The Penkesu computer is a homebrew handheld PC ideal for writers and coders

Originally published at: The Penkesu computer is a homebrew handheld PC ideal for writers and coders | Boing Boing


“for writers and coders”…

With THAT keyboard? With that screen?

Go ahead, pull the other one.


The people who can work in an 80x25 text console amaze me. But even this may be too small for them. It’s

  • not large enough for references & documentation
  • not large enough to view multiple files of code (who needs to compare files?)
  • not large enough to type on

If it had an old-school serial port, I could see using it for in-the-field diagnostics of embedded hardware systems. But it’s hard for me to write code (or prose) without more than a few surrounding lines for context.


The real question is whether a writer can use this to write enough prose to justify her investment in a never ending parade of writing equipment.

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The pain of using it for browsing would be a bonus for a writer’s box.

The keyboard might be a bit loud for quiet spaces.

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That is nicely clicky.


For writers and coders? I can’t speak for writers but I write code. I would never use this. I can already see being infuriated after 15 minutes and then punching myself in the face because somehow it would make me feel better.


I’ve always had a thing for tiny, ultraportable computers, but…
although this looks like a fun project to design and build, it looks too impractical to add to the stack of impractically small netbooks that I already own.


Hey now, RS-232 is making a comeback! You’ll see!

Actually a lot of avionics still use a serial interface for debugging and reprogramming but I get by just fine with a toughbook.


Oh, believe me, I know it’s still out there everywhere. We have specialized infrastructure monitoring devices all over the place that report data with cell connections or even short-burst satellite data, but when it comes to diagnostics, it’s drive up in person and hook up ye olde serial port. Some of the fancy new ones have USB, but I’ve seen numerous hardware faults that rendered the USB port inoperable while the serial console remained functional.

Of course, I landed this gig six months after getting rid of my big box of assorted serial cables and the last notebook I’d had with a DB9 port. Which meant I needed to buy a whole bunch again (the worst possible behavioral conditioning for a borderline hoarder).


It looks like a perfect stocking stuffer for Mr. Robot.

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like the laptop equivalent of the Dune pain box?

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I just threw away a box of dusty, slightly sticky cables, plugs, adaptors and solid-state, plastic encased crap including at least two of these nine-pin arseholes.

They’d better not make a comeback.

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Nooooooooooo! You must never ever throw away the precious wires box! Everything you own or have ever owned might break. Then what? Then what?!


Where I work we are STILL designing products with a serial interface!

@GilbertWham make sure you keep your serial cables in the same box as your null-modem cables, and dont mark them so that you know the difference!


Well, obviously yeah. That’s half the fun of the Big Box Of Wires!


Especially the ones with RTS bridged to CTS to speed things up a bit. And don’t forget the laplink cables.


I still have my Radio Shack RS232 LED breakout box.

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If you do that just remember to turn off flow control.