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Homebrew Microcontroller Laptop, Made of Wood

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the logically-if-she's-made-of-wood dept.

Hardware Hacking 159

Brietech writes "This is a homebrew laptop project based on a Picaxe microcontroller. It has 16kb of RAM, 256kb of storage, sound and a self-hosted development environment! It has a simple CLI, file-system, 'EMAXE' text editor and a programming language called 'Chris#.' Oh, and yes, it runs Linaxe."

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Pretty fast! (4, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227035)

CPU: Picaxe 28X-1 Microcontrollers. The main CPU runs at a blistering 16 Mhz, and has a whopping 4 kilobytes of onboard storage for the processorâ(TM)s firmware/OS.

That's faster than my 11 or 12 MHz 286... of course, that was 17 years ago.

Re:Pretty fast! (4, Informative)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227441)

Actually, it probably isn't. It's probably not even close. The site is slashdotted badly, but I'm guessing this is an 8-bit CPU. Most microcontrollers of this sort take several clocks per instruction. And the instruction set is probably more limited in capability than x86.

Also, I have to wonder why use an obscure part rather than the Atmel chips that are wildly popular with open source enthusiasts, or even the Microchip PICs (not quite as popular as the Atmels, but still has a strong hobbyist following). Having a development community and existing software base is useful.

Re:Pretty fast! (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227713)

If you check out the Coral Cached version of the site [nyud.net] , you can see that the guy is not after something with an existing development community or software base. He's written his own everything, and seems to have a sense of humor about it. He even implemented Pong, and says that he someday hopes to achieve parity with an early 80s computer :)

Re:Pretty fast! (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228085)

If I were him, I'd create a laptop based on the C=64, or an Amiga 500 laptop. Something that has existing software and can be semi-productive.

Or even better: Just buy a Win95 or PowerBook off Ebay for $1. (I tend to be lazy.)

Re:Pretty fast! (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228355)

Again, read the link:

Well, after a far-too-long hiatus, I'm back with a new Picaxe-based laptop! This project was born of a desire to see how far I can push the lowly Picaxe microcontroller. A friend of mine likened it to "spending over a year to reinvent the square wheel."

He's doing it as a hobby, and he's not pretending that it is useful. He compares it to a "square wheel"!

Re:Pretty fast! (3, Interesting)

kkwst2 (992504) | more than 5 years ago | (#27229373)

OK. So you're criticizing someone for not being as lazy as you? Way to go. This is a new level to revelling in laziness.

I remember fondly one of my udergrad design classes in which we built an 8088 system from scratch by wire-wrapping the crystal, interrupt controller, memory controller, etc. and then programmed it to make some kind of control system. I made an infusion pump controller.

The professor was a surly drunk, but I learned a lot in the class.

It may be a "waste of time" but I'm sure he'll benefit.

Re:Pretty fast! (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27229415)

>>>So you're criticizing someone

Strawman argument.

I'm not criticizing anybody.

(Nice try though.)

Re:Pretty fast! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27229821)

I've noticed you trolling in a LOT of stories recently.

If you're not TRYING to troll, maybe you should try thinking before you post. Re-read what you've written, because you come off as a real asshole.

Re:Pretty fast! (3, Informative)

frieko (855745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227731)

Agreed, you can get a 16 bit, 40 MIPS PIC [microchip.com] in a through hole package.

Re:Pretty fast! (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227885)

Actually, it probably isn't. It's probably not even close. The site is slashdotted badly, but I'm guessing this is an 8-bit CPU. Most microcontrollers of this sort take several clocks per instruction. And the instruction set is probably more limited in capability than x86.

Well, the site is woefully uninformative, and this "manufacturer" looks just as a repackager who has burnt a specific microcode on a PIC microcontroller .... OR an Atmel AVR. Now, what you said above is true for PIC microcontrollers, as well as the older Intel 8051 and Motorola 68HC11. But it's not true for Atmel's AVR, which are 8 bit, but with a RISC core, so each instruction is executed in one cpu clock. And AVRs are indeed pretty fast beasts. The PICs are more popular among some hobbists, but not in the industry.

Re:Pretty fast! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227921)

Actually, PICAXE's are anything BUT obscure, and have been popular in all sorts of beginner microcontroller courses.

