back to article BBC: We'll give FREE subpar-Raspberry-Pis to a million Brit schoolkids

The BBC is to dish out tiny primitive computers to all 11-year-olds in the UK this autumn. Under its "Make it Digital" campaign, designed to get kids into writing software and getting hands on with electronics, the broadcaster will hand out one million of the "Micro Bit" gadgets. The name is a homage to the BBC Micro computer …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No wonder they got rid of Clarkson, to be able to afford to give away the free hardware

    1. Arnold Lieberman
      Coat

      No, silly!

      Clarkson brings in stacks of money to the BBC, so getting rid of him and making these will be two costs. Same reason for keeping Her Majesty in the public purse...

      1. dogged

        Re: No, silly!

        Three costs. They also now have to compensate all those broadcasters who already bought the full series of Top Gear from BBC Worldwide.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: No, silly!

          BBC getting into computers

          BBC having trouble with presenters either "bumping into choir boys" or going Duke Of Edinburgh on foreigners

          Solution - robot Clarkson.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No, silly!

          Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No, silly!

        Perhaps it would be better if Clarkson were to run the BBC.

        Anyone bet against them having him back?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He's not gone until he runs over a producer. Twice.

      1. Blane Bramble

        MOOOAAAARRR POWWWWAHHHH!!!

        1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

          > MOOOAAAARRR POWWWWAHHHH!!!

          No. Someone has thought of the children. I have heard that they are hoping to sign up Jimmy Harris to run it all for them. Less power to the tomorrow people.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, no, give the show to Captain Slow!

    4. Jim 59

      "Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, gushed: "This is exactly what the BBC is all about..."

      Really ? I thought it was about performing activities pursuant to its charter. What is it doing buying electronics for children, however laudable ?

      "...namely bringing the industry together on an unprecedented scale and making a difference to millions..."

      What on Earth has the BBC got to do with "bringing industry together" ? And does Hall really believe this to be the electronics industry's biggest ever collaboration ?

      "...Just as we did with the BBC Micro in the 1980s"

      A second ago he said it was unprecedented.

      Unfortunately, neither the BBC nor its reputation are anything like they were in 1982. Today nobody is certain what the BBC is, but what it seems to be is just a great wheeze if you can get on the payroll. Isn't this venture really just about promoting the BBC, and keeping its money-go-round spinning as long as possible ?

      Ahh too cynical. Looks like a great device anyway.

  2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Trollface

    Raspberry Pi!

    Top gear!

  3. Andy 73

    So... where's the spec?

    As above.

    The only reason I can conceive for not using a general purpose device like the Pi is if you can make it significantly cheaper. Given the low cost of the Pi, I'd be interested to see the specs of the MicroBit.

    1. Simon Ward

      Re: So... where's the spec?

      If the pics on the Beeb's news website are any indication (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31834927) it *looks* like a gutted Arduino with added blinkenlights. The pics aren't clear, but that's definitely an Atmel chip on there.

    2. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: So... where's the spec?

      It'll have poor battery life and only the LEDs on the left side of the board will light up. They'll be red.

      1. Fink-Nottle
        Joke

        Re: So... where's the spec?

        Rumoured to include a Clarkson inclinometer chip.

  4. Steve Todd

    There's a little more info

    over here http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/makeitdigital/micro-bit

    Looking at the picture and backers list I'd guess it was an entry level ARM M0 connected to an nRF24L01+ radio chip and a simple LED matrix. Less than £5 to build in that volume would be my guess

  5. codejunky Silver badge

    Ha

    So the BBC not only wants to impose a TV tax on everyone but now shout that they are really worth your time and money because they are doing something like they did 30yrs ago... hmm. Nothing more recent to be proud of? Certainly plenty to be shamed for.

    1. noybatall

      Re: Ha

      I have no problem with paying the BBC license fee at all. None whatsoever.

      It is great value.

      is it a perfect arrangement? No. But pressure from politicians whose pockets are being lined by Newscorp to stamp down on the BBC does not help provide a better outcome for the public.

      iPlayer was a world leader in streaming for the masses - the BBC website still provides a wealth of excellent educational content despite being downsized by the shower of shit that is in government now. There is plenty to be proud of there and plenty for your short-sighted mind to be shamed for.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Ha

        @ noybatall

        "I have no problem with paying the BBC license fee at all. None whatsoever"

        Why does the brain dead approach have to be trotted out every time. Just because in your little world you are fine with it doesnt mean that the many people with no use for it nor its services is happy paying for something we dont have a use for. If it is so good I have a novel concept for you- you pay for it and dont expect the rest of us to! But then your great value BBC wouldnt survive the week.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ha

          Every time I watch ITV, I praise the license fee and go back to good old Auntie. As a colleague said, it's worth it just for Radio 4.....No, I don't vote UKIP.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ha

            When I was young, the individual companies that made up ITV could give the BBC a run for their money and tv programming was not limited to London. Eg World In Action, Alan Whicker's interviews (Yorkshire TV) or the Survival wildlife programmes (Anglia, though on the other side of the equation, Norwich was also home to Sale of the Century).

            I find I watch very little ITV these days, and I fear what could happen to the BBC.

            1. jason 7

              Re: Ha

              Anglia TV (or what's left of it) is just up the road from me. It's been such a shame to see it all fall apart over the past 20 years.

              Even their fabulous main office with the silver knight statue has been sold off.

              I think it's just a small regional news office now.

          2. Oldfogey

            Re: Ha

            Even better value is that you don't need to pay a license fee to listen to Radio 4!

          3. Jim 59

            Re: Ha

            It is worth it for THIS WEEK.

            and top gear

        2. hplasm Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Re: Ha

          "Why does the brain dead approach have to be trotted out every time. "

          I don't know. Why do you do it?

        3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Ha

          >you pay for it and dont expect the rest of us to!

          Anyone organising a "Telethon for Trident" ?

          1. codejunky Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Ha

            @ Yet Another Anonymous coward

            "Anyone organising a "Telethon for Trident" ?"

            I dont recall the BBC being part of the military force to defend this country. I didnt realise the BBC had the power of stopping the UK falling as the Crimea did. I suppose you could threaten to make our enemies watch it but apparently some people will enjoy that. As long as others are paying for it

            1. Steve Todd

              Re: Ha @codejunky

              Listen out for that whooshing noise. It's the sound of the point going over your head. Many people in the country don't like Trident, but the government decided to fund it in the public good so their taxes go towards paying for it.

              Likewise the BBC is held to be a public good (entertainment is just one of the three legs it is built on). Because of that the public has to pay for it, like it or not. Democracy is like that. Don't like it? Move county.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Ha @codejunky

                @ Steve Todd

                "It's the sound of the point going over your head. Many people in the country don't like Trident, but the government decided to fund it in the public good so their taxes go towards paying for it."

                The funny thing is you honestly think the point went over my head. You may not like Trident, nuclear power, police, NHS or many other public services which are actually public services and serve an actual purpose. But in what world would you try to claim the BBC is? How about a tax on everyone to support a single religion? Is that good value? The believers will think so and they will think its for the public good and moral fibre and other justifications to take money to prop up something which by itself cannot stand. It just isnt that good a value for money or they wouldnt need to steal. Other channels dont and they exist yet to watch them I must prop up a biased and proud of it propaganda machine (see where the religion comparison comes in?).

                What is democratic about an enforced propaganda machine? Where is the democracy of propaganda? Btw do try not to be skewered by the point if you finally get it.

                1. Steve Todd
                  Stop

                  Re: Ha @codejunky

                  You missed the bits about "Inform and Educate". Being at arms length from the government its a damned site better than any state funded news organisation, and normally better than ITV news. It's also hard to argue against its role in education, which is what this whole thread is about.

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Ha @codejunky

                    @ Steve Todd

                    "You missed the bits about "Inform and Educate". Being at arms length from the government its a damned site better than any state funded news organisation"

                    Inform and educate is not compatible with propaganda. The BBC is openly biased and are pretty open about it. I agree a state funded news org would be bad, however when the BBC decides to take a position on things especially in support of a particular party is the same problem. An actually impartial and actually arms length organisation sounds good to me even if I dont like the content. The problem is it is a biased org and we are still forced to pay for it, via the TV tax which they are considering a universal tax. Sounds very much like the state funded monster you talk of! So no I wont be happy being forced to pay for that if I want to watch content I do like. I dont mind drivel on a TV channel as long as I am not forced to pay for it. If the BBC was impartial and educational and informative then I would have no problem. But that is not what we have.

                    And I consider this project a big waste of taxpayer money. There already is an educational project to get kids into IT, but the BBC are backing something lesser? Why? What actual purpose above and beyond does this gizmo provide while needing to be plugged into an actual PC?

                    If this is about education then why is it yet another project? Why does it need to be plugged into a computer to start coding for it? Why is it an additional cost when an entry level low spec computer is already provided and aimed at kids for educational purposes? And how available will it be as 1 million kids are given one all from a single year? What it is is an additional cost to provide seemingly nothing while begging for more money from the population to prop up the BBC that wouldnt be able to stand on its own 2 feet.

