the $100 laptop in another twenty years costing less than a dollar.

they need to cut the price. (1, Insightful)

peas_n_carrots (1025360) | about 6 years ago | (#24479443)

I wouldn't pay that much for a lousy Apple 2. Terrible architecture all around. The C-64 or TRS-80, among others, would be much better candidates.

PC on a chip (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 6 years ago | (#24479451)

The summary got me to thinking about some of the PC on a chip offerings I've seen over the years. A quick google search turned up something else kind of amusing: http://tinyurl.com/5ppa9g [tinyurl.com] . A PC for less than $500? No way!

Oh, and if anyone has some information on a useful pc-on-a-chip, I'm still curious.

Re:PC on a chip (1)

TTK Ciar (698795) | about 6 years ago | (#24479607)

This isn't precisely a pc on a chip (the core is MIPS-based), but Microchip's PIC32 offerings [microchip.com] gives you a fully 32-bit processor with integrated RAM, ROM, and some peripherals for about $5 per unit. Perhaps not useful if you need x86, but plenty useful if you just want to compile and run ANSI-C applications (GCC has an appropriate MIPS target).

And I am working on a $1 abacus (1)

ad454 (325846) | about 6 years ago | (#24479459)

Seriously though, what practical use is there for an old 8bit Apple II architecture? There are very inexpensive 32bit system on chip architectures (including MIPS - Lexra) in that price range that can at least run embedded Linux (uClinux).

Re:And I am working on a $1 abacus (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 6 years ago | (#24479973)

There are very inexpensive 32bit system on chip architectures (including MIPS - Lexra) in that price range that can at least run embedded Linux (uClinux)

And one of those will likely be running a 6502 emulator for this project. $12 should be enough to include the PCB and connectors to hook up a TV, keyboard and standard Apple disk drive. Or serially connect a PC with a floppy drive emulator to run from images.

Why not base it on the C64DTV chip instead? (4, Interesting)

Lester67 (218549) | about 6 years ago | (#24479475)

It's already in production, and is a fully functioning C64 on a chip.

Just sayin' (and prolly igniting another Apple/Commodore war. :-)

Re:Why not base it on the C64DTV chip instead? (2, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | about 6 years ago | (#24479581)

I'm not entirely convinced the project is supposed to actually make sense.

Like a lot of MIT hacks, this strikes me as more of a "because we can" than a "because we should".

Like a Warcart.

why? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 6 years ago | (#24479479)

If that's all the computing power they need, they might as well just write an OS for a PIC microcontroller. Those little chips cost about $1.

Though I can't imagine any computer catching on with a nontrivial number of children unless it runs games. Anyone want to port Oregon Trail to PIC? On second thought, starving African children might take the "You have died of dysentery" part of the game the wrong way...

Sweet. (1)

Shaitan Apistos (1104613) | about 6 years ago | (#24479513)

The only way this could be cooler is if instead of basic it was designed to work around a modern interpreted language like Ruby or Python.

Domain squatters: get ethiopiaonrails.com while you still can.

We have a $1 computer now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479529)

Ever played those game-in-a-controller things?

Some of them have an IC that is a C64 on a chip. Faster and better than the Apple II. And a lot less money. I'm certain the IC is less than $1 considering the price of the controller.

Just use those, don't reinvent the wheel when it's been done better already.

Breaking News: Team at MIT making a FREE computer (4, Funny)

ThePopeLayton (868042) | about 6 years ago | (#24479543)

from the article: "Hoping to make slashdot headlines and undercut all the other low cost computers coming from MIT... this new team hopes to produce a laptop that will be free." John Smith the leader of the team is quoted having said "Ideally we'd really like to make a computer that we pay you to take... but we've yet to work out the economics, so for now we're going to stick with the free computer." The team hopes to have their computer ready to go in a few years...

creators working on hostage/planet rescue (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479549)

fear is unprecedented evile's primary weapon. along with deception & coercion, helps us remain dependent on its' greed/fear/ego based hired goons' agenda. see you on the other side of it. the lights are coming up all over now. conspiracy theorists are being vindicated. some might choose a tin umbrella to go with their hats. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.google.com/?ncl=1216734813&hl=en&topic=n
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/world/29amnesty.html?hp
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/06/02/nasa.global.warming.ap/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/05/severe.weather.ap/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/02/honore.preparedness/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/01/opinion/01dowd.html?em&ex=1212638400&en=744b7cebc86723e5&ei=5087%0A
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/05/senate.iraq/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/washington/17contractor.html?hp
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/03/world/middleeast/03kurdistan.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080708/cheney_climate.html

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=weather+manipulation&btnG=Search
http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

Stupid, stupid Slashdot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479591)

Slashdot limits its stories to particular things like BSD, Perl and MiT. For lack of better stories, the scope seems to be very narrow. It is time we stopped reading Slashdot for a while.

Is it really cheaper? (3, Insightful)

acb (2797) | about 6 years ago | (#24479713)

Would it really be that much cheaper to make 1980s-vintage computers? I mean, once the design work is done, are the price differences between fabbing a 6502-type CPU and an ARM or x86 that great? I thought that the price advantage of using mass-market components would outweigh any savings made by using primitive technologies.

$12 computer ultimately to sell for $24 (1)

mraiser (1151329) | about 6 years ago | (#24479783)

Just announced BOGO for $48!

Commodore (1)

airship (242862) | about 6 years ago | (#24479813)

The Commodore 64 was a better computer (more colors, 3-voice synth, etc.), used fewer chips, had more memory, and was cheaper to make. More software was written for it, and it has a much, much more active enthusiast community which has archived and preserved that software. If you're going to spread retro computing over the surface of the globe, wouldn't it make more sense to use the most popular computer of the day?

Why Apple II? (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | about 6 years ago | (#24479849)

Why not Linux? Am I missing something here? Or is it just retro for the sake of being retro, if so, I'll probably break out my NES and we can have a party.

The Commodore 64 would be even cheaper (1)

stankulp (69949) | about 6 years ago | (#24479851)

And a lot more fun.

Solution to the $12 Apple II (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479865)

There is already a simple way to buy an Apple II for $12. It's called "E-Bay"

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479877)

eBay tells me the Apple II, C64, TRS-80, PC Jr, et al, are all 12 dollar computers already.

Games! (2, Funny)

autophile (640621) | about 6 years ago | (#24479925)

Each one comes preloaded with "Little Brick Out" and "Lemonade Stand".

In related news..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24479945)

Ford reissues the Model T as a fuel efficient inexpensive alternative to gas guzzling expensive SUVs.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>