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I've always been disappointed that I missed out on this era of computing. I had a couple Apple IIs in the late 90s, and I enjoyed them immensely, but it was old stuff by then and much of the community was gone, and people had moved on to newer things.

I have dreams of creating a modern microcomputer. A computer for the hacker masses, inexpensive with modest specifications and simple design, with ample parallel and serial IO. Something that puts you close to the metal with few distractions and limited complexity, like an arduino but interactive and self-contained. Like what the Raspberry Pi was meant to be, but without binary blobs and complicated operating systems.

Is that an idea that appeals to anyone else? Whenever I think about it, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I know some of it is nostalgia, but I also think there is a lot to be said for the creativity and inspiration that arises from working in simple constrained systems.

I'm nostalgic for the days of 8 and 16 bit computing but whenever I sit down at my c64 or Amiga now I marvel at how far we've come.

That said, I agree that a simple and constrained environment can be great for learning and creativity. This is one of the reasons I'm currently writing a Logo interpreter reminiscent of ones I used as a kid in the 80's, using an Apple Logo II manual as a guide. Hopefully I can get my almost six year old daughter interested in playing with it!

Awesome, logo on the Apple II was my first introduction to programming. I hope she likes it too.

Logo! Are you going to open source the interpreter?

It's at github.com/adkennan/logo but is still very much a work in progress. My goal is to get it running nicely on a Raspberry Pi.

logogo, gologo, goturtles?

logo-a-go-go perhaps? I haven't spent much time thinking about a project name beyond "my logo interpreter that's on github"

Plus, just because it's written in Go I don't think an application should have extra "go's" in it's name!

Yep. I was just a couple years too late for a lot of tech. In high school, they retired the card punch and card reader the year before. In college there were still card decks being run and bins of printouts but everything new was being done on glass TTYs. We had teletypes in a few labs but only once did I ever see one used when we got one working again to play with.

I wonder if the kids a few years behind me say things like "they stopped using floppies right before I started" or "I never did see a dot-matrix printer actually print".

I also wish there was a simple micro out there. I still have an old senior design project sitting in a drawer at Tampa Hackerspace. It's a Jeopardy style quiz show buzzer system built from a Z80 (old even when we used it), I think a 8255 (because I had a pile of them), a little TTL glue, a EPROM with a few hundred lines of hand-assembled code, no RAM, and a 555 timer for a clock. The clock is so slow that we also used it for the audio for the buzzer. It's been a fun board to haul out and throw on a logic analyzer to show people. Can't probe the address bus on an ARM or Atmel. But kids today probably look at that like I used to look at tube testers.

I would love to be able to buy a modern replica of the original '70's mail-order kit. There are microcontroller-based hardware simulators (like the one in the video), but there's no fun when you cannot assemble one yourself out of old school DIP parts... Just looking at the original kit ad [1] makes me feel all giddy.

[1] - http://science.slc.edu/~jmarshall/courses/2003/spring/cs10/l...

Oh yeah, I haven't thought about a project like that in a while, but I've definitely gone around the homebrew-cpu webring a few times. It sure would be fun.

For what it's worth, the guy in the video seems to sell clone kits. The kit and assembled version are the same price as the original assembled machine, $621 (though the replicas have a lot of additional stuff thrown in). Not exactly a cheap, but if you really want one, you can get one.

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