portis
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Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:20 pm

Hello,

I am looking to build a team of people dedicated on working on some alternative computer system to compete with Apple and co.
The ultimate goal of the project is to make people concious of the envrionnement and to make people wonder 'what IS the envrionment, what IS nature?'

The requirements of the project:

1) Build a low cost computer that is a little bit like the iPad or macbook air, meaning fanless and quiet in it's operation.
2) The computer needs to be solar powered, meaning not dependend on anything else than the sun to be working
3) Build software for free worldwide email, with control for data integrity (malicious software or artistic piracy, out of context quoting would be difficult, near impossible) Biometrics for I.D., one avatar - one I.D.; possibility of anonymous comminications, yet secure.
Last edited by portis on Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Imperf3kt
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:25 pm

The size of a solar panel required to power a Pi is a substantial size larger than the Pi itself.
Do you intend this device to store power for night time use? Will you use batteries or night solar panels?
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portis
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:37 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:25 pm
The size of a solar panel required to power a Pi is a substantial size larger than the Pi itself.
Do you intend this device to store power for night time use? Will you use batteries or night solar panels?
The Raspberry Pi can do more than email... so requires more electricity.

HOWEVER

1) My solar powered calculator can do a lot... does not display HD video, but still...

2) The solar power would recharge batteries, however it would be interesting to think for a bit about alternatives. Like not using a battery at all, my solar powered calculator does not have a battery yet works really fine at night even under relatively low light.

3) Even for HD video, provided the CPU is made to decode data, in theory it can be possible to decode HD video streams.
Software decoding uses more power than hardware decoding, i mean software will make the hardware work to decode data, but it might use a thousand cycles or... one, depending on the hardware's architecture. Thus if the hardware's architecture is made for it, it will require less electricity.

I know it sounds crazy.

But in 1985, if you told people about the iPhone they would consider you crazy or deluded: technically not possible. Or even in 1995 if you told people that computers as powerfull as the day's most powerfull personnal computer could be possible (like the iPad), running on batteries only instead of AC...

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Imperf3kt
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:58 pm

I'm not saying it cannot be done, I'm saying to run a Pi with no accessories, you need at least 5 to 6 watts worth of solar power. That also assumes the solar panel is generating its maximum possible energy at 100% efficiency (it won't) in full sunlight and presumably kept at around 25°C

So we`ll assume a 10W panel should suffice (it won't, but let's assume it does)

How small is a 10W solar panel + regulator?
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:01 pm

A solar powered calculator is orders of magnitude lower in power consumption than even the lowest power microcontroller, let alone a microprocessor. They are usually built around custom chips designed to do only a solar powered calculator function.

IIRC, a typical solar powered calculator chipset operates over a voltage range of 1.5V to 2.0V and consumes less than 0.000005A (0.00001W). A Raspberry Pi Zero uses 5V and has a typical bare-board active current consumption of 0.1A (0.5W), 50000 times more power.

Ref. https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... /#pi-power

Heater
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:03 pm

portis wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:37 pm
I know it sounds crazy.

But in 1985, if you told people about the iPhone they would consider you crazy or deluded: technically not possible. Or even in 1995 if you told people that computers as powerfull as the day's most powerfull personnal computer could be possible (like the iPad), running on batteries only instead of AC...
Ah, no.

In 1965 Gordon Moore, the CEO of Intel, predicted that all this was going to happen: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law

During my teenage years I started playing with transistor circuits, then building digital logic with TTL chips, then came micro-processors. So even if I'm not the genius visionary or Gordon Moore I could see where this is going.

Besides, we had seen it all on Star Trek and 2001 A Space Odyssey :)

But I'm curious about the "data integrity (malicious software or artistic piracy, out of context quoting would be difficult, near impossible)" part of your plan.

That seems like a software problem to me. Do you really have solution for a) Malicious software b) piracy c) out of context quoting ?

Huge companies and thousands of people have been working on this for years now and none of those is a solved problem.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:49 am

I am looking to build a team of people dedicated on working on some alternative computer system to compete with Apple and co.
Elon, is that you?

