Speaking of the Raspberry Pi, I’ve been in the market for an integrated keyboard case for one. I’ve rediscovered the joys of couch computing, and love the idea of having a small machine I can emulate various vintage games on the TV (mostly DOS), and take with me to other places.

Using a Raspberry Pi for this has a few advantages:

  • It easily has the compute power for the old stuff I love.

  • I can emulate a few different architectures and software platforms from the one device, rather than needing a bunch of separate boxes. Space in our tiny apartment is at a premium at the best of times.

  • Running ARM FreeBSD or Debian/Raspberry Pi OS gives me access to a huge library of stuff, including DOSBox, QEMU, VICE, SimH, and Bochs.

  • The Raspberry Pi’s HDMI port and software scaling negates the need for an expensive analogue video upscaler.

  • I keep my precious vintage computer kit firmly on my desk where they’re not getting rattled around. They also have so much stuff plugged into them, it’d be a pain to carry them around.

  • I can carry my entire software library on one or more cards. Using the CD-ROM and Iomega drives on my Pentium 1 tower, and the 1571 disk drive on the C128, C16, and Plus/4 is fun, but not that portable!

There are a few options, some of which involve some manual soldering. But then I discovered what everyone else had for a year now:

Photo of the Raspberry Pi 400

This looks so cool! It’s a remodelled Raspberry Pi 4 in the company’s official little keyboard, with ports and GPIO pins running along the back. It reminds me of a 1980s home computer, both in form factor and spirit.

I can’t stop grinning at this beautiful little thing!

I was intending to write a grand long post about how the Vilros Keyboard Trackpad Hub looked disappointing, and that I wished more people did something better. I might just bite the bullet and get one of these… or add it to the Xmas wishlist!