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Cyberdecks (2013) (rfox.eu)
188 points by keiferski 7 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 104 comments

I always felt that a lot of the aesthetic choices in the cyberpunk genre have been subject to scrutiny as the genre aged. Things like black leather outfits to punk rock. The overall tone of cyberpunk as a genre has always been a favorite of mine. But that it hasn't really changed too much in the decades that came. Instead derivates instead of additions and adjustments to the core cyberpunk genre.

The Cyberdeck itself is well gone a bit off the rails, personally I think a more modern rendition work be more about discreteness it would provide in contrast to a conventional notebook, along with it's utility purposes. But the more modern renditions still heavily favor brick like designs which is fine, sometimes I wish the genre would change. Personally I think the addition of virtual reality and it's inclusion since early on in the genre was a mistake by authors who at the time didn't have an understanding of what the cyberspace really was. This is getting long but if anyone wants to talk I'm all ears.

Having grown up in that era, I think the "cyberpunk" look is very much tied to the end of the 70's nostalgia for the counter-culture of the 50's (I'd even argue that Punk is the first symptom of that nostalgia; a reaction to the hippie aesthetic and a look back to the postwar rebellion of surplus military leather-wear.) So cyberpunk as a vibe is a neon Disco veneer atop the inward-looking exhaustion about the failed Space Age, over a substrate of 50's nostalgia. It was a mash up of dated styles from the start, ageless in the way that all postmodern thing are, because it refuses to imagine a "present", it's just a blend of every past moment.

Cyberdecks in particular though, are dated, because they imagined a Present, and came from the mind of an author whose idea of "a machine that creates a consensual hallucination" was the very typewriter he was using to hallucinate the tale. Gibson had never used a computer when he wrote Neuromancer. So his model starts with what he knows, and alludes to the computers of the day: typewriters you plug into your Sony TV. Having read the book in the 80's, I imagined the cyberdeck as being something between an ZX Spectrum and a TI-99. It had that Bertone wedge aesthetic, and was black. A Keyboard with a ROM slot for the Dixie Flatline. Because while Neuromancer was nominally a sci-fi novel, it wasn't imagining anything new in the way that other Big Science space-age authors did. It was a beat-inspired noir novel about demonology and ghosts, that only happened to take place in the future. It was in its own way backward-looking nostalgia.

And that's why I think it's hard to "date" Cyberpunk: it's not so much futurism as it is encompassing the whole 20th century ("Le Vingtième Siècle" if you will...) and placing it in the future context as a way of transposing it for examination.

Opposite take:

I don't see any 50s nostalgia or "postwar rebellion of surplus military leather-wear" in Bladerunner, one of the biggest influences in the cyberpunk aesthetics (even bigger than Neuromancer, who mostly provided language and concepts, not the look).

I do see 40s noir aesthetics, combined with the "rising Japan", "corporatism", and "dystopian future" ideas of the mid-late 70s.

And Gibson wasn't that far off with his Cyberdeck either. 40 years later and hs description is not that different to a Mac Mini, a Raspberry Pi 400, or even, with some minor form adjustments, to the Apple Vision setup.

If anything both our "cyberspace" and machines are still lackluster compared to the imaginations of that era, even with the authors being "soft" sci-fi and not into engineering.

I don't think it's "hard to date" cyberpunk either. It's a distinctive early 80s vision. The reason that it still looks cool, is because we've lost the knack for inventing new visions of the future (or even bold looking industrial design that's not some minimal Braun inspired fare).

Check solarpunk. The wooden aesthetics with curved bezels will come back. No, not heavy and easily-degrading wood, but wooden covers for hardware and a think layer of safe paint with environmentally kind nano-materials.

Also, more than rpi400, we already had cyberdecks in the 90's: Jornada PDA's.

Install NetBSD on them and you have more power than any smartphone in your pocket, which is just an enhanced pocket TV + videocamera + phone blend. With a proper "cyberdeck", you can write. And if you can write, you can change things, more than resending viral videos making money for anybody else.

> Personally I think the addition of virtual reality and it's inclusion since early on in the genre was a mistake by authors who at the time didn't have an understanding of what the cyberspace really was

It remains a neat way to get around the display problem, though. Even if most practical work in cyberspace takes place on 2D surfaces, nobody really wants to cart around a pair of 34 inch 4k monitors to work on the go.