Solar powering Pi's requires about a 20-100watt panel plus batteries.
Low power computing is possible, just not with "normal" CPU chips.

Fanless but not quiet, they still need about 20watts to operate. ie human brain.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abacus
Pretty sustainable too.
Probably easier to learn than C++?

Email is an issue, but Elon you will have that fixed soon, just some more satellites?
Solar powered Starlink terminals, yes please.
Uses just one Tesla Autopilot chip?
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:56 am

portis wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:20 pm
I am looking to build a team of people dedicated on working on some alternative computer system to compete with Apple and co.
What sort of starting salaries are you offering? Platitudes don't put food on the table...

jamesh
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:28 am

portis wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:20 pm
Hello,

I am looking to build a team of people dedicated on working on some alternative computer system to compete with Apple and co.
The ultimate goal of the project is to make people concious of the envrionnement and to make people wonder 'what IS the envrionment, what IS nature?'

The requirements of the project:

1) Build a low cost computer that is a little bit like the iPad or macbook air, meaning fanless and quiet in it's operation.
2) The computer needs to be solar powered, meaning not dependend on anything else than the sun to be working
3) Build software for free worldwide email, with control for data integrity (malicious software or artistic piracy, out of context quoting would be difficult, near impossible) Biometrics for I.D., one avatar - one I.D.; possibility of anonymous comminications, yet secure.
Do the math on the power requirements. Started above. Then on the engineering costs. Look up the olpc project. Lots to do to determine if this is possible, before advertising for staff.
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:05 pm

Wish you good luck

portis
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:55 pm

jamesh wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:28 am
portis wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:20 pm
Hello,

I am looking to build a team of people dedicated on working on some alternative computer system to compete with Apple and co.
The ultimate goal of the project is to make people concious of the envrionnement and to make people wonder 'what IS the envrionment, what IS nature?'

The requirements of the project:

1) Build a low cost computer that is a little bit like the iPad or macbook air, meaning fanless and quiet in it's operation.
2) The computer needs to be solar powered, meaning not dependend on anything else than the sun to be working
3) Build software for free worldwide email, with control for data integrity (malicious software or artistic piracy, out of context quoting would be difficult, near impossible) Biometrics for I.D., one avatar - one I.D.; possibility of anonymous comminications, yet secure.
Do the math on the power requirements. Started above. Then on the engineering costs. Look up the olpc project. Lots to do to determine if this is possible, before advertising for staff.
I'm no engineer but can someone explain why, for an equivalent program, say photoshop, the iPad will work just fine running on battery, while the raspberry pi will need more power (?) for the same thing, the raspberry's CPU will dissipate a lot of heat and needs to be run from AC?

You can all laugh, but if you told people about what the iPad pro CAN do NOW to "experts" 10 or even 5 years ago, you'd have many of those laugh.

They're not laughing anymore.

I strongly believe I have a good idea that CAN be done.

As far as piracy it is also possible to solve the issue simply... if softare is MADE to HELP piracy, it will. If it is MADE to share, while respecting content creators, it will...

For sure music is free and anyone can tape a vinyl or even protected music by just using a recorder and live taping it.. does not change my idea that an author could sign his work and allow excepts for the purpose of discussion... difference is when there is a quotation, it would not be taken out of context...and people who like to share the difficult work people have done could still do it, only if I receive such pirated material i would know it was pirated, that the *original* content creator says it is pirated and maybe changed from the original work...
Also the software could be made so that content creators decide... if they want to allow low quality sharing of their work or not... if they want a song to be available in this or that area of the world... if they allow their work to be quoted and in what context... if they allow their work to be used as part of another work (movie songs for exemple) or not etc

Simple is beautiful. Abstraction too.
Last edited by portis on Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

portis
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:05 pm

Heater wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:03 pm
portis wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:37 pm
I know it sounds crazy.