                    1. Steve Todd
                      FAIL

                      Re: Ha @codejunky

                      The BBC isn't allowed to be biased against a particular party. That doesn't mean that individual programs cant be biased, but as a whole their output must be unbiased. They tend to show bias and take a stance on particular issues (global warming for example), but then so does any news agency you care to mention.

                      As to existing educational projects, think of this as an intro to those who will move on to the Pi, Arduino, mbed etc. The device is small, simple and cheap. It's there to introduce the fundamentals of computer hardware and programming. Its for kids who have just started secondary school, and you don't want to throw them in at the level of how to program a GUI at that age, you want to get them hooked on the ideas and wanting to take things further.

                      Costs? The BBC isn't paying for the hardware. The partner companies are. All the BBC are doing is creating some educational programs to teach kids how to use them. That's definitely in their remit.

                      1. codejunky Silver badge

                        Re: Ha @codejunky

                        @ Steve Todd

                        "The BBC isn't allowed to be biased against a particular party. That doesn't mean that individual programs cant be biased, but as a whole their output must be unbiased."

                        You might have missed a bit. Scientifically they are massively biased and unfortunately that also branches out into politically too. Factually they are also biased in their news reporting and their programming. I suggest you have a nosy at recent BBC topics if you want examples, there are a few. You may wash it off that other news agencies do the same but simply- their entire purpose is to be unbiased. It is their reason to exist and have a license fee! If they want bias thats fine, but they can try and stand on their own without fleecing those who are not interested.

                        "As to existing educational projects, think of this as an intro to those who will move on to the Pi, Arduino, mbed etc"

                        Maybe but not totally. This project sounds like it requires a computer to program it. Except a PI is a computer with simplified logic and software development tools already aimed at the intro audience. So where a PI is a cheap PC for those who cannot afford, this is a gadget with 1million given away but no visible use or purpose. While the PI already has a huge support base and availability (and doesnt require a PC).

                        "Costs? The BBC isn't paying for the hardware. The partner companies are. All the BBC are doing is creating some educational programs to teach kids how to use them. That's definitely in their remit."

                        If education is their remit then they surely aim for the greatest coverage. So that includes the poor with restricted to no PC available yet kids need one + this gadget to get this 'entry level' toy to work. Compared to the PI which is entry level and easy to provision for. The BBC seem to be pushing a useless gimmick which comes at cost to the license payers that is aimed at a very small audience and is unheard of until now. Vs a working project that already exists, has availability and if you have a spare PC instead of a PI you dont need a PI. This gadget is an extra to buy on top of a PC. Why?

                        1. Steve Todd
                          FAIL

                          Re: Ha @codejunky

                          Scientific bias isn't banned by their charter. Political bias is. I can't say that I like their stance on a number of scientific issues, but that doesn't make them wrong or bad. My taxes pay for scientific research that is biased against my views too, that doesn't mean that I should be able to opt out of paying for them.

                          These machines will be used at school. No matter how poor a child is their school will have rooms full of PCs that they can use these on. Chances are their local library will also have machines able to program them. This is not an equality issue.

                          The Pi on the other hand requires the machine, an SD card, a PSU, a HDMI cable, a HDMI capable TV or monitor, a keyboard and a mouse. Minimum that's going to add up to 10x the cost of this device and there are far fewer kids who could use it at home.

                2. Triggerfish

                  Re: Ha @codejunky

                  You may not like Trident, nuclear power, police, NHS or many other public services which are actually public services and serve an actual purpose.

                  Some will argue Trident is not necessary. What is democratic about that then that everyone has to pay?

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Ha @codejunky

                    @ Triggerfish

                    "Some will argue Trident is not necessary. What is democratic about that then that everyone has to pay?"

                    Some argue an army is unnecessary and we should all get high and be nice. Some argue energy generation is unnecessary and we should live in mud huts. And then people like you think your choice of entertainment is necessary. This is why democracy is to ignore nutters. What is more democratic than people choosing en-mass what entertainment channels they want? Maybe by paying for the content they watch? But you probably think thats crazy!

            2. strum Silver badge

              Re: Ha

              >I dont recall the BBC being part of the military force to defend this country.

              No. - It's far more valuable than that. It makes it a country worth defending.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Ha

                @ strum

                "No. - It's far more valuable than that. It makes it a country worth defending."

                Your hair grow back. The sun to shine brighter. Your penis grow longer. And the bullshit smell sweeter.

            3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

              Re: Ha

              I didnt realise the BBC had the power of stopping the UK falling as the Crimea did.

              Err... hold on. The UK won the Crimean War, remember? Ok, there were some french and turkish allies, but still.

        4. Triggerfish

          Re: Ha

          @Codejunky

          Do you watch no TV or listen to no Radio in the UK then? the Beeb being the way it is, is the reason other channels in the UK at least try and give us a decent service rather than turning into American style channels.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Ha

            @ Triggerfish

            "Do you watch no TV or listen to no Radio in the UK then? the Beeb being the way it is, is the reason other channels in the UK at least try and give us a decent service rather than turning into American style channels."

            Try not to cry too hard- I watched sky. I did try to watch some shows on the BBC but couldnt get into them. However I was forced to pay a license for it while actually watching the successful and therefore self sustaining American shows. And no I dont bother with radio at all.

            I have no problem with people enjoying the entertainment they choose. I get irritated that I am taxed to pay for content that people like you apparently find good value but wont pay for yourself.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ha

        "I have no problem with paying the BBC license fee at all. None whatsoever."

        I actually dont mind all that much, cos I use the BBC. If I didn't, but still watched some of the other shite on TV, why should I have to pay for the BBC? It's just 4 (soon 3) of many channels available. If I had a Sky subscription, but didn't watch the movie channels, I'd not pay for them, and therefore would not be able to recieve them. So, if people dont watch the BBC why should they pay for it?

        People who enjoy the bbc shouldn't be arrogant enough to expect people who dont watch it to share the cost. If the BBC is great value (as you say), people will choose to pay for it, and there is no problem.

        1. Derek Law

          Re: Ha

          Don't concentrate your narrow-mindedness on the BBC.

          Why should all the well people pay for the NHS? Or the childless pay for education?

          A: society.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Ha

            @ Derek Law

            "Don't concentrate your narrow-mindedness on the BBC.

            Why should all the well people pay for the NHS? Or the childless pay for education?

            A: society."

            The NHS which provides health for anyone regardless of their ability to pay? Education which provides education regardless of ability to pay? There is a strong argument relating these to society (even if the quality is often questioned). So lets see where the BBC fits in.... erm. Someone else compared it to the military. We have pretty much got to the stage where you must be deluded to think the BBC isnt biased and pushing misinformation. So what does society get from this? I know they are currently talking about a universal tax but so far it has been a TV tax so the society thing doesnt measure up.

            It does make me wonder what they tell you when your growing up or if they are using subliminal messaging to the watchers of those channels? More likely it is your greed of want but at others expense under the 'socially acceptable' shroud of society. Does that make it feel more acceptable to you? Maybe you should be forced to pay for other channels you dont want for the benefit of others. You know.... for society

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ha

        You may be fine with it - many are not. The issue is the others have no choice. Clearly there are 'necessary' public services that you do need to share the cost with everyone (defence etc.) but not sure the BBC falls into this 'necessary' category.

        As for value for money - I'm not so sure - £12 per house and literally almost everyone has to pay - even if you never watch BBC channels. So perhaps it's great value for some and lousy value for others.

      4. Jim 59

        Re: Ha

        "I have no problem with paying the BBC license fee at all. None whatsoever. It is great value."

        I agree, but not paying the fee it is a CRIMINAL OFFENCE. So whether we like it or not is of marginal relevance. When you add up the cost of the 181,000 BBC prosecutions a year, is it still good value ? Judges do not come cheap.

        "...politicians whose pockets are being lined by Newscorp to stamp down on the BBC does not help provide a better outcome for the public..."

        Again I agree. However, buying products from Newscorp is a choice. You don't get arrested for declining the offer. What we need is a balance. I don't think free BBC gifts for children is part of the balance, and could even be construed as the same sort of bribary you rightly accuse politicians of.

        iPlayer was a world leader in streaming for the masses - the BBC website still provides a wealth of excellent educational content..."

        A lot of truth there. The less charitable might respond that any organisation, if given billions of pounds for free, might have similar success. Several TV companies have their own iPlayers, which they built from their own sweat in the free market. But the iPlayer is well done, no doubt about it. Congrats to the BBC engineers.

        ...despite being downsized by the shower of shit that is in government now. There is plenty to be proud of there and plenty for your short-sighted mind to be shamed for.

        There is no shame in reasonably critisizing the state or its appointed broadcaster. How does persuing 181,000 of Britains poorest families fit in with the socialist utopia ? Any shame about that ?

