I really wish I could attend the 11th annual Bay Area Maker Faire, which will take place May 20-22 at the San Mateo Event Center. Some of my friends have attended past events, and they have bewitched and beguiled me with tales of all the weird and wonderful things they've seen.
The reason I mention this here is that someone just pointed me toward a mega-cool project that will be on display at the Maker Faire. This little beauty is called the MOnSter 6502 — a fully-functional transistor-level replica of the classic MOS 6502 microprocessor.
When it was introduced in 1975, the 6502 was — by a considerable margin — the least expensive full-featured microprocessor on the market, and it appeared in a wide range of video game consoles and computers, such as the Atari, Apple II, Nintendo Entertainment System, Commodore PET, and many others.
The 6502 was one of my favorite microprocessors of that era (I'm scared to think how many hours I spent writing assembly-level programs for it over the years), so I'm delighted to see it being honored in this way. I'm also incredibly impressed that its creators — Eric Schlaepfer in collaboration with Windell Oskay of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories fame — would even think to undertake a project of this magnitude (there are 4304 components on board).
Having folks like Eric and Windell doing stuff like this makes me feel less weird about spending so much time on my own hobby projects. If you are fortunate enough to attend this Maker Faire, be sure to look for the MOnSter 6502 and then email me (preferably with pictures) to tell me if it looks as good in the flesh as it does in Eric's photos.