It may be a little boring but a laptop is basically a "cyber deck".

This came up while I was playing ShadowRun, a cyberpunk game where decks are wielded by spellcaster-type characters in a way that resembles how wands are used by Harry Potter characters (more or less).

There's something about the way that a laptop screen folds towards you (like it might be part of a maw that consumes you and traps you inside it), and about how the input and output surfaces are so close together that you have to hunch to use it, which makes laptops an unsatisfying form factor for a deck.

Imagine the scene in LOtR where Gandalf says "you shall not pass" to the Balrog. A good deck would fit into that scene without making Gandalf look like a dweeb.

There was all sorts of gameplay reasons also as to why they did it, but in shadowrun's 3e->4e transition they changed the whole decks and hacking from a hardwired matrix where people jack in to a basically... wifi/5g type affair. I always felt it lost part of the strange/cool factor in that move.

If I think along the line of B5's technomages, Gandalf's staff is his cyberdeck. It has everything built into it, with a verbal and touch interface to access it. All he'd need is a small, highly directional speaker built into his cloak or hat, and he'd be set.

"You shall not pass!"

"Initializing scan. Acoustic scan of bridge indicates significant brittleness in materials. Initializing directional vibratory motivators to further destabilize bridge materials."

No, you are getting it wrong =)

If you thinkg about it, your command line prompt dispatches and parses "spells" to "tame"... daemons.

Is this why manpages resemble grimoires?

        man -Tpdf perlintro > perlintro.pdf

I would even posit that the modern smart phone meets the requirements as well. I've seen people walking around defcon with Nreal glass on while they were moving about, so there's still ways of modernizing the styling/ ethos of the original intent.

Yeah that's true. Though usually I see more of a retinal display but that's also more of a times piece sort of thing. Carrying around goggles is also kind of makes you really stand out. Google Glasses were pretty interesting in the early 2010s. Realistically for a netrunner, you aren't even really coding while you're at the location, Mr.Robot does a good job with this but in a different way.

that in-meatspace ar/vr devices would be unavoidably nerdy was a trope since at least Snow Crash: “gargoyles” weren’t exactly well regarded.

If we’re going there we might as well have cybernetic eyes right? As long as you can somehow attach the nerves to your new eyes.

"Interface evolves toward transparency. The one you have to devote the least conscious effort to, survives, prospers. This is true for interface hardware as well, so that the cranial jacks and brain inserts and bolts in the neck, all the transitional sci-fi hardware of the sci-fi cyborg, already looks slightly quaint. The real cyborg, the global organism, is so splendidly invasive that these things already seem medieval." -Gibson

That's where things tend to become more complicated. It's dependent on what you're writing and when it's occurring. It's a big leap from retinal displays and discrete leds to full on eyes. Neuroprosthetics especially the Bionic eye are a more complicated. There are biological and technical factors that play a part. Often this is ignored but you kind of can't really do that.

One of the important concepts in cyberpunk, and this applies to the cyberdeck, is the customization of hardware and connectedness between the power user (the jockey) and their gear.

A good cyberdeck isn't clean or new. It's well used, customized, hand repaired.

Which means it has to be customizable and hand repairable. Which (in the common mind) means chunky. Cyberdecks are about a love affair with good tech (full size mechanical keyboard, a trackball, an outdated OS) than slick hardware.

When brand new slick cyberdecks show up in cyberpunk culture they aren't the ones that belong to hackers but signs of a corporate entity. The classic trope is the jockey who takes on a corporate job and discovers his employer is actually a corp because they provide some hot and brand new cyberdeck.

The hacker/jockey/protagonist subverts their culture because they have a personal connection to their tech. It is not disposable, it is loved.

> A good cyberdeck isn't clean or new. It's well used, customized, hand repaired.

This is not by choice, the subjects of the fiction are criminals who largely do not have legal means to get new equipment.

That's why the scene in Johnny Mnemonic when they break into that computer store is so cool. He's got a wish list of gear he knows they will have and that he can use out of the box to do what he needs to do. It shows his competence.

See my other comment on the “are criminals” definition: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=36930716

I generally agree with you, even though I have a soft spot for the 80s-inspired aesthetic that cyberpunk refuses to leave behind. Part of its staying power, I think, is because there simply hasn’t been an alternative “tech aesthetic” with as much appeal since. Devices themselves are no longer sculptural forms but just basic slabs of glass. Nor does there seem to be a relationship between computers and fashion style, as there sort of used to be.

