How You and Your Kids Can Make a $50 PC

By Dan Schointuch

NEW YORK (MoneyTalksNews) —I can still remember the first computer I ever built.

I was 11 years old and thought my parents were crazy for wondering if I could really do it. But shockingly, the parts I chose out of a magazine and ordered with their credit card somehow all fit together. The fans whirring to life, the little red light that oddly meant things were OK, and the beep it made the first time I turned it on stand out as some of my favorite memories from childhood.

But computers are no longer complicated machines assembled by nerdy kids in basements. Now, even a 2-year-old can pick up an iPad and do the kinds of things that were science fiction two decades ago. So by the time I have kids (five to 10 years from now – or next year if you listen to my girlfriend), who knows how much simpler they’ll be to use?

But as computers get ever more sophisticated and require less user knowledge, something is being lost: the understanding that comes only from seeing the circuits that make the modern world possible.

That’s why I was excited to hear about the Raspberry Pi. It’s a $25 to $35 Linux computer that’s really just a playing card-sized circuit board with a few ports around the sides. Pair it with an SD card (which it uses as a hard drive), a keyboard, mouse and your TV, and you’ve got a fully functioning computer for around $50. Take a look at Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson’s video to see it in action.