Hardware

Raspberry Pi: How a $25 computer could spark a computing revolution

Ultra-cheap computers like the Raspberry Pi could usher in a new wave of pervasive computing

In the last 60 years the computer has evolved from a machine that filled an entire room to a device that can fit in your pocket. And just as the electronics have shrunk, so has the price – opening up the prospect of cheap and pervasive computing.

One of the machines at the vanguard of the low-cost computing revolution is the Raspberry Pi, a $25 Linux box that will go on sale before the end of February. Despite its budget price the Raspberry Pi still packs a punch, with the multi-media capabilities of an original Xbox console, 1080p video playback, and general processing power of a Pentium II/III. Specs-wise the credit card-sized computer is powered by a 700MHz ARM chip inside a Broadcom BCM2835 has a single USB port and 128MB of memory, with an additional $10 buying a souped-up version with two USB ports, 10/100 ethernet and 256MB of memory.

Eben Upton, director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the Cambridge-based charitable body set up to produce the machine, predicts that Raspberry Pi will be the first of many $25 machines.

”In a year’s time everybody will be doing this. It’s not loss making, there’s money in it. I think there’s enough value that once we’ve proven that it’s doable a lot of people are going to jump in,” he told TechRepublic.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation hopes to speed the shift towards low-cost computing along by encouraging other manufacturers and hobbyist computer makers to make their own low-cost computers by open sourcing the design of the Raspberry Pi board in future.

”People often say ‘Don’t you worry that somebody is going to steal your idea?’ but to be honest, deep down, I’ve always hoped that somebody would,” Upton said.

The shift to ultra-low cost computing has become possible because computer chips with very low manufacturing costs now have the processing muscle to deliver what consumers want from their computing devices, Upton said.

”This is an inevitable trend if you look at direction of travel and the amount of performance you can get out of an Arm-based platform,” he said.

Upton said that as bottom-end machines grow in power, consumers will become increasingly unwilling to pay top dollar for a premium device.

”People are increasingly going to be thinking about what they can put up with, rather than paying over the odds for that extra performance margin on the top.”

The trend towards consumers embracing cheap, “good enough” computing can already been seen today, in the market for dedicated graphics cards for PCs, Upton said. Whereas people were once willing to pay for dedicated graphics cards for desktop machines, graphic chips integrated into computer motherboards are now good enough to support 1080p video playback and the graphics needs of most consumers.

”Look at GPUs on PCs: hardly anyone buys a graphics card these days, people will put up with graphics from integrated chips. The embedded integrated chipsets are good enough for what they need, even for some games,” he said.

The shrinking price of information processing is making it economically viable to embed computers in devices where it would not have been possible in the past or to replace expensive bespoke computer platforms with arrays of these low-cost devices. Take the Raspberry Pi, one of the many uses planned for the machine is to place it on a satellite and see how well it functions in the harsh environment of space.

“There are some extreme automation plans out there,” said Upton.

The potential advantage of Raspberry Pi or other what Upton calls commercial off the shelf (COTS) devices, over traditional satellite computer platforms is that COTS devices are far cheaper than the existing satellite computing systems, which have to be customised to work in extremes of temperature and while being bombarded with cosmic radiation.

”You can send 100 COTS platforms into space for the price of one build-spec platform, and even if they don't have good survivability you're probably still left with 10 of that after a year,” said Upton

Of course, people have already dreamt up an array of other uses for the Raspberry Pi: controlling robots, automation applications, running home media centres, running dev platforms or turning it into a Sinclair QL emulator. Not bad for a device built with the modest aim of encouraging kids to code, by providing a low-cost device that can boot into programming environments for computer languages such as Python or C.

The advent of cheap, pervasive computing is inevitable, said Upton, but he hopes that computing platforms will remain open, general purpose machines that can be tinkered with by anyone, rather than closed systems locked to a particular appliance or service.

”I think this is the future. The only question for me is when these cheap, low power computing platforms are going to be open and whether they are going to be based on open software or are going to be closed, appliance like devices. What we’re hoping to do is to influence the evolution of these devices so they end up open and not closed.”

About

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

73 comments
jfreedle2
jfreedle2

When you can install Linux and update on a consistent basis without the machine crashing and causing you to reinstall the machine, then it might be ready to come out of the lab. For the last 12 years I have tested Linux and found it still lacking a solid foundation in which to use as a primary computing operating system. Hopefully the programmers will focus on quality and functionality and improve Linux to be a respectable operating system.

monterioweaver
monterioweaver

If nothing else, this li'l puppy could make a great TC alternative. Virtualization is the chosen path anyhow, so why not decrease the price point for an RDP device, with this $25 one? While the impetus behind its genesis is rooted in the concept of providing youth, from low-to-no-income backgrounds, a viable tool with which they can learn to write code and change the world, per se (to change their own lives at the very least), it can be of tremendous benefit to the educational and SMB sectors as well. Wow! Think about this for a minute...mobile computer labs with super lo-cost operationg numbers...tech-ed classrooms that use these $25 pups as a doorway into virtual machines run on servers running VirtualBox or XenServer (yeah I know VMware is the ticket...or maybe Microsoft, but I'm looking at this from purely a lo-2-no-cost perspective). This could really open up avenues to bring real-world technology to schools and after-school programs into areas where the technology ship has seemed to never to docked.

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

"'People often say ???Don???t you worry that somebody is going to steal your idea???? but to be honest, deep down, I???ve always hoped that somebody would,' Upton said." Many people do worry, and why hope? "...The shift to ultra-low cost computing has become possible because computer chips with very low manufacturing costs now have the processing muscle to deliver what consumers want from their computing devices, Upton said." At least in terms of consumption and the perception, what customers want. (Why is the term being changed to 'consumers'?) And do the customers realize that the "low costs" might one day come back to haunt them, as they see their own wages stagnate or drop, or even vanish? It's kinda hard to be a consumer after a certain point... ???'This is an inevitable trend if you look at direction of travel and the amount of performance you can get out of an Arm-based platform,' he said." Power-savings, yes. Anybody using any of the following applications might disagree: Photoshop Illustrator Visual Studio (any Java IDE) Premiere Pro After Effects Maya ARM is awesome for client-end consumption and basic tasks. But content creation is another beastie altogether, and I don't see developers taking a performance hit. There's a time and a place. Trying to make a panacea out of something usually isn't the best thing to do. "Upton said that as bottom-end machines grow in power, consumers will become increasingly unwilling to pay top dollar for a premium device." Never mind what I'm about to say, I can't disagree with that. Thank Intel and Sandy Bridge for that... but if you're thinking people - or at least content creators - will blindly jump to anything ARM of their own free will, that's not likely to happen for a number of years, yet... "'People are increasingly going to be thinking about what they can put up with, rather than paying over the odds for that extra performance margin on the top.'" To an extent, that's always been the case. Most Americans don't drive high-end Lexus cars or live in mansions or are able to buy small countries at the drop of a hat. The difference is, cheap materials give the impression of getting more, until you realize how much more quickly they wear out... or if they are built in a way that has other consequences that (aren't) beneficial to the customer (despite an implied perception). "The trend towards consumers embracing cheap, ???good enough??? computing can already been seen today, in the market for dedicated graphics cards for PCs, Upton said. Whereas people were once willing to pay for dedicated graphics cards for desktop machines, graphic chips integrated into computer motherboards are now good enough to support 1080p video playback and the graphics needs of most consumers." The article fails to include economic conditions, including stagnating or dropping wages (which have also been brought down by cheap labor, just to help line someone else's pockets.) The article also fails to mention how sheepish people tend to get. They don't always know, might want it if they knew the options, but even then a lack of ethical salespeople doesn't help. Nobody is omniscient... and anybody cannibalizing others for themselves is... not nice.

wompai
wompai

What is it these days with tech-companies and fruity names?!