But in 1985, if you told people about the iPhone they would consider you crazy or deluded: technically not possible. Or even in 1995 if you told people that computers as powerfull as the day's most powerfull personnal computer could be possible (like the iPad), running on batteries only instead of AC...
Ah, no.

In 1965 Gordon Moore, the CEO of Intel, predicted that all this was going to happen: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law

During my teenage years I started playing with transistor circuits, then building digital logic with TTL chips, then came micro-processors. So even if I'm not the genius visionary or Gordon Moore I could see where this is going.

Besides, we had seen it all on Star Trek and 2001 A Space Odyssey :)

But I'm curious about the "data integrity (malicious software or artistic piracy, out of context quoting would be difficult, near impossible)" part of your plan.

That seems like a software problem to me. Do you really have solution for a) Malicious software b) piracy c) out of context quoting ?

Huge companies and thousands of people have been working on this for years now and none of those is a solved problem.
Wrong.
There is a mathematical blueprint, or signature if you want for content. Try converting a music song and put it on youtube. It would probably not work unless the content creator agrees. Youtube now runs a scan when something is uploaded. If you are not the original creator, it CAN delete whatever pirated material you are trying to post BEFORE it even gets 'published'. Ok maybe not 'whatever' content, if you post a very low quality of the original content, it might not recognize it as the original... but then again, if you sing a song, someone somwhere might sing it too, it's just a variation on an original theme, but not 'the' original.

This is better than years ago when people could just copy the original with no quality loss and share it while the original content creator gets nothing...
Last edited by portis on Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

epoch1970
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:08 pm

I think you can forget about the solar computer, yours won’t fly first, if one ever does.
But you could look into ethereum.
"S'il n'y a pas de solution, c'est qu'il n'y a pas de problème." Les Shadoks, J. Rouxel

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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:27 pm

portis wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:05 pm
Wrong.
There is a mathematical blueprint, or signature if you want for content. Try converting a music song and put it on youtube. It would probably not work unless the content creator agrees. Youtube now runs a scan when something is uploaded. If you are not the original creator, it CAN delete whatever pirated material you are trying to post. Ok maybe not 'whatever' content, if you post a very low quality of the original content, it might not recognize it as the original... but then again, if you sing a song, someone somwhere might sing it too, it's just a variation on an original theme, but not 'the' original.

This is better than years ago when people could just copy the original with no quality loss and share it while the original content creator gets nothing...
Sounds like you don't understand DRM or copyright law.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

portis
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:28 pm

Heater wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:27 pm
portis wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:05 pm
Wrong.
There is a mathematical blueprint, or signature if you want for content. Try converting a music song and put it on youtube. It would probably not work unless the content creator agrees. Youtube now runs a scan when something is uploaded. If you are not the original creator, it CAN delete whatever pirated material you are trying to post. Ok maybe not 'whatever' content, if you post a very low quality of the original content, it might not recognize it as the original... but then again, if you sing a song, someone somwhere might sing it too, it's just a variation on an original theme, but not 'the' original.

This is better than years ago when people could just copy the original with no quality loss and share it while the original content creator gets nothing...
Sounds like you don't understand DRM or copyright law.
Quite the contrary...
Explain why suddenly digital downloads (with DRM), the rise of A.I. made compact discs obsolete?

Answer is, compact dics could be too easilly copied... people would copy cd's or download and share from the internet while disregarding the content creators. See the napster episode.

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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:09 pm

portis wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:28 pm
Heater wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:27 pm
portis wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:05 pm
Wrong.
There is a mathematical blueprint, or signature if you want for content. Try converting a music song and put it on youtube. It would probably not work unless the content creator agrees. Youtube now runs a scan when something is uploaded. If you are not the original creator, it CAN delete whatever pirated material you are trying to post. Ok maybe not 'whatever' content, if you post a very low quality of the original content, it might not recognize it as the original... but then again, if you sing a song, someone somwhere might sing it too, it's just a variation on an original theme, but not 'the' original.

