Did we really get this far in dumbing down the society?
Really someone putting a motherboard into the case and cobbling a screen is worth writing an article about?
If you are lucky enough to own an IBM ThinkPad 701C, with its famous "butterfly" keyboard, options are appearing to help you bring it back to life – and some are quite dramatic. IBM's Thinkpad 701C is one of the most storied models of laptop ever made. Nicknamed the "Butterfly" for its ingenious folding keyboard, it's one of …
It would also be a lot more expensive, probably a worse motherboard than one that's been more thoroughly tested, less modular than something designed for expansion, and much harder for someone else to reproduce. The screen being weird in the case I'll grant you, but there's no advantage to making a custom motherboard for the build.
As I stated in my list, this version is likely to be better than what you would get otherwise. In other words, using Framework's motherboard is a way to avoid mediocrity. Not to mention that any project that starts with "Let's see if I can put something together from these old pieces in my closet" is likely to not be a saleable product when it's completed, so spending a bunch of cash getting a polished device that will never be sold and might not be heavily used is pointless. I'm not sure why you object so vociferously to this DIY project.
so spending a bunch of cash getting a polished device that will never be sold and might not be heavily used is pointless
What's up with this thinking that someone wouldn't turn their little pet project into a business?
I don't know if that design is patented or if it is - whether patent has expired, but even if it could have been adjusted so that it could still be manufactured eventually.
This is the problem with our culture - just give up and forget about doing something ambitious.
Yeah get some old stuff from the closet, put a half arsed computer together and call it quits.
"What's up with this thinking that someone wouldn't turn their little pet project into a business?"
Maybe what's up with it is that any company could have made a keyboard like that in a laptop form factor and they haven't, which means it's a risky business to A) start making laptops when you didn't before and B) pursue a design that no other company has bothered to do. There's a lot of work between "my prototype works" and "I have a profitable business selling mass-produced hardware", and you can fail badly between the two. I'll also note that this person is using an existing keyboard, not building one from scratch. I don't know how difficult they are to make, but it's more difficult than getting a screen and motherboard to talk to the keyboard and each other, and consequently more ways to find out that the keyboards you make and are hoping to sell aren't the same as what you liked from IBM.
"This is the problem with our culture - just give up and forget about doing something ambitious."
We do ambitious things sometimes, but not every project I take on to see what happens is a good business plan. Sometimes, that's not why I do them. Since you're convinced of its commercial potential, why don't you design the board and try to sell the units. I promise you you won't have competition.
I'm starting to wonder if you're bothering to read posts before replying to them with a generic negative or hostile comment. I didn't say that making this commercially was too risky and you should fear doing it. I said the risks didn't justify the likely reward.
Making a custom motherboard costs time and money, and a lot of both. Trying to sell it to people costs orders of magnitude more than that. Not everything I put together on a whim justifies that level of expense, because I have a limited supply of both time and money and don't tend to waste it on something that's unlikely either to bring me a return or cause me happiness. You've been posting here for some time now, and while I'm still not sure what you do, I think you already know how expensive a custom design would be to make commercially and understand the feasibility problems with your course of action, the reason you're not trying to do it yourself.
Making a custom motherboard costs time and money, and a lot of both.
You are of course correct. It costs money, time, even relationships and it can take years and years. By the time they would develop that motherboard, it would already be outdated and probably there would be someone more cynical than me calling it pointless.
It's kind of no longer compatible with the world we live in today, where everything needs to be now and needs to provide that social media buzz.
Spending years on developing something and learning is unimaginable, especially outside of uni.
and the worst - when someone actually wants to do something, there will be plenty of people who have done nothing in their lives ready to pull them down.
This also becomes institutional where people are discouraged to do anything with their talents. Running a business is more and more difficult, more expensive, more taxed, when you spend all those years on coming up with something, only to learn you would have been better off just slaving away in a corporation, climbing that ladder and if the depression sneaks in just grab whatever crutch you have, until the next time.
What's up with this thinking that someone wouldn't turn their little pet project into a business? Because in the general case, a "Let's see if I can put something together from these old pieces in my closet"-type project is not going to be mass-reproducible. Some, but not all, parts can be 3D-printed. And those "old pieces in my closet" are likely no longer made, and everyone's closest will have a different set of parts in it. Counting on finding new old stock is iffy, as is finding enough old/broken units to scavange for the needed parts.
> It would be more fun if he designed a motherboard himself to fit the original case
No, not really. It would be vastly more expensive, and in the end, probably less use.
Most people would probably put a Raspberry Pi in it, and the result wouldn't be much use. This way he's making it into a capable modern laptop.
Cleverly using existing kit like this is inspired, IMHO. Connecting a 38YO keyboard to a modern off-the-shelf mobo is clever stuff. Finding a modern HiDPI screen that fits the existing lid is clever. Connecting an iPad screen to a Framework mobo is very much not trivial.
And if you want bespoke custom motherboards for near-vintage Thinkpads, they exist, and I have written about them here on the Reg.
I suspect the drive here is to reuse these refurbished modules that the Framework laptop is resulting in and generate a bit of publicity.
I personally would quite like to see one of these working with its original operating system and typical software (Windows 3.11 and Lotus mail/organiser according to the Wikipedia page). The local transport museum has a range of motorbikes from early days through to the end of the BSA era. Quite interesting to compare and contrast design approaches and practical solutions as they changed in time. The same with computers might be fun.
Icon: self explanatory
"I personally would quite like to see one of these working with its original operating system and typical software (Windows 3.11 and Lotus mail/organiser according to the Wikipedia page)."
That shouldn't be too hard, as if you can get a working hard drive to put in it, all of that software can be easily found online and loaded on board. I'm not sure how interesting it would be to see obsolete software running on obsolete hardware when you can always run the same software in a VM whenever you want, but I suppose a history of office computers exhibit should have one.
This computer, unlike modern equivalents, was easy to work on, replacement parts were ubiquitous and the phrase "right to repair" was meaningless at the time.
I know it isn't something you swipe right on and therefore of no interest to you, but some of us have an interest in that subject.
Not in the UK, but I wouldn't be in a hurry to get some tomatoes. Last ones I had were (Capt. Obvious) imported and were effectively crunchy as Apples.
I like 'em, but these ones had me questioning my choices in life.
But I digress.
Hack 'em if you got 'em. And it has a recycling element too.
When I heard on the radio the phrase "if some vegetables are unavailable, turnips can make a good substitute", I immediately assumed Rishi Sunak was preparing us for a cabinet reshuffle...
The Spitting Image sketch of Thatcher and her cabinet at a restaurant has definitely entered the nation's psyche.
It was Therese Coffey and Selaine Saxby who were talking about eating more British veg. That is when T.C. made the comment. I doubt that Rishi Sunak would recognise a turnip if he saw one. Mind you, he should, given that he sits opposite one often enough, when he attends Parliament!
> but I preferred the compactness of a Psion 5mx
Me too. I wrote about them too, e.g.
 there is a modern Psion. It's a Planet Gemini. I have one. It's great.
 The Psion wasn't much cop for getting online, which is why I bought an old Thinkpad 701 in about 1999, and it was my main laptop for a couple of years. Ran Win95B very well, Win98SE (cut down hard with 98Lite) somewhat poorly, NT 4 *very* poorly, and Windows 2000 but unusably slowly -- but I was impressed it worked at all, TBH.
>  there is a modern Psion. It's a Planet Gemini. I have one. It's great.
How long will that remain secure?... Android devices have much shorter shelf-life - that's one of my main reservations about buying one, plus I can complete a greater variety of necessary tasks using a slightly larger laptop.
64gb is barely enough for all my Android apps and related files - after partitioning a Gemini for a dual boot with Debian, there wouldn't be much room... not all Android apps can be moved to the microSD card. The Cosmo Communicator's 128gb looks a better bet for longer term usefulness? Android won't get smaller.
At the time of writing every comment before this one, even totally innocuous ones, has at least one downvote. Whoever does this (assuming it's one person) had been on hiatus but has recently started up again. I guess some people are just naturally grumpy.
Not related to the article in any way, but an odd coincidence
The only person I have ever known with the surname Hruska was Jan Hruska from Sophos, and I havent seen him for night on 30 years.
Then thrice in two days the surname 'Hruska' pops up, once in this article, once in another, and a third time in credits on a film (or TV episode).
One of life's little coincidences.