Sagax-
Sagax-

The economic barrier to computing is far wider spread than those who commonly read this blog might suspect. Some of the older of us remember the Commador and the TRS-80. The RasberryPi is, by comparison, marvelous. The Point is that one must start somewhere. If the RP is all that one can afford, it is at least a start. Who knows, one developmental path maybe the E-textbook.

mikegzxzk44
mikegzxzk44

People fail to see what advances will be made. I can remember the first semi diode made. it was a 1N34 and rated @ 10 milliamps. 0.010 amp. the [b] tubes[/b] I had would handle half an amp at 800 volts. Look @ what semiconductors can do now!! Progress [ as opposed by Congress ] will be made. Or even the first computer in the Steve's garage.

jdn
jdn

While the article does put a definite consumer spin on its application, I see this as a real advance in making everyday devices smarter. If you have a device -- car stereo, refrigerator, coffee machine, telephone, tv remote control -- that you want to make "smart", instead of designing your own chip, operating system, and interface, you can source a $25 linux computer and build your system on top of that. So while on its own, it may be silly to call this device a "computer" that everyday consumers would use the same way we all use our computers today, it is making it easier for manufacturers to embrace open systems when adding brains to their devices we will use.

Bat_Pug
Bat_Pug

It seems to me that most are completely missing the point of the non-profit project. This isn't to replace your gaming machine, or rebuild your corporate infrastructure, or replace your cell phone (yet!?!?). This is to put an incredibly inexpensive piece of hardware in front of masses that otherwise wouldn't have access to anything like this and get them computing, teaching and learning computational thought processes, getting programming into schools, learning the valuable information that can be derived from logical information processing, and those individuals having access to be the next generation of creative programmers and pushing the boundaries of what programming can do. Go to YouTube and just check out what people have already begun to do with Betas of the product. Graphic development, robotics controllers, etc. From a consumer perspective, how cool would it be to just connect this to your HD TV, attach an external hard drive and wireless mouse/keyboard and do whatever you wanted. Most users just surf the web and check email, no problem. Perhaps your kid wants to learn programming, pop in a different SD card and now there in whatever programming language environment they want that will run on ARM architecture. You're a business and what to have a TV setup as an information console, just stream VNC to it from your office PC. There are immediate consumer uses right now, but that's not what it's built for. We will find ways to try and drive this program to giving us bigger and better, but that's not what their trying to accomplish. $25 and a couple accessories, and now computing has become available to a much wider base of creative thinkers.

tbostwick
tbostwick

Tablets are a great area to compare this new Raspberry concept with. MOST tablets are crap that are on the market. How many times I've seen folks using the latest/greatest fresh from the Kohl's department store shelf, that they found sitting next to the Norelco electronic nose hair removers. What they "expect" is a one all/be all device, and what they get is a piece of junk that doesn't do anything, loses their music or won't play it all, takes the worlds worst pictures, doesn't handle email well if at all, and breaks if you sneeze at it. The typical American consumer has devolved into the 'Dollar Store' mentality when it comes to devices like this, and I dare say we'd probably see these on shelves at your local stop-n-rob if they did make it to mass production. We don't need, don't want and don't care if a device like this sees the light of day if it doesn't last, doesn't work and doesn't DO IT ALL. No wonder we've become a throw-away society with junk like this coming up - nothing more than an expensive McDonald's Happy Meal toy.

sarai1313
sarai1313

now some needs to packgae it so even the porest could have a computer for their children at home to do home work onhere in the states and evry were.peace

unconditionalliving
unconditionalliving

"Upton said that as bottom-end machines grow in power, consumers will become increasingly unwilling to pay top dollar for a premium device." I was very glad to see this story in my inbox this morning. But it's a shame that stories like this aren't more common on the tech web-sites. Advertising dollars set the agenda for what we get to read, and so much of the low end stuff, even the best of it, goes under covered in favor of stuff we hear about WAY too often.

