I'm a big fan of Kickstarter and have personally backed over a dozen projects to date. I'm also a big fan of technology, particularly videogame and computer stuff, and practically gobble up anything new that I can. So why I am not caught up in OUYA videogame console frenzy? It has over $3 million in pledges in a little over 24 hours from over 25,000 backers, so it's already a success, and this will all surely continue to tick up dramatically and impressively over its remaining 28 days of open pledges, perhaps even breaking the Kickstarter record along the way. Clearly then, I'm in the minority when it comes to figuring out the appeal, so let's break it down.
- Significant redesign of hardware carried out to resolve availability problems with the main processor as well as add a few features/enhancements.
- Shipping of beta boards to hardware testers at the beginning of 2012. Firmware debugging now largely complete.
- ISA-bus expansion option for flea86 - design finalized and ready for final testing.
After a few distractions (including a bout of flu), I managed to get back to seeing to what extent I can transform this minimal hardware into a real PC...
Well, a few things have happened since my Flea86 project introduction from the previous month. This month's latest update will cover the following :
1) Completion of Flea86 case design transfer to CAD.
2) Inclusion of EGA (planar) video support for Flea86.
I came across this unusual homebrew offering and thought it interesting enough to share. For anywhere from $35 - $150, this gentleman will create a USB device that interfaces with from one console or computer port ($35), all the way up to 12+ ($150) console or computer ports. Bottom line, that means you can use just about any controller from just about any system (Atari 2600, Mattel Intellivision, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, 3DO, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, etc.) with your favorite HID-compliant PC emulator, creating more of that "real feel" experience that we're always after. The pricing is actually reasonable for a hand-made product like this, but he even offers up the plans for free so you can build your own. Check it out here. While there have been other solutions like this is in the past - some that provide a breakout box like this and others that modify the controller itself - this is the most expansive such attempt to date.
Though I've been highly critical of Commodore USA in the past for their questionable business practices and use of the Commodore brand, it looks like their latest project is actually a noble one--recreating the Commodore 64 as a modern day PC. While it's clear those are merely high quality renders, they did also post some prototype photos from a plastic printer. While Commodore USA does not have the scalability to offer reasonable pricing, I certainly commend their efforts this time around. As just one example of the usefulness of this forthcoming product, if you're a hardcore Commodore 64 homebrew programmer, there would probably be no better way than to run an emulator on this computer and hack away with a highly usable version of the original keyboard.
Our friends over at XGameStation have updated their product line with two new additions. Unfamiliar with the XGameStation concept? The product description for the new XGS Pico Edition 2.0 sums it up best:
"The XGameStation Pico Edition 2.0 is based on the technologies of its bigger brother the XGameStation Micro Edition. However, the Pico Edition is a more simplified unit that you assemble yourself! The XGS Pico Edition 2.0 comes with both the XGS Pico Edition 1.0 solderless breadboard and parts as well as the Pico PCB Add-On Kit, so it's two kits in one! After you build the solderless breadboard version then you can solder your unit together and have a completely portable embedded game system that you can re-program."
The full release: