The true test of a man’s patience is crimping pins onto the end of a cable that leads to building a custom serial cable—especially if it’s the first time you’ve even handled a serial cable in a decade. So as I searched under my desk, using my phone for a flashlight, I wondered whether I had finally found the IT project that would send me over the edge. On a recent day, I set out to turn my recently acquired vintage Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 computer into a working Internet terminal. And at this moment, I crawled on the floor looking for a DB-25 connector’s little gold pin that I had dropped for the sixth—or maybe sixteenth—time.
Thankfully, I underestimated my patience/techno-masochism/insanity. Only a week later, I successfully logged in to Ars’ editorial IRC channel from the Model 100. And seeing as this machine first saw the market in 1983, it took a substantial amount of help: a Raspberry Pi, a little bit of BASIC code, and a hidden file from the website of a certain Eric S. Raymond.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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