choppergirl
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:53 pm

Reading the forums here, I see absolutely no schools or teachers clamoring for the Raspberry Pi. None. Maybe I haven't read enough posts yet, but it seems to me, that targeting this device as something to be mass produced and deployed in schools was initial idealistic and wishful thinking, and a nostalgic wish to repeat the meteoric rise of Apple computer by penetrating the education market with Apple IIs.

Further, the Pi is still a very complex device, and I do not see it being a new generation of C= 64's for kids to learn beginning programming on. Like the BF109 was never designed to fight the Battle of Britian, so too a Pi is not a device built to boot up on a TV screen to display an instant on version of BASIC in rom.

What I do see, however, are tons of geek enthusiasts clamoring for a Pi to play with as a nifty little lower power device and bringing all their raging ideas for feature creep into the little board (which is fine, take the best suggestions and use them).

Kids are not starving for computer acess. Most have smart phones these days and their own laptops at home, and if not, a family desktop at home to play on. A Raspberry Pi with a stripped down Linux OS is going to be no different than a desktop, just in smaller form. You can already get PCs for free now by people throwing them away, or buy them cheaply for $100 or less off of ebay, craigslist, or your neighbor.

Further, the board isn't designed to take advantage of the ocean of disposed of VGA monitors, and AT / Serial / PS2 keyboards and mice. If like me you have spent your life scrounging components,you know USB mice and keyboard are hard to come by, and HDMI monitors just do not exist at all in bargain bins or at Goodwill stores. By using HDMI and USB outputs, even though they are nice and modern, you drive up the price substanially for a deployment of Pis in a school.

For example, I have maybe 5 or so USB keyboards which I had to buy from Goodwill. In my warehouse, I have over 200 AT and PS2 keyboards which I got for free I'd be happy to donate to anybody. There is nothing wrong with them.. functionally, they are identical to a USB keyboard. I also have 50 or so SVGA monitors. I've never had an HDMI monitor in my life.

No kid in Africa, India, or even rural England, is going to have an HDMI monitor lying about. And if you're plan is to hard sell schools on these single board computers, you are going to have a hard sell because when you factor in an HDMI monitor, usb keyboard, and usb mouse with each unit, the cost of the total system skyrockets.

Now, your average enthusiast computer geek, these guys that are filling your forums with posts about how to improve the Pi and how soon can they get one.... well, they've got a huge HDMI monitor in their living room as their home media center,and they've switched to USB everything / peripherals long, long ago...

This is just my blantantly obvious recommendation: reposition your Raspberry Pi towards enthusiast early adopters. Did you forget your history? Schools didn't first buy the Apple I and II boards. It was propeller head enthusiasts.

eggn1n3
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:55 pm

This is what we call a Trolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!

Matttt
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:15 pm

http://www.amazon.com/3-Button.....0037FS8WM/ - 4 dollar usb mouse
http://www.amazon.com/Foldable.....001GC9C9Q/ - 7 dollar keyboard
http://www.amazon.com/VGA-Adap.....003QNFHWE/ - 3 dollar composite to vga

So, that's $49 and you can use it on any vga moniter

There is a reason they chose to use HDMI and composite so that it would work on ANY TV, not any computer monitor!

obarthelemy
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:30 pm

you're tackling the issue in reverse, I think. The process was:
0- we want to make a device that kids and schools, especially poor ones, can actually afford.
1- let's set that price
2- what's the best we can offer at that price point ?
There have been difficult compromises made in the process, and VGA was one of those. Not USB, dual converters are available for $2. And advising R.Pi to emulate Apple is actually funny. The Apple II was the most expensive microcomputer of its age, no school nor poor kid ever bought any. I know, I was there, with my not-so-trusty ZX81. Which did teach me self-control as well as basic: thumping the table or kicking its leg caused the ZX to reset.

scologic
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:38 pm

She does have some interesting points, I think pi does have some areas in education and 3rd world but i think XO answers them in a better way (having not seen the PI yet physically). I do however see a wide range of uses for PI in other areas that are just as worthy technologically but perhaps not as is currently an educational device. I'd probably have had a more professional reply eggn1n3.

Personally I've emailed Raspberry PI and had no reply yet, and i do have several projects that could well use the device and lead into many thousands of boards longer term if the projects are successful. There may also be additional benefits that can be passed back to 'educational' uses other than financial purchasing of hardware.

Or

is the post more accurate to the project, the Troll reply childish but displaying that it's not been as well thought out and has a lesser chance of success more Betamax than C64.

