Welp, hosed a few critical traces being clumsy, so my build is on hold while I await a replacement board. Hopefully should be back in action by next weekend. Dammit.

Still waiting on that replacement PCB for my but went ahead and got the dual serial module done today (after numerous surprise yaks showed up for a shave and a haircut)

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May have taken most of the day to get to, but I have now completed the dual clock module for my system!

Sure, you may have overclocking options, but you ain't got nothing like this...

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@djsundog Ooh buddy, I can't wait to see what kind of software you get running on this thing.

I want you to make me jealous enough that I can't help but build my own.

@ajroach42 that's kinda what I'm hoping for, a good enough experience on my part to drive adoption amongst my fedifriends - we need our own platform Around This Place and well, this one might be just about right for a lot of fun experimental things

@djsundog So this is a thing I think about a lot, and it's interesting that you used the phrase "our own platform" because that's exactly how I referred to it when I was talking to my buddy Ryan the other day.

Or really, what I said is that we spend all our lives making things for Other People's platforms, and it was time for us to have our own.

I have ideas, but they aren't ready for public consumption.

@ajroach42 I feel ya and, as usual, dig the frequencies you're vibrating at. we might be at a sweet spot in time where we can come up with a whole spectrum of overlapping yet independent platforms that folk can build or join. it's definitely worth trying, as the early promise of the internet has gotten overly co-opted by commercial interests and we all know it at this point.

@djsundog So the thing that I've been thinking and talking about is basically just how do we:

1) Make computing personal
2) Make personal computers tools that are understandable, and can be modified (hardware and software)
3) Liberate personal computers from any pretense of corporate influence,
4) find a way to harness all the disparate energies going in to 1) 2) and 3) and bring them in to a unified thread.

and ...

@djsundog I think about things like the odroid go, or the ESPBoy or the Arduboy, or the various Pi based handhelds and I find myself wanting a game device or a game platform that's just a touch more open, and that can get some widespread adoption from the maker community.

I think about things like the BASICEngine and the wonderful machine you're building and I want something that can be hand assembled, but that is expandable and can get enough attention from developers to turn in to something.

@djsundog It doesn't have to be "modern" in any sense of the word. It needs to be understandable. It needs to be networked, and making something that is Networked and understandable is difficult but not impossible.

I dunno. I just feel like there is a level of complexity at which computers are fully understandable, but where they can be very useful.

But, again, the ideas are nebulous. I don't have anything concrete yet. Maybe you can beat me to it.

@ajroach42 think it's more likely that a bunch of us end up converging on some tasty mix of understandable and implementable architecture with flexible and open hardware and a wide spectrum of software tools, old and new, to flex it


I think that it's going to have to be communicated intentionally at some point.

It's not just that this is a computer you can build yourself, or some software you can run, it's that this is a community of people who share goals with you, building simple tools and creating the future.

@djsundog There was a VM the name of which escapes me at the moment, but it was designed to run on very early 8 bit computers, and has been ported to like graphing calculators and microcontrollers and stuff. Designed for less than 4k of RAM.

And, at this point, there's a library of a couple hundred games for it, and it can be run basically anywhere.

That's magical to me.

@djsundog When I say "communicated intentionally" and "community" it occurs to me that I'm basically talking about a new, less bloated FSF.

A Small Software Foundation, or something to that effect.

o.0 who has time for that?


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okay, so I ate and digested to try and give my brain some background processes to let some things coalesce, and they really haven't, but they're percolating in pleasant ways...

the anarchist in me says a Small Software Foundation looks like a thousand small Software Foundations, each slightly different and remarkably similar, like fidonet nodes...

where people build systems around microprocessors, or FPGAs, or old silicon, or new, addressing the needs of a tribe they find with similar desires, needs, and such...

where people are mashing up tech and remixing it in unpredictable ways, a chaotic distributed loose network of garages and community centers and libraries and basements and squats and tents filled with projects combining cheap tech with cutting edge comp sci research... Chris Webber's ocaps and gremlins and Jacky Alcine's indieweb work and Dino's mesh networks implemented in schemes and scratch and forths and hypercard stacks running under unixes and RTOSes and microkernels and baremetal on Vertigo's Kestrel hardware and Requiem's discrete logic mainframe and Technomancy's SBC decks and odroid gos and everything in between, all touching on each other across dozens of different transports using dozens of different models, each with tradeoffs that fit some group's perfect use case without compromising any other groups' needs in the process... (not tagging folk because they're just some of the examples but hi if you see this, your stuff rocks and I see you, and also all the hundreds of people I didn't just type the names and projects of who also rock and stuff rocks and I see all y'all too...crap, where was I...)

ever since I was a kid, I wanted to see the system of systems emerge, where all kinds of interesting effects could come into being and mutate as users from all over brought their spice to the pot and joined the jam session that never ends...it's part of why my focus always seems so scattered and breezy, because there are so many edges to The Thing...

I feel like we're closer to the alternate world, the one where Woz and Raskin were the ones who stayed on at Apple and the garages never got left behind, now than we've been, and I feel like a lot of the right ideas and directions are really building momentum On Here and elsewhere as a mass of subconscious discontent starts to get shrugged off and people start letting themselves play again and it feeds my soul the same way a great night jamming with a room full of musicians, new and old, loving each other and the night and the energies...

I just feel good, dig? Things are good in the world of small, community-oriented tech. People are growing healthy spaces at manageable sizes even while the world around them screams about global reach and scalability and all the things that dilute the power of the connections between people. It's heartening and gives me more hope for humanity than most things that are happening in the world.

Anyway, knowing you're the kind of cat who definitely made it all the way to this point, thanks for letting me, once again, ramble and preach to the choir. You're one of my tribe and always have been and I'm glad we've finally connected over these last few years because you inspire me and feed my fires even when I'm low on fuel.

Jam on, my friend, jam on.


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@djsundog @ajroach42 STOP BREAKING MY MONITOR!

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re: rambling and riffing at length (3000+ chars) 

@Ricardus @ajroach42 I have been breaking your monitors longer than anyone else On Here by like thirty years so I'm surprised you'd think it'd stop now, frankly ;)

re: rambling and riffing at length (3000+ chars) 

@djsundog @ajroach42 This is a fair point.

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@djsundog Of course self organizing is the way things should land, and I'm glad you called it out.

It's up to us to document not only what we build, but also why we build, and to support one another as we stumble in a new direction.

Thank you.

More thoughts on small software and community building 


I'm okay at designing and building things, and specifically, I can adapt and pipe together existing tools to get something that does what I need it to do.

But I'm better at talking about the things that other people have built, helping to bring people together, bringing attention to neat crap.

I can build things, but I'm better as an amplifier. That's a lot of what my plans for 2021 are about.

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