Realvdude
Realvdude

The website is well worth a visit. http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs I'll mention a few highlights from the fact page: Has composite video out (TV) and audio, an I/O interface, and a SD card slot. The article had me thinking I could have a use for this (Open VPN server), the FAQ had the old geek experimenter in me moving this to the wish list. Be sure to read the About Us to understand the why behind this device.

babznme
babznme

True, smart phones can do just about anything now....I just recently got a ereader that not only lets me read books but goes online with full web browser, reads Office, gets my email, plays games, plays movies, music, calendar, calculator, lots more I haven't even played with yet....it cost on sale $59. Ok, so it is only 7in. No camera. but it does have it's own display, so I guess it is better than the $25 computer. My thing is, the internet really is a very wide world. And for those who cannot afford more than $25 for their kids to be able to find out about all kinds of things on the web, it is a beautiful thing. It will get information to the world in lesser countries than the USA. I think its great!

a.portman
a.portman

The 'base of a satellite' model is a bit far fetched. As a lab computer/thin client in education, it could have legs. There are schools today using Linux desktops with students. Some have been doing it for years. Something like this, at $100 after a keyboard and screen, could go far. And at $25, there is no troubleshooting, there is toss and replace.

earlehartshorn
earlehartshorn

The last few years there have been a lot of cheap computing devices proposed, but I have yet to see one for sale. When I can buy one and it is actually in my hands, and if it actually does something useful and has a display as good as my phone then I'll believe it. If it is just a cheap game platform for the little kiddies then it's not even worth the $25. Can it do email? Render web pages? Write (and print) a letter? Track my checkbook? Remind me of appointments? Oh yeah, my phone can do that, and much more. I'll bet this device can't.

Slayer_
Slayer_

You are not going to be able to run web pages (And certainly not run HTML5) on such a small device. Even if we ignore the fact that the current crop of browsers like to eat 100 mb of RAM just to display a blank page, web tech is super inefficient and slow. Always has been. And if that device encountered a flash website, then what? I just threw out my folks 1.6 ghz machine because it wasn't powerful enough to even render google results as you type, when it tried, the system froze repeatedly. (Firefox 3.6) It even had 2 gigs of RAM and a 256mb AGP video card... It couldn't even play netflix anymore, the frame rate was less than 2 per second. So its probably going to struggle online, so maybe it will be a word processor? The problem with that, is if you want a word processor, you want a printer. Linux support for printers is not up to par and I suspect such a stripped down version will have lots of issues with drivers. It's not like these devices are running Mint. So word processing could be trouble (maybe). What is left? Maybe paint some pictures on it in a basic image editor? You can probably watch mpeg movies, however DivX and related will probably struggle as those codecs are CPU heavy. If our old machine is any indication, Netflix may not work well either. This is all speculation of course. But isn't the lack of power and Linxux two of the big reasons Netbooks essentially failed.

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

Meanwhile, the rest of the world continues to use Linux more and more. I have been using both GNU/Linux and Windows in desktops and servers, professionally and personally, for many years (closing on two decades). GNU/Linux has always been more stable than Windows, always. On the subject of updating, Windows still does not have a system wide software updating system. Each software vendor has to make its own or let the user update/upgrade the software manually. Compare that with GNU/Linux were updating most/all of the software on the system is trivially simple.

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

Jobs was just a marketer and feel-good peddler. His speeches prove that, time and again. Technology is inevitable, as new materials and methods are made, or innovated upon by previous standards. Materials ready to replace silicon will indeed be an awesome step forward as well...

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

More people do the work (for free, or at a cost since they bought the product to begin with - hint hint), and somebody else will patent it and then implement it, leaving all the workers/creators in the dust. But, that's what people seem to want.

Bizzo
Bizzo

You've hit it right on the head! I've been following the Raspberry Pi for months now, and that's exactly what it's about. When I was a kid, I had a Spectrum/Vic20/BBC Micro etc, which was where I learned programming and got my teeth into I.T., at a very basic level yes, but 10 years after learning basic on a Spectrum, I got a degree in Maths/Computing, and 20 years after that, I'm still working in I.T. What they're trying to do is get kids into programming and scripting and getting them excited about something other than Xbox games. Plug this machine into a TV, plug in a keyboard, switch it on, and you have a linux environment that you can tinker with. If you mess up by deleting some system files or whatever, remove the SD card, put the OS back on it, and bang, you're good to go again. I agree it's not a replacement for a smartphone. It's not the answer to distributed computing. And it's not going to replace the desktop in industry. I don't think it's trying to be any of those things. It's bringing out the inner geek, and making people excited about computing again.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

This is for kids to learn coding on, so what the hell did you deluge of crap have to do with anything?

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

and I agree with you, with everything you said. Which was well said, thank you! Americans have devolved, thanks to the marketing of these cheap trinkets, and then the same people doing that turn around and state how Americans are uneducated. (So they make the system and then blame the people for living in it. Cool, huh?)

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

Which means the article you were happy to see also has an agenda. (Like what doesn't? Can somebody really be critical of absolutely everything?) Not much left to say... except rebuttals, other factors, other mindsets, and arguably other agendas.

tjsobieski
tjsobieski

You just hang around the wrong web sites

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Technology has become a commodity (thanks a LOT, Steve!!), and users have become consumers. We need more stuff like this, more LEGO Mindstorm too, more challenges for the fledgling nerdlings! Otherwise the future in technology will belong to an elite skull and bones clique. Imagine if the Programmer is the Lawyer of the future, the few in the know, who (ab)use their secret knowledge to further their own causes... Hell no!

tjsobieski
tjsobieski

Computerize each and every room of the house for pocket money.

tjsobieski
tjsobieski

That's pretty much the story here. I live in Mexico, and the average monthly salary is about $400 US. My wife teaches English to college students here and cumputer engineering students can't even afford their own computers. Maybe, now they will.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

And when it comes to Micro Satellites it's quite interesting. ;) Col

LaPomme
LaPomme

See the Raspberry Pi site. It's not a game platform--it's a tool, and pretty versatile at that. However, the unit is a computer, not a smartphone. (There will probably never be a smartphone for $25 because people make too much money from the $500 ones.) Think of it as a very small desktop: there's no built-in screen or keyboard or printer but you plug it into them and it works. The operating system is Linux and you can use dozens of Linux programs chosen to suit your needs. Some printers aren't very Linux friendly, I gather, but others are; modern displays and HDTVs should work fine. Anyway, the original purpose was to make something inexpensive children could learn to program on and then create their own new uses for--not just North American kids with affluent parents, either. You may not need or want this but there are a lot of people who would find it useful.

PhilippeV
PhilippeV

those generic computers that are cheap but not fitted to properly make a single function will likely fail. Instead there are already a plethora of devices built on the same principles, featuring a single-chip hardware, and come communication ports, that are already prepared to perform very well a single function. Look at most external multimedia disks! They are equivalent except that they come with an additional disk. And if people want, they can turn it themselves as well to run other functions (there are many projects like this, for example using the Western Digital external storages). The cost is not significantly higher than the price of the hard disk alone. But I doubt that there's a future if such limited machine is not prepackaged to perform well, our of the box, a useful function. Notably because these specs do not contain any decent storage (if you have to plug an external USB drive on it, you've lost the interest of the small box, and the solution is not just less practical, uses more space and cabling, and becomes also more costly to buy). As a generic computing device, the lack of storage (as well as a very small RAM amount) will definitely put such device out of market for today's interactive applications on the Internet: most standard packages, even those built for Linux, won't run on it without severe tweaking of their functionalities (otherwise, there won't be enough Flash space to store the application, or to run it). To be really useful, such device should also include wireless plugs (allowing the use of a cordless mouse and keyboard, with Wifi or Blutooth). May be you could throw the Ethernet RJ11 plug, but such device will find a niche market with enough interoperability only if it has wireless connections. A single USB will not be enough if it also requires using an additional USB hub. But a single USB will be enough if the device has a decent 2.5" hardisk storage, one slot for DRAM (compatible with 4GB), a WiFi N controler and antenna. In this scheme then, the Ethernet remains optional, notably if the USB port is compatible with USB 2.0 ar least (or better with USB 3.0, on which there's ample enough bandwidth to support a tiny USB-to-Ethernet adapter, as well as a wireless video adapter that you'll plug on your TV, if your TV is not already equipped as a multimedia player through the WiFi connection to your home Wireless hotspot). Such device could then be used as an extender for your smartphone, brought within your luggages, using your smartphone or your tablet via WiFi for the user interface of the builtin player, or anything in your neighborhood that has some wireless Internet capability. It could also offer computing capabilities to your existing computer (running maintenance tasks, or helping to render a scene in your game)

