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The Rasberry Pi is the perfect board for a new CS student as it is powerful enough to do almost anything a regular linux server would be normally used for (NAS, Print Server, Web Server) and cheap enough for a starving student to afford. Plus it keeps the students away from playing games as it is too slow to be fun.

Yes it costs only 8 pints for a massively powerful computing platform.

I remember paying 45 pints for a calculator at university (TI 85).

(pints of cheap lager that is).

Measuring costs of hardware in beer brings a whole new twist to "free as in beer"

An 83 is the first machine I programmed on and I think it's still a great tool to start with because of its portability. The Pi is nice because of projects like this article mentioned.

The sad bit is the ti calcs haven't gotten any cheaper. Monopoly rent, anyone?

And? Why should they. They have an eternal shelf life and it's not like their functionality becomes obsolete every two years.

For ref I paid 25GBP for an NSpire CAS - just don't buy new.

Because the cost of manufacture is something like 1% of the cost from 20 years ago? Because similar devices can and would be sold for a fraction of the price if students were allowed to use them?

I don't think it is 1% of the cost. That's an out of the air figure which makes no sense at all.

I used to be an EE and a reduction in manufacturing cost like that is never going to happen unless you're selling LED keyrings or something.

Probably a more realistic one is 80% of the cost and the profit margin has probably been destroyed by the uptake of computers in schools.

Also don't forget that even though they are simple devices, their SoC (z80) is binary compatible going back to 1996 (that's 16 years). It takes a lot of money to keep that compatibility and good supplier relations producing old silicon yet adding features.

Other manufacturers such as Casio don't open up their platform as much as TI and therefore can swap CPUs etc. If you look at Casio, each device is fundamentally different and incompatible. Some of them are SH3, some microcontroller, some dedicated silicon. Buy a Casio 9750 now and it won't run a program you wrote on a 7400 a few years ago.

TI decided to fix all this with the NSpire which uses Mentor Nucleus as the OS and gives people binary compatibility through other means i.e a higher bedrock abstraction.

The 83 is spot on for schools which is why they insist on it. It's just the right device for the job and is a sensible convention.

The NSpire emulates a TI83 to give you an idea how important this is to TI ( http://education.ti.com/images/product-family/nspire-touchpa... )

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