The Humble PC: The Weirdest Computer You'll See All Day

Every few years in the CE industry we get products that really make us scratch our heads. A few years ago it was some guy who had built a “quantum computer” and this year at CES we had the goofy Peep Wireless, a company that stripped the label from one of those RSA keys and pretended they had invented a mesh networking telephone.

This one is a bit harder to fathom but, sadly, it has all the markings of a charming, if involved, ruse. These PCs “run” Xilinx Field Programmable Gate Arrays to power what appears to be a desktop. The inventor, a man who calls himself Humble Gregg, has a very Zen-like approach to technology demos, offering “humble” (Hardware Unified Multiple Branch Logic Engine) devices for folks who want to think different.

The “PCs” cost a hefty $4,999 and, as evidenced from the multiple YouTube videos Gregg narrates in a calming voice, they don’t really work.

In any case, Gregg seems to know generally what he’s talking about. He even took to the time to describe his system in Xilinx’s own magazine (see page 48). However, you also get lines like:

Q: How does the Humble© PC intend to connect to the internet?

A: The initial method intended is via Ethernet connection through a FIOS telephone line (e.g. a Verizon broadband connection).

And you wonder what exactly is going on. Regardless, it’s a fascinating study in folk technology and hopefully you guys can make heads or tails of it more capably than I can.

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