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A project log for PiCarts: GPIO ROM Carts

Loading from ROM cartridges plugged into the GPIO port. Just like the old days.

DustinDustin 06/16/2021 at 12:192 Comments

My first experience with computers came when I was very young. Unfortunately, my mother would dump my sister and I off at The Boys and Girls club every chance she got, so that's how I spent much of my early childhood. It always made me very uncomfortable around other people, and there were probably at least a hundred other kids there every day. Once I was old enough, maybe 5 or 6, they granted me access to the computer lab, with it's many iMacs. On these were installed many games. My favorite was always Age of Empires. I played for countless hours on those computers, and they got me very comfortable with computers of all kinds. This was a very important experience for me, as I had something to do that was oddly comforting. I spent much of my life so far being very uncomfortable, but my computers have kept me sane over the years. While scrolling around on the internet today, I found an article that really made me happy. An engineer donated his time and efforts to a local library to teach Python to kids. He used the Raspberry Pi 400. This is the exact context I imagine the Pi 400 is best suited for. I imagine an entire computer lab full of them, with all kinds of interesting programs, documentation, books, video tutorials, and education games. I believe that learning how to use computers is an essential skill these days, and I know there are many kids out there that don't get the chance, or don't get access to higher levels of knowledge. The computer labs of my past shaped me and gave me direction in life. I know my little project isn't likely to grow to the level that the Raspberry Pi Foundation has, but I admire their work and hope to enhance the experience. My PiCart project is being developed initially for games and software, but the ability to add hardware is what I think would really help people learn new skills faster. It's really not that hard to plug an Arduino into a USB port and open the IDE, unless you're a librarian, teacher, or parent who has no idea how to help. I remember my parents and teachers trying to help me with my computers...it rarely went well. I'd always wished I grew up in the 8 bit era of computing with its simple, rugged, and functional cartridges. They added extra software, and often extra hardware to work with, teaching new skills at times. Even if I have to find it myself someday, I'd love to see a library computer lab loaded with Pi 400s, tons of books and cheat sheets, and shelves of cartridges that could be borrowed and bought. There aren't many native games for Linux that will run on the Pi either, so I'd love to see that take off as well. Especially open source Python games that people could tinker with and make their own. I may be moving back to my he town for a few months for a new job, which gives me a chance to visit my childhood library. I may be able to donate some Pis and carts to them and set up a small programming area in the computer lab and teach some basic classes. I've taught a few things over the years and find it to be some of the most rewarding work I could find. At only $100 per kit plus monitor, I could afford to get a few stations set up. They may even offer to fund the project. Leaving something like that behind when I move to California would be very satisfying to me. I may eventually sell these carts if there is demand, and just use the income for more educational work. I've always wanted to give back, but wasn't sure how. I know this project is ambitious and may never take off, but I want to give it the greatest chance possible. If a single kid sits down at a Pi, plugs in a cartridge, and learns something, I'll be entirely happy. 

https://opensource.com/article/21/6/teach-python-raspberry-pi

Discussions

DanielWilliams78 wrote 11/08/2021 at 12:00 point

It's great that there is such an app! 
I haven't seen any quality apps for education before. It is a very useful resource, though. I would also like to find an app to improve my writing skills. I really need to write a graduate school admissions essay, but it is very difficult for me. That's why I entrusted it to professionals. After all, any mistake can reduce the chances of admission. A good understanding of how to write an essay without mistakes can find here https://collegetotal.com/strategies-for-writing-a-statement-of-purpose-grad-school-essay/ is, in my opinion, a very necessary recommendation. But since my writing skills have always been poor, I still turned to professionals for help.  

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Dustin wrote 10/29/2021 at 10:24 point

Thank you. I agree. I've been focusing on removing obstacles in my life for the past few years. Learning to program has been especially difficult for me. The Pi 400 removes many obstacles at once. The cartridges would remove even more. It's nice to see someone take the time to read the logs and especially share some thoughts. 

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