They were the Arduino you had before there even was an Arduino - just for PIC instead of Atmel, programmed in BASIC instead of Processing, and loaded over serial instead of USB.

Re:Pretty fast! (2, Interesting)

Curtman (556920) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228475)

I don't know why these mini2440 [andahammer.com] boards aren't more popular with hobbyists.. You can get one with a 7" touch screen for about $150. They're even cheaper on ebay.

There seems to be a very helpful community [google.com] willing to help, and it seems to be a fantastic product to learn with.

Second the Atmel (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228737)

Except for the built in BASIC on the Picaxe the AVRs have a lot going for em. I have also pondered the idea of building a low tech computer just to see how much could be done on something that would bring the term 'low power' back down to Model 100 levels and perhaps even finally surpass 1980's tech.

You can get MRAM in the same package as the old school SRAM and some of the AVRs have an external memory interface that appears compatible. So that would allow some really deep sleeping, just push everything out of the on chip RAM and kill all power, with none of the bother associated with flash like write count limits or worrying about the time/power to copy everything in/out. If you totally kill power you couldn't use the onboard RTC but that could go on the i2c bus with a self contained button cell like on a real laptop.

If you could keep the display and input device power onsumption low enough alternative power could really be useful. Think solar powered information kiosks for example. You could run them off power harvested from street lights. No backup battery to replace, totally sealed agsinst the elements and abuse. But nobody thinks low tech like this, any proposed project has to be x86, run Windows etc. Or if somebody is really thinking outside the box they would propose an ARM running Linux or WinCE and again be consuming ten or more times the power than an AVR and a mono LCD just to run the backlight on a color TFT lcd display.

Imagine! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227039)

a beowulf cluster of these!

This is cool but... (4, Funny)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227053)

Does it run Lin-...You know what? It's time to start a new meme. How about "Does it run Vista?"

Re:This is cool but... (2, Funny)

AlterRNow (1215236) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227265)

Which version?

Re:This is cool but... (1)

CrazyBusError (530694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227907)

Could be a while before anybody says 'yes'...

Oh...Homebrew electronics. (3, Funny)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227079)

I thought it was a beer thing.

Nobody needs more than 16k... (0, Redundant)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227087)

This is basically a rework of a TRS-80 but in another packaging and different chip. Not very useful these days.

Re:Nobody needs more than 16k... (3, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227261)

I saw a video of Joe Rogan doing standup. The guy is a total loon, but he made a really interesting point about our technological society, and how smart we tend to think we are.

He posed the question, if you were in the woods with nothing but a hatchet, how long before you could send an email?

This device may not compare favorably with commercially available computing platforms, but having people in our society with curious minds and an ability to make things is invaluable.

I'd rather be a Morlock than an Eloi. I'd rather be a rancher than a steer.

-Peter

Re:Nobody needs more than 16k... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227791)

...if you were in the woods with nothing but a hatchet, how long before you could send an email?

Depends, how many people do I have to kill to get to the PC?

Re:Nobody needs more than 16k... (2, Informative)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227873)

if you were in the woods with nothing but a hatchet, how long before you could send an email?

Even if you knew everything - it would literally take decades to do it "right." It took the entire human race with practically unlimited resources about 132 years once we had the most basic understanding of electronics (telephone). Even knowing every concept doesn't put you ahead by much without an existing manufacturing base.

Re:Nobody needs more than 16k... (2, Funny)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228035)

Apparently you never watch Gilligan's Island. The Prof. would have had email within a week.

Unfortunately, it would have only been able to send messages to Princes in Nigeria, thus not being able to render them help in getting of the island.

Re:Nobody needs more than 16k... (2, Funny)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228175)

"Unfortunately, it would have only been able to send messages to Princes in Nigeria, thus not being able to render them help in getting of the island."

Give the guy a break! He was already to the point of sending to SOMEONE. In a few days he probably could've sent an email to anyone. Too bad that idiot Gilligan knocked over and broke the Professor's coconut e-mailer. Funny how the idea was workable expect for one flaw not associated with the actual plan and instead of trying again they just abandoned it entirely.

Re:Nobody needs more than 16k... (1)

kkwst2 (992504) | more than 5 years ago | (#27229497)

Yes, well persistence would have made for a very short series. Didn't they actually get off the island once and then somehow wrecked right back onto the same island?

I think you pretty much had to suspend your reality-meter to enjoy the show.

Re:Nobody needs more than 16k... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27229107)

Not really.
If you really knew everything, you'd know how to make it quicker, and even more efficient than we have ever been able to.

You'd know what materials you'd need to get, how to find metals very easily, know how to create fire the easiest ways possible, etc.

Everything is a lot of knowledge.
And the simple fact is humans took over a century in doing this because they had no idea what they were screwing around with in the first place.
It was, and still is, trial and error.
Now we are testing multi-core designs instead of faster speeds and crazy cooling systems.

Re:Nobody needs more than 16k... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228439)

What if you are in the woods without even a hatchet? How long until you have a simple hatchet?

Probably not all that long until most people have some sort of edge to work with (find 2 stones, smash, presto!). But how long until you come up with something that is reasonably light and has a handle?

Re:Nobody needs more than 16k... (1)

mmontour (2208) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228983)

He posed the question, if you were in the woods with nothing but a hatchet, how long before you could send an email?

As long as it takes for some hiker with a smartphone to come by, plus a few minutes to clean the blood off the hatchet.

This device may not compare favorably with commercially available computing platforms, but having people in our society with curious minds and an ability to make things is invaluable.

Agreed - this is a very cool project.

I have recently been working with amateur packet radio, which is somewhere in between the linked project and modern technology. In addition to a computer you only need a radio transceiver and some simple circuitry connecting it to the audio in/out ports, and you can send email to a similarly-equipped station within the range of your radio (at speeds between 300 and 9600 baud). There are people who build their own radios and adapters but I'm doing it the easy way with commercial units.

As a more serious answer to your "alone in the woods" question, someone with the right skills could actually get a morse code transmitter running with some surprisingly low-tech materials. Look here [earthlink.net] for example - you don't even need a transistor or vacuum tube.

Re:Nobody needs more than 16k... (5, Funny)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 5 years ago | (#27229219)

Oh, that would be doable fairly quickly.

First, you need to find some pigeons or some other suitable birds. You will also figure out how to make something resembling paper (shouldn't be too difficult with all the wood in the woods), and some means to write (something suitable should be available as well)

Once you managed to train some of them to deliver messages, you send one asking for RFC791 and RFC793, unless you're a networking expert and know them from memory. RFC 792 would be also recommended. You will also need RFC 1149, but that one is short and is best memorized before you get lost in the woods. Optionally, RFC 2549 could provide better service.

The next thing to do is to implement RFC 1149, and use that to talk to a mail server. Anybody with some mail experience should know how to use mail over a telnet session. Just make sure to memorize the IP addresses of a SMTP and a POP3 server (no problem if you run your own server and remember the address). Then just connect and send something like:

HELO thewoods.org
MAIL FROM: vadimt@thewoods.org
RCPT TO: somebody@gmail.com
DATA
Subject: I'm the woods
 
What's up?
.

Then to read email:

USER vadimt
PASS bears34
LIST
RETR 1
QUIT

Latency could be a bit annoying with having to send all those pigeons back and forth, and a good spam filter would be needed server-side if you don't want to spend weeks getting rid of it before you get anything useful, but in a couple of weeks it could be done.

Once this is going, the next step would be starting an open source project to implement IP over smoke signals, or optical telegraph, in case something happens to the pigeons, and to reduce latency. Also implementing DNS would help with talking to the rest of the net.

Once all this is working you can start really improving your tech, by requesting pages from wikipedia on anything you don't know enough about.

Re:Nobody needs more than 16k... (1)

zap345 (693913) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228283)

Gee! this ones 4 times better than my TRS-80! Mine is a 4MHz 64KB, (48KB addressable.) I did put a lowercase kit in it though, for word processing. Sigh, those were the days.

Re:Nobody needs more than 16k... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27228333)

Not very useful these days.

Huh? What makes you think anything about this is even trying to be useful?

Now for something totally different... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227097)

What a total waste of time. Don't they have better things to do?

Re:Now for something totally different... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227633)

What a total waste of time. Don't they have better things to do?

He built a laptop with his time. All you've done is post a whiney comment on slashdot. On the whole, I think it's you who needs some better things to do with their time.