This can also probably be placed in context with the general “death of genre” that has happened since the early 2000s.

Personally I don't think Cyberpunk as a genre has died but rather that it had failed to adapt, by the early 00s we weren't as sure as to how technology would progress into the future and many of the existing assumptions they had made were wrong. Publishers were tending to become less interested in continuing it as many parts of the writing world sort of just began to shift to a field of disrepair.

With science fiction as a whole as a genre sort of just wavering off, the problems with writing a systemic whole and how authorship works making it impossible for any progress to really be made. Comic books as well during this period began to waver off sales slumping as progressively all genres have begun to collapse.

I know that several artists and writers are barely even struggling to get by. Essentially being screwed by the industry they had trusted to take care of them. Neil Gaiman talked about it, how he was paid $40 dollars per comic at times. Those rates are still the exact same today, not exactly 40 dollars but not livable. The same happened to Clarke's World and various other science fiction magazines like Asimov. I'd argue the genre did not die, the entire writing community supporting it has died.

> Personally I don't think Cyberpunk as a genre has died but rather that it had failed to adapt, by the early 00s we weren't as sure as to how technology would progress into the future and many of the existing assumptions they had made were wrong.

I think some of it has just moved on. William Gibson's novels from the 2000s are set in the present. There's no Ono Sendai and the Matrix, instead there are iPods, Google, and weird art is discussed in obsucure web forums.

The TV show Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex had a much more updated setting than the original manga. That show has dated quite well since it first aired 20 years ago.

It's true there are but even these examples are in my opinion too small scale. I had hopes with the reboot of Cyberpunk 2077 but it was largely a miss. It had the cybernetics but not anything else. Personally I think that when Cyberpunk is done well it acts as a metacommentary of how our world runs the people that are often left behind and the stories of others.

Communities for this just don't exist. And they won't. The lives of the average writer in every part of the world just hasn't gotten better, you need groups of people working on things, not just experts but people who can interpret and work together on things. And it doesn't exist. A market could exist but there's no one willing to invest in a venture like this, talking about these complex issues and the lives that people live. A living world. Well, I doubt anyone's really interested.

If you do an online search for "cyberpunk", you will notice that Cyberpunk 2077 has nearly made the word synonymous with a video game. This was probably the last stepping stone that made "cyberpunk" fully mainstream.

It appears to me that the word "cyberpunk" is now stuck to mean some kind of entertainment dressed in something from Bladerunner, with a few glowing lines from Tron, riding the remnants of the last 80s retro futurism wave.

In its heyday, cyberpunk as a literary genre was very far from being mainstream. Mostly, because it wasn't easy to get into. A major ingredient of cyberpunk is an ever changing world that has everybody in it on the edge of being overtaken and alienated by technological advance and cultural change. Often the reader would just be dropped into it, get a few paragraphs of background, and then was left to figure out the rest by themselves.

What changed is: Most of it happended and is here now and is also part of our news. You can see people around you being left behind if they don't adapt to smart phones or the internet. It's not an exciting rollercoaster of a novel anymore if the backdrop isn't a hypothetic low-life street hustle but could be set in a major city near you. Or if a documentary on the opioid crisis or tent cities of homeless looks like it could be part of Gibson's Bridge trilogy, but it isn't. It's reality.

In the 70s and 80s, technology was the path to bright utopias. The 90s had an even brighter outlook on the future after the cold war ended. That was the mainstream. Cyberpunk was the edgy punk who told you the near future might not be so bright. Nowadays you won't have anyone argue with that. All of that is mainstream now. It's not edgy anymore. It's just the sad reality.

Anyone who wants to talk about these societal issues needs to find a different vehicle for it. At least by name. "Cyberpunk" is someone's brand now.

Yep. This is pretty well said.

I thought CP2077 had lots of interesting character stories, for a video game. Not only were there four or five interesting sidekicks/romantic interests, but several missions and literally hundreds of shards, each a short story.

That's it's problem it never really want any further. It's just a generic rpg game. Which is fine for a lot of people, but it wasn't a world. It didn't feel alive or real. Nothing really connected to each other. It was a linear narrative with a simple set of endings. Don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with it. It's just not anything new or really good. What some of the developers promised was a universe a world that was alive, it wasn't that.

