The Ponk Room Blog
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About The Blog
The list above shows tha last 15 entries. I'll probably change the selection method to a date based system once there are a few more entries. Click an entry title to see it.
This is the blog which used to be on another of my websites, now defunct (www.cobblers.org.uk). The last post was 8 years ago I moved it here without any problems. The editing functions have been brought up to date, so I can now add new entries and upload pictures. The display code (text) has been updated too e.g. the broken links are either removed or fixed.
25th June 2021
Posted On: 2021-08-22 18:14:05
A lot of computer in a small space
I'm starting this page of the blog with a picture of the PET computer because it was the first personal computer that I had experience of (with ??). It was introduced in 1977. The link above will tell you all you need to know, but perhaps the most telling statistic is that the PET had 4K bytes ( 4 thousand ) of RAM. The Raspberry Pi I have here sitting on my desk has 8 GIGA bytes ( thousand thousand thousand - that is a million times more ) of memory in a microSD card.
It's not really possible for me to fully grasp and understand the enormity of the changes in computer hardware and software in the last 44 years ( 1977 to 2021 ). The PET was not the first computer I used. We had a DEC PDP 8 clone (whose name I have forgotten) in the Electronics Department where I was taught, some 9 years earlier, but ithe PET was the first Home or Personal computer. Another example of the amazing progress in technology is the mobile phone. These did not exist when the PET was born.
And now we have the Raspberry Pi. The largest component on the board is the Gigabit Ethernet connector at top right.. It has 2G and 5G wireless and bluetooth. It supports two 4K monitors via HDMI connectors.. There are 4 USB connectors - two "C" and two "B". The 8Gb of memory can just be seen as the little black line poking out half way down the LH edge. It has an external 5V PSU.
It comes supplied with Debian Linux already installed on the memory card, if you wish. and the Debian GUI is very similar to Windows, so first time Linux users should have no problems using it. Other Linux distributions can be used, though I'm not fighting a Linux Distro war here -- Debian works, so let it be.
I plugged-in all the bits then plugged in a monitor. Actually it is an old and not-so-smart-anymoreTV which has a HDMI input - all of my PC monitors are VGA or DVI. Fired it up and it worked first time. Cracking picture from the TV monitor - much better than cheap PC monitors I think. Connected to my 5G WiFi with no problems. . I think there must be an antenna printed on one of the layers of the PCB. PC Sound comes from theTVr speakers via the HDMI - cool !
It's quick enough on most web site and GMail. Some of the big movies on UTube make it stutter a bit, but I won't be watching UTube on it, so not a problem. I've not had time to experiment with it too much. I expect it will run Libre Office without any trouble.
There is much more information on the PI web site. And if you buy something from them, note that the address of Raspberry Pi Trading is The Maurice Wilkes Building, Cowley Road, Cambridge, Look him up. I'm sure he would have wanted a Pi !
So this will be the link from the SDR to my home network. That should enable me to "listen to the wireless" anywhere in the house. I'm waiting the arrival of the SDR from Germany. The UK supplier did not seem interested in making a sale. His web site is broken and no one answers the phone.. I'm awaiting a parcel. I'll update the blog in a few days time (hopefully ! ). The thing that could screw this up is Brexit - I wonder how much delay my parcel will experience travelling through HM customs ? Quite a lot it seems. Device has not arrived so I emailed the supplier in Germany. "Sent 8 days ago. It's in Southampton awaiting customs clearance" Worth it though - think of that £350M the NHS gets every week. !