This would be a nice kit for somebody.
Mimeo for sale
This is not my auction, just thought I would post it for those that wanted to spend $23K for the real thing but didn't have the money
You know, there's a great potential market to tap with this kind of kit--the schools. Combine the kit with a handbook which has a history of early computers, what a computer is, what all the different parts do, and how to put it together, and maybe a DVD with a Powerpoint lecture for teachers, and I would think a lot of schools across the nation and world would gobble this up. This is the kind of thing they're looking for. Maybe instead of soldering, you could make it so things snap onto the board instead so it would be reusable as a teaching tool.
Vince kind of does this with the kit he sells. I agree, it is a potentially interesting market. Unfortunately, anything short of college I don't think the teachers really understand what a computer is (at the low level, anyhow), or even care. I would love to hear good stories to the contrary, especially at the middle and/or elementary level. The state of computer literacy amongst the teachers around here is appalling (ok, I *do* live in Nevada).
Yeah, that's mine. I bought one of Mike's kits but still have not put it together. So I have decided to put it up on Ebay with a CFFA1
to increase interest.
I am in the process of checking the costs on a second smaller batch of
CFFA1. But as batch size goes down costs go up.
Cruiser is right.
It would be a great thing for schools. The only problem I see with it is the fact that over half the teachers would not want to take the time to learn about how to use the kit to teach thier kids beacause its "old technology". These teachers are already used to "Out Of The Box" technology and COTS software. It an Instant Gratification thing.
It's not like back in the early eighties where Apple was giving computers to schools and they actually had programming classes. Of course they really didn't get into the Hardware aspect of it then either.
Its still a good idea though.
In the "logical programming" aspect of getting kids interested in computers, I've been letting my 7 year old play with Kodu: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/kodu/
He loves building the virtual worlds. Instead of creating a player he controls, we each take a robot and program them to fight each other, ala Robot War. Forces him to think in a WHEN/DO kind of idiom.
(trying hard to bring this back on topic)
I promised him I would get a copy of RobotWar for the Apple II to play with. Maybe the final stage will be to get him to port it to the Apple 1 + CFFA1.
(Whew! did it!).
An Apple 1 clone kit is not very suitable for a school situation. First of all many parts are end of life and can only be found through surplus or chip recyclers, so only limited quantities will ever be made. Second, are the safety elements with the unenclosed transformer based power supply.
Vince's A1 or KIM kit would be much more suitable for a learning application.
There is an interesting alternative approach that already has a large following in high schools throughout the country. Check out this organization: http://www.usfirst.org/
They also promote robot based activities for primary and middle schools.
It's nearly absurd how many choices there are out there now to learn the basics of computers and electronics with these days. I'm not saying this to downplay the usefulness of A1 or KIM replicas, but they may belong in a somewhat more advanced class than the multitude of microcontroller-based prototyping boards which are available so cheaply now. There are products like Arduino that have rich IDEs for programming and simple USB interfaces built-in that would facilitate easy classroom use, so for younger children something like that would probably be a better choice.... although If the goal is to strictly teach *programming* rather than computer architecture the goal might be better served with "virtual" platforms running on the computers the classroom undoubtedly already has than any particular single-board computer. If the kids aren't actually going to be using their own hands to wire stuff up I'm not sure what the value-add of the physical "widget" is.
(I'm all for giving them the widget and letting them play with it. It may be a "trivial" computer science achievement to stuff a few LEDs and resistors onto a perfboard with a small microcontroller and write a program that makes them blink, but it's a lot more interesting and fun than just making the computer that *already* surfs the Internet and can play mind-numbing 3D shooter games do something equally trivial.)
Anybody here buy it?
I wish my school would buy some Apple 1 replica kits to teach us how it was all done back in the days, and to also teach us the fundamentals of basic programming skills and also about building replica micro-computers, (such as the Apple 1). I would be willing to learn all of this since I'm wanting to be a 'Computer Hobbyist', and have also spent a few years researching into Apple and the Apple 1 Computer. This is why I really want to learn how to make an Apple 1 replica and write and make a few cool programs in BASIC for the Apple 1.
I also purchased the 'Apple 1 Replica Creation: Back to the Garage book', a year ago and was completely amazed by it and has inspired me to build a replica Apple 1. But not having enough money to buy a Replica 1 kit from Briel Computers, I need to make a hand-made wired replica version of the Apple 1 instead if it's any cheaper.
The thing I like about the idea of using an Apple I replica instead of a generic board for teaching is the fact that the Apple I would come along with a story--the two Steves in the garage and the guy who bailed early (losing billions in retrospect) and the extended story with the competition of software with the evil Bill Gates. All of that would make it so much more fun, and thereby, you'd keep the kids attention, and you'd get the sense of the struggle in inventing and going to market, and frankly, it's a history that everyone could benefit in knowing.
But yeah, the problems that Mike and Eudi bring up would be hurdles to cross.
If you have an Apple II, IIplus, or IIe, you can now buy a Brain Board kit for $59. This board plugs into an Apple II expansion slot and transforms your Apple II into an Apple 1 clone. The Apple IIe can still be found for small dollars on ebay, so this is probably your least expensive way into an Apple 1 experience on physical hardware. This is my project, so consider it a shameless plug.
Building a wire wrapped reproduction of an original will cost hundreds of dollars for parts. If you factor in shipping costs, you might spend close to $100 just on power supply components. Also do some searching around to get prices on signetics 2519B and 2513 ICs before you start.
I don't know how much reproducing Vince's replica 1 would cost, but I suspect that savings over buying his kit would be minimal, and it probably cost you more than just getting his kit.
For anyone who hasn't seen Mike's Brain Board, it is definitely a very good option for anyone wanting the Apple 1 experience without building a Mimeo. I've posted a video demo on my site: