We're living in crazy times.
Despite all that is going on around us however, we're all still fairly well off.
We've still got moden infrastructure up and running so despite the headlines, we've no fear of running out of commodities like the water, or the internet...!
Sensationalism aside, what are we hackers meant to do in the end times? Our high-end phones and phablets have some prim and proper requirements when it comes to things like power supplies, or spare parts - how many spare AMOLED screens are going to get made once global catastrophe makes short work of supply chain and infrastructure?
A cyberdeck? What is a cyberdeck anyway? Well, having a quick look at reddit, for lack of anywhere better, suggests to us that it is a mobile slab of ruggardized computing, generally the processing unit of a portable computer system, whos information output usually takes the format of VR headset, or wrist-mounted display.
Think any cheesy sci-fi/hacker film, and the scene where they pull a covert computer out of a lunchbox or such, before a few deftly placed keystrokes shut down the enemy server, or such lark.
But! That's not what we're seeing above is it? Well, you're right, but hold on, the sidebar wasn't finished yet.
Suffice to say, from the look of the content of the sub over at /r/CyberDeck, the term can safely be applied to any "rugged" look, portable terminal, and these days, that usually means a Raspberry Pi tricked out with heavy duty UI elements.
This recent build from Redditor "Philipp187" is a striking example of how to get all of that rugged protection into a design that would look perfectly at home in the high-end portable vintage computing magazines of yesteryear — and that's no slight against it either — I think it's a beautiful build!
This has been a project of love from Phillipp187. With his Ender 3 Pro running for 10 hours a day, for approximately 11 days, the printing time alone is no small contribution to the four month build time! Some of us would surely be tempted to cut the print time by skimping on the print quality, but we're glad to see Phillip187 sticking to his guns and turning out the beautiful parts we see here.
Behind the LCD panel fitted into the front fascia, we find a Raspberry Pi Model 4 neatly tucked away. The Pi 4 is a worthy choice for any mobile computing platform, with its 64-bit processor and hefty display capabilities making it a real portable powerhouse — perfect for a system intended to get the job done — whatever the job may be!
When folded neatly away, the this cyberdeck takes up about as much desk space as a modern DSO.
Despite its small footptint, when unfolded for use, the front panel flips down on its hinges to reveal a quite generously sized keyboard for such a portable unit — a real win in my eyes!
It's really nice to see the spare I/O bought out to the front panel. The full loadout includes:
- A front-facing memory card reader and camera!
- 3.5mm audio jack
- USB 3 (type A), and two USB-C
- A full-sized HDMI port is a great idea, giving a more robust physical layer to the MicroHDMI ports found on the Pi 4
- Ethernet RJ45
- Three user switches for power control to the various peripherals (fans, display) and one toggle available over GPIO on the Pi
Perhaps the only comment on the layout is that we could see the HDMI and USB-C connections potentially placing cables in such a way that might make typing difficult — maybe there is scope to make the keyboard detachable/extendable from the main unit during such usage?