Micromite Companion…

Raspberry Pi, part 2? After the break…

Micromite Companion…

I’ve been wrong so many times that it is almost humiliating to remember them all.

Minecraft? Who would want to play a game with big, blocky graphics and something to do about crafting… Why are all the kids so hyped up about this?

Flappy bird? Are you kidding me? All that you’re doing is tapping a screen!

Angry birds? It’s just a catapult game with physics. There’s a lot of them on the PC. Why did that become a mega-hit?

Facebook? What happened to coding your own website? Giving your friends your E-Mail address? What’s the big deal? There are several HTML templates out there, you can set up your own website in an hour and change and it’ll be all yours to do with as you please. Why do you need this ‘Facebook’ to do what HTML and E-Mail can already do for you?!

Steam? You don’t even own your own games anymore! You’re guilty before proven innocent! There’s no box, no manual, no trinkets, you can’t install it on a non-Internet connected computer… You don’t actually OWN anything except these little 1’s and 0’s. How did that become so huge?!

Smartphones? What’s so ‘smart’ about them? You can’t really type on them, the screen is too small to do anything productive… At least a laptop has a full-size keyboard, a screen that’s large enough so that you don’t go blind staring at it…

Raspberry Pi? It doesn’t even come in a case! At least if it came with a case you would have something but than you have to add your own keyboard, your own mouse, your own monitor… Heck, just buy an entry-level desktop from a retail store.

Clearly, the world has passed me by. My advice? No, please, don’t take it because, if you did, you’d be the first… And you’d probably regret it.

People want dumb, quick and easy. Think for themselves? That’s for Grandpa’s generation, when they had to walk up a hill both ways just to format a hard drive. People don’t want to own games, or books, or anything anymore. We’ve become the ‘rent-a-nation,’ where owning things is passe and everything has to be preregistered with a two-year contract and monthly financing and an early termination fee and did we mention the obligatory pop-up ads and spam e-mail because, according to the contract you’ve signed, we’ll be selling your personal data from now until well past your death. By the way, some features may disappear without notice.

Against this depressing backdrop is another one of these single-board computers called the “Micromite Companion” by someplace called “Propellorpowered.” Apparently, the outstanding success of the Raspberry Pi has attracted imitators and this is one of them. The computer’s selling point is that it is a “retro-computer” of the bygone era when you actually had to know something about computers in order to operate one and had to be satisfied with big, blocky graphics and text-based everything. I wish it the best of success although I have no idea why you would need a “Wii Nunchuk controller” in order to operate the computer. That’s sort of a steep requirement because, even though I’ve never been into the whole console thing, not everyone has a Wii nunchuk controller.

Seeing the “Micromite Companion” reminds me of a time when you typed in your own computer programs and were a part of a ‘club’ just for owning a computer, regardless of what kind it was. Owning a computer made you special, made you different. You had a skill. You had an edge. Now, owning a computer isn’t worth anything unless you’re a social media expert or you’re a professional in programming or art or modeling or you made some stupid ‘app’ that sells 10 trillion copies because, you know, tapping a screen is so appealing to an idiot generation where they think that dumping an bucket of ice water over your head is going to make a difference (It won’t; Neither did our jump rope marathons, remember those?).

Bah humbug.

P.S. I know that it is politically incorrect to root for the Ebola virus but Spain didn’t do itself any favors by killing an innocent dog over it. Ask yourself this – How motivated are pet owners going to be to reveal to authorities that they’ve got possible Ebola symptoms, knowing that their pets are going to be killed because of it?

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2 Responses to “Micromite Companion…”

  1. oldbitcollector Says:

    ROFLOL! I’m the creator of the Micromite Companion. I truely loved your post about this! This is actually the fourth generation design of this product. (our first couple were very limited in capability) We might even predate the Raspberry Pi, but I can’t remember for sure. Yes, you young wipersnappers, we walked uphill to school and back in deep snow, both directions! You have pegged us right on the money with the idea that this is a “retro” computer with a feel of the 80’s computer clubs, and programming in BASIC. Oh, and that Wii Nunchuck thing.. I should update that as we now can use the classic controller as well, but either of these are only required for folks who want to write “old school” video games using 8 bit style sprites. Thanks for the great chuckle and the well wishes! -OBC-

    • Lutonaut Says:

      Hi oldbitcollector and thank you for reading my blog.

      I will never, for the life of me, understand why Atari or Commodore or any other company that still uses a classic video or computer brand for their name doesn’t take one of these one-board computers, slap their title on it and sell it for the nostalgia effect. I’m sure that some lawyer or executive could provide a 90-hour Powerpoint presentation that spells out all of the pitfalls for doing so but I can’t see the flaw in giving hardcore fans what they’ve wanted now for decades. Yes, there are a bajillion emulators out there and I could download one if I wanted to relive the old Atari days or Commodore days or Colecovision days but, at the end of the day, it’s just an emulator. It’s your PC dressing up as a retro-computer; It’s not the real thing. It’s not genuine hardware.

      Again, I’m lousy at predicting the future, especially in the realm of computer gaming. Yet imagine if Atari turned around tomorrow and said, “Yeah, here it is – The Atari 800 (or 1200XL or some other computer in their 8-bit line) as a single-board computer. Plug in a USB keyboard, a USB monitor, here’s a SD disc with the operating system and some introductory goodies to get you started. $99 with shipping and handling. It’s the Atari 800 v2.0 and it’s smaller than a cigarette pack. Have at it.”

      How many of those do you think they’d sell? Or Commodore, for that matter? If it makes the lawyers happy, they could include some legalese gobbledygook that says that hardware & software support is limited if that is what keeps them awake at night from offering this.

      Again, thank you for reading my blog.

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