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C'est la Z

Tag: hardware

A Quick Pinebook Pro update

Since posting about my new Pinebook Pro I've gotten a few questions as it pertains to teaching CS so I thought I'd give a quick update. In terms of software here's what I've actually gotten working: libreoffice (comes preinstalled) C/C++ toolchain (manjaro package install) Java (manjaro package install) Emacs (built from scratch and manjaro install) NetLogo (had to customize the startup script as per the NetLogo FAQ)
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Pinebook Pro - an $200 Linux Laptop

I'm writing this on my new Pinebook Pro - a $200 ARM based Linux laptop. The Pinebook Pro comes from the Pine64 project. As you could figure out, they do the Pine64 which is similar to a Raspberry Pi and they've got some cool projects. In addition to the Pinebook pro they've also got the Pine Tab and Pine Phone and more. Now, you're not going to be able to go to their site and say "I need 30 of these for my class" - at least not for the Pinebook pro but it is a pretty cool proof of concept and hobbyist machine and it shows that we could have affordable devices for our schools and less afluent students.
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New Monitor

<figure class="z_image_right"><img src="/img/monitors.jpg" width="250px"/> </figure> Got a new monitor today and wanted to share. My old one was a 27" Hanns G. Actually, the old ones - my old set up was 2 of them side by side. When I started at Hunter, I was given a piddly small monitor so I tried to buy my own 27" Hanns G to bring in but they were no longer available.
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Chromebooks in K12

The discussion today over on AVC was Chromebooks in K12, a title I conveniently lifted. In the comments, I was asked my thoughts on chromebooks vs Linux on low end hardware so, here they are. Chromebooks are cheap, near instant on, and, if you're using Google Apps for education, little to no administration necessary. This is a HUGE win for schools. There are some issues. School WiFi, for example, is frequently insufficient which can be a problem for a device that's meant to be connected to the cloud.
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Robots platforms and practicalities

I received an email from a friend the other day asking me about a particular robotics platform she recently saw. I've played with robotics on and off over the years ranging from building them from (not using) scratch using Atmel chips and programming them in assembly to using Arduino based platforms to using pre-built robot platforms. They're really cool and since they interact with the real world you can do all sorts of interesting and motivational things with students.
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