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Will the computer hobby ever reappear?

I am looking for the road forward.  Commodore went bankrupt and its not exactly like you can go out and buy a new Commodore 64 and a 1581 disk drive.  I have a PC but I'm unhappy with it in a lot of ways.  It isn't like I have a billion dollars to go compete with the chip makers.  I've been told I could go to a foundry and have a chip made but I read it costs about $6,000 for a batch of chips to be made and I would need a drafting program or a $40K program like Laker to make my own chips.  I don't have those abilities so the closest I believe I can get is to get off the shelf parts.
There are a few companies that make old style computers like Briel Computers, Apatco,  and some projects started by hobbyists from Parallax.  There are some 6502 and 65XXX projects still on the web.  There are also emulators being worked on.
There are those who believe Linux is the future for hobbyists.  Others tout other lesser known operating systems.
Can electronic hobby companies and microcontroller companies save the home hobby computer market?  I'm told that a computer has to be able to get onto YouTube for it to be viable.
I'm not into FPGA's but there are alternatives like re-programming the PC, reprogramming the Beagleboard or Beagle Bone or using ARM and some say that even they aren't powerful enough.

Will the Last Computer Hobbyist Please Turn Out the Lights?

The Arduino has really made

The Arduino has really made inmpressive inroads IMHO.  I just viewed a self balancing robot on Make that someone hooked some cheap chips to an arduino, I was teaching my son some C+ using their interface.  I was suprised that it caught on, there must hae been something that clicked between the ease of the software development and the openess of it.  I have been using Atmels for years when I wanted a processor so it was nevver really a barrier to me but for thousands they can pick up one of the many flavors of Arduino/Netduino/duino and add a wireless or bluetooth or ethernet shield and off they go.
I am playing with mising an aruino with an FPGA and some DVI video, if it works I was going to do it as open source also.

I am still searching for a

I am still searching for a way to work around the limitation of having to have the program code run from the internal FLASH memory, Think about it if you want to use an ATMEL AVR chip as a general purpose computer how many times can you change the program before you distroy the flash?

I've never detroyed a

I've never detroyed a microcontroller's flash by flashing programs while developing. Usually they gurantee 10k cycles, but can work up to 100k or more. So if you flash it every minute, 8 hours a day, it would work nearly a year.
If you want something more durable, which can be useful, if you want to change the memory by the program itself, use FRAM, e.g. this chip, with 10^15 write cycle endurance (so with 1 million writes per second it will work 31 years) :
Development board:

yeah I have heard of the

yeah I have heard of the msp430 series before, however I keep reading about people who have written interpeters for the Z80, 8088, and other older chips.
What I'm interested in doing is building a general use computer with ATMEL 8bit AVR parts, and be able to run/select programs that are too big or too neuromerus to fit on the flash.
Also I'm sticking with the AVR/Arduino stuff because it's easiy to get.

If it doesn't fit on the

If it doesn't fit on the internal flash, it will be slow with 8 bit AVRs, because they don't have a memory interface. You can run Linux on an Atmega, but it needs 2 hours for booting: http://hackaday.com/2012/03/28/building-the-worst-linux-pc-ever/ :-)
For interpreted programs, the Raspberry Pi and Python sounds like a nice combination. I've tested VICE on it (well, the emulator, because I don't have the hardware) and was easy to install, because it is a standard Linux Debian system: http://elinux.org/RPi_VICE_C64_Emulator

Thank you Frank for posting

Thank you Frank for posting the link to the worst linux box, that is sort of along the lines of what I'm looking to do.
I my case I am not going to set such a lofty goal!  a preemteve multitasker is not needed at this time.Something more like DR-DOS,.
BUT first I need to write a BIOS that can be written to the FLASH. This now current vaporware firmware can accept instruction sfrom the outside world and act appon them.
The only way I can currently describe what I'm attempting to do is this, Write firmware that will run from the AVR internal Flash, that when started allows the Harvard 8bit AVR parts to accept and run code as if it were a Von Neuman machine
So the AVR would power up and boot from the FLASH as usual, and then it would start looking for something to do by checking an SD or CompactFLASH module. from there it's a matter of dealing with user inputs via a serial console.

Lol... just realized my

Lol... just realized my response never posted.  Yeah the AVR is really a microcontroller, I was using them pretty freely before Arduino.  The nice thing about the the Arduino is that they save me a day getting the software interface done, so to me the "open" of the open sourced Aruino is the whole software loader/interface.  I have my son running one to try and get him interested.
I saw the worlds slowest Linus machine artical on Engadget, more patience than I have.
I have a single board system in my drawer that had an Altera and two RAM chips on it, it's  couple of square inches.  I was thinking about posting it as an example that singleboard microprocessors (I.E. a processor bus) are straightforward and sorta cheap, in this case I used teh Altera NIOS processor but you could as easily drop in a 6502 IP, etc.  I kinda take these things for granted due to creating one whenever I need one but now that I hold it in my hand it looks like a pretty handy building block.  It does have a video interface with I2C for contorlling a camera like found in cellphones. I think I will post it for fun in a few minutes.

Just posted a microprocessor

Just posted a microprocessor with expossed address/databuse, I2C and video interface.  The Altera part costs about $12 USD

Very cool board, Thank you

Very cool board, Thank you for posting it Bil.

DIY scope for the current generation.

other then a really crappy emulator, it might be nice to build up an AVR board that has the following features.
NTSC/PAL video output
RS232 and RS422/485 serial ports
PS2 inputs for keyboard/mouse (the same connector has all the pins.)
and a few BNC connectors for analog inputs
call it the student starter scope brick.

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