[Humanist] 27.673 lower-cost technology

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Jan 5 10:52:51 CET 2014


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 673.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    "Dave Postles" <davep at davelinux.info>                     (65)
        Subject: Re:  27.670 lower-cost technology

  [2]   From:    "Brookes, Stewart" <stewart.brookes at kcl.ac.uk>            (18)
        Subject: Re:  27.670 lower-cost technology

  [3]   From:    Bob Blair <bblair48 at yahoo.com>                             (3)
        Subject: Re:  27.670 lower-cost technology


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2014 09:42:30 -0000
        From: "Dave Postles" <davep at davelinux.info>
        Subject: Re:  27.670 lower-cost technology
        In-Reply-To: <20140104064103.59D3B603D at digitalhumanities.org>


Mea culpa - it should have been 'its ... impact', of course.


>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 670.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>   [1]   From:    "Dave Postles" <davep at davelinux.info> (11)
>         Subject: Re:  27.664 lower-cost technology
>
>   [2]   From:    Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> (14)
>         Subject: Raspberry Pi
>
>
> --[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>         Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2014 09:46:05 -0000
>         From: "Dave Postles" <davep at davelinux.info>
>         Subject: Re:  27.664 lower-cost technology
>         In-Reply-To: <20140103092447.674F26191 at digitalhumanities.org>
>
> RPi is fine, particularly for Python coding, although you could do the
> same some time ago with the olpc (with python tutorials integrated).
> Anything which encourages the use of Linux, on the desktop as well as on
> servers and embedded, is fine with me, The problem with the RPi is still
> that it has only sold 1m units, so it's impact is fairly confined.  There
> are, of course, many other single-board PCs (SBPCs) out there.  Python is
> useful for digital humanities (especially for corpus linguistics).  I have
> a suspicion, however, that it's (RPi's) impact, welcome as it is, is being
> overhyped.
>
> --
> http://www.historicalresources.myzen.co.uk (research and pedagogy)
>
>
>
> --[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>         Date: Fri, 03 Jan 2014 10:01:24 +0000
>         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>         Subject: Raspberry Pi
>         In-Reply-To: <20140103092447.674F26191 at digitalhumanities.org>
>
> In my youth, during the time when digital computers were first being
> widely publicized, there were such things as the Geniac
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geniac), designed and marketed by Edmund
> C. Berkeley, who wrote Giant Brains, or Machines That Think (1949). But
> what I knew about and reached for were the kits from which one could
> built radio transmitters and receivers, voltmeters using only basic
> components (resistors, capacitors etc) and simple tools (wire-cutter,
> soldering iron, screwdriver etc).
>
> So I wonder, how does the Raspberry Pi compare in its extent and kind
> of influence? I was building devices from kits at ca. age 8. I've never
> actually seen a Geniac, but from the description it doesn't seem that it
> would teach anyone any techno-creative skills & the joy of making things.
>
> Yours,
> WM
> --
> Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
> Humanities, King's College London, and Research Group in Digital
> Humanities, University of Western Sydney


-- 
http://www.historicalresources.myzen.co.uk (research and pedagogy)
http://davelinux.info/joomla/index.php (personal - sometimes very!)



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2014 19:21:59 +0000
        From: "Brookes, Stewart" <stewart.brookes at kcl.ac.uk>
        Subject: Re:  27.670 lower-cost technology
        In-Reply-To: <20140104064103.59D3B603D at digitalhumanities.org>

On  3 Jan 2014 Dave Postles wrote:

[snip]

> The problem with the RPi is still that it has only sold 1m units, so it's impact is fairly confined.  

They claim nearly 2.3 million sales, which is a million more than, say, the BBC Micro which arguably 
had a huge impact on programming in its day (in the UK):

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2320518/raspberry-pi-closes-in-on-23-million-sales

> There are, of course, many other single-board PCs (SBPCs) out there.  Python is
> useful for digital humanities (especially for corpus linguistics).  I have
> a suspicion, however, that it's (RPi's) impact, welcome as it is, is being
> overhyped.

There *is* a lot of hype, but I think that the hype is encouraging awareness of computing 
kits and programming in general. I miss the days of school kids wielding soldering irons and 
typing in code and all the things that got me interested in this field. Rasperry Pi et al. are 
the start of a return to that approach.

Best, Stewart
-- 
8 out of 10 owners who expressed a palaeographic preference said their cat prefers 
DigiPal: http://digipal.eu


--[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2014 13:01:52 -0800 (PST)
        From: Bob Blair <bblair48 at yahoo.com>
        Subject: Re:  27.670 lower-cost technology
        In-Reply-To: <20140104064103.59D3B603D at digitalhumanities.org>


The cost of hardware has long been small compared to the labor necessary to do meaningful work in DH.  I could have paid for hundreds of computers if I had been working at my normal hourly rate while I marked up and annotated Selden's "Table-Talk", and that's just one fairly small project.  Low-price hardware is a Good Thing, but it's significant mainly on the consumer side of DH.

Bob Blair  







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