        1. YetAnotherLocksmith

          Re: Ha

          181,000 prosecutions a year, mostly of people who can't afford to pay the fee. Times that by the new £600+ "court fee" being brought in, and it is a license to print money. Money that those unable to pay also won't be able to, er, pay.

          I look forward to the streets being near empty, & the UK finally beating the USA at the top of the chart of "people in prison per 100k population"

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Ha

      License fee blah blah.

      BBC are making some programmes for this device and lending their name.

      Manufacture is funded by the 9 formal partners.

      ARM

      Barclays

      element14

      Freescale

      Microsoft

      Nordic Semiconductor

      Samsung

      ScienceScope

      Technology Will Save Us

      Turns out that particular horse isn't actually that high.

  6. wolfetone Silver badge

    Everything up to the giving away of the "Microbit" is brilliant. The idea of giving away that bit of hardware out for free is bloody stupid.

    They are giving away a stripped down "Raspberry Pi-like" device. Stripped down, Raspberry Pi-like, why??? The Raspberry Pi is well documented, well supported, already in schools, and cheap. It's also not stripped down, the possibilities are practically endless.

    The BBC should have bought a stockpile of Pi's and gave them out, and tailored their documentation for the device. That's all they needed to do. But no, someone at the BBC decided "We're not spending enough money on this, lets release our own hardware too!". But you know why would it be any different? They haven't had to work for their money, they just use the threat of court to get money from people who want to watch a bit of TV in the evenings.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The BBC should have bought a stockpile of Pi's and gave them out

      Don't be silly. By making their own they can be overcharged by the company and at the same time make their pals who own said company(s) rich. And said company can then sell cheap tat with a great mark-up for those that want to follow the programs. (More profit). They did the same thing in the 80's. BBC basic was for the expensive BBC Micro only. Want to play along? £400 please plus CUB monitor, disk drive, etc. Fortunes were made by all.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: The BBC should have bought a stockpile of Pi's and gave them out

        "BBC BASIC was for the expensive BBC Micro only."

        No it sn't. You can get BBC BASIC for BBC Micro, CP/M, Torch, Wren, Einstein, RML480Z, 32000, RMNimbus, Tiki, Amstrad CPC, DOS/PC, Sinclair Z88, Apple Mac, RISC OS, Victor Sirius, ZX Spectrum, PDP-11, Amstrad Notebook, Windows/PC just off the top of my head.

        1. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: The BBC should have bought a stockpile of Pi's and gave them out

          "> "BBC BASIC was for the expensive BBC Micro only."

          No it isn't."

          Time travel is not an option.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: The BBC should have bought a stockpile of Pi's and gave them out

            RISCOS runs on the Raspberry Pi and features BBC Basic.

    2. James Hughes 1

      I think..

      That the BBC would not be allowed to simple sell on Pi's because they are supposed to be impartial. This is branded BBC, so can be sold/given away without breaking their charter.

      No reason they cannot have programmes featuring Raspi's though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I think..

        "That the BBC would not be allowed to simple sell on Pi's because they are supposed to be impartial"

        Funny... so 20 years ago a fully assembled and BRANDED machine was okay. While today another Brit build machine is not okay!?!?

        Anyway I think it's wrong from the BBC not use Pi's. Because RPI are a commendable Brit-initiative itself and should be applauded in any way. There are probably stockpiles of old B's that can be had for next to nothing (now that the RPI2 is out) or use RPI model A.

        Why do they need to re-invent the wheel (this time)?

        Oh damn, why should I care anyway.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: I think..

          They didn't design/build/sell/distribute the Acon BBC Micro - they did little more than endorse it.

          They didn't even IIRC produce much software for BBC basic only or even particularly concentrate on the BBC micro in their programs.

          1. King Jack Silver badge

            Re: I think..

            Micro Live: I remember it well. A man that looked like an owl bleating on about computers. He would mention other machines but all the programs were for the BBC Micro and needed altering to run on anything else. They never featured code for any other machine. You needed a BBC Micro or later on an Acorn.

    3. the spectacularly refined chap

      The BBC should have bought a stockpile of Pi's and gave them out, and tailored their documentation for the device. That's all they needed to do. But no, someone at the BBC decided "We're not spending enough money on this, lets release our own hardware too!". But you know why would it be any different? They haven't had to work for their money, they just use the threat of court to get money from people who want to watch a bit of TV in the evenings.

      They are not paying for them though - they are being stumped up for by their partners, and yes, even the RasPi is probably too expensive. Let's say there's roughly a million year 7 pupils - giving them all Pis would cost £25m+ - yes, you'll get a bit of a bulk discount but not much given the volumes Pis are produced in anyway, and the costs of distributing via schools will be fairly high. That's a big chunk of change to come out of even multinational community or corporate social responsibility budgets. When you factor in the support stuff it needs to make a complete workstation - case, PSU, SD card, leads, keyboard, mouse etc - it no longer even looks particularly cheap compared to some other alternatives.

      I also think this is better focussed on their specific stated aim to get kids coding. There is no doubt the Pi has been spectacularly successful but in that respect it hasn't really worked out. Look at all the attention it gets - it is focussed squarely on being a media server or some other commercially available device. Hardware work similarly revolves are plugging in some commerical module as opposed to building something yourself.

      If you give out a more limited device that can't be used as a free general purpose computer and doesn't need a lot of extras (because it can never be a workstation) you can focus the spend on the skills you are trying to develop, rather than simply providing a free gadget to every 11 year old in the country.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        "When you factor in the support stuff it needs to make a complete workstation - case, PSU, SD card, leads, keyboard, mouse etc - it no longer even looks particularly cheap compared to some other alternatives."

        You're right. The Pi needs a display, keyboard, mouse, SD card, power supply... I reckon those added maybe thirty quid extra or so but I was lucky to pick up an old analogue flat screen monitor for a fiver.

        The thing is, though, that once the Pi is set up, it is itself the "workstation". Whether you're running a lightweight OS like RISC OS or a Linux version or just using it to watch videos, it does this itself. I write code that runs on a Pi and the Pi itself is the development environment.

        This Beeb machine, on the other hand, would appear to require a complete other workstation just in order to use it! This isn't anything like a Pi then, you can't give this to kids and expect them to just get on with it, it'll surely need to be tethered in order to get anything code-wise done.

        Now the win would be if you could develop for this on a Pi ! But can't you already get ARM M0 boards like that off eBay for something silly like three quid?

    4. dr john

      Raspberry Pi is cheap???

      Come on guys, see the con !

      To use it properly you will need to buy a monitor.

      You will need to buy a keyboard

      You will need to buy a mouse.

      You will need to buy an external hard drive

      You will need to buy a power supply

      You will probably need to buy a usb drive

      You will probably need to buy a decent container for it to keep it safe.

      And this BBC device will need all the same parts.

      A usable Raspberry Pi for kids to learn to program on will cost as much as a small netbook computer (which will come with a guarantee that all the bits will work together or you get it replaced.) A Raspberry Pi will cost more than a android tablet. A Raspberry Pi is a toy for hobbyists to play with.

      When will the world realise that the Raspberry Pi (and devices like this BBC thing) is one big con when it comes to the "teach kids to program" advertising line ???

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        @ dr john

        I suggest you buy one before passing judgement. You are wrong.

        You need a power supply, SD card, keyboard/mouse. It plugs into your existing telly, it uses the standard SD card cheaply bought and compatible with older camera's, it now uses the standard cheap SD card bought with phones and cameras, it uses the standard power supply of most phone chargers and a keyboard and mouse can be bought for very little and often easily available.

        It is a cheap computer for a house that cant afford to buy one for their kid to play with. Its application goes beyond just programming but that is the current buzz topic for gov

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Come on guys, see the con ! - "haters gonna hate" but let's take this apart anyway... Note, I'm talking about the Pi1 model B here.

        To use it properly you will need to buy a monitor. - you can use a TV but it isn't so nice. However, you can buy HDMI to VGA adaptors for about €10 off eBay which opens up a world of cheap second hand analogue displays. Mine is running a 1280x1024 flat panel that cost me €5.

        You will need to buy a keyboard - £8 from a major supermarket. Price in £ as a friend got it to save me the hassle of the horrid AZERTY layout.

        You will need to buy a mouse. - I rescued an older style optical mouse from a bin at work. Let's just say there was an incident involving coffee. A bit of TLC later, it works fine. If I had to put a price to this, I'd suggest looking at basic keyboard/mouse combo-packs, I think they start around €15 or so.

        You will need to buy an external hard drive - really? I don't have one. Well, I do, but I've never used it with the Pi. I doubt the Pi's USB output is enough to run spinning rust.

        You will need to buy a power supply - probably. You can run it from a mobile charger but it might be a bit 'iffy'. However, starting from around €10 you can get multi-output 2A tablet chargers. Enough to run the Pi, the HDMI thingy, and a Vonets WiFi adaptor without grief.