As discussed and chortled at in the conference video do you really expect home users to use a 50hz tv to do anything of real use?

Not to sound nasty or negative maybe this is the wrong market your looking at. I will say that it's a very attractive product for industry.

If you have considered the product is suitable for 3rd world choppergirl has got a lot of key points to do with refurbished or donated computer kit and the fact that the board doesnt really offer easy compatibility i'd say is a good point to make. Yes most of us have a TV, but if your being given a computer in the 3rd world you probably dont have a TV, nor do you have the money or a misco/ebuyer that you can order a hdmi to what ever monitor lead.

I dont want to seem that i'm anti pi... im very very pro pi, i'm a little disapointed i've nto had my email reply yet, but looking at the project straight in the face of things and personality and personal feelings completely aside. There is a big discussion point here be it 3rd world, or market direction.

scologic
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:43 pm

With relation to post on the low cost add ons... adding them at source or onto the board at manufacture is still cheaper. And thats the point.

As for composite to VGA it's very poor quality.

reggie
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:52 pm

It seems the OP has missed something glaring, the pi has a composite port, so the need for a hdmi or even dvi-d monitor is unecessary. We don't have to use a usb mouse or keyboard, just no one has written any software yet that would emulate a PS2 port on some of the gpio pins. If software can be written for an arduino I don't see many major issues for the pi.

Some people see problems, others offer solutions.

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abishur
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:53 pm

Now now, I doubt this is a troll, just a newcomer with some well thought out points.

I'll attempt to address your well thought out concerns as directly as possible.

1) No school teachers clamoring over this
While it's certainly true that few school teachers have posted on the board directly (which is to say several teachers have posted on the board directly) it's important to remember that the focus at this point in time is to hobbyist. The first round is being sold to us so that they can raise the money for the next round targeted truly at schools. Additionally, having worked in several school systems myself, I can boldly say that the issue with teachers not covering the board is more a result of the current state of affairs than an actual indication of interest.

Case in point, when I was working as the computer department for a Jr. High School (7-9th graders) I was the only person holding that position in the entire school district who actually had any training or understanding of computers and who was not a 50+ year old woman who had taken the position some years earlier to have something to do while Johnny and Jenny were away at school. My point here is most teachers, even comp sci teachers, in the K-12 grade range lack the training to understand anything about the r-pi and will instead probably feel threatened about the return of proper computer curriculum in the schools. Should that mean we allow the system to continue it's cancerous degradation on the IT world? Of course not! Rather that is the very reason the r-pi is so important here.

Additionally, I feel it's important to state that the r-pi is *not* trying to become the next apple by getting in with the schools. Apple has always been and will always be a monopolistic for profit company and hey, it's worked amazing for them. The r-pi team is a charity who is attempting to address an issue in education by providing an inexpensive system that schools can buy in bulk and let the students have rather than buying 30 laptops, braking the bank account, and letting a single classroom use them on rare occasions. (also apple's rise had nothing to do with getting into schools, they were about to go bankrupt before they marketed themselves, amazingly so, as a status symbol ;) )

2) Kids are not starving for computer access.
There's a difference between having a computer available and having a computer that you can do whatever you want to with. The goal is not to create even more mindless drivers of computers (which is what we have now, no joke I once told a friend that she needed to backup her files and she pushed her computer backwards and felt quiet proud about having done something techy) but to provide children not just in developed countries, but across the globe with a computer that they can get into and learn on with no fear of damaging anything.

I remember not even being allowed in the room when we had our family computer worked on for fear that I would some how damage it. Access to the computer was strictly monitored and regulated to a "kids access area" and this was in the days before we had to worry about child molesters stalking our children on facebook or myspace, computer viruses being hidden in ad banners, or easily access to pornography! (Are you over 18? Sure! *snicker*)

So yes, computer access is largely available, but it's the wrong sort of access. (Also just because it will be an ARM based OS does not make it a stripped down version of Linux any more than a headless server is a stripped down version because it doesn't have a GUI interface.)

3) Choice of output ports
This has been discussed to DEATH on so many threads! Let's start with the biggest issue here. HDMI is not the only video out option. I honestly don't see how so many people can complete miss that there is also an composite (the round, yellow, RCA jack) video out it's literally on the same line as the part where it mentions HDMI out. In fact, it's listed before HDMI! You literally have to read it first to learn there is HDMI output! *sigh* I digress. HDMI can easily, and cheaply, be converted to DVI-D which practically every monitor that isn't an old CRT monitor has on it as well. But, and more importantly I guess, the GPU being used doesn't support VGA out nor is there any support for PS/2. To add support for these (archaic) ports they'd need to add... 2 chips for the VGA and... a chip for the PS/2? That's adding a lot of PCB space and therefore increasing the price tag. Would they be nice? Sure, but when it comes to video, they've already hit the greatest percentage of people out there by providing HDMI (and therefore DVI) and Composite video out and when it comes to PS/2, well they could sell a ps/2 to usb convertor and it would still be cheaper than the cost of adding PS/2 directly to the board itself.