This is better than years ago when people could just copy the original with no quality loss and share it while the original content creator gets nothing...
Sounds like you don't understand DRM or copyright law.
Quite the contrary...
Explain why suddenly digital downloads (with DRM), the rise of A.I. made compact discs obsolete?

Answer is, compact dics could be too easilly copied... people would copy cd's or download and share from the internet while disregarding the content creators. See the napster episode.
First...CDs are readily available. They *may* be "obsolete"...or they may not be. If you want "obsolete", please explain the resurgence of interest in vinyl records. (Not to mention the resurgence of interest in vacuum tube amplifiers...)

jamesh
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:10 pm

portis wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:55 pm

I'm no engineer but can someone explain why, for an equivalent program, say photoshop, the iPad will work just fine running on battery, while the raspberry pi will need more power (?) for the same thing, the raspberry's CPU will dissipate a lot of heat and needs to be run from AC?
A Pi can run of batteries, but it is not optimised to do so. The iPad has lots of optimisations to reduce power. We have some, but since we have always assumed the device will be plugged in, in the majority of use cases, making it less power hungry has never been a goal.

But you said SOLAR powered. You cannot run an iPad or Pi off a small solar array, you need a big one. Check out the iPad's battery capacity - 8827mA for the 2018 version, 32Watt/hr. You need a solar array to produce that sort of power level.
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portis
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:16 am

jamesh wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:10 pm
portis wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:55 pm

I'm no engineer but can someone explain why, for an equivalent program, say photoshop, the iPad will work just fine running on battery, while the raspberry pi will need more power (?) for the same thing, the raspberry's CPU will dissipate a lot of heat and needs to be run from AC?
A Pi can run of batteries, but it is not optimised to do so. The iPad has lots of optimisations to reduce power. We have some, but since we have always assumed the device will be plugged in, in the majority of use cases, making it less power hungry has never been a goal.

But you said SOLAR powered. You cannot run an iPad or Pi off a small solar array, you need a big one. Check out the iPad's battery capacity - 8827mA for the 2018 version, 32Watt/hr. You need a solar array to produce that sort of power level.
Possible but I have a point.

As far as electricity the concept might not be new but few people understand it as it's not really taught, even in universities. The universities around here have some kind of electrical problem, there is always a noisy electrical transformer buzzing around, I have no idea why people don't realize how much dirty the electricity is nowadays. Noisy fans for computers, etc

When I say I have a point i'm just being humble. I'm saying that only 5 to 10 years ago, if you told people about what the iPad Pro CAN do today, people would look at you and say: uh uh. You're crazy, not possible, requires a plugged in computer etc, a bit like your answer.

The Raspberry Pi is amazing to learn programming. I don't know why it requires a fan for cooling tough... some old iPhone can also do alot yet i don't burn my hand holding it, and it's about the same size.

It's all a matter of architecural choices. Form and function. People don't ask for anything better. People will pay for a phone, a tablet and a computer while it could be possible to do everything from one device.

Besides, my project only stated that the device should enable to send text email... for free.. worldwide. Using only solar power. I quite believe it IS possible with a bit of imagination.

If the internet as we know it got down (satellite links down, electricity intermitent) with the number of people having cell phones it could be possible to wirelessly link the phones together to make a whole new internet...

Just add solar power.

This can raise philosophical questions. Before the internet and telephone, people needed to pay to write to a distant location. In theory this is a thing from the past, TECHNICALLY it is POSSIBLE to imagine a solar powered free to use wireless network to send email.

The only question is: do people want it? Also is it desirable? What are the implications?