        You will probably need to buy a usb drive - possibly, but how many people have USB drives kicking around in a drawer? For instance, when I run the Pi with RaspBMC, it is actually installed via the NOOBS package on a 2GiB micro SD card. The same 2GiB micro SD card that was supplied "as standard" in my phone, and got swapped out for a 32GiB one within the hour of purchase. Lower capacity cards aren't so useful or commonplace these days, so I think there are a fair few lying around unused that could be repurposed.

        You will probably need to buy a decent container for it to keep it safe. - I have a cute translucent orange one. About €6 from Amazon. The Pi was easy. The Beagle xM not so much, so I found a tupperware container that was Beagle sized and cut holes in it in the right places...

        A usable Raspberry Pi for kids to learn to program on will cost as much as a small netbook computer - adding up the above (using €15 for keyboard/mouse combo), it comes to €46 plus the Pi itself. Say maybe €80 as a ballpark figure to include some variations in price. That's less than a useful budget tablet, and less than a third of the retail price of a netbook.

        "(which will come with a guarantee that all the bits will work together or you get it replaced.) - the important thing is to go for cheap generic stuff. When you go for fancy multi-key-rollover keyboards, mice with a dozen extra buttons and built in document scanner, and SD cards that are like 40x turbocharged - that's when you are going to hit weird compatibility problems. The first keyboard I tried was a fancy gamer's keyboard (not my choice!) which just about worked under RISC OS and failed entirely with Linux. The keyboard I use now is the cheapest thing on the shelf and it works perfectly.

        A Raspberry Pi will cost more than a android tablet. - if you think you can get anything useful done with an Android tablet running an 800MHz single core processor, with maybe 360MiB RAM, a 0.3 megapixel camera (if you're lucky and have one at all) and a tablet sized 640x480 display (can't you see every pixel at the spec?), then yes. The Pi is more expensive. But let me ask you - do you seriously think you could learn anything on such a device? Programming it would be unpleasant without an SDK and dev suite on something else. Those sorts of tablets are consumption only devices for people too clueless to understand why spending another thirty would have been a better idea. Or for parents to give to stressy children that will probably throw it across the room when it doesn't load Facebook fast enough...

        A Raspberry Pi is a toy for hobbyists to play with. - probably, yes. If I had children I would get them into using and understanding it as soon as I could. But I am from a different era. I grew up when games were kind of crappy and you bought them on tape. But the most important thing of all is the fact that you could play something, observe it carefully, and think "I could do better than this!". Doing exactly that is how some of us got our first interest in programming. I wrote a rather nice space invaders clone for the Beeb and I guess I should have sold it instead of just giving it away to friends. I wasn't after making money, I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do a better one than the tape I paid £9,99 for. But look at the bar today. Grand Theft Auto 3 on an ancient PS2 is pretty decent looking. I'm enjoying Fatal Frame (aka Project Zero) on the same PS2. If I had more money, pretty much the only game that has interested me in the last few years is The Last Of Us. Can a modern child look at those sorts of things and think "I could do better?". Don't be ridiculous. So we, as the been-there-done-it adults have to find other ways to interest the younger ones in programming. And I don't mean a never-ending stream of fart apps. Maybe if this BBC santioned device is a basic piece of kit, we can throw away the magical mystical high level rubbish and get right back to the core of programming, what really goes on inside a processor. Because for me, the magic is not inheritance or object orientation, but the fact that I am typing this in a browser on an iPad and you will be reading it somewhere else in the world in a browser on whatever - and all the processor is really capable of is pushing values around memory and performing some fairly basic mathematical operations on those values. From these basic operations, we have created UIs and browsers and cat videos. That, to me, is the magic.

      3. 404 Silver badge

        Raspberry Pi 2 starter kit: $69.99 - includes Pi, wireless dongle, case, PS, HDMI cable, 8GB SD card

        http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MV6TAJI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

        Rii Mini Wireless keyboard with mouse touchpad: $17.99

        http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I5SW8MC/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

        So for $88+tax, you have a viable computer*.

        *My kids have more electronics/desktops/tablets than they need, but the Pi Kits we got them get the majority of their free time. 15yr old son is designing a game with it and my 12 yr daughter is attempting to take over the world, one line of code at a time with hers. Me? I play Minecraft & serve media on mine as I have less free time heh.

    5. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @The BBC should have bought a stockpile of Pi's and gave them out

      These aren't Raspberry Pis. They are embedded microcontrollers (presumably Arduino-like). This is exactly right for teaching real programming - there's nothing quite like writing a few lines of code, and making a pretty pattern of lights, or sticking on a ultrasonic detector and making a simple burglar alarm, or putting a little speaker on it and making funny noises. Affecting the real world with some code is just so cool!

  7. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    To balance the scales...

    Those kids that have no interest in "coding"... what are the BBC giving them?

    Because IT is just about coding and apps right?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To balance the scales...

      Well the Pi's Linux based OS is good for a bit more than coding and apps....

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: To balance the scales...

      >Because IT is just about coding and apps right?

      IT covers much more than simply coding:

      There is arguing with layers of management about how a backup isn't a waste of money

      There is arguing with suppliers about "yes actually we feel that a CPU, memory, disk and a PSU SHOULD be included with a server quote"

      There is arguing with HR that you should be allowed to execute a few users every now and again - "Pour Encouragez Les Autres"

      And there is the vital technical skills of turning it off and on again / hitting it / wiggling cables / shuffling paper / hitting it (again)

      1. Diogenes

        Re: To balance the scales...

        you left out the vital skill of try to plug usb in, turn it over try again, & then turn it over again

        1. heyrick Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: To balance the scales...

          @ Diogenes:

          Not to mention the equally vital skill of recognising that USB plugs fit nicely inside RJ45 sockets, but won't work there no matter which way up you insert it.

          Protip - something I realised the other day: on every device I own, the side of the USB plug with the USB logo embossed or stamped upon it goes upwards. Noticing that has saved me a lot of random fiddling.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To balance the scales...

        Yep - to make it more like real IT you need 1,000 Pi's in the house, some in the loft and a few under the settee. Your mum's one has just broken and she needs it fixed RIGHT NOW or you get no tea.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "This is exactly what the BBC is all about, namely bringing the industry together on an unprecedented scale and making a difference to millions. Just as we did with the BBC Micro in the 1980s, we want to inspire the digital visionaries of the future."

    And here was me thinking it might be something about being a corporation that broadcast british tv... oh well, you live and learn.

    I wonder if this comes out of the license fee?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      How old are you, 20?

      BBC Micro B

      Clue is in the name

    2. graeme leggett Silver badge

      as Lord Reith said : "educate, inform, entertain" - does this new idea not fall under any of these elements?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "as Lord Reith said : "educate, inform, entertain" - does this new idea not fall under any of these elements?"

        There are lots of things you could shoehorn into those categories, but as luck would have it the BBC does not (yet) run the UK's schools, have their own newspapers or run their own cinemachains / go-kart circuits.

        Still, at least they are back to building hardware again - ignoring everything that is already out there, making their own incompatible versions, undoubtedly rolling out tv-programming to go with it and blindly insisting that "this is exactly what the UK public expects from us".

        Next year they will probably start building roads and teaching the young how to drive.

        Teaching kids to program is a goodthing(tm).

        Why on earth the BBC is involved on the hardware side of it baffles me.

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge

      I wonder if this comes out of the license fee?

      Yep. So will the budget for the educational TV programmes that explain to users (probably staff too) how to use the devices.

      AKA, exactly how the BBC did it in the 80s, which led to those users ruling the world in 8 bit software development for the next 20 years.

      I can't think of anything more awesome than teaching a million 11 year olds python. Even if only 10% of them bother, or are interested, thats 100,000 more python devs than last year.

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Python? Why? What's wrong with teaching assembler, which will instil a far better understanding of how a computer works and digital electronics in general.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          What's wrong with teaching assembler

          Everyone needs to know how to drive the car, but only a few need to know how to rebalance the wheels.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        "I wonder if this comes out of the license fee?"

        Nope. These are couging up for the hardware.

        ARM

        Barclays

        element14

        Freescale

        Microsoft

        Nordic Semiconductor

        Samsung

        ScienceScope

        Technology Will Save Us

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "AKA, exactly how the BBC did it in the 80s, which led to those users ruling the world in 8 bit software development for the next 20 years."

        I think you have put on the rosy specs there, do you really believe that the 8bit computer development that came about in the UK in the 80s was due to the BBC Micro?

        Whilst I cut my teeth on commodore myself I don't have a problem admitting that in the UK it was the efforts of mr.Sinclair that drove the 'computing revolution'.

        BBC Micro? I've heard of it. As usuall the BBC have came late to the party and are throwing lots of money where it isn't needed, recreating stuff that doesn't need recreating.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    What a bunch of ****ing moaners

    All we see on these bloody forums week in, week out, is Eeew power point and Excel is not proper IT; waaahhh, they are not learning about hardware; boo hoo, they are not learning about coding.

    Then the BBC do this, run the programming to go with it to get kids involved and interested, get loads of partners on board, give it away for free (btw maybe, just maybe the BBC are not funding a lot of it, thought of that?) All people are doing on here is moaning.

