It’s not every day that an open-source, portable Linux handheld computer gets announced, so I couldn’t resist placing an order for the DevTerm by ClockworkPi back when we first learned about the stylish little terminal, which includes a 1280 x 480 screen (double-wide VGA) and a modular little thermal printer.
Of course, the global semiconductor shortage combined with shipping slowdowns led to delays, but things did ultimately come together for the project. I’ve always been a sucker for small-format machines, especially ones that come as a well-designed kit, and that means I can tell you all about what it was like to put it together and turn it on. There’s a lot to look at, so let’s get started.
Continue reading “Review: DevTerm Linux Handheld Has Retro-Future Vibe”
Sometimes we cover works of extreme technological merit here at Hackaday, other times we cover interesting projects that while they might not lie at the bleeding edge are interesting enough that they deserve a wider audience. Sometimes though, we bring you something in this field simply because it amuses us and we think it will you too. Such is the case with [Bryan Lunduke]’s look at making a Linux desktop look like Windows 95. And lest you think that it might be yet another skin to make Windows users transition to Linux a bit easier, the aim and result is to make it look exactly like Microsoft’s mid-90s desktop.
Underneath it all is the relatively familiar xUbuntu distribution, with a deliciously troll-worthy project called Chicago95 atop it. This takes some existing Windows 95 theme and icon projects, and adds GTK themes, an MS-DOS shell theme, the ability to install those cheesy ’90s Plus! themes, and a Microsoft Office 95 theme for LibreOffice. It really does deliver an experience very close to the Redmond original.
So, what’s the point here in 2022? In the first instance it’s an excellent opportunity to troll open-source enthusiast friends with a crusty laptop seemingly running ’95 and showing YouTube videos on Netscape Navigator 3. But beyond the jokes there is a serious use for it. There may be many criticisms that can be leveled at Windows 95, but it’s safe to say that its GUI was a significant success whose echoes can be found in many desktops here in 2022. There are a huge number of people in the world who are completely at home in a Windows 95 environment who might struggle with a Linux desktop, and this gives them a way to be immediately productive. Would you give your grandmother a Linux box with this desktop?
LED and LCD displays are a technological marvel. They’ve brought the price of televisions and monitors down to unheard-of levels since the days of CRTs, but this upside arguably comes with an aesthetic cost. When everything is covered in bland computer screens, the world tends to look a lot more monotonous. Not so several decades ago when there were many sharply contrasting ways of displaying information. One example of this different time comes to us by way of this split-flap display that [Erich] has been recreating.
Split-flap displays work by printing letters or numbers on a series of flaps that are attached to a spindle with a stepper motor. Each step of the motor turns the display by one character. They can be noisy and do require a large amount of maintenance compared to modern displays, but have some advantages as well. [Erich]’s version is built out of new acrylic and MDF, and uses an Arduino as the control board. A 3D printer and CNC machine keep the tolerances tight enough for the display to work smoothly and also enable him to expand the display as needed since each character display is fairly modular.
Right now, [Erich]’s display has 20 characters on two different rows and definitely brings us back to the bygone era where displays of this style would have been prominent in airports and train stations. This display uses a lot of the basics from another split flap display that we featured a few years ago but has some improvements. And, if you’d prefer restorations of old displays rather than modern incarnations, we have you covered there as well.
Continue reading “Split Flap Display Tells Us The Word”