There's an interesting movie called 'Nerve' that asks those questions.
Last edited by portis on Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

PhatFil
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:22 am

you may have more success providing devices to the folk who could use them by recycling last seasons contract mobile phones from the primary markets into the hands your target clients ?

not as sexy but possibly more productive? why make something new when you have unwanted devices elsewhere. im pretty confident that manufacturers would be happy to have you ship last years products into markets that they have no chance of making a profit in. Especially as it will encourage the propagation of new devices/sales/profits in their prime markets.

or is someone already doing this?

portis
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:31 am

PhatFil wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:22 am
you may have more success providing devices to the folk who could use them by recycling last seasons contract mobile phones from the primary markets into the hands your target clients ?

not as sexy but possibly more productive? why make something new when you have unwanted devices elsewhere. im pretty confident that manufacturers would be happy to have you ship last years products into markets that they have no chance of making a profit in. Especially as it will encourage the propagation of new devices/sales/profits in their prime markets.

or is someone already doing this?
It's not a money question. Money is an illusion.

It's an environnmental question.

People are happy to pay cell phone bills and internet bills while TECHNICALLY it could (and CAN) be free.

My whole idea is: say i don't need a portable movie studio in my pocket (cell phone), say I don't steal music, etc... and I just want to text someone... why would I have to pay just to text someone especially that TECHNICALLY it is possible? Think about amateur radio but with a chip and with a software that enables privacy..
Or think about the parking meters that are solar powered.... and how they form a network that can communicate...

My idea is not so crazy I believe.

With an amateur radio (CB) you buy the radio once and that's it. In some areas you need to pay a license fee but it's nowhere as expensive as a cell phone subscription.

The idea is to make an amateur radio that sends and receives text messages... might use less bandwith that voice! Might be possible to work only on solar power.. worldwide.

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:50 am

The idea is to make an amateur radio that sends and receives text messages... might use less bandwith that voice! Might be possible to work only on solar power.. worldwide.
Have a look at LoRa
Plenty of people are launching satellites that use that, emails to anywhere on the planet?
They can run from a solar cell from a $2 garden light.
Won't play video?
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:56 am

portis wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:16 am
As far as electricity the concept might not be new but few people understand it as it's not really taught, even in universities. The universities around here have some kind of electrical problem, there is always a noisy electrical transformer buzzing around, I have no idea why people don't realize how much dirty the electricity is nowadays. Noisy fans for computers, etc
Anybody who has ever had to debug a failing modem bank located in an industrial park will be only too familiar with how noisy power lines are. When I had to do it, my boss declared UPSes to be too expensive, but he signed off on--and was mightily impressed when it worked--installing line conditioners.

The other interesting one I say was a leased line data connected that failed at night. Turned out it came into the building right next to the neon sign.... That wasn't strictly a power line problem as it was caused by the high frequency transformer for the sign.

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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:59 am

jamesh wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:10 pm
Check out the iPad's battery capacity - 8827mA for the 2018 version, 32Watt/hr.
I think you mean "8827mAh" and "Watt-hour". (My apologies for correcting a mod, but I had dimensional analysis drilled in rather thoroughly.)

portis
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Sat Mar 28, 2020 3:04 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:09 pm
portis wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:28 pm
Heater wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:27 pm

Sounds like you don't understand DRM or copyright law.
Quite the contrary...
Explain why suddenly digital downloads (with DRM), the rise of A.I. made compact discs obsolete?

Answer is, compact dics could be too easilly copied... people would copy cd's or download and share from the internet while disregarding the content creators. See the napster episode.
First...CDs are readily available. They *may* be "obsolete"...or they may not be. If you want "obsolete", please explain the resurgence of interest in vinyl records. (Not to mention the resurgence of interest in vacuum tube amplifiers...)
Sure... like the rotary dial phones with loud rings. Very intersting to live in a perpertually ringing environnment if you live in an appartment block.

It's a media creation for nostalgic people that like to live in a time when the world was different than it is today. Sadly this backward way of thinking does, as you say, a comeback.

As Steve Jobs said in the Fassbender movie (about walkmans), I can't stand seeing you walking around with a brick in your pocket.

Or on screens nowadays. So many people watching a brick on TV. Medieval times are making a comeback no doubt.

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Imperf3kt
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Re: Call for help: looking to start a company - solar powered computer

Sat Mar 28, 2020 3:22 am

Getting back to the main point, have you calculated how much power you require to run a Pi per hour so you can find a suitable solar panel?
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