There was no human connection besides in the same NPCs. No real drastic changes and nothing that would necessitate what would immerse you into a cyberpunk world. Just a high budget linear AAA title.

Or the smart phone killed Cyberpunk.

Personally, I think that all the nostolgia with cyberpunk, at least for me, is that I grew up in the 80s and Neuromancer was a formitave book for me... and the thing is, as someone who has helped build the tech world we live in --

"Wouldnt it be cool if" was inspired in me and my ilk that we saw these opportunities in tech, and though "wouldnt it be cool if we did XYZ"

And then, as tech nerds from the 80s - we brought as much sci-fi and cyberpunk as we could to how we built out the technoscape.

While being too young to understand the consequences of "what if"... and thus we have Snowden and Wikileaks, and 100% surveillance state... and now we have FN UAP confirmation in the USG...

Cyberpunk has basically molded modern society even if one may not want to acknowledge it.

I'm absolutely here for retro hacking aesthetic inspired by the late 90's candy-coloured iMac phase

That happened in 2004, were even Unix users with fluxbox mimicked Aqua with good copycat themes and metallic icons a la OSX Tiger's QuickTime.

Prefer the Compaq Portable phase, ha ha.

Cyberpunk is 100% a product of the 80s.

I disagree that it should change. Moving beyond what it was kind of ruins it, in the same ways 80s horror movies could be solved with a cell phone.

It's better to look at it as a sub-grene or alternate historical fiction.

I think you have to distinguish between the aesthetic and the themes. The former, is very definitely tied to the '80 and it feel very retro-futuristic today (still cool in its own way).

The themes I think are still relevant today, so much that they are hardly sci-fi anymore.

I think that what makes Cyberpunk appealing has changed over time; it once reflected the concerns of the day, it invited you to reflect about the present and the future looking forward, now it offers solace in familiarity, with the social problems it presented being something that people are used to coping with, it invites you to look into a familiar past.

Back then, it explored the mystery of what the surge of computer technology in daily life meant, and what their makers would become as they grew more powerful. We know how that played out now.

It speculated on what the direction taken by the hegemon of the West, the United States, meant for common people in the future, as it vested itself on the idea that removing fetters on large businesses would deliver boons on the far less powerful, entirely atomized individual. We're well into that now.

The architectural aesthetic was familiar then, more so now. Fear over Japanese investments in the US seem quaint and innocuous, though the wealth transfer from West to East took that was prognosticated was as difficult as portrayed.

That's all forecasting from the state of affairs of the early 80s.

Reading cyberpunk today is done more an act of escapism from the struggles tearing at the seams of society today than exploring current or new ones.

Cyberware and bioware aren't part of the transhumanist experience that cyberpunk primed you for; instead, we have the polemics surrounding the transgender experience, with an intense debate and division on what it means to accept it, going as far as questioning if society should accept it.

Renegades working outside the law aren't clad in anything derived from Punk, that British subculture of rowdy youths espousing familiar ideologies in unsophisticated ways; what we got instead is the aesthetic created by the racial minorities of the US and their feedback loop with the countries of origin of the gangers proper, or their parents, or grandparents, which have more elements that are difficult to deal with for onlookers or people affected by them, from their origin, to consequences, and biases. These people give no space to the rugged individualist, the cartel will demand the submission of individuals to it like a fief, the liberty that the cyberpunk protagonist enjoyed at the margins of society doesn't exist.

A lot of emphasis on neuromamcer was on punk, you know, from cyber punk. 70s punk, dirty, scraggy, poor, filth. This part is omitted in a lot of later Cyberpunk. The cyber part, the internet, was very different envisioned than it turned out to be. Today, cyberpunk is not a vision of a future, but an alternative reality for today. The parts where megacorps are running the world, including militech, resonates, but of course the implementation differences are numerous.

High tech = cyber, low life = punk

Income inequality and resource scarcity will make the average person a cyberpunk.

Cyber actually means self-regulating. It comes from the Greek for "good at steering". Cybernetics was the study of self-regulating systems. I'm not sure where computers and high tech got in the picture other than the fact that cybernetics researchers used computers to analyze things.