    Seriously just shut the fuck up!

    BTW my 6 year old is learning about the basics of programming at school and even has a little robot they move about. 6, yes 6!

    Still she has a tantrum when she doesn't get exactly her own way, so she should blend in just here.

    1. GreggS

      Re: What a bunch of ****ing moaners

      What he said.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: What a bunch of ****ing moaners

      > she has a tantrum when she doesn't get exactly her own way

      Future linux kernel dev ?

      1. Flywheel Silver badge

        Re: What a bunch of ****ing moaners

        >> she has a tantrum when she doesn't get exactly her own way

        > Future linux kernel dev ?

        Future Top Gear presenter?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What a bunch of ****ing moaners

        "Future linux kernel dev ?"

        Future linux systemd dev ?

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: What a bunch of ****ing moaners

      "BTW my 6 year old is learning about the basics of programming at school and even has a little robot they move about. 6, yes 6!"

      That's not actually all that surprising. Kids that age were learning to program robot turtles in Logo 30+ years ago to. I still upvoted for the rest of your post though :-)

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: What a bunch of ****ing moaners

        Yup, I did LOGO with a turtle back when I was eight or nine in primary school.

        Drew a massive pentagram four feet across with 360 one degree turns for the circle on the outside.

        Teacher was well impressed.

        That was over 20 years ago!

        Steven "feels old" R

        1. ScottAS2
          Stop

          Re: What a bunch of ****ing moaners

          When we had a turtle in primary school, we were given strict instructions never to do left or right anything other than exactly 90. Guess what the first thing we did was? I believe the only way the teachers could find to abort our "right 99999999999999999" was to take the batteries out.

  10. dogged

    Not quite like the BBC Micro

    This doesn't cost the same as a small car.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Not quite like the BBC Micro

      Right on commander!

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Not quite like the BBC Micro

      On the other hand, the bigger ATMega's feel to me in a way quite like the Model B did: comparable amount of memory, lots of I/O, analog inputs. Switch it on and it's ready to go, and you could even burn your programs in EPROM and put them in a socket, running them right away after power-up. Of course, not as easy as Flash ROM, but it was what was possible at the time.

      And the ATMega's a bit cheaper.

  11. kmac499

    Not so much a Pi, more of a Tartlet

    In fact looking at the image of the thing it barely makes it into the petit four snack category.

    But hey anything that genuinely get kids interested in IT is worth a go. Just seems a bit OTT for the Beeb to commision yet another bare bones board.

  12. 45RPM Silver badge

    This is a Pi-Alike in exactly the same way that a skateboard is a Ford Fiesta. They'll both get you from A to B, but the latter will do it far more comfortably, faster, and carrying more luggage. I’ve never considered a skateboard to be a small car - so why does every small computer get compared to the Raspberry Pi?

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: why does every small computer get compared to the Raspberry Pi?

      Because, on the original BBC website article at least, it's the only thing most of the target audience will have heard of that conveys the essence of the thing.

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: why does every small computer get compared to the Raspberry Pi?

        Because it wouldn't make sense to compare it to an olympic sized swimming pool or a double decker bus.

        1. 45RPM Silver badge

          Re: why does every small computer get compared to the Raspberry Pi?

          @Pete 2

          Or, indeed, a Raspberry Pi (any more than it'd make sense to compare it to LEO, or a PC, a Playstation, Cray or Mac.)

          Don't get me wrong - I think that it's a great initiative - but it's being 'advertised' in a rather misleading manner.

    2. oddie

      "- so why does every small computer get compared to the Raspberry Pi?"

      -Because thats what they should have used, rather than whatever this thing is...?

  13. Pete 2 Silver badge

    What can you do with a 74HC00?

    > a springboard for more advanced products such as the Arduino

    If an Arduino counts as "more advanced" than this jobbie, it's difficult to imagine just how basic this Micro-bit device will be.

    [ Edit: though since you could make an S-R flip-flop out of a 7400, I think you'd already be bordering on the limit of understanding of most 11 y/o's ]

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: What can you do with a 74HC00?

      Building a half-adder out of 7400 gates would be an excellent start.

      Problem: People think computers are magic boxes that no human can understand - and therefore grow up believing everything the computer tells them.

      Solution: teach people how computers work at a basic level

      Teaching people to click on icons in word to make a web page doesn't do anything to change the "magic box" picture. Even typing python into a RPi after watching pages of incomprehensible Matrix-like Kernel boot messages doesn't really teach anyone that a computer really is a very simple idea.

      Arduino is a great idea, it would have been nice if this thing was an arduino clone so it could use the same sketch software and be a stepping stone to arduino projects. (perhaps it does haven't seen any details)

      1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: What can you do with a 74HC00?

        Upvote for this. But don't forget, most people have NO idea how television works.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What can you do with a 74HC00?

      "...since you could make an S-R flip-flop out of a 7400, I think you'd already be bordering on the limit of understanding of most 11 y/o's"

      And most "ICT" teachers. Having struggled to explain flip-flops to the Head of ICT where I work when that page came along in the textbook and was therefore needing to be taught in the next day's lesson, I fear there will be an awful lot of very baffled teachers when these gizmos turn up. (As for trying to explain why double-clicking a Python program "just makes a black square flash up for a fraction of a second" rather than "opening it"......)

      1. Vic

        Re: What can you do with a 74HC00?

        trying to explain why double-clicking a Python program "just makes a black square flash up for a fraction of a second"

        If the python code works, I've found renaming it to a .pyw leads to fewer questions.

        Of course, if it fails (as implied by your post), that can just make matters worse :-(

        Vic.

    3. no-one in particular

      Re: What can you do with a 74HC00?

      > If an Arduino counts as "more advanced" than this jobbie, it's difficult to imagine just how

      > basic this Micro-bit device will be.

      You have bothered looking at the full range of Arduino boards, haven't you?

    4. Steve Todd

      Re: What can you do with a 74HC00?

      Letting them loose on a simple CPLD might be fun. A MAX V 570 for example should give them enough logic to build a CPU for about £5

  14. Steve 114
    WTF?

    Copyrights?

    Have the BBC, in gleefuly giving away my reluctantly paid licence money, considered Googling 'Micro Bit' to see if anyone else might have an interest in the name? Is this another METRO/TIFCAM in the making?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Copyrights?

      An IT company in Singapore and a place holder webpage for someone in Mexico by the looks

      Granted it's a bit swamped by the BBC news at the moment

    2. StuartF

      Re: Copyrights?

      The information on the BBC Media centre site says:

      "*The project is still in development and the final name, appearance and specification is likely to change"

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/makeitdigital/micro-bit

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Copyrights?

      "Have the BBC, in gleefuly giving away my reluctantly paid licence money, considered Googling 'Micro Bit'"

      How about googling to find out who is really paying for these devices?

  15. jzlondon

    It doesn't need to be complicated

    Programming is a very simple art at its core. It's just about learning to plan commands in a structured manner to solve a problem.

    Why does it need an HDMI port or a gigabyte of RAM for that? Or even a display for that matter?

    Blinking lights seem perfect to me. You can learn to make patterns, etc., without getting distracted by Firefox. It's a very mechanistic, straightforward thing.

  16. Jonathan Larmour
    Linux

    Be afraid, be very afraid

    Microsoft is one of the sponsors. Make of that what you will...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. sabroni Silver badge
      Mushroom

      I KNEW IT!

      Fucking Micro$haft!!!!!!!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I KNEW IT!

        If Microsoft found the cures for cancer and world hunger and were giving them away for free the haters would still hate. FFS.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I KNEW IT!

          "FFS"

          You'll probably be happy when MS start telling the parents that they will need a new Win10 PC to program it!

  17. Linker3000

    UK Digital Initiative - remember that?

    Someone PLEEEEASE give one of these to Lottie Dexter.

  18. adam 40

    Time for Sir Clive to Ride Again?

    Well if the Beeb are getting going again with computer hardware then surely it's time for Sir Clive to market a competitor?

    Struggling to work out the business model though...

    1. StuartF

      Re: Time for Sir Clive to Ride Again?

      Add on 16K RAM pack possibly? Plus a blob on blutack to stop it wobbling

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why?

    Why are 'licence' fee payers having to cough up for this?

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      @Anonymous Coward

      Because Why Not? Seriously, the BBC does excellent work - no other TV company like it. The radio alone is worth paying the TV License fee for. That the BBC also runs educational programs, and wants to engage the kids in something a little more useful than fragging baddies on a games console seems thoroughly worthwhile to me.

      It’s almost a tradition now to bitch about the BBC, and then the Gumbys in HM Gov’t pick up the refrain - and I worry for the future of this most august institution. The day we lose the BBC is the day that we, in the United Kingdom, become just a little bit less British. We’ll certainly have one less thing to be proud of - and, in an age when the things that we have to be proud of are being sold off every day, that would be a very sad thing.

      1. david bates

        Re: Why?

