Will JavaScript type annotations kill TypeScript?
The creators of Svelte and Turbo 8 both dropped TS recently saying that "it's not worth it".
Yes: If JavaScript gets type annotations then there's no reason for TypeScript to exist.
No: TypeScript remains the best language for structuring large enterprise applications.
TBD: The existing user base and its corpensource owner means that TypeScript isn’t likely to reach EOL without a putting up a fight.
I hope they both die. I mean, if you really need strong types in the browser then you could leverage WASM and use a real programming language.
I don’t know and I don’t care.
Low Code / No Code / Operations / Tech Life

Meet The Hobbyists Building Their Own DIY Cyberpunk Devices

Evoking the dreams of William Gibson, enthusiastic hobbyists are building their own home-brewed "cyberdecks" for accessing the internet.
May 29th, 2023 6:00am by
Featued image for: Meet The Hobbyists Building Their Own DIY Cyberpunk Devices

Back in the 1980s, William Gibson’s science fiction novels envisioned a coming dystopian future where cyberspace was accessed with head-mounted interfaces. In his 1982 story “Burning Chrome,” two hackers use them for “casing mankind’s extended electronic nervous system, rustling data and credit in the crowded matrix.” (While “high above it all burn corporate galaxies and the cold spiral arms of military systems…”)

Burning Chrome book cover (includes Red Star Winter Orbit)

“Burning Chrome”

But here in our own real-world future, enthusiastic hobbyists are now trying to make it all come true — or at least, jerry-rigging their own home-brewed “cyberdecks” for accessing the internet.

It’s the ultimate project for cyberpunk fans: cobbling together their own gear using repurposed leftovers and cheap surplus parts, plus all the right components from suppliers catering to makers.

But instead of cracking corporate data silos with a tricked-up Ono-Sendai “Cyberspace VII” (as William Gibson imagined), these enthusiasts are just sharing their creations on social media for bragging rights, and to celebrate their own maker successes. And like any home project, they also always seem to be learning an awful lot about technology.

It’s inspiring and it’s exciting. And it also looks like it’s a lot of fun…

Sunglasses at Night

For a head-mounted solution, some cutting-edge makers are now experimenting with the newly released Nreal Air (renamed Xreal) sunglasses, which come equipped with a small built-in (micro-OLED) screen. A USB-C cable connects them to your computer or smartphone.

Marketed as “AR glasses,” they display output from the company’s “spatial internet” app (currently available on “select” Android devices). But the glasses can also function as a head-mounted display, according to their website, transforming a laptop or monitor into what’s essentially a “cinema-sized 201-inch screen.”

And UK-based futurist Martin Hamilton calls new products like these “the real breakthrough” for finally jerry-rigging your own cyberdeck. Hamilton says in an email interview that Nreal’s micro-OLED screens can give cyberpunk makers a full HD display “with a decent field of view.”

UK-based Martin Hamilton made a cyberdeck with Nreal Air sunglasses powered by an old ThinkPad

UK-based Martin Hamilton made a cyberdeck with Nreal Air sunglasses powered by an old ThinkPad

“If you’ve used a VR headset then you’re probably expecting something similar — like strapping a phone to your face. These are different because the glasses weigh very little (79 grams, or around three ounces), due to all the clever stuff happening on your phone or computer. In particular, there’s no battery, as the glasses are powered by the same USB-C cable which feeds the video from your device.”

To create his own home-brewed cyberdeck, Hamilton bought a pair of the Nreal Air glasses, then hooked them up to a five-year-old ThinkPad laptop with a broken screen. “Right now this really feels like a hacker’s device,” he said in an email (which he composed using his home-brewed cyberdeck).

“ThinkPads are pretty good for this kind of thing because they’re designed to be repairable,” Hamilton wrote. After unscrewing the screen’s hinges to remove it — and detaching its cables — it’s a self-contained unit “without any unsightly gaps.”

Instead of wearing the sunglasses over his prescription eyeglasses, he was even able to purchase prescription lens inserts from Nreal’s official partner.

Hamilton shared his adventure with other DIY-cyberpunk enthusiasts in Reddit’s Cyberdeck subreddit. (“The era of virtual reality is coming,” says the subreddit’s description, “so it is also time for cyberdecks to come…”)

He’s calling his new ThinkPad-derived cyberdeck a “ThinkDeck,” telling the forum that he’s been “using the glasses as a big head mount display,” for everything from coding and sys-admin work to sending email, surfing the web, and watching videos. (“You wouldn’t want to wear the glasses for more than about an hour at a time, but then you should probably be getting a screen/movement break at this point anyway.”)

