G'day all! I'm a semi-retired ex-hardware & software guru with a lot of time on my hands, and I'm hoping I can spend/waste a lot of time on this project!
I'm the extremely proud owner of a number of technological medical products, without which I'd be pushing up daisies. As an ex-biker, I smashed up my spine pretty badly, so I have some alloy rods and screws holding my back in place. To keep me upright, I've also got a computerised intrathecal pump, which provides a variable amount of painkiller right into the spinal canal. And lately I've had implanted a programmable neural stimulator (something like a TENS) which also works directly on the spinal cord. This is PWM-based, so I'm well within my comfort zone adjusting that. I've even been able to feed back improvements to the manufacturer for both programmable devices, in terms of usability improvements and better instructions for people without technical skills.
My username (Cephas Borg) should now be obvious in its allusion to a cyborg... And the first part is the Aramaic version of my first name (Peter). So it does kind of make sense. This is also why I have so much "free time" on my hands...
My passion is designing, building, and programming computers to help solve big and small problems - or sometimes, just for fun! My introduction to computers was the Z80, and I was self-taught well enough to get a job designing and manufacturing Z80-based computers (the Pulsar Little Big Board). In fact, I still have a working LBB system, with a 20Mb hard drive running TurboDOS 1.4 (a CP/M derivative), which I use for developing and playing CP/M games and so on, when I feel the need for a 'blast from the past'.
I use Altium Designer 6.x to develop and design small boards for friends and colleagues, so their design ideas can see the light of day. That's something I really enjoy, being able to help others and still be creative and clever. I generally get my boards fabricated in Thailand, which gives me the ability to make multi-layer boards pretty cheaply. Single-sided boards I still like to make myself, with Press-N-Peel and a small bubble tank, just to "keep my hand in". It's such a great feeling, being able to create something physical that solves a problem, and be able to improve or simplify the design as needed.
I've been lucky enough to have been involved with the education department, initially with technical support of the BBC Model B, followed by early Apple systems. I even designed and built some Z80 trainer systems (single board, 7-segment displays, keyboard, expansion port, very simple stuff) that were used by some schools at a time when the recommended systems were way out of their price range.
While I've been out of the mainstream support for education for some years now, I have some family members still involved heavily in late primary/early secondary teaching. While I've been limited to web design and development for them, they're now really keen to see what the RPi can offer, especially in terms of an introduction to media and connectivity. While it doesn't apply so much to the primary level, at the secondary level there's a real dearth of tools and platforms that are truly affordable in terms of one-per-child. Some schools recommend a particular platform (typically a laptop or netbook), while others rely on second-hand and refurbished hardware of any kind, leaving the teacher to perform the support and development themselves. Its quite a hodge-podge. A tool like the RasPi would seem to be a great introduction at a number of levels, and would be much more affordable than the vastly overpriced "education-standard" platforms, which tend to be used for one year or maybe two before being dropped in favour of something more complex.
I love the idea of the RasPi, and I can't wait to get my hands on one to see what it allows me to do. And if I can catch the bug, I intend to spread it around!
Thanks for reading all of this... I'm really excited to have found the RP and such a dedicated and passionate group of followers and supporters. I hope I can add something back to the community.