        "The radio alone is worth paying the TV License fee for."

        Its not - its really, really not....the quality drop in Radio 4 over the last 10 years is staggering. Not much science, and a lot of what there is is pop-sci lite. LOTS of cheap social stuff like "The Listening Project" and Saturday Live - lightweight trash to allow people who are not broadcasters for a reason a chance to tell you about their tedious lives for free.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          It's got a bit better since the world service stuff was rolled in - and there is always Archive on 4.

          In our time / News quiz / Sorry I haven't a clue / anything by John Finnemore / somethings by David Mitchell / Mark Steel / Jeremy Hardy

          Just avoid anything by media luvies or Gruniad columnists.

    2. StuartF

      Re: Why?

      Read the BBC article as it makes reasonable attempt to explain this.

      This is about building future skills that allow the UK to remain competitive. The stuff that is needed to make sure a future work force is able to pay for our pensions, healthcare etc.

      The hardware will support BBC TV programming and the costs will be shared with partners not exclusively by the license fee. It probably ends up being pretty cheap TV compared with some of the high budget stuff that is currently shown.

      For me this is exactly why we have a license fee. A public broadcaster supporting a forward looking public program to help educate.

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      "Why are 'licence' fee payers having to cough up for this?"

      They are not.

  20. scjastro

    bbc pi is 8bit amtelmega 32u4

    Another complete waste of bbc money an arm m0 board would have been great idea but an 8 bit cpu with 2.5kbyte ram ( according to amtel spec sheet) is a croc of *888

    great shame to hear about terry pratchett we had the same spec lx200 (68000 based )

    best fantasy writer of this century

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: bbc pi is 8bit amtelmega 32u4

      Totally useless - unlike the multi-teraflop quadHD screen home computers that we all got hooked on in the 80s

    2. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: bbc pi is 8bit amtelmega 32u4

      I know. Luxury. I started programming on a Z80 with 1K RAM. Kids today. Don’t know that they’re born!

      1. Chemist

        Re: bbc pi is 8bit amtelmega 32u4

        " I started programming on a Z80 with 1K RAM. Kids today. Don’t know that they’re born!"

        (Obligatory 4 Yorkshiremen moment) -- you were LUCKY- I started on a SC/MP Mk14 with 256 bytes and a hex keypad/calculator display AND NO STACK. Raw Machine-code too

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      BBC Microbit is (32-bit) ARM

      http://community.arm.com/groups/internet-of-things/blog/2015/03/12/arm-and-the-bbc-collaborate-on-a-new-initiative

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: BBC Microbit is (32-bit) ARM

        In a way being a proper 32bit arm platform is the worrying bit

        If this is just a device where you write some javascript in a webpage and an IoT service turns on the LED on the device over wireless then does it teach anything more than the "click on bold to make text bold in Word" IT classes?

        Hopefully you can learn about bits and memory addresses and have I/O pins and gates etc

    4. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: bbc pi is 8bit amtelmega 32u4

      "Another complete waste of bbc money an arm m0 board would have been great idea but an 8 bit cpu with 2.5kbyte ram ( according to amtel spec sheet) is a croc of *888"

      I couldn't disagree more strongly. You do not first learn how to drive in an articulated lorry or a racing car, and you do not learn to fly an aircraft in a 747 or Learjet. You learn any new skill by starting with something basic that is relatively easy to operate and understand. In order to understand the basics of programming and to whet the appetite of the percentage of kids who will come to enjoy it and want to take it further, you need nothing more sophisticated than a simple 8-bit CPU (e.g. PIC or Z80 or low-end ARM) on a board that has a few KB of RAM and some simple but interesting interchangeable I/O devices (LEDs, motors, a speaker, maybe a small dot matrix display, a hex keypad, maybe an A/D with an LDR, microphone or similar). There are simple programs that will create stuff such as a sound-operated light switch or a light-controlled audio tone generator (stuff kids will be interested in) that have a chance of many high-school pupils understanding *fully*, from program operation right down to how and why the outputs work the way they do.

      If you start programming on a Windows or Unix machine, you are so far removed from the guts that you will learn only the details of the language you are programming in, and nothing about how computers work.

    5. Mage Silver badge

      Re: bbc pi is 8bit amtelmega 32u4

      Jupiter Ace ran Pacman in only 1K RAM.

      Also it was a High Level Language, not assembler, as long as you had used an HP calculator (RPN is easy really, look at Forth vs Lisp)

    6. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: bbc pi is 8bit amtelmega 32u4

      "an 8 bit cpu with 2.5kbyte ram"

      Ought to be enough to beat you at chess. (^_^)

      While a more advanced machine might be nice, there is something to be said for limitations. You learn how to program efficiently and don't do dumb things like allocate yourself a hundred kilobytes of memory just to store some flags.

      Think about it - washing machines and bread makers and central heating controllers are really low spec devices - my bread maker is an 8051 clone with I think 2K ROM and half-K RAM yet it has a dozen cooking programs and seems to be fairly capable with various weight/cooking options; a third of the I/O is the user keys, a third is the user display, the last third being the sensors and heater/motor control. All this with a basic microcontroller inside, not something complex running an OS and loading application software. So don't knock low spec devices until you've thought about what you can actually do with them.

      1. John Sturdy
        Childcatcher

        Re: bbc pi is 8bit amtelmega 32u4

        The limitations may actually be the point. When kids see something as "a computer" in the modern sense, and think they're going to learn to make it do things like the ones they see computers already doing (e.g. modern games) there's a lot they have to learn to get far enough to stop them thinking that programming is beyond them; and then they will have only just scratched the surface.

        But give them something which inherently limits their expectations (for example, having a small grid of LEDs instead of a full colour screen) and they'll have much more chance of taking it as far as their expectations, which is much more rewarding, and likelier to get them to continue to larger systems.

        I think the Beeb succeeded because at that time the limits of what you could expect of a computer were much more approachable. Modern desktop systems have so much more in them that making progress that looks significant enough to give encouragement is much harder, and is going to be above more people's thresholds for getting disheartened and giving up.

    7. ChrisC

      Re: bbc pi is 8bit amtelmega 32u4

      As someone who spent the first 6 years of his embedded systems development career pushing various members of the AVR family to their limits (and occasionally beyond... oh dear, there goes the magic smoke again), I feel sufficiently clued-up on the capabilities of Atmel's little wonder to say quite categorically that you have no idea what you're on about. One of the great things about the AVR is that it's really very easy to write code for, even down at the assembler level. Indeed, your mentioning the 68000 is quite apt here, as one of the things I loved about the AVR was that writing asm code for it felt a lot like writing asm code for the 68000, to the point where I'd often end up writing chunks of asm code simply because it was as easy as writing the equivalent in C. Try doing that with an ARM-based system and see how far you get...

      Also, whilst ARM (rightly) grabs much media attention for all of their design wins in the mobile sector, and is undeniably a UK success story we should all be proud of, don't think that ARM is the be all and end all of the embedded processor story. I'd hazard a guess that for every ARM-powered device out there, there are probably 10x as many devices powered by other types of embedded processor - AVRs, PICs, 8051's etc. So even leaving aside the argument that it's better to ease youngsters into embedded coding using a simpler, easier to understand processor core than the sprawling beast that is the typical ARM-cored device, it's also no bad idea to introduce the next generation of embedded system developers to a core which, in itself, represents a not insignificant number of embedded devices out there right now, and also, as a representative of lower-powered narrower bit-width devices in general, is also a damn good introduction to what the majority of embedded systems development is all about, and still will be by the time they leave academia and take their first tentative steps into the world of employment.

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: bbc pi is 8bit amtelmega 32u4

        "... felt a lot like writing asm code for the 68000, to the point where I'd often end up writing chunks of asm code simply because it was as easy as writing the equivalent in C. Try doing that with an ARM-based system and see how far you get..."

        As a person who programs in several different assembler languages for a living, I can assure you that the ARM instruction set is both easier to understand and simpler to implement while at the same time being more versatile and efficient than any other instruction set I have used (including 68K and Z80/8080). The only tricky bits are to do with the co-processor, modes and MMU, but you don't have to know about those things in order to start writing code (just leave that part in the power-up state and deal only with physical addresses and no mode changes).

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: bbc pi is 8bit amtelmega 32u4

        "to the point where I'd often end up writing chunks of asm code simply because it was as easy as writing the equivalent in C. Try doing that with an ARM-based system and see how far you get..."

        Oh, I do. Because the ARM is nice and if C's pointers are starting to get messy-complicated, it's usually far easier to drop in some assembler where I know exactly what is where without a language syntax getting in the way. ARM code is just generally pleasant to work with; and when you're writing application code you don't need to concern yourself with messy things like page tables and address caching, just leave that stuff to the OS...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    For those that can't get past the headline before exploding about the BBC

    Here is a list of the companies involved:

    ARM

    Barclays

    element14

    Freescale

    Microsoft

    Nordic Semiconductor

    Samsung

    ScienceScope

    Technology Will Save Us

    Formal product champions involved in outreach and educational resources include:

    Bright Future

    CISCO

    Code Club

    CoderDojo

    Code Kingdoms

    Creative Digital Solutions

    CultureTECH

    Decoded

    Institution of Engineering and Technology

    Kitronik

    Lancaster University

    London Connected Learning Centre

    Open University

    Python Software Foundation

    STEMNET

    Teen Tech

    Tinder Foundation

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Steve Evans

    Teaming up for Barclays to promote tech...