ThinkPad + Nreal Air = ThinkDeck
by u/martin_hamilton in cyberDeck

There’s also practical considerations. Hamilton wonders if governments and corporations will demand their staff start using these eyeglass-based interfaces (with no screens) for the extra privacy. In a world where biometric fingerprint scanners already control access to data on encrypted partitions, wouldn’t this be the next logical step?

“You can just plug in a screen when you want one,” Hamilton said — for example, by connecting a projector for “a wall-sized display that other people can also see.”

And yes, he told me, it does feel like something out of a William Gibson story. Writing code in Linux, “my field of view is full of terminal windows and debug output,” Hamilton writes, adding that this “seems appropriately cyberpunk.”

In William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer, the protagonist named his cyberdeck “Hosaka” — so Hamilton has done the same.

“It was either that or Ono-Sendai Cyberspace VII, but that’s a bit of a mouthful…”

A Yearned-for Future

Hamilton isn’t the only one home-brewing their own technology. Belgium-based Ken Van Hoeylandt has built his own tiny handheld PC by crafting a custom 3D-printed case for his Raspberry Pi CM4 (and a “Raspberry Pad” screen from BIGTREETECH), hooking everything up to a modified BlueTooth mini keyboard.

Decktility – An open source/hardware handheld PC
by u/ByteWelder in cyberDeck

In Detroit a turntablist and music producer named “DJ Vulchre” has been uploading videos of their own home-brewed cyberdecks — the latest made with a GOLE1 Pro pocket-sized PC and a lens the magnify the interface for their music software.

And Hong Kong-based YouTube Winder Sun has built his own small pocket PC. He started with an 8-inch touchscreen display from component vendor Elecrow, then mounted it in a hollowed-out portable radio case — along with a keyboard and a small portable charger.

Sun is now proudly using it to write the code, including mods to the space exploration game No Man’s Sky. In the video, he jokes it’s “a Cyberdeck That Should Go Straight to E-Waste” but adds that it “feels like a very cyberpunk thing to do…”

“This thing is the jankiest thing ever, and I love it. Working with this in a dilapidated concrete jungle was a delight… At least I look like a cyberpunk now, and in my sick twisted mind it’s worth everything.”


“I think the cyberpunk community yearns for this future we never got,” tinkerer Brendan Charles told GameSpot last month, “and making these kinds of projects allows us to make it a reality.”

Charles built a battery-powered micro-PC out of a 1990s-era “Talking Whiz Kid” toy, learning everything he need to know along the way bout soldering, sanding, painting, and 3D printing — and even some basic electronics. “You can find premade modules and connectors to do almost anything you want, from LCD displays, to controllers, to battery packs,” Charles tells GameSpot.

My quarantine project: The Ceres 1, a battery powered portable PC
by u/ThisIsTheNewSleeve in cyberDeck

Hackaday-Prize - promotional poster

Hackaday-Prize – promotional poster

Gamespot described Charles as part of “an entire community of talented builders using tiny computers like the Raspberry Pi to build the cyberpunk setups of their dreams.” And the tech-projects site Hackaday even has its own section dedicated to homemade cyberdecks. It notes a popular feeling that a true cyberdeck should be “a custom rig built up of whatever high-tech detritus the intrepid hacker can get their hands on.”

And along those lines, the site recently featured a maker who created a mobile satellite-monitoring station from a touch-screen computer from a police cruiser in the early 2000s.

A home-brewed pocket computer also placed in an early round of the Hackaday prize competition (which culminates with a $50,000 prize in September) when maker Spider Jerusalem wrapped a 3D-printed case around a Raspberry Pi (4) board connected to an LCD screen and a full QWERTY keyboard. “It’s a useful tool if you need to interface with a server on the go or do some low-level network diagnostics without carrying a whole laptop around,” Hackaday suggested.

When you’re brewing your own technology, the possibilities are endless. A maker named “Frumthe Fewtcha” even built a ChatGPT-enabled smartwatch that could answer any question, according to their recent video on YouTube. The answers appear as text on the watch’s display — and are also piped as audio into earbuds.

Writing from his home-grown cyberdeck, Hamilton said he felt like we’ve finally achieved a piece of that future that we were always promised. “In the almost 40 years since Neuromancer was published it feels like the world has caught up with William Gibson’s imagination, from mRNA-based gene editing to Large Language Models that seem almost sentient.”

But he also believes there’s also some practical advantages to a world where you can build your own head-mounted cyberdeck. “I’ve also spent a lot of those 40 years hunched over laptop screens, and it’s really liberating to be able to move your head around to wherever is comfortable!”

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