Raspberry Pi Progresses on a Few Fronts

I registered my interest in buying a Raspberry Pi single board computer several weeks ago, and yesterday I finally received an email from Farnell/Element14 assuring me that:

We are very pleased to tell you that you can now pre-order your Raspberry Pi. Current lead-times for new orders are July/August depending upon where you are in the registration queue. At this time orders will continue to be kept to one per person, to ensure the products get into the right hands.

Of course I clicked the link in the email and parted with my company credit card number for the grand total of 29.46 GBP including shipping and VAT for my very own RasPi model B.  Unfortunately the order confirmation informs me that the “Estimated Delivery Date” is the “Week Commencing 17/09/2012”, so I’m still not entirely clear when I’ll be able to start my own experiments with what Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC’s technology correspondent describes as:

A credit-card sized computer designed to encourage children to learn programming, [which] caught the imagination of millions when it was unveiled in February.

Rory is one of the lucky few to have received his credit-card sized board already, and concludes his review of the Raspberry Pi as follows:

The device may inspire a new generation of computer programmers or it could leave children used to smartphones and tablet computers baffled and bewildered.  A great experiment with the way we teach computing has begun and we can’t be sure how it will end.

which seems to me to sum up the current position nicely.

Although the product seems to be selling itself, here’s how Element14 are currently presenting the Raspberry Pi to the world:

On another raspberry flavoured front it was announced on Twitter earlier today that:

The MagPi team are proud to launch a new official HTML website.

The MagPi is “is a voluntary-run magazine for the Raspberry Pi computer user community.” and the first issue of the magazine is available for download via the aforementioned website. One of the articles discusses “the dawn of affordable computing” in the United Kingdom.

It would seem that my memory extends slightly further back in time than the MagPi team’s. My own first “home computer” was a Nascom 1, which predates the Sinclairs and Acorns that they mention by a few years.  It bore some similarity to the Raspberry Pi in so far as it came as a bare board that needed connecting to a TV if you wanted to see what was going on.  However the size of the board was very much larger than a credit card, which was just as well since you had to solder in the numerous components yourself. The price was also very much higher than the Raspberry Pi model B’s $35, especially if you allow for inflation since the late 70’s!

I trust that the Raspberry Pi Foundation won’t suffer the same fate as Nascom, who were effectively victims of their own success. They swiftly went bankrupt following component sourcing difficulties caused by unanticipated demand for their ground breaking products!

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