Origin of the word cyberpunk: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpunk_(novel)

Anyone have a reference for when the cyber- prefix of cybernetics mutated from meaning control theory to "of or relating to computers and internet"?

Certainly it was not the connotation given by the pioneers of the genre.

I think this comment highlights why cyberpunk has fallen by the wayside.

Even in the 80s, the mainstream culture didn’t understand what cyberpunk (or even punk) represented. Now? probably less so.

Cyberpunk chose not to endorse the oppressive system and it’s heroes were not just self reliant but collaborative. The aesthetic said “your cultural ‘ideals’ are not ours. Keep your distance (because that means we are bothered less by you)”. (Cyber)punk is only counter-culture because of the prevalence of the culture around it. Otherwise it would just be an alternate culture on it’s own.

The reason they were labelled “low lives” or criminals is due to the fact that that culture still had to operate within the bounds of western capitalism.

As a thought experiment to everyone (though will this land if you don’t at least have second-hand knowledge of the existing societal problems? I’m not sure): If you choose not to participate in the credit system and don’t already have money, where do you sleep without being called a criminal or a vagrant? How do you feed yourself without having access to tillable land? How do you communicate with others to expand ideas and share resources?

Now that you mention it, I’d like to see a modern version based on “solar punk” https://youtu.be/z-Ng5ZvrDm4

The black and white line drawing of the Ono-Sendai Cyberspace 7 [0] is basically an exact copy of the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A [1]

0: https://blog.rfox.eu/en/Hardware/Cyberdecks/Untitled_12_thum...

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TI-99/4A#/media/File:TI99-IMG_...

I love that they credit Tumblr and Pinterest for the illustrations, most of which are just taken from the Shadowrun sourcebook. It would be like me crediting The Pirate Bay as the director of a movie.

Sometimes I fire up a MegaDrive/Genesis Shadowrun romhack under Mednafen, it adds lots of stuff and balances the game difficulty a bit down.

Most underrated game of all time. Thanks for the tip on the hacked version.

You have the patch at that HackRom site, I can't recall it's name now. Romhacking?

I think it was Shadowrun 2053 or Shadowrun 2054, one of the patches has the year in the name. If you want to patch it from a Linux/BSD/Mac sys, search for "ips.pl", save it and run it as "perl ips.pl shadowrun.rom thepatchfile.ips". Backup the "shadowrun.rom" rom first.

Ahhh, I thought this would be about real cyberdecks people are actually building now. These devices are basically laptops without a hinge. A "slab" computer with a small, wide-format display and a compact mechanical keyboard layout. They seem to be an off-shoot of the mechanical keyboard builder hobby.

The overwhelming majority of cyberdecks I see get posted on reddit are basically raspi + pelican case + ortho/ergodox. It's grown quite stale and certainly almost none of these devices get toted around despite the emphasis on portability in the source material.

I think a really useful cyberdeck would be something like one of the old chunky ThinkPads with the guts replaced with something smaller, leaving space for a KVM switch and other interconnects/peripherals, so that you can use its keyboard and display for an external server box, or accessing the serial console on random digital signage boxes/IOT things.

Prefer to see more SDR (Software Defined Radio) decks. If this isn't a thing, it should be.

Come do Defcon! there will be a ton of them roaming around.

Me too, like the hackrf portapack.

Unfortunately I think most posters on r/cyberdecks don't have the skills for SDR.

Might say as much about the accessibility of the software though....

It's just extra stress to go out and do real work with handmade tools. Now I have two points of failure. The cyberdeck (unless I have a backup regular laptop) and the actual device I'm working on. If either goes wrong the client is unhappy and I get yelled at(or more likely, they don't actually yell but might like to). Making a cyberdeck as reliable as a laptop is going to be hard, there's lots of mechanical stuff to consider. Might be worth it, but I wouldn't trust a random reddit build with an important job I don't think.

The pi is just OK at best for actually using like a laptop.

I think a really useful cyberdeck would probably be something that could be put together with no soldering or real diy, just 3d printed aesthetic parts, a tablet and keyboard, power bank, etc, nicely mounted but still just some gear in a box like a normal technician would carry.

Or, something not at all meant to be used like a computer, that isn't already portable. No reason solar generators or NASes or something can't look like cyberdecks.

Or maybe something modular in multiple cases. Keyboard/monitor/serial adapter/battery/Ethernet in one, just use a phone for the actual computer part to ssh into stuff, or a secondary pi box if you really need it.

