If the Raspberry Pi is the BBC Micro de nos jours then the Pi Pico is perhaps the spiritual successor to that earlier Acorn micro: the Atom. So in homage to that ground-breaking pre-Beeb cased computer, here’s the latest offering from Smittytone’s Retro T-Shirt Store.
Available in a variety of colours, and a snip at less than the price of three pints of premium larger, by wearing one of these tees with their loving re-creation the Atom logo, you too can show your appreciation of Blighty’s microcomputer heritage. It says here.
While the Atom looked like a typical keyboard-based computer of the time, its internals were built from the Acorn Microcomputer, a 6502-based single-board computer that later became known as the System 1, when Acorn expanded the range. The System 1 was aimed not at home users but at companies keen to integrate the then new microprocessor technology into existing and new industrial products — Compute Module, anyone? — but Acorn co-founder Chris Curry wanted a machine to appeal to amateurs too, and so the System 1-based Atom was born.
Next year is the forty-second anniversary of the Atom’s launch, but I couldn’t wait. So here it is.
I learnt BASIC and assembler on an Atom. I still have it. It wasn’t based on the System 1 though. The only thing in common is the 6502 CPU. System 1 is extremely primitive – no alphanumeric keys, no video. no BASIC, no assembler.