Are there any hobbyists out there.

In addition to pursuing programming professionally I worked with computers at home as a hobby. My first computer was a Commodore Pet, followed by a Vic-20 and several C-64s. I also built and programmed a Cosmac Elf which I gave to an amateur radio club to use as a repeater controller.

Is the computer hobby dead? Does anyone tinker with Elfs, Kims or the S100 bus?

I'm really excited about the Elf 2000. Would anyone read a blog about this machine? Has anyone else here built an Elf?


  • These days, some roads a computer hobby would take include:

    Software - Windows, MAC, Linux, Web/Internet programming, build your own OS, build your own programming language; program a major platform in assembly language

    Microcontrollers - Microchip PIC, Atmel AVR, various ARM processors, others; with microcontrollers, you can explore a number of hardware topics that modern workhorse OS's (such as Windows, MAC, and Linux) get in the way of

    Programmable logic - hardware: FPGA, CPLD; software: Verilog, VHDL; build your own CPU; resurrect old CPU's, gaming platforms, microprocessor development kits; do things with FPGA or CPLD that would normally be done with microcontrollers

    Hardware interfacing - build your own devices (typically with microcontrollers) to communicate with a gaming platform or cellphone


    Unless all you're interested in is software on current major platforms (or old dead ones), you will need to do some electronic design work.
  • I've never heard of the Cosmac Elf 2000 before, but a quick Google search helped, lol. I'm a hobbyist like your talking about and the best product I've seen is from Parallax, their line of microcontrollers (Basic Stamp) isn't as popular as the PIC but they are easier to use and Parallax has a great site and documents to learn from. They have a new multicore Propeller chip that does game programming like that Elf you were talking about. I'd recommend you check out and see if thats the hobby stuff you're talking about.

    Oh, and the Arduino is becoming popular also.

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