> The overwhelming majority of cyberdecks I see get posted on reddit are basically raspi + pelican case + ortho/ergodox. It's grown quite stale and certainly almost none of these devices get toted around despite the emphasis on portability in the source material.

Yeah, that's basically why I disassociated myself with the subreddit and gave admin to someone else. Originally, I wanted a shared place to have links to interesting projects, but what was for me about functionality, was for most of the others about aesthetics.

I just set the device name in my phone as "cyberdeck" and called it a day.

Can we add 2016 to the title? The article starts with the "2016/02/13" date. Current title is just "Cyberdecks".

They updated the title but the wrong year

> Deck or CyberDeck is this mobile computer first imagined by William Gibson in Neuromancer ...

The Cyberdeck was first used in the 1980 John M. Ford novel Web of Angels, about half a decade before Neuromancer, and before Vinge's far more influential "True Names" for that matter.

I have always had a fondness for Ford's cyberdeck as it had analog sliders as well (and a few other absurd features).

I'd like a cyberdeck that uses a Linux tablet as its display. So I could dock it and use a good small mechanical keyboard, maybe a low profile Keychron, or use it on the go.

An Android tablet would also do, since there's a lot that can be done with Termux, but I'd much rather have a "real" Linux device.

Seeing a keyboard like this one[1] makes me wish I could get some sort of origami fold out dock for a tablet, that would be so cool I'd have to wear shades indoors.

[1] https://lemmy.world/pictrs/image/75acdf98-6bb5-4d5b-8dd5-a87...

I've been using this as my setup for two years, but I've been calling it more humbly an ergonomic mobile computer ( https://www.reddit.com/r/ErgoMobileComputers/ ) , not a cyberdeck.

I'm aiming more for a boring everyday setup to hopefully own less electronics compared to the virtualism/maximalism/tacticool stuff I see in the cyberdeck world. The other thing is I hesitate around maximizing around personal computing - I think we need setups friends can walk up to and use when appropriate.

See https://www.reddit.com/r/ErgoMobileComputers/comments/vzs8mm... for my particular linux tablet setup.

Oh that is really nice, thank you for sharing!

Now that Raspberry PIs are back in stock, I'm actually working on this concept using a Wacom One screen.

The RasPad v3 isn't too far from it:


but touch only, no stylus.

> Now that Raspberrt PIs are back in stock

Didn't see retail 8 GB models in probably over a year, had to confirm, sweet:


I am really close to buying the astro slide for this reason. they plan to support debian, and I'm just waiting for the day that they say debian is fully supported to buy one.

    - Get a netbook, even the libretto would work with a wired conn/pcmpcia/wifi-wpa2 would work with a  custom current-ish kernel such as Hyperbola GNU/Linux once you strip linux-libre of all the unneded junk.

    - Connect kbtin or tintinplusplus to cs.netsville.com 

    - type in "help"
Congrats, you got a recursive retrofuturist experience.

Also, if you use slrn/lynx/links/irssi/gopher/gemini software/networks, you already are in the retro cyberpunk dream.

Finally: gopher://midnight.pub or gemini://midnight.pub . Best viewed under sacc or bombadillo.

OK, I'l correct myself:

    cs.netsville.com 7777
That's it, a cyberpunk MUD.

If you're doing a cyberdeck, and you already include some form of AR display, then why include the keyboard? Haptic feedback gloves [1] are already a thing, and would allow typing wherever. They frankly need to get smaller, and not include such bulky hardware, even if it means "light, soft" feedback, yet they exist. I'd be happy with a floating "type zone" and soft "you touched a key" response. Wolfram's mobile computing piece [2] was one of the only tech things I've been a bit envious of lately.

Now if smart/digital contacts could just get around all the patent fortresses / other issues, and actually produce a working product. Saw research prototypes back in the early 2000's. Apparently people are still trying. [3]

[1] https://www.manus-meta.com/vr-gloves

[2] https://writings.stephenwolfram.com/2019/02/seeking-the-prod...

[3] https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/augmented-reality-co...

https://www.tapwithus.com/product/tap-strap-2/ seems like a very pragmatic option, tech-wise - I'm not convinced floating will ever actually be good. Bouncing off a surface is extremely efficient, self-calibrating, and basically always available in some form (e.g. tap on yourself).

