Kano Computer Kit – If kids can put together Legos, then why not a whole computer?


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A ten-dollar keyboard? Luxury! When I started programming on a Sinclair ZX-81, there wasn’t even a keyboard! 'N the whole thing was £100, and that’s when a pound was real money!


So, it’s not for you then?

Pretty sure boys is not the operative word there.


Uhh, for some definition of “put together…a whole computer”…

Aren’t kids already able to to this? Take a laptop, insert the battery, plug in the AC adapter - voila!

/I’m a hardware dude, dude. The only computers I purchased pre-built was my ‘Peach 2001’ Apple ][e clone and my ToughBooks.

// why is my spell-checker flagging ‘pre-built’?
/// more importantly: Why is it suggesting ‘pee-built’? I kid you not.


Yeah, I was hoping to see something more like Nand2Tetris

There kids go all the way from basic Nand gates and assemble the pieces until they can program their own Tetris game.


I reckon assembling a computer in general tends to be much less frustrating than coding, especially when starting with hardware components that are already known to play nicely with one another. And I reckon Scratch is always going to be much less frustrating than BASIC, regardless of whether one is running it on a Pi or on a desktop PC.

But I think it’s safe to say indeed that little of value has been lost in discarding the task of having to type in lengthy listings of BASIC programs from out of books and magazines, except maybe typing practice.


jeez, I thought it was neat.:cry:


Yeah, well, you just have computed until you’ve smelted the silicon chips outta the ground and kettle-cooked them in small-batches yourself.


Not even a keyboard? I should be so lucky. When I started programing, hands hadn’t even been invented yet.


I had hands, but I had to type uphill both ways.

In the snow.


Wait. You had gravity? Lucky.


More seriously, I want to know if any of the projects that come with this involve other hardware. The neatest thing about the Pi (or CHIP or whatever) over a cheap linux box is the in and out pins. Do they have any sensor projects, or even turning on LEDs or anything?

As for the markup: yes it’s totally marked up, but would the author have bought all the parts separately for his kids on Adafruit or wherever? It sounds like definitely not. So it’s a win for the kids, because they get to use this instead of not using this. You’re paying for the soothing packaging (cf. second, it has the words “DON’T PANIC” inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.) and peace of mind that it will all work together and that you have a nice booklet of projects you can star working on immediately. If the complaints are that the markup is so high that someone should undercut them, then go right ahead and undercut them.


Dear USA,

The plural of Lego is Lego.


The rest of the world.



Dude, we named our country after the 5th guy to head an expedition, so do you think we really care about accuracy?

We care about truthiness.


I think it’s Lego bricks, actually.


Using this was pretty close:


Keyboard Warning, please.


Ahh, the good old days! The ZX81 had a keyboard, just not a very good one. Go back a few years, the KIM-1 and my MEK6800D2 kit had hexadecimal keypads, which were a big step above the microcomputers (and the DEC PDP-11 minicomputers and others I’m sure) that had binary toggles for each bit.

And some magazines had programs on floppy vinyl “disk” inserts. You would play them on your record player (phonograph), feeding the speaker output into your microcomputer’s cassette input.

PC used to mean any personal computer. And then along came IBM who confiscated the acronym for its own computers.


Not so much keys, as switches hidden behind a semi-flexible bit of plastic.