tjsobieski
tjsobieski

This thing has been reported on the webs like 4 EVAH, and it's coming out in a couple of weeks. Head on over to their site and lurk the forums, and then talk. BTW, the $35 model will do everything you mention, and more, and doesn't cost more than 10% what your iWHATEVER can do.

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

I wish more people doling out negative votes would share their mindsets... Low-end devices will be able to process HTML5 and some graphics processing (the number of 3D games shows these low-end devices do have SOME muscle, at least for qualified and controlled conditions... until the new version comes out that runs sluggishly, because they are now programming for the latest devices and not all customers upgrade at the same point -- SOME conscientiousness to backward compatibility is not unfair...) Would I do professional photo editing or image manipulation? No way. A high-end laptop made in 2009 struggles with Photoshop for a ~15MP, 300DPI image that can be enlarged to 24x36. Today's ARM-based gadget would crumble. Needs vs situations. Oh, Flash came out around 1992 - back when the 80486 processor was out, and nobody griped about it. Actually, enough people liked it and what its job was (to unify a viewing experience, something no version of HTML (including 5, look it up) has been able to do because the browser makes are incapable of sticking to a unifiedstandard. HTML5 already is fragmented, and it's not going to get better until the companies can be bothered to regulate themselves and each other. Good luck. And, again, a quick web search already has a number of sites telling of the state of HTML5 and fragmentation... For office situations (web browsing, even marginal Flash playing, word processing, the basics), thin clients and ARM have a place and there is some logic involved. But it's not worthy of ubiquity. Not for a number of years, yet.

LaPomme
LaPomme

Would I be correct in inferring that Slayer_ is at least a couple of decades younger than I am? As somebody who started using the Web in the 90s on an IBM XT with 640k b RAM and a Powerbook 100 with a lavish 1MB, I'm quite sure that "web tech" is not intrinsically resource-hungry. Oddly enough, we could not only wordprocess but even edit and lay out whole books on those machines, not to mention handle databases and spreadsheets. Now I'm using a 1GB netbook and it's perfectly adequate to most purposes (as long as one doesn't try t run too many programs at once) including the latest versions of browsers with Flash and other plugins, and sometimes dozens of tabs open at once. The pages that eat 100MB before they show anything are the ones running a ton of third-party data-gathering scripts or a lot of extraneous/bad coding. Web pages don't *have* to be loaded with crap, any more than operating systems or other programs need to be. Linux distros run the gamut from "beta and only for geeks" to "efficient and simple enough for anyone." Lack of power isn't much of an issue when resources aren't being gobbled up by the operating system and you don't need to run the greedier kinds of programs (e.g. MS Office) while you browse. I've downloaded what's needed to run a virtual Raspberry Pi on the netbook, though I haven't used it yet. The idea of a computer the size of a pack or cards as powerful as a Pentium III still boggles my mind but at my age the notion of carrying one, a roll-up keyboard, a USB hub and a couple of cables instead of a five-pound laptop that won't fit in my purse is decidedly attractive. I've already fallen for PortableApps on a USB key and find they can do just about anything. The one real problem I do have is buggy Flash, and that's going to disappear soon, I suspect, in favour of better ways of delivering video.

Kiers
Kiers

I had the 2nd generation asus eee pc running 900Mhz pentium and only 1gb ram with Windoze XP....the darn thing was a BRICK. Like what happened with your folks' computer...instead of throwing it out, I loaded Ubuntu netbook edition on it. Lo and Behold, IT NEVER CRASHED AGAIN! Browser included. so a lot of it has to do with the OS. BTW, the eee that i had, only allowed 4GB for the OS partition....still no problem with Ubuntu.

