I've been trying to model some ideas around a portable general purpose computer that's essentially a "desktop with ISA slots, but not really". A laptop with a rear arrangement that allows expansion with maybe a removable cover

You may recognize the Grid Compass from the movie Aliens (the Sentry Gun control system). Notice the Compass II 1137 had a wider screen

Back in the 1980s, these originally came with 340K memory and went into space aboard the Space Shuttle Orbiter


The "lunchbox" form factor is (was?) exactly that.

You can't really stick it in a knapsack but it's easy enough to transport and set up.

@profoundlynerdy Good question. The highest I've ever seen in any of them over the years is 512K (with 10MB hard drive). The max was probably around there.

@cypnk Do you think folding phones will cover this space? A folding Pinephone 🌲

@2en Sadly, they may be a bit too niche, directed more toward communication

My work involves handling very old industrial equipment (usually, something from the 80s - 90s with the original manufacturer long since gone). The ISA card interface would be ideal for creating on-the-fly signals

@cypnk @2en there are 2 portable computers that stand out in my mind from early in my career in industrial automation: Compaq Portable 3 and Toshiba T3100

So chunky. Very plasma. Desktops in disguise.

Why hasn't the market for mini ITX cases like this never even really been a thing?

@msh @2en It needs to be a thing. Thinkpads have had enough IO bus to host plenty of ports via a dock so a mini itx system can easily surpass that with just a bit more power consumption

@msh @cypnk @2en I prefer detachable peripherals, that's why I have a bagpack that fits my node 202 case and everything else.. spring loaded cable connects could fuse the ideas together though I was just thinking the other day that I'd love to see a 'luggable' case. Something with a built in keyboard and small display, you provide the ITX motherboard & psu (or perhaps ideally have it be similar to the Checkmate A1500+, design with mounting points for multiple motherboard standards as well as raspberry pi, and a selection of back plates)

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