DevTerm is a retro-entertainment terminal. Powerful hardware allows you to smoothly relive the history of various famous video games, software, and even vintage systems. DevTerm provides you with the latest open-source OS, rich applications, and development tools, from Web browsers, multimedia APPs to many indie-game engines.
One more thing, just like LEGO, Gundam, Tamiya, the unique unboxing experience will be as exciting as many assembled toys.
It would at least be aptly retro.
Then an ex lost it reading Fifty Shades in an airport, and you can't buy them any more.
I'm saving up for a Remarkable.
Otherwise, the retro hardware aesthetic is cool. Reminds me a bit of the early briefcase-format portable computers. I can't think of any actual use I would have for a thermal printer, but I like the idea of it.
It's a near copy of the TRS-80 Model 100. It's so close that the people behind this project have been flogging it on TRS-80 mailing lists and other fora.
This version of ergonomics that implies "your neck is going to snap off if you look down" is suspect to me.
Anecdotally, I know many avid readers that have developed forward head posture and various pains from their habit.
I'm not sure people have been reading books flat on a desk or in their lap for thousands of years. After all, literacy was not widespread until relatively recent times. Furthermore, many scholar of the past would read and write on an erect, angled surface when possible: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/medieval-world/mediev... . Personally, I prefer to do the same when reading for any extended period of time.
This does not make it healthy.
Besides, it's wrong: very few people had access to books for "thousands of years" and almost always they were kept on a reading stand, both due to the weight and to keep them safe and clean.
But unlike with this, we can easily shift position and angle with our books.
Is that beige thing labelled Expansion Port a thermal printer? That's what it looked like to me but I couldn't find it identified as such anywhere.
I like the idea, too. I also suspect like you it would turn out to be completely useless. But I can also imagine you might find one or two use cases that turn it into a killer feature and totally validate the entire device.
>DevTerm is a post-modern, digital minimalist lifestyle.
It's more about signaling to others that you embody the "hacker lifestyle" than anything else. Looks cool, your friends will ooh and ahh over it, but probably won't get much use outside of that due to the ergonomics.
> It's more about signaling to others that you embody the "hacker lifestyle" than anything else.
The minimalist lifestyle would be repurposing an old device, not buying an extra one.
I know a physical therapist who would strongly disagree with
this; in fact he explicitly recommends to use a laptop for
ergonomic reasons unless you can achieve a proper, ergonomic
setup with an external screen. The reason being that if used
properly(laptop far back so you can rest the whole forearms and
elbows on the table) the angles and positioning are supposed to
be pretty good.
I'm not an expert in this area myself, but some of my problems
were alleviated by following his advice and he only uses a
laptop himself, so I believe him on that one.
That said you're right in that this flat design without a
foldable screen is not exactly made for long work hours. I'd
say for a session on the go with the device sitting on the lap
it could be worse, though at least a detachable/external
keyboard would help a lot.
This seems hard to imagine, your neck is still going to be strained by looking "down" on the screen all the time. If you have to work with a laptop and don't have access to an external screen at least put it up on a pile of books and use an external keyboard / mouse. That doesn't cost much and improves your posture so much.
It is, but real experience tells me it can work well.
As I mentioned, having a proper setup with an external screen(or
your equivalent suggestion of propping up the laptop and using
external input devices) is better in comparison, but knowing how
to properly use a laptop if that's not possible is important as
I'm glad I listened to his advice because it seemed to fix my
issues for good. If you found a comfortable setup that's
different then that's great as well.
> a professional I know
Please provide proper sources, not random hearsay.
The truth is, it's really hard to do a double-blinded study for these kinds long-term health concerns.
Of course, any good physical therapist will tell you that no hardware can offset the damage of long-term sedentary work. One might say that more active time is the best ergonomic solution.
I trust these people to make a great device that works well, gets support, is fully open source, and is super fun to play with.