    Too funny... All the Barclays apps refuse point blank to run on rooted Android devices... So whatever you do, don't become too techie and want to fiddle with your devices.

    They seem to spend a huge amount of time and effort to detecting rooted devices, every time a way to hide the fact is discovered, it's quickly squashed by the next release of ping-it et al.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the point of it though?

    Most kids will have a computer, although many will be tablet and phone users. I imagine some as a result won't have a laptop/desktop to plug this into.

    If you want to make it easy then you need to provide the whole package. This was what made 80s home computing easier, you just plugged it into a TV, switched it on and you could program instantly.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      How easy is it wire a grid of LEDs to your Core-i7 and then write some code to turn them on and off?

      1. jbuk1

        Not hard at all with a serial port.

    2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      The percentage of kids who had a TV set available for their BBC micro in those days is probably not all that dissimilar to the percentage of kids who have a suitable PC to plug into these days. Not that a PC is 100% necessary. I first learned to program a CPU using a HEX keypad and 7 segment displays with just 256 bytes of RAM and a monitor ROM available, but then I was extremely interested (=motivated), mainly because the idea of owning any form of computer (even one so rudimentary) was extremely novel and my mates were very impressed that I could get the display to scroll out rude words and the speaker to emit a farting noise by typing in a series of numbers. If PCs and portable computing devices had been as prevalent then as they are today I doubt I would have been particularly enthusiastic.

  24. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    I'm happy

    To see this *educational* *school* project is not being funded as it logically should be from the national education budget (which I pay towards via taxation), but is instead paid for from the TV licence fee (which I don't). At least those people who pay the licence fee but watch little if any BBC content will be getting a darn sight more benefit for their money when the present school population reaches working age than they do from funding "Eastenders" or "Coronation Street"

  25. Zot

    So why is it a "subpar - RPI"?

    There are no specs for the thing yet? Are there?

  26. Fred Dibnah

    OK, but

    I have no beef with the idea of the BBC helping to teach kids about computers, but they are such an influential organisation that whoever they support is going to benefit at the expense of others. If they were going to throw their brand behind one device, IMO it should have been the Pi. After all, Pi's suppliers have done the donkey work of getting them into schools already, and the BBC giving free devices away is going to kill the Pi's educational market dead almost overnight.

    Back in the day, Sinclair suffered and Acorn prospered, largely because of the BBC choosing Acorn.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OK, but

      Or by encouraging children to investigate computing and giving them a device they can use at home, rather than sharing one at school for an hour every week, they might be more interested in getting a Pi for their personal use?

      I wonder how many children give up (or are persuaded to give up) their Beeb device to a parent or elder sibling which then appears on an online auction site to be bid for by geeks?

  27. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    Well OK...

    ... as long as you don't have to use a 'special' Windows-only application to program it.

  28. Conundrum1885

    Arduinos

    Actually are extremely useful, I am working on a laser etching rig at the moment using the basic Uno R3 and many of the functions such as real time control can't be done with the Pi.

    The ideal situation would be to use the Pi's for readout and/or programming and the Arduino boards to run the compiled code standalone.

    The added advantage is that the hardware is standard so anyone can just go online and buy a Pi and BBC add-on board and guarantee that it will work with their code *anywhere*.

    Extra bonus if it loops back video from the Pi and displays it on the internal screen with an U/D/L/R button to select the area for viewing.

  29. wobbly1
    Childcatcher

    Bad Press? New Digtial Magic will polish your reputation.

    Why would the BEEB want to provide IoT computers to Schools? Because they are experts in IT? Because they have boundless legitimate wealth? nah answer is less laudable than that. The new system would need to be more able than the Shiva-plug clone (raspberry) or match the infrastructure of Arduino... Think Barclays Bank, think 50 years of bad publicity starting with sanctions breaking in South Africa, Think taking money from questionable middle eastern potentates think "Digital Eagles". It's the latest PR foil to bad press; looking crap? Nonce-gate and Clarkson-gate getting you caned in the press? Do a digital dalliance and write off against tax (or licence payers). If they have spent money on this "Me Too" pile of crud, it's no surprise we will only see recorded highlights of F1 this weekend. if you want to help children into programming and hands on screwdriver computers, buy an Arduino Uno clone (available for less than a tenner) 2 quids worth of components and sit with them while they learn. at the end of it they (and you ) will have better understanding of electronics and a dialect of c++

  30. John Robson Silver badge

    Why not run with what's already out there?

    TV programming to accompany the RasPi would have been a good way to go I'd have thought, maybe a BBC modular component to plug into the GPIO with sane protective resistors etc already in place?

    At least the company has some history with doing this kind of thing, although that was in a VERY different environment...

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't help feeling this is a missed opportunity to actually do something really exciting. I think it's great they are giving the device away but it should have been a RP so the kids could really do something with the device beyond blinkenlights. I'm sure RP would have done a bit of a discount, possibly even for cost but lets say in bulk you could get them for £20 each. I'd buy five for the school at that price point and I'm sure there are sufficient other parents that could be persuaded to do the same which would cover all the pupils in the school. And lets be honest here, there would be no shortage of corporate sponsors (Microsoft I'm sure) that would want to donate something to bring the price down in order to capture the young minds early.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Talk about missing the most basic part of this. These things are being given to every kid. Not just to Tarquin and Jemima, but to those kids at the other side of town, whose parents are having to go to food banks to feed their families, and who have to decide whether to pay the gas bill or buy the kids new shoes this term.

      This isn't a project for the middle classes, it's for everyone.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stuff like this out already

    When I saw this immediately reminded me of the PI Lite:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/MATRIX-RASPBERRY-Development-Boards-Evaluation/dp/B00T63WD0C/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1426242023&sr=8-8&keywords=led+matrix+board+for+raspberry+pi

    Got one of these for Christmas, has an onboard arduino chip meaning the PI provides the power but the processing can be done onboard, comes with a number of python programs to display weather, stock prices etc.

    Suspect this is a lower cost board in the same vein, probably hoping the kiddies will want flashy things displaying stuff attached to their clothing, and this is gonna kick start another bunch of kids becoming interested in IT as a career.

    Sorry beeb, convince the Government to not allow the import of 20,000 odd ICT's into the country a year and you may have a chance, UK companies are entirely to blame for the skill shortages they are experiencing due to low wages and moronic offshore staff screwing up every project, guess good programmers and support staff aren't a "commodity" after all!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. Robinson

    It's not "free"

    We've already paid for these with our licence fee. It's "free" only in the way socialist organisations use the word.

  34. John Styles

    Maybe..

    ... you can use a Raspberry Pi in place of the 'PC' that you plug it into via a USB port i.e. you have your Pi, it has USB, plug this thing and and program it using the Pi.

    I do not quite see the point myself, but I am not a child, parent or educator.

  35. thesykes

    Moaners everywhere

    Maybe some of you should just shut up and think about what this is trying to achieve.

    If the partners of this project had all clubbed together and produced this device and offered to give it to every 11 year old, it would get nowhere. Add the BBC name to the project and ask them to knock out a few TV programmes to support it and suddenly here's a project with national exposure, a name most people trust and who have helped inspire a whole generation to learn to use a computer. How many posters on here remember watching Ian MaNought-Davies and being inspired by his enthusiasm for computers?

    It's highly likely that these companies involved have seen a steady decline in the ability of graduates to knock out a simple "Hello World" program, let alone be let loose on enterprise-critical coding. Maybe they realise that, if they are to remain in business in the future, they need an increase in the quantity and quality of programmers. As with most things in life, the younger you start, the easier it seems to be to learn.

    Some have asked why the Government aren't running this sort of thing. If they were, it would result in a device costing £200 to make, cost £2bn to develop and wouldn't be delivered until 2025.

    As far as I see it, this is a bunch of technology companies clubbing together to hopefully avert a programming crisis in 10 years time, and using the BBC to get the message out.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Moaners everywhere

      @ thesykes

      "If the partners of this project had all clubbed together and produced this device and offered to give it to every 11 year old, it would get nowhere."

      You are right. It is less capable than a recent project which is targeted at children learning, with a very specific role as educational, with low costs and easy purchase, running a well supported OS and being so popular that it has already had 2 upgrades without ramping up the price AND after all that it is already widely known and advertised. That is the PI if you missed it.

      "Add the BBC name to the project and ask them to knock out a few TV programmes to support it and suddenly here's a project with national exposure"

      Which in a cost effective world would be... use the well exposed and popular existing cheap project that is well supported and knock out a few TV programmes to support it. Thereby not adding additional cost of another (probably incompatible) project to an introductory world which needs less confusion not more.

      "It's highly likely that these companies involved have seen a steady decline in the ability of graduates to knock out a simple "Hello World" program, let alone be let loose on enterprise-critical coding."

      So knock out something less capable than the PI (from what it seems) and ignore the project the kids probably already have! Instead of a PC for all we can have a PC and a free gimmick to a million kids and then what? Why not support the already widely available and well purchased supporting enterprise level software development as well as the kids stuff? Something which can stay with the kids from 'starting out' to 'entry level' to media centre as they upgrade to the full fat PC?

      "Some have asked why the Government aren't running this sort of thing. If they were, it would result in a device costing £200 to make, cost £2bn to develop and wouldn't be delivered until 2025"

      That is a solid point I hope nobody has an issue with. But why reinvent the wheel when a better one is already being used on the carts?

      "As far as I see it, this is a bunch of technology companies clubbing together to hopefully avert a programming crisis in 10 years time, and using the BBC to get the message out."

      As I see it as the BBC does it again and takes its license fee and says 'what shall we spend it on now?'.

      "Maybe some of you should just shut up and think about what this is trying to achieve."

      Maybe the reason people are moaning is because they have thought about it and wonder what on earth they are trying to achieve while at the same time trying to claw even more money from people who dont have a use for their services. Maybe people could shut up and watch their wallets be abused but does that sound likely? And to assume people having something to say about this abuse of their wallets means we havnt thought about it suggests maybe some people need to shut up and have a read of the thought through arguments against wasting peoples money.

  36. Joefish

    I think it's a great concept, but...

    My reservation is that it's being given to one year of pupils across the country rather than to the schools. What happens to the following year with no such resources for those pupils? Jack the price up once you've got all the schools hooked on the product? Or just leave them with nothing?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To all those asking....

    ...why the BBC couldn't have simply used a RasPi, Arduino or something; there is a simple answer. Microsoft are involved.

    They will do everything in their power to torpedo F/OSS or open community project (like the RasPi and Arduino). The RPi Foundation has already caved and it welcoming the MS cancer with their RasPi2 board.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To all those asking....

      RPi haven't caved in to Microsoft, Microsoft are planning to release a small footprint version of Windows for IOT for people who are in that sphere (previously they were offering Intel's board but at $100 a pop it wasn't that popular), there's no talk of dropping any of the Linux distros or Android for Windows on the Raspberry PI and Microsoft haven't even released the Pi compatible OS yet, as for Arduino completely different device and means of programming would not expect to see anything Microsoft developed for it any time soon.

      I think Microsoft only shops may go for it but there's already a large community of developers and end users using other OS's and needing Visual Studio to program it will also stop a lot of people using it, it's completely untrue to say Microsoft have torpedoed it.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actually low spec is better

    For all those knocking the BBC/Government initiative that made Acorn computers the default computing/math/electronics education platform remember that the 'A' in ARM used to be for Acorn.

    Acorn didn't wait around for the likes of Intel to make them the next generation of hardware, they did it themselves and the ARM is still going strong today. What would the world of computing be like today if ARM had received the same funding of the 8086 over the last 30 years.

    I agree completely with the concept i.e. cheap hardware with limited spec to promote assembler/machine code based development against reliance upon high spec and high level coding.

    I had a beeb when I was a kid and I used it as an education/design tool, I even had the Torch Unicorn plug in 68k/z80 tube board for home CPM and unix in the '90s

    The skills learned at home with the 6502 were extended during further education on lab kit based on 8080, 8085, 8086, 6809,z80, 68k promoted a low level understanding of computing/electronics.

    From my perspective of the time the PC/80x86 were massively sloppy and wasteful where the latter's design ideology was comparable to the US versus British rocket motors. The thrifty British rocket motors had a nice blue flame denoting complete combustion against the massive yellow ones the US used. That the US kept going when the British one didn't was down to the usual British lack of investment in technology that didn't give instant dividends.

    So from my perspective less is more, those that have what it takes will learn as I did how to make/code things efficiently due to a greater understanding and inherently thrifty toolkit.

  39. Chris Evans

    Not the Nine O'Clock news BBC Lecence fee sketch

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5yMPokDcxg

    "Mr Tully of Sidcup writes: £32 for a tv licence ! It's a disgrace. It's far too low. With the excellent service that the BBC provides it should be at least £400..."

    “I would gladly sell my wife to finance the BBC...”

  40. Archaon
    WTF?

    TV Licensing

    I appreciate that the BBC has ventures to help fund itself (e.g. sale of programmes overseas and whatnot) but if they have enough money to spaff on a million computers (albeit small ones) surely the TV licence fee should go down? They may not be funding it directly from the licence payer; but irrespective of that if their profits are so high surely that means the income is too high?

    Schools have plenty of money to purchase this kind of thing by themselves, if they wanted to. They can certainly burn plenty of cash on fecking useless iPads. That's not an Apple bash, before anyone starts. But seriously what's the value in having ICT suites, trolleys full of laptops and iPads and the tens of thousands of pounds worth of wireless infrastructure needed to support it all.

    What does all that contribute that we couldn't do with a teacher, a board and a couple of hours a week in the computer rooms (either for 'IT' classes, music classes, coursework, whatever). This is not a "back in my day" rant, but I believe kids need to be taught not dumped in front of a shiny screen. Bringing us back to the original topic, that's what Cbeebies is for.

  41. John Styles

    Ah..

    ... forgot to say earlier...

    the perfect Register thread - Raspberry Pi, the BBC, education, and now bizarre Micro$oft Konspiracy Korner. All we need now is climate change....

    1. 404 Silver badge

      Re: Ah..

      Ask and ye shall receive!

      The carbon footprint of the Micro Bit is unacceptably high due to the requirement of a PC, whereas the Raspberry Pi only requires a low-power energy efficient flatpanel.

      Free? Tell that to the future generations of children either dying from heat exhaustion or freezing to death from the advancing glaciers... I'm calling Al Gore.

      ;)

  42. Yugguy

    I like Bake Off

    If the BBC were to abandon the licence fee and go commercial programmes like this would be ruined.

  43. This post has been deleted by its author

  44. king of foo

    too late

    I'm pretty sure a ton of ICT money is already being spent on iPads for kids. If these are already in the estate the beeb would be better off building a html5 app optimised for touch at minimal expense. If they must invest in hardware then those programmable Lego toys would be both fun and informative, and a special range could be brought out in line with BBC programming. Schools compete for some kind of prize. E.g. life size daleks...

    Anyway, I think someone needs to track down Stallman and put him in charge of ICT...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: too late

      http://education.lego.com/en-gb/preschool-and-school/secondary/11plus-mindstorms-education/

      http://education.lego.com/en-gb/preschool-and-school/secondary/11plus-mindstorms-education/competitions

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: too late

        Mindstorms *could* be great, were it not for this:

        http://shop.legoeducation.com/gb/product/intelligent-nxt-brick-9841-103/

        The basic brick is £130 ex VAT. You can buy five Pis for that money and as for the Micro Bit, if they were ever available at retail I'd bet you could buy ten for the same price.

        I keep making this argument regarding iPads - one iPad is a whole class worth of reading scheme, a whole term worth of exercise books etc. etc. Where do they get the money?

        M.

  45. Alistair Thomas

    Trust the BBC to leave you high and dry all over again, just like the BBC Micro

    Tony Hall should resign forthwith - this is not what the BBC is about, and if he doesn't realise that then he has no business being its leader.

    The BBC is a content producer, news agency, possibly the best in the world. Within its remit, some of its content could be, actually is, educational. I'm certain that the BBC could produce and coordinate some of the best content possible to support the national curriculum, and it could market it to the English speaking world and beyond. Its content should be cross platform, absolute.

    It is not a computer company. How many 1000s of teachers and young people bought into their last forray into computers back in the 80s? How many people trusted the BBC to be a leading light in microcomputers, programming and the like only to lose out when it turned out that IBM, Microsoft and even Apple were the true leaders in the field? What was it that those companies had that the BBC lacked? Could it be that they really were computer companies.

    How many of the programs written for the BBC micro run on modern computers? How many of those programs formed the foundation of further work done in the 90s and 00s? None. As soon as the real standards from the real leaders emerged, the BBC gave up its hobby because it couldn't compete. How many millions of teaching hours were lost because teachers trusted the BBC and invested their time and effort in a false hope?

    Stick to content BBC. Work with Microsoft and other application developers to develop world class content for machines like Raspberry Pi. Show young children how computers can be used to create world class content. If you think there is a gap in the market for a particular piece of hardware then work with a hardware specialist and producers of development tools to produce world class content / applications to complement it. Even if you have the expertise to produce the first device, you don't have the staying power to produce the second or the third because it is not your business.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Haven't seen any of these coming to Scottish schools....I'm assuming that when they say "UK Schools" they mean "English Schools"...

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