Re:Now for something totally different... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227635)

As was your comment.

Already down. (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227115)

Anyone got a mirror?

Re:Already down. (2, Interesting)

EnergySmithe (883373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227461)

I guess even Chris# was not able to handle the /. effect?

Re:Already down. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27229815)

Yes, but how does a reflection of yourself be of any help for a slashdotted website?

slashdotted already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227117)

Maybe the CPU quota was for the laptop itself?

So... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227123)

So...it weighs less than a duck?

Catching fire (4, Funny)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227127)

At least, if this laptop catches fire, it won't burn black, toxic, smoke like most laptops do.

Re:Catching fire (5, Funny)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227203)

I for one welcome cleaner burning laptops.

Re:Catching fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27228041)

Now the "Powered by Vista" sticker on my fireplace doesn't seem so out of place...

Re:Catching fire (1)

shicaca (899698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228139)

What's even better yet is if it happens during the winter months, you'll have free heating for a few hours! *and* have that fresh campfire smell!

I kind of like the case.. (1)

Heather D (1279828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227131)

A nicely finished wooden case for a laptop would be nice. I f we could get around the microwave radiation issues and the heat issue.

He says he's going to get it up to roughly the same power that an early 80's home computer had. It looks like he's not far off.

Re:I kind of like the case.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227727)

Microwave radiation? You don't have a clue what you are talking about, do you?

Slashdot is completely ironic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27228145)

There are editors who don't edit.

Geeks who don't know as much as their name implies.

"Journalism" with a blatant slant.

Way to go, Rob!

Re:I kind of like the case.. (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228033)

I f we could get around the microwave radiation issues and the heat issue.

I may be way off, but aren't most cheap laptops made of plastic? Plastic is a terrible conductor of heat or electricity.

Re:I kind of like the case.. (1)

Heather D (1279828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228849)

True. Blah. I should have done more thinking before I posted that.

Re:I kind of like the case.. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27229237)

You have ME thinking. Some of that really thin wood veneer [onlyone-pro.com] might look classy on an aluminum laptop, like a MacBook. You know, classy in a 1980s Jeep Wagoneer kind of way :)

slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227139)

In only 7 minutes.

This Account Has Exceeded Its CPU Quota

Whoops! (4, Funny)

SkOink (212592) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227151)

It looks like he tried to host the link from his laptop :(

Re:Whoops! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227245)

His server is petrefied.

Re:Whoops! (2, Funny)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227359)

I've seen smaller systems stand up to a slashdotting. Perhaps he overclocked the Picaxe and the wood caught on fire.

Re:Whoops! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27229461)

mov A, B
add
hcf

Re:Whoops! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227519)

He posted the source for others that want to build one...

I don't know what worries me more, the fact that he posted it, or the fact that there might be someone out there that wants to continue this madness.

Re:Whoops! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227683)

Google cache result [209.85.129.132]

Re:Whoops! (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228597)

I'm sure it was running on Apaxe with mod_bwaxed.

why i started to read slashdot in 1997 (1)

fsiefken (912606) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227155)

This kind of articles, really really cool. But why the laptop casing, why not make it into a wearable? LED display mounted on left lower arm, chorded keypad on the right lower arm.

yeah whatever!! (1)

veeren76 (456888) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227231)

Good for kids... but nothing serious...

Re:yeah whatever!! (3, Informative)

cnlohfin3109 (758597) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227607)

Good for adults, who build it. I don't think you get the idea behind doing most projects like this. It isn't to have some amazingly practical tool or to make money but to learn, explore, and prove you can do it yourself. This is the same type of comments people posted when the article about the non-von1 was on here. Give credit to the DIYers for doing these amazing things themselves with limited budgets.

Re:yeah whatever!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27228803)

It's actually the same guy that did both projects!

TG (3, Funny)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227317)

I should switch to Chris# solely for the TG instruction: play "Eye of the Tiger".

Re:TG (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228593)

I should switch to Chris# solely for the TG instruction: play "Eye of the Tiger".

I agree in that it's the "best ... opcode ... ever."

