The Commute Deck: a homebrew Unix terminal for tight places


Originally published at:


That’s cool for sure, but something tells me it’s a passport to supplemental airport colonoscopy. I mean, screening.


Very cool! But that thing is not going to fit in tight spaces. =)


It’s a rather absurd DIY answer to the problem of “my laptop won’t open all the way on the tray table on my daily train commute”

Why they didn’t just mount a small tablet and bluetooth keyboard to something like a clipboard is beyond me.


Right! So they’ve just traded “my laptop won’t open all the way” to “I can’t be accused of manspreading with this thing, but my neighbors are still going to hate me.”


The IoT is bad enough without us having unix terminals in our tight places.


Nice, but IMO a chorded keyboard and head-mounted display would be far more practical for I/O.


Nods approvingly that he types the “6” with his left hand. Because the fact that we were taught to use our right hand despite the fact that it is closer to the “F” than it is to the “J”, and that is stupid.


While I approve of this deck. I don’t think I could use that display…


Yeah I’m sure this doofus clacking away on a mechanical keyboard glued to a plank of wood is going to be real popular on the train.

If he glues his phone to a 2x4 he’s basically a Tracy Morgan character:


If he just needed a unix terminal with a halfway decent keyboard, an old Nokia 9290 would have been perfect.

It even has perfect Unix Terminal speed internet–9600 baud over dialup!

I had one of these, actually, and I could really type fast on it!


My favorite part of the article is that he doesn’t seem to like the end product very much:

In the next version, I’m looking to improve the ergonomics. Staring straight down at the display isn’t comfortable for very long, so I’m looking for ways to make the entire device modular, fold, or break into pieces in order to reposition the screen. I think I will also try removing excess headers from the display controller and Pi to make the entire thing one or two layers thinner.

I LOL’d hard here. Basically, he wanted to reinvent the laptop to solve its shortcoming, and when he’s done iterating he’s going to end up with… a laptop.


It seems strange to brand it as a Unix terminal. Word processing or reading or web browsing all seem like perfectly fine commuter activities, but what would you do on a Raspberry Pi 2 with an intermittent connection? I suppose it must be nice if one is sufficiently enraptured by Emacs that an AlphaSmart simply will not do.


But, in this case after a million-dollar kickstarter and several million in VC funding. :wink:


I used to use an eMate 300 with VT100 software. (Sold it, got a Newton 2100, and gave that away. Apparently, that was a mistake, since I now have no dumb terminal to connect to my IRIX boxes.)


Ahh, for the devices of yesteryear.

Personally, the perfect phone for me would be if someone made a modern Nokia e90 running Android.


I really do need a better keyboard, though. The eMate was almost perfect. The Newton 2100 was ok, but I couldn’t use a keyboard simultaneously with the null-modem cabling.


I miss phones with physical keyboards so fucking much it hurts.


Hmmm. I feel like there has to be a modern equivalent which might do well as a competitor to the eMate. A decent keyboard is going to be the toughest thing to pair with a serial port, compatible software, long battery life, and a convenient form factor.


The latest Blackberry running android isn’t too bad (and they dropped the price to 279 new). Except there’s some kinks they have to work out in their custom Android build.