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

There ARE positives to these new systems, but the one downside is the devaluation of labor. And that makes a lot of people anything but excited. IT and programming are work. It can be rewarding, but if the incentives aren't there, would you spend time and money doing it? (Now think of any industry... there is a pattern, though I don't think it was consciously put in. I don't look good in tinfoil hats, but devaluation of wages HAS occurred and, right now, it doesn't matter if it was planned or a byproduct of "the system" or an oversight or whatever else. People ARE hurting in this country. And others. (I can't vouch for every country, but I doubt Greece allowed its politicians to pay companies to offshore jobs, which helped lead to the revenue problem... or even if companies didn't get subsidy for doing so, the lack of jobs HAS helped create the problem as much as any other factor... and there are many... including students' indolence, and that could be either because they prefer their xbox game or because they're sufficiently conscious of the environment they're growing up in and believe any effort would be all for nothing. That's TRAGIC. And there are so many other factors, nothing is ever so simple, one-sided, et cetera...)

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

convinced it's a government ploy to sterilize the kids! This is exactly the remedy for your ailment. And here you are, frothing at the mouth.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

If they don't go willingly, Lifehacker should fix that :)

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

Doesn't make for a green planet if everything down to drywall is made to help erode electronic circuitry... (okay, I half-digress but there is a reason.) Maybe these thin client, centralized devices will have longer longevity. On paper that sounds nice, but in reality somebody will see "opportunity", whittle something down, and then get a bonus for ingenuity because people are making return purchases due to the lower quality. (like smartphones- newer apps run sluggishly on 2 year old devices. Is 2 years really a fair cutoff point for support? Even Microsoft has shown far longer support terms for product updates...) And the way the US is going, because of globalized wage devaluation, US college students (as will everybody in the "developed" countries) end up in the same third world conditions. (Maybe globalization wasn't well thought-out, or maybe somebody will change the economic structure to let workers do good work and prosper while letting globalization be about expansion instead of migration. That is the more evolved and ethical approach.)

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

Increase supply of workers and wages will go down... The same goes for people with college degrees. More of us = lower wages. The last I recall, do people like enduring pay cut after pay cut? Really? There's nothing wrong with education... until its cost is so obscene that the jobs requiring one that pay so little render it impossible to catch up, get ahead, or get anywhere in the end... meanwhile, gamblers can write off every last cent in bankruptcy. Students and others who are well-meaning continue to get shafted. Sorry to digress, but I think there is an ulterior motive and that's why middle classes - in any number of countries - are starting to flounder.

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

Ditto for people with college degrees: more of us = lower wages. There's nothing wrong with education... until its cost is so obscene that the jobs requiring one that pay so little render it impossible to catch up, get ahead, or get anywhere in the end... Sorry to digress, but I think there is an ulterior motive and that's why middle classes - in any number of countries - are starting to flounder.

Slayer_
Slayer_

It wasn't even powerful enough to power the suggestions from google... Flash was just hopeless. It could play flash from flash 7 and older, but flash 8 and newer it crumbled under the load.

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

of power, from the client-side to the server side. There are advantages, if people are cognizant of implementation and not acting like a herd of lemmings to what one or two hand-picked sources try to shovel. Users used to Office 2007 and 2012 might not like reverting, when they use real-time font previews and other functions that are CPU-heavy... and a web-based UI for online spreadsheets, etc, isn't fully "there" yet. (IMHO, YMMV.) Flash isn't going away, BTW - it's the only platform with DRM. Companies like DRM... but h.265 is poised to get DRM by 2013 (from what I've read, but my knowledge on that codec is spotty... all I currently know is, Adobe got in early with DRM, to keep Flash viable for a bit longer, so take the DRM claim with a pinch of salt...)

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

Historically speaking, Windows has ALWAYS been bloaty compared to competing platforms at that given time. (XP was a hog compared to 2000 Pro...) MS's philosophy has been to put up as little as possible, as early as possible, to retain market share... and then fix things, if deemed profitable to do so... Vista was an abomination, and Windows 7 has problems too (anybody with a dual monitor system, regardless if they're using the base OS or adding SP1) will instantly note the poorly-implemented "power save" feature where the second monitor turns black (but the monitor's status LED shows full power, not sleep mode... oops...) It's more of a mess to fix certain registry issues as well, due to adding a "profile list" into the registry to ensure validation of local user profiles... pity that, if this is for security reasons, it's still possible to rummage around the entire /users folder when one logs in and notices they're now using a "temp" account as well... Security isn't something you want to dole out to end users by saying "Help us do better by letting Windows automatically submit anonymous reports..." It's sad when open source can upend a closed source paradigm. Microsoft has no excuse and Vista and Win7 have shown the level of bloat skyrocketing compared to previous versions. And, from many end users' POV, they see no difference. Just the usual icons (whether they look like glass or toddler toys); they don't see or care for any new functionality...

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

So you're saying, the way to shore up the eminently replaceable US-born IT people, is to make them more rare, by not allowing young kids to learn about computers the way we all did, by playing around with the bare metal! No, offense, but I gotta ask: Were you born dumb, or did you take pills to get that way? By making IT-literate AMERICANS more RARE (which is the "rationale" behind your whining here) you'll only diminish the political power of the AMERICAN IT WORKER. The bad guys in suits Frick'in LOVE a shortage, or haven't you figured that out yet? So far they've had to INVENT a shortage that DOESN*T EXIST... but you're going to save them that trouble aren't you? Create an ACTUAL shortage and you'll have your whole industry on foreign shoulders in no time. Like I said, no offense, but you are thinking with your ASS. JKameleon, would you kindly show this man the error of his ways... and don't spare the blowtorch.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

X-Com UFO Defense is orsum! :^0 Add in Master of Magic, Darklands, Daggerfall, Buck Rogers etc. etc. It's not like these things got any less cool just because we have more clock cycles to play with now. And the big benefit of keeping a small machine for the old games is that it's a matter of time before we can't run them on newer machines. 64 bit processing is already a lot of distance to cover. Too bad about the no-good chips... that's what I kinda expected too, that there'd be some kind of incompatibility. Wouldn't be like you to not know to try a lighter OS.

Slayer_
Slayer_

But that's about it. I would have installed Linux on it, but I already know from a previous attempt on that hardware that Linux doesn't like the Sis graphics chip. But considering just how much faster the i3 they bought is, it wasn't worth trying to maintain that old POS. I still don't think desktops will disappear. I think they will make a come back as people need to store more data, they will come back as home servers instead.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Don't led HypnoToad72 stroke your ego, he's just exploiting you for his own misguided idiocy. He's peddling ignorance, you see. He subscribes to the idea that Technology should be opaque, inaccessible to users except through the UI, because he's dumb enough to think that stupidifying the world will (a) work and (b) serve to shore up US IT-workers wages... All it will do is give the Corporate Overlords that much more of a grip on all of us. They can then freely make development-capable machines more expensive (by shooing all the normal users onto tablets, thus running demand for stand-alone machines into the ground). Then, when they've ensured that the machines that developers need will cost tens of thousands of dollars (again), they can complete their monopoly on tech. And of course, with machines that expensive, the monkeys doing the coding become far less important, especially since said monkeys won't be able to do their job without the corporation providing the hardware (try negotiating wages then). His pro-ignorance standpoint is rotten to the core. Now, that being said, read the About Us section of the Rasperry Pi site; this is a pro-OpenSource ideal, it is NOT about replacing tablets or whatever, it's about running the kind of programs that work JUST fine on low-end machines... vi for instance. It's about letting kids play with the bare metal, just like how you and I learned tech back in the day. Nowadays kids only get access to entirely pre-chewed technology that cannot teach them anything. Raspberry Pi is about stopping that. And about empowering poor people to stand up to the corporocracy. That said, have you considered that your 1.6ghz machine was maybe in poor shape, was poorly designed or was running the wrong OS and programs? If nothing else it can run Oldgames just fine.

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