4) The need to re-target
As you read more and more of the forum (which I hope you do :) ) you'll find that that's exactly who they're already targeting. As I said at the beginning, the first round is expected to be sold entirely to us hobbyist. Despite that, the ultimate goal of the r-pi team is not to be a non-profit organization for geeks to get a $25 computer from. It's to get a device into the hands of children. The R-pi team also has *quiet* the impressive resume. You can rest assured that they've spent a significant amount of time weighing the pros and cons of features to include on the board. They've got this under control ;)
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Emanuele
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:02 pm

@choppergirl Yes, I think you've missed some posts. There is some interest in the educational community. See liz's post here:

http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....38;t=385.3

@scologic Are you suggesting that the penetration of computers in the 3rd world is the same as the penetration of plain old TV sets? You must be kidding.

eggn1n3
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:14 pm

The "troll comment" in my post was maybe a bit emotional, but I still think it's just too easy just to give all kinds of comments on a project by saying that it will not work, is only for geeks, poor people don't have access to HDMI monitors etc. It's clear that more and more new hardware these days don't have VGA ports anyway. Trying to get a new keyboard that is not USB based is getting harder too. The real goal of the project is to get kids learning how to program. If they have an LCD TV at home they can just plug in the R-Pi. Is it suitable for kids in the 3rd world? Maybe not (yet), as they will not have any device with HDMI, but they might use the composite connector and an old TV. That's how I learned it, a C64/Amiga on my parents (CRT) TV.

scologic
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:21 pm

na, tv sets are handled by different people that give out refurbed gifted computers... tv's are also sold more than given away for education.

The XO comment is cos it A has a screen and B is low voltage where an old tv is very power hungry.

eggn1n3 . I've a pile of keyboards with a mag swipe that are PS2 and even better in cool white.. if that helps(i'm not trying to empty my office, as for profiting I'd hardly say i'd break even).

eggn1n3
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:30 pm

scologic, if you would include an USB to PS/2 adapter you could sell them here or even better, donate them ;-)

toxibunny
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:04 pm

I must admit, I have had many of the same thoughts as you have. I think the lack of VGA especially would put a major roadblock into getting it into British schools. Lack of PS2 mouse/keyboard ports are also somewhat offputting (adaptors are cheap though, so that's not major).
...I agree with you - as it stands, Raspi won't be a major runaway success in either of the fields we imagine it should - British schools won't buy It in droves because they don't have classrooms full of HDMI monitors, and African schools won't buy thousands because USB keyboards and mice and screens are a hassle to get.

Look on the bright side though - it *is* a computer for *almost* $25. It's groundbreaking, and there's demand for it. And enthusiasm. It's not just going into the hands of us nerds, it's available to all... British schools can order as many as they like, developing countries can order as many as they like, and so can whoever wants it...

It's flawed. So what? Does everything have to be perfect first time?
note: I may or may not know what I'm talking about...

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Gert van Loo
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:12 pm

I agree that there are some valid points and I also agree that most of the forum members are not the market we set the organization up for. Why are we so happy with all our forum members? Because we are hoping/relying on the free software community out there to provide the programs support and knowledge which will make the product a success. Commercial buyers? Want to buy 10.000? Yes please, but don't expect a discount. In fact we expect a donation!

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Emanuele
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:34 pm

I don't know much about schools/charities/NGOs in the 3rd world. But what about the private sector? I can see a shop owner buying a few of them, loading them with MAME and selling them at a profit. If the buyer wants to pay for a USB keyboard a few months later, I'm sure he'll find one in store.

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liz
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:38 pm

I think the forum members have answered most of the OP's points for me, but I should point out that the demographic you're seeing on this message board is not the whole of the demographic that's interested in Raspberry Pi. We are having a lot (so many we are really struggling to answer them all) of approaches from schools, charities all over the world, NGOs, universities: these guys aren't visible here on the forums, but I can assure you they're out there - and they all want boards. Some of them in the several thousands.

