boutique handheld discourse has me really wishing there was a homebrew platform that excelled at:
- cheap, widely available, open (as much as possible) hardware
- SDK + simulator that runs on anything
- large community of people hacking on it & sharing knowledge
- diverse, welcoming culture that views games as an art form, doesn't care about the boundary between "game" and other stuff

Raspberry Pi or any of the other hobbyist boards could be a component of this, but is not this by itself. i guess a system like PICO-8 can basically create its own platform atop almost anything else (web, desktop PC, mobile, tiny hobbyist PC).

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I really, really wish OUYA had had different people in charge of its platform vision and marketing. If they'd pointed it squarely at homebrewers, it would've given backers and players much healthier expectations, and I think it'd still be thriving today.

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One challenge is that a huge amount of the resources invested in tooling today happens around the two big commercial game engines, which don't really care about being able to target cheap, weak hardware (and their editors running on it is totally out of the question). A new wave of homebrew engines and tools has been gathering for the past ~5 years, but it still has a ways to go before its energy can change things in a big way.

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These kinds of projects will almost always have an air of, for want of a better term, "junkiness" about them. Everything that people fetishize about Apple products is absent - carefully designed branding, packaging, a single company controlling everything about the product and its use. And this is fine; we should embrace this, while being firmly committed to "approachability" as distinct from the Apple slickness that has seized a lot of the rhetorical territory around approachability.

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I try to think of these hardware and software project goals as acts of political imagination: in a world that has stopped capitalism's stranglehold on our species, what does personal computing look like? What choices do we have, how does ownership work, what are the aesthetics? What does it mean for technology to have aesthetics independently of consumerism?

Apple's hardware aesthetics have an almost terraforming effect: the sleek MacBook makes the rest of your desk look cluttered and irregular, their stores feel like alien temples you must assimilate into the customs of. I would like technology to feel more like going down to a local co-op hardware store where a lesbian sells you a hammer you will own for 30 years.

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@jplebreton ah, the irony of how well the Apple ][ embodied the properties you're looking for

@technomancy @jplebreton


for some of us it will always be too soon to remember the Apple ][ 😭

@ajroach42 wasn't familiar with it, seems like a cool little piece of hardware

@nutsling @jplebreton

Also, delicately distress my laptop's surface so it looks like one of those department store "antique" footrests.

@jplebreton you'll own your Mac for about 1.5 years until it gets liquid damaged and the genius bar just tells you to buy another one (even though Lenovo, Dell, etc all figured out liquid damage mitigation decades ago)
@jplebreton I've seen hardware projects around laptops with replaceable montherboards, usually of the single board computer variety.


But if you pretend you’re a character in a William Gibson story, the Macbook-and-clutter look fits right in.

@jplebreton Yes.

It also has the problem of bearing the “standard” for default good design. By that I mean, people who don’t care about good design assume anything Apple makes has good design. Since this is most consumers, it pushes everyone who wants to reach that market to conform to Apples design forms. Since they’ve decided to stop designing things and instead just copy and simplify Dieter Rams old work, the result is something of a race to the bottom of minimalism.

@jbob @jplebreton Case in point, that damn notch in the latest ones because Apple wanted to trick people into thinking their screen's bigger than it actually was in order to extort more money.

And because it was Apple, suddenly Google and Samsung *had* to get in on the trend, even though there was massive public outcry over it.

I'm looking forward to the day my earbuds will need a microUSB adapter to work. /s

@KitsuneAlicia @jbob yeah the way other billion dollar companies just mindlessly copy anything apple does is just deeply sad to me. that's not how you recruit talented designers.

@KitsuneAlicia @jbob @jplebreton

I cannot understand the notch hate: it took previously-wasted space and moved the clock and signal strength indicators there.

Apple’s real sin was making their phones so thin that they needed to remove the headphone port in order to fit an acceptable battery in there.

@USBloveDog @jplebreton @KitsuneAlicia

For a second I thought this was about the creator of Minecraft.

My main objection is that it looks like shit. I’d accept the practicality argument more readily if there were anything else practical or robust about the design

(I say this while typing on an iPhone XR because, right now all phones suck)

@USBloveDog @KitsuneAlicia @jbob my objection to the notch is more about design in the context of capital: the trend toward pushing increasingly unwieldy screen sizes to keep phone sales growing (which didn't work, ofc) hitting a very real practical limit, and responding by carving out the last few bits of perceived screen area even though it adds complications for developers and looks silly.

@jplebreton @KitsuneAlicia @jbob

So it’s the 3D curved TV of pocket computer design to you? Fair enough.

@jplebreton so you sterilize the desk to match the macbook's aesthetic at which point the quote "a messy desk is a sign of a busy mind" comes to mind :flan_smile:

@jplebreton This is exactly why i am super nostalgic for early 1980s IBM hardware. It has both the durability of a tank as well as the grace & aesthetics of one.

@jplebreton A 4u rackmount cluster running BSD. 8u systems for the power users with higher I/O needs.

@USBloveDog @jplebreton

Wow, I had no idea this thread invoked both the Pocket CHIP *and* the Odroid Go.


@jplebreton this is a beautiful and useful formulation, thank you

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