These days, I want a cybernetic-augmented vision-nerves-proxy that projects as many windows and other visual artifacts as I want into my visual cone, and typing directly keyed off my brain's Broca's Area (or maybe the area for neuromuscular control of my fingers if using Broca's Area proves to yield too slow an input response). Hopefully powered by nano-powerplants hoovering up fatty acids and adipose cells from my blood, oxidizing into ATP, and generating electricity from the ATP. Hopefully thermal management is sufficient by drinking more water and exhaling more water vapor.
At the same time, we had rooms full of green text terminals that nobody bothered with anymore. You could just jump on one at any time. And because they were distraction-free, they were really great at getting actual work done. No facebook or yahoo or whatever crap it was at that time to distract you :) I kinda miss that. Though it's hard these days to work without documentation and stackoverflow on the side. But needing to invent every wheel did mean making better code in general, I think. It was just a lot slower.
But yeah I've been looking to replicate that experience for a long time. This isn't it though.
I am gobsmacked that eBay sellers are fetching $200+ USD on "vintage" DEC and similar terminals (there was a time they were going for $50 a pop, and if you got your timing right, you could haul them away for free from a university that was transitioning away from them), but if you can afford a big room, then you can afford a herd of terminals to stuff into them, and the serial multiplexer.
Handling distractions got easier when I identified the kind of tasks I really didn't personally like to do and what in my personality caused that antipathy, and set up reward systems for doing them at first, and later delegate them to an employee.
To me, the physicality of one of the "fantasy consoles" mixed with a bit more power might make for some interesting games and projects. The only thing I would wonder is if they could tilt that screen up a bit like an AlphaSmart.
Unless there's a compelling use case or novel platform that gets people really excited, these things are hard to get a large committed audience for.
I'd be interested if they stuck a RISC-V SoC in there -- like say the Kendryte K210.
Personally I applaud the trend of making these devices. They will inspire countless future hackers the way a lot of us have been inspired before.
It feels closer to the Ataris' and Amigas' etc that many of use grew up with. Even if it doesn't live up to that kind of flexibility, it's far better than the damage of handing a kid an android or iOS "appliance".
Seems like the Pinebook guys could make a decent competitor.
Found nothing so far.
Edit: forgot RJ45.
It's not a turn-key solution, but it's not that far off.
I like the concept, but it needs to be two pieces - screen and keyboard - so they can be positioned appropriately, and it needs a full size keyboard with a track point.
You could just about hack something up like this with a tablet that can run Linux and a Thinkpad keyboard, like this one: https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/accessories-and-monitors/new-ar...
Now? I'm not entirely sold on what looks like pretty mediocre ergonomics. Apparently the price is through the roof too.
It was forth the click for the nostalgia, but I have zero interest in spending a fist full of cash for a toy.
First impressions: the default setup is surprisingly good, for what it is. Works a lot better out-of-box than my Ouya ever did, for what it's worth.
Buttons are a little squishy. Not every app supports the menu button. I've had to hard-power-off the device to get out of certain apps. The back-side strip of buttons is a little awkward, though I understand why they did it that way (it's meant to be an add-on).
There is a port next to the USB port that isn't labeled or documented on the website. I think it's HDMI Type D "Micro".
Hooooly hell, there is ZERO documentation for this thing. How do you actually write games for it? I guess you just make a standard GTK application, from what I can see in the forums. There's support for a few popular fantasy consoles and emulators, but making a native app is not clear.
Also, it has an SSH server on by default, but I've yet to be able to get connected to it. Nothing on the forums about it. They just say "you just SSH in over the WiFi".
EDIT: LOL, whoever put this together before me put the speakers in upside down.
As for creating native games, that's not really the intention with this thing. It's more for running fantasy consoles on or running any of the many included emulators. I use mine to playtest my Pico8 games and play new releases.
If you want a real distraction-free portable terminal for stuff like this, take an old netbook or super thin laptop, install openbsd on it (or a very minimal debian), and then use a text mode multi session manager like screen or termux to do everything in the CLI.
Lots of people seem to be moaning about how the keyboard is going to feel aweful. Well so what, its portable got a wide-arsed screen and a printer
 It was really a Kyocera machine branded by Tandy (and others) I knew a Bell Labs department head that owned one back in the late 1980s and used it while traveling. The ergonomics on them was really quite good.
And why go for the Rpi 3 CM when the 4 is out now? That's sad as it leaves a lot of upgradability behind.
PS: What are those wheels on the side? They look a bit typewriterish but I assume they are for something else?
Are pogo pins ok for long-term connections?
Depending on how heavily they're loaded however you might get some connectivity issues with vibrations...
I want to talk a little bit more about that second one, because some people here probably haven’t heard of them:
If you buy a mainframe computer, there’s usually going to be a “local administration console” of some kind built in. This is usually something that looks like a laptop, but which isn’t a laptop per se; it’s repurposed laptop hardware—just the screen and the keyboard—built into hinge-out design such that it’s flat and tucked away into the mainframe chassis itself when not in use. When you pull it out, it springs out and the keyboard hinges up and locks, such that you can use it as a laptop.
But crucially, this “laptop” is not its own computer — rather, it’s wired to be the local display + keyboard of a little accessory server (the aforementioned “support element”) running within the mainframe chassis. And because that accessory server runs the top-level Baseboard Management Controller for the mainframe as a whole, that interface is the management interface for the mainframe — but not a watered-down IPMI web interface; rather, a full-fat GUI client interface with observability and control over the rest of the mainframe.
I’ve always found this “support element” peripheral hardware inspiring as a design approach. Not for the specific hardware involved, or the specific way these attach to the server, but for how the idea behind them could be generalized. Because this hardware interface is essentially an evolution of an older idea — putting a textual management interface as a TTY on a serial port, and giving the mainframe its own VT100-alike connected to that serial port. This is that, but graphical, and with support for things like plugging USB devices into the “laptop” hardware. What’s missing, is the protocol. Only this “laptop” can connect to the support element. But what if anything could?
Imagine if there was a modernized equivalent standard for “a serial port with a TTY attached to it”: a USB-C sub-protocol carrier supporting bonded USB and HDMI, but not to the host—rather, sandboxed under the IOMMU, routed to either the computer’s BIOS, its BMC, or its dom0 VM. Imagine if devices like laptops, tablets-with-keyboards, etc. could run “fullly-graphical terminal emulator” apps, that would support speaking this protocol with such hosts.
If this kind of standard existed, then, as an ops person, you wouldn’t need these built-in support-element peripherals on mainframes; you’d just carry around your laptop, and the mainframe would maybe have a stand to set it on and a retractable USB-C cable; and plugging the cable into your laptop with your fully-graphical terminal emulator open would get you a management console, supporting not just mouse/keyboard interaction but USB redirection, just as if you were running a local VM.
And you would get the same thing if you plugged your laptop into an Intel workstation supporting (and configured for) AMT; or any machine running a bare-metal hypervisor like ESXi. Plug a terminal into that port; get a management console.
Of course, it’s kind of clumsy to carry a laptop around. You’d want something more like one of these thin, modern oscilloscopes — something you can nestle in the crook of your arm while prodding at it with your other hand, or prodding at the computer-under-test itself.
Which — finally — is exactly the use-case DevTerm seems to be built for.
A shame that use-case is, for now, imaginary!
(I would note that Samsung’s DEX wire-protocol for “extending” Android devices to peripheral docks is very close, but not exactly the same. Maybe it could be adapted to fit this use-case!)
But unfortunately, it is much tinier.
The minimalist lifestyle of repurposing an old device, not buying an extra one, would fail to signal your "hacker spirit" as you would not stand out so much - unless say, you add bolts reminiscent of frankenstein to the side of the screen, but you'd need a good excuse, or you might get called out.
This perfectly achieves the goal, with plausible deniability for the bolts: "it was built like that to make opening faster" - as if Phillips head screwdrivers were at a premium...