Anyhoo. Can't tell you how delighted I am not to be the only woman here any more. Welcome aboard. And read around - I think you might find yourself quite pleased to find that all of your questions are answered elsewhere on the site. (And take a look at Eben's Slashdot Q&A on the front page for a deeper discussion of VGA than we've had here yet.)

ETA: Also, your "all kids have access to computers" point is just downright wrong. We've researched this as part of our development. 20% of homes in the UK (and a similar number in the US) do not have a computer. A significant proportion of those kids who do live in houses where there is a computer are not allowed to use it, or are only allowed to use it for word processing. Step out of our middle-class, technophile bubble for a moment, and the landscape is very different. I'll admit I was very surprised on talking to parents and kids about this just how bad the problem is in some areas. Additionally - yes, you might have a mobile telephone, but have you ever used it as a programming device?
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emercer
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:17 am

Meanwhile, back here in the 3rd world, I can assure you, VGA ports are quite useless when compared to the ubiquity of composite-enabled TV sets (in 2009 95.7% of Brazilian residences had at least one TV).

What I'm really worried about is mice. Some of these same houses with TV sets have no surfaces suitable for pointing devices (and I do mean none whatsoever, not even a desk).

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abishur
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:16 am

hmm... an interesting data point. Maybe USB trackpads or trackballs instead of a mouse?
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Emanuele
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:07 am

Quote from liz on September 14, 2011, 22:38
Additionally - yes, you might have a mobile telephone, but have you ever used it as a programming device?

Tell me about it! People usually don't even know that they can do it. They know about operators' portals and ringtones / games pushed through premium text numbers in TV guides, though.

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Emanuele
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:34 am

Quote from abishur on September 15, 2011, 04:16
hmm... an interesting data point. Maybe USB trackpads or trackballs instead of a mouse?

Sometimes a trackball might help, but I guess the problem is also if you have your TV on a small TV stand, you have no surface area at all and you have to keep your keyboard on your lap. Anything beside the keyboard is going to be cumbersome.

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Jongoleur
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:40 am

Most European TVs have SCART sockets that can be fed from the composit output and the sound jack as well as HDMI, many also have various RCA socketed direct video/sound inputs. Older TVs without HDMI sockets still have SCART/RCA inputs. Just be glad the only option isn't through an RF modulator into the aerial socket! Its just a case of looking at whats available. Once the initial Pis are out then interested parties can get a sample and try it out on what they have to hand.

What might be interesting for those desiring specific additional features would be an item in the FAQ listing options and a rough estimate the percentage increase in cost of a Raspberry Pi that each would bring.
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Jongoleur
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:43 am

Keyboards with trackpads....

http://www.amazon.com/Wireless.....038;sr=8-2

Not remarkably cheap, but if you're connected to a TV and sitting with the keyboard on your lap, probably quite effective!
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iAreNewb
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:49 am

Since the appropriate responses have been made to the OP, I'd like to point out that before going on an ideological rant, one should do some research on hard statistics and think about the logical fallacies in one's argument. It's not so much that the concept as a whole is invalid (i.e. that the wrong audience is being targeted), it's just that the points made in support of this belief are rather obviously wrong. Most are already addressed in the FAQ and various forum posts.

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liz
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:51 am

A low-tech solution - how ubiquitous are dinner trays or large-format books, emercer? I'm trying to think of flat things that could be set on a carpet beside a kid in front of the TV. We're also looking (for later on) at keyboards with integrated pointing devices; there are keyboards with roller balls as well as trackpads on the market, and we might be able to get better prices than Amazon are displaying there if our negotiations with Chinese manufacturers so far are anything to go by.
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Re: Maybe you have targeted the wrong audience

Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:54 am

Quote from choppergirl on September 14, 2011, 19:53

No kid in Africa, India, or even rural England, is going to have an HDMI monitor lying about. And if you're plan is to hard sell schools on these single board computers, you are going to have a hard sell because when you factor in an HDMI monitor, usb keyboard, and usb mouse with each unit, the cost of the total system skyrockets.


I don't know, since the riots there are probably quite a few more cheap HDMI screens in circulation... :|

My family live in 'rural England' and I can name at least 3 screens in the house which will accept an HDMI input.

I take the point though, if a school wants to do a large project and issue everyone in the class with RPi then they will need an equal number of screens at around £200 a unit (I'm sure you can find cheaper, I'm going by the 21" Samsung I helped someone buy for an MRI study last year).

It's still cheaper than outfitting a computer lab though and I think the advantage is that these kids will have something that belongs to them rather than a generic school Desktop. A kid is more likely to play around and experiment because of that sense of ownership, maybe they'll figure out they enjoy it.

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