New Thoughts On This Project

A project log for 8-Bit Portable Internet-Enabled Computer

A portable computer based on the MOS 6502 that aims to enhance security and privacy.

Blair VidakovichBlair Vidakovich 12/10/2021 at 23:060 Comments

The last couple of posts I made on this project were on the 2nd December. But, before then, I had not actually done any significant or substantial work on this project since some time in 2018--now almost 3 or 4 years ago.

I originally indicated, a few days ago, that I wanted to use a pre-existing project for the video output for this computer, but I have, yet again, changed my mind, and I think I need to post a longer project log in order to clarify and communicate my thoughts.

In this update, I want to:

Radically Changing the Design

After refreshing myself with all my original development on this project, I have decided to radically change the design. I would be nice to use a 6502 CPU, with all of the supporting components and design of this project, but I think it is far too complex. I think there are far too many connections and components in order to make this a viable project for people to follow along and build their own version of this project.

uLisp, Lisp for Microcontrollers

I have spent quite a bit of time away from hackaday, but I have continued to be productive. I have been learning Common Lisp, as well as Emacs Lisp. Indeed I have been using Emacs as my window manager for a few years now, and do almost all of my work on my computer inside GNU Emacs.

My inquiries and investigations into Lisp brought this incredible project to my attention some time ago.

The project is called 'uLisp', and it implements some subset of Common Lisp for a wide array of embedded microcontroller computing platforms. I believe choosing a microcontroller supported by uLisp solves many problems at once, when it comes to constructing this project:

  1. It provides a complete software stack for the project. That is, uLisp allows a simple and coherent way for a human to take control of this computer's hardware, and extend its operation.
  2. It supports a wide variety of 8-bit to 64-bit microcontroller platforms, and therefore makes it as simple as selecting and acquiring, say, an Arduino in order to satisfy the requirements of this project that it be low in power consumption, powerful enough (and no more) to achieve the human-interface requirements, and follow the privacy and hardware safety requirements I originally set out for this project.
  3. It makes the project cheaper to construct by oneself.
  4. It makes the project trivially simple to construct by oneself.

Solarpunk and Permacomputing

I have been active on the fediverse in some capacity since 2017. Many people there are part of the 'solarpunk' and 'permacomputing' movements. This is already a very long a dense project update, so please see the following links for a quick FAQ for the rationale and justification for these philosophies:

Video Output Woes

Blech. I have run out of time and energy, and cannot finish this log right now. I will finish up here quickly by saying that I still need to find a simple way to provide video out for this computer.

If you have any suggestions, I would be more than happy to explore what you have to contribute (:


[to be continued]