Meeting 19-07-2014 RISCOS Laptop, Linux Mint and Minecraft

Attending: Michael, Mike H, Richard, Kathleen, Elizabeth, Kieran, Mark

Mike H installed Mint 17 Cinnamon onto his Dell laptop. A discussion took place about the best desktop to use on older hardware, Cinnamon or Mate.  Michael was happy with the end result, Mint 17 was much faster than the original Windows Vista. 

Kieran and Richard made an island on Minecraft – Kieran making cobblestone with lava and water.  Richard was collecting “hard core” getting ready to build.

Kathleen was “house building” on Minecraft – creating walls and fencing etc.

Various discussions took place comparing processors; virtual machines; old versus modern technology, and various hardware suppliers…..

Brioche, Biscuits and Jelly Babies were available for all (thanks to those who brought the treats) and Mike was the perfect coffee/tea Host and space provider as always.

Thank you to Elizabeth for writing this post.

This week I finally found a use for my Raspberry Pi, a  RISCOS laptop.  I use the term ‘laptop’ loosely, because it needs mains power (no battery) and an ethernet cable (no wireless) but it can be used on your lap, and can be folded up to fit in a laptop case.

With interest in the Circular economy growing,  and initiatives like Restart Hosts hosting repair ‘parties’ all around the world,  the slogan sums up the beginning of a major change.  Goods manufactured with reuse, refurbishing and  repair in mind.

iFixit is a global community of people helping each other repair things. Let’s fix the world, one device at a time.”

I have repaired numerous laptops over the years, and it is a constant frustration, when compared to the ease with which most desktop/tower units can be repaired because of their modular build and fairly standardised components.

It is time someone made a laptop with off the shelf components. It is not difficult, and here is an example to prove the point.

This is a standard VGA monitor with stand removed, a USB keyboard with trackpad, a Raspberry Pi and a power pack all fixed to a flat base and with folding hinges for the screen. A HDMI to VGA converter is also in there. There is no battery in this one, but it would be a simple addition.
I know some will say that this is not much of a laptop, and I agree, but it demonstrates how simple a modular build could be with off the shelf parts, and how easy it would be to repair or upgrade. It does not have to be a Raspberry Pi, there are a multitude of boards to choose from. 
I already had most of the parts, and it took an afternoon to assemble. 

RISCOS on this laptop,
 makes heavy use of the middle mouse button, which the laptop does not have. Winmenu maps the windows key as the middle mouse button.
And to end the session, some assembly language examples from a book by Bruce Smith, former technical editor of the Acorn User magazine.

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