Make it look like knuckle dusters and it will look cyberpunk too

Nah, typing on a keyboard is faster and more precise. I think having a split keyboard with each side on the cummerbund of your plate carrier (split by the mag pouches or med kit you have on the front of your carrier) would work better. Assuming you actually want this to be practical and not just an aesthetic/signaling thing.

Imagine cleaning out the case of a Kaypro II [0], replacing the internals with a RPI or something more capable; the display with an LCD of the same size; and a large battery pack. After leaving a dedicated space for a flask of whiskey, you'd still have a lot of space to put in modules for extra capabilities.

[0] https://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?c=550

The article is from 2016, not 13. I was confused for a minute, like wait did the rift come out then years ago? 2016 was a fairly monumental year for VR and hmds

The whole point of the cyberdeck was that it was a way to see VR in your minds eye rather than with a screen. Hence the no screen. I always thought the decks themselves would be rather boring looking - the keyboard would just be a black rectangle. Only Case could like the aesthetic in any way that was meaningful, which was why Armitage had to have his approval. To anyone else it just looks like a plastic brick.

Is it just me or does the Hosaka OSC 7 look an awful lot like a TI 99/4A?

Odd to me that futurists always seem to eschew the power of convenience. Everything runs on a balance between opportunity and convenience. Technology is created to generate opportunity, then refined to create convenience without losing that opportunity. Decks were never going to take off because nobody wants to deal with a setup that has all the inconveniences of a laptop and a headset and almost none of the advantages of either. Not to mention that the nature of the internet means it's all available at home anyway. There's no advantage to hiding in the back of a delivery truck with your deck and breaking into an evil company's network from their underground parking lot when whatever exploit you used may as well be deployed from your multi-monitor desk at home.

The Hosaka OSC7 looks almost exactly like a TI99/4A... with a neural interface cartridge :)

Didn't Immersed + Oculus 2 basically create the Virtual Desktop mentioned in the article?

The one mentioned in the article exists as a commercial product too: https://www.vrdesktop.net/

Nice article I would say the most cyberdeck looking computers from 80s would probably be MSX/MSX2. I remember reading a blog post from a guy converting an old MSX to a working cyberdeck using Raspberry Pi. Now I want to look up the article again!

Adafruit makes a cyberdeck HAT for the pi400 https://www.adafruit.com/product/4863 It's definitely not the same aesthetic as what people think of as a cyberdeck, but as far as retail cyberdecks go, it might be the closest thing.

I have one of these and they work well, my only issue is display support is limited. running this with a secondary display isn't currently support, you will have to write that yourself. also, window scaling and resizing of windows is not fully supported and you have issues with normal daily use at a screen that size.

if you are 100% sold on a single 3.5" screen and no gui, then it will work. outside of that, it's a novelty item

that pictured black msx with double cartridge + diskette is a Sakhr


I think back to the movie Hackers with a young Angelina Jolie. Lord Nikon, the Sony game at the arcade, the fight over the late night cable channel. Mess with the best, die like the rest.

Hack the Planet !

I recommend this post from the r/cyberdeck subreddit


- Steam Deck

- Viture AR glasses

- Ferris Sweep 34 key Bluetooth Split Keyboard

- Magic Trackpad

This is my intended setup for long term travel, about as cyber deck as it gets.

Have you tried the glasses already? I always wanted something like this but from the LinusTechTips review they seem horrible.

Yes I've tried both the XReal Air and the Viture. I like them. The XReal pinch my head which is really fucking annoying which is the main reason I ended up going for the Viture. The Viture are crystal clear apart from the very edges which are a bit blurry. From comments I've read on reddit, I believe this might be due to mild astigmatism so I'm going to the opticians soon to get my prescription so I can get the custom lenses and see if that fixes it. I think this is the better way forward if you have myopia/astigmatism rather than using the myopia dials on the top of the glasses, I think I have very mild myopia in one eye (like -0.5 or something) so I played around with the dials and you can dial it in with a bit of trial an error but it is an annoying process trying to get it right - they really should have done it so that when you change the dial it shows you what level you're changing it to on the screen (e.g -0.25, -0.5, -0.75 whilst you're turning) which would have made it far easier. Other than that I think they're great. If you want more detail I did a bit of a longer post here where I go into a more detailed comparison of why I went with the Viture over the XReal:



If you want to drive VR you'll need minimum Jetson Nano and 15W.