Seems kinda low-spec as a starting point (5, Interesting)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227321)

I don't know much about the PICaxe, but for $8 (single unit qtys) you can buy an 80MHz MIPS microcontroller [microchip.com] with a lot going for it. [microchip.com] This one has 32KB of onboard RAM and 512K of flash. [microchip.com]

Re:Seems kinda low-spec as a starting point (2, Informative)

vu2lid (126111) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227523)

Probably because PICAXE Microcontrollers can be programmed in a simple subset of BASIC.

It is very easy to write code, program and debug (they don't require a special programming interface). They are **really simple** to use, very powerful and versatile.

Re:Seems kinda low-spec as a starting point (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227735)

Ah, I see. I guess I'm accustomed to writing for microcontrollers, so I never saw that as a barrier. I've even done a design [spatula-city.org] with a related PIC part (PIC16 instead of PIC32), which is why I wondered about the specs on this PICaxe.

If it were me making this sort of laptop, I'd just write my "OS" in C and compile with GCC and be on my merry way. :-) I guess to get to the "self-hosting development" level, though, I'd be wise to get some sort of interpreted language on there, a'la the old BASIC computers of the 80s. It sounds like the PICaxe BASIC is what this has going for it?

--Joe

Re:Seems kinda low-spec as a starting point (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228777)

Errr, I misspoke. My recent PIC projects have been PIC24 (a 16-bit PIC) and the related dsPIC33 (also a 16-bit PIC that happens to have some add'l instructions), not PIC16. Urgl.

Re:Seems kinda low-spec as a starting point (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227777)

Are you to tell me that it's impossible to run a BASIC interpreter on an 80MHz MIPS core with 32k of RAM?

I mean, honestly: I remember the VIC-20 and the TRS-80 model 1. This whole modern concept of "it can't run BASIC" seems positively absurd on so many levels. But if that's really how things are...

Re:Seems kinda low-spec as a starting point (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228121)

I think it's more of an "end-to-end simplicity" thing vs. raw power.

If you buy the PIC32 I mentioned, it's a powerful low-cost machine, but it's a bit like buying a crate engine, tranny and chassis to build a race car. You better be, or have access to, a competent mechanic to put it together, and you'll have your purpose-built race car.

It sounds like the PICaxe is more like buying a Camry off the lot. It's got all the accoutrements and is ready to go. Turn the key, put it in gear, and you're on the road. Good gas mileage, comfy seats, stereo, etc. But, you won't win any races with it.

Re:Seems kinda low-spec as a starting point (1)

Bio)-(azard (1421513) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227857)

Yea, I am a long time customer of MicroChip. I have had nothing but great experiences with them. And for what it's worth, you can get C, Pascal, and Basic compiler IDEs from mikroe.com optimized for all their microcontrollers.

Re:Seems kinda low-spec as a starting point (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228217)

I have one of MikroElektronika's boards. It hasn't been a perfect experience, but it got me started quickly. You can see some of my Mad Scientist stuff here [spatula-city.org] . I used the dsPIC33 to emulate video game cartridges in software. :-)

Re:Seems kinda low-spec as a starting point (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227863)

Picaxe chips are good fun. I didnt know a damned thing about electronics until i started playing with these, which get you impressive results for CHEAP.

basic stamp kit is ridiculously expensive next to these.

Re:Seems kinda low-spec as a starting point (1)

quarterbuck (1268694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27229145)

Of course you can buy a 486 [ebay.com] at comparable prices. But I don't think that was the point. He built the circuits, the laptop case, OS, interpreter and applications all from scratch. I think the point is to be a hardhack similar to ones from the Homebrew computer clubs of the past.

Re:Seems kinda low-spec as a starting point (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27229537)

You missed my point. If you're going to do all this stuff from scratch, it's sometimes easier to work with a higher spec part. I write homebrew video games and make homebrew cartridges for an 80s video game system, so the point of the project wasn't lost on me. :-)

And, without seeing the original website, it's hard to say how much of the software stack he did himself. From what others have said, the PICaxe comes with BASIC built in, and so it's a much more turn-key thing. The "Linaxe" link is to "linaxe.bas", so it seems likely that the OS is just the PICaxe BASIC.

Am I saying the project is pointless? No! I'm a CPU focused guy, so that's what I zeroed in on, since that's all I had to go on. (Website's slashdotted.) If it were me picking a CPU, I'd've gone with a higher spec part because it's still cheap, and I'd write all the software anyway. I've never used a PICaxe before or even heard of them. I didn't know it was set up to be programmed in BASIC by default and be a quick and easy "drop in a CPU and make it go without sweating the programming much" sort of device. If this person is content to code in BASIC, their focus is likely on something else, such as the overall case and presentation. Fine by me.

Linaxe + Pong (1)

InvisibleClergy (1430277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227365)

Haha, oh man. Linaxe carries with it an implementation of Pong at the bottom of the source code. So this wooden laptop runs pong.

I think we're somehow coming full-circle, here.

People use microcontrollers in homebrewing? (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227391)

Damn. Kinda goes against the ethos, doesn't it? Or are they trying to replicate Budweiser?

The next version (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227395)

will be made of stone, and use a small bird with a stone tablet as a processor.

what's all this then (2, Interesting)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227489)

Is Slashdot turning into Hack a Day [hackaday.com] today, or what?

Crashed (1)

desinc (788828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227553)

Too bad he also tried to run his server off of it.

Made of wood (2, Funny)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227567)

So, it weighs the same as a duck?

Re:Made of wood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227719)

So, it weighs the same as a duck?

Burn it!

Re:Made of wood (1)

ddusza (775603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227757)

It turned me into a newt.

Re:Made of wood (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227793)

Burn it! Burn it!

Re:Made of wood (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228569)

I spit my wine out when I read that. Damn You !

Re:Made of wood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27228421)

Churches, churches!
Very small rocks!

Bad idea... (1)

sardaukar_siet (559610) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227695)

... running the site on the laptop - with this much load now, it's a fire hazard.

Seriously.. (1)

szorg (1502781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27227781)

That's awesome. That's all I really have to say. A portable pong and text editing machine.

Chris this, Chris that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227909)

This bad boy is a real narcissist!

If you wonder WHAT is a Picaxe microcontroller... (3, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228149)

I just found out that, as the name clearly suggests, it's a preprogrammed PIC microcontroller.

See for yourself at http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/picaxe/ [rev-ed.co.uk] in the Technical Frequently Asked Questions PDF file:

What is a PICAXE microcontroller?

A PICAXE microcontroller is a Microchip PIC microcontroller that has been pre-
programmed with the PICAXE bootstrap code. The bootstrap code enables the
microcontroller to be reprogrammed without the need for an (expensive)
conventional programmer, making the whole download system a very low-cost
simple serial cable!
The bootstrap code also contains common routines (such as how to generate a
pause delay or a sound output), so that each download does not have to waste time
downloading this commonly required data. This makes the download time much
quicker.

I'm sure this "laptop" would have been much faster if based around an AVR. But that would have required more work.

Uhoh... (1)

PhasmatisApparatus (1086395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228313)

The idea of running Linux on a PicAxe microcontroller must excite a lot of people... Every link to a project or explanation of "linaxe" results in 404 errors [chrisfenton.com] and more 404 errors [sourceforge.net] .

Dupe? (1)

pklinken (773410) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228331)

I can't read the article because it's slashdotted, but this 2-year old slashdot story links to the same site.
http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/05/1220220 [slashdot.org]

Re:Dupe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27228481)

This is "version 2" of the project that got posted like 2 years ago.

It's made of wood. And therefore.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27228639)

A witch!!!!!!

Burn it!!!!

slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27228709)

Slashdotted....

http://box170.bluehost.com/highload.html
This Account Has Exceeded Its CPU Quota

I had one of these wooden laptops (2, Funny)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228767)

I tried to install Vista on it and what do you know it wooden go.

I'll just be going then <shame>

Battery life (1)

jeepee (607566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228879)

I almost cried when I saw that thist thing
is powered by 4 AA batteries. Dell should sit
back and learn ! lol

science fair project (1)

icebones (707368) | more than 5 years ago | (#27229051)

People need to realise this is more like the an adult getting to do their version of a science fair project like some of us did in HS. Writting a binary/hex/octal/decimal conversion program or connecting a mobile armatron to a PC are just some of my examples. it wasn't becuase we had to (well we didn't have to go to that level) or would make money, it was because it was something challenging and a way to get to work on things we normally never would have. I wish I had the time to work on things like this.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27229315)

...if it's faster than my Commodore SX64.

Speaking of Destroying It... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27229809)

Something tells me that it will blend.

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