Whenever I get a swept into the Cyberdeck Youtube rabbit hole and think about building one, after a while of planning, Ideas, etc, I end up realising I just want a notebook with lots of USB Ports.

>The Deck I would like to build: Given unlimited budget and access to good workshop, I would build highly customized workstation, with highly customized software.

I was playing around with the Smalltalk/Self/Alternate Reality Kit kind of highly customized software side of that equation in NeWS PostScript, with the PSIBER Space Deck and Pseudo Scientific Visualizer (inspired by Gibson's Neuromancer of course):

The Shape of PSIBER Space: PostScript Interactive Bug Eradication Routines — October 1989:


>Abstract: The PSIBER Space Deck is an interactive visual user interface to a graphical programming environment, the NeWS window system. It lets you display, manipulate, and navigate the data structures, programs, and processes living in the virtual memory space of NeWS. It is useful as a debugging tool, and as a hands on way to learn about programming in PostScript and NeWS.

>PostScript Source Code Available Here:


>Introduction: Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts … A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding …. [Gibson, Neuromancer]


>The Pseudo Scientific Visualizer

>Darkness fell in from every side, a sphere of singing black, pressure on the extended crystal nerves of the universe of data he had nearly become… And when he was nothing, compressed at the heart of all that dark, there came a point where the dark could be no more, and something tore. The Kuang program spurted from tarnished cloud, Case’s consciousness divided like beads of mercury, arcing above an endless beach the color of the dark silver clouds. His vision was spherical, as though a single retina lined the inner surface of a globe that contained all things, if all things could be counted. [Gibson, Neuromancer]

>The Pseudo Scientific Visualizer is the object browser for the other half of your brain, a fish-eye lens for the macroscopic examination of data. It can display arbitrarily large, arbitrarily deep structures, in a fixed amount of space. It shows form, texture, density, depth, fan out, and complexity.

>It draws a compound object as a circle, then recursively draws its elements, scaled smaller, in an evenly spaced ring, rotated around the circle. The deeper an object, the smaller it is. It will only draw to a certain depth, which you can change while the drawing is in progress.

>It has simple graphical icons for different data types. An array is a circle, and a dictionary is a circle with a dot. The icon for a string is a line, whose length depends on the length of the string. A name is a triangle. A boolean is a peace sign or an international no sign. An event is an envelope. A process is a Porsche.

>It randomly forks off several light weight processes, to draw different parts of the display, so there is lots of drawing going on in different places at once, and the overlapping is less regular.

>After the drawing is complete, the circular compound objects become mouse sensitive, selectable targets. The targets are implemented as round transparent NeWS canvases. When you move the cursor over one, it highlights, and you can click on it to zoom in, pop up a description of it, open up another view of it, or select it, and then push it onto the stack of the PSIBER Space Deck.

>Figure 9 shows a Pseudo Scientific Visualization of the NeWS rootmenu instance dictionary, also shown in figure 3 and figure 8. Figure 10 shows two views of a map of Adventure. Figure 11 shows two views of a map of the ARPAnet. [...]


>References: [...] Shu, Nan C.: Visual Programming; 1988; Van Nostrand Reinhold; New York


I'd be interested to know what SDXL generates for "cyberdeck" based on the images, hopefully some of which come from this article

I'm making focaccia this morning, but give me an hour or two and I'll post a link.

"an hour or two"


minimal prompting - just variations on "handheld electronic cyberdeck, netrunner OR cyperpunk"

Hauntingly beautiful, with a hint of blackberry beefiness. Are these the base prompts, or the refined ones?

No refiner, just base sdxl 1.0 + sdxl vae in automatic1111, 1024x1024, without lora, textual inversions, or embeddings, and largely 2M Karras. Vlad works well, and I'm still sussing out the character of sdxl for a comfui workflow while I wait on controlnet.

The seed seems to matter differently with sdxl, producing stronger but more consistent stylistic variations that the prompt can work with. For example, a recent one produced everything as aqueous media over line art on what looked like cotton rag. I didn't bother to record seeds before, but I'm starting a small list as I come across interesting ones.

Applause for the cyberdeck that looks like a TI99/4A.. saved

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