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Thanks to @jk for pulling this up

The "Canon Cat" was a dedicated writing machine/word processor designed by Jeff Raskin for Canon Inc. in 1987. It originally sold for around $1500 and came with a Motorola 68000 running at 5 MHz and 256Kb RAM

There was one 3.5" floppy (256K max) drive to the left of the screen

These model photos scanned by Marcin Wichary

Real on-screen text sample by Flickr user "MJM1977"

More hardware info available at:


@cypnk @jk I love these old computers! I think what I miss most is specialized devices. I feel we could have benefit from iterative improvement on specialized computing.

@davidpgil @jk I’m designing one right now ;) mastodon.social/@cypnk/1160001

It’s basically a glorified typewriter with similar features. I’m planning to retire to a cabin in the woods so I needed something to write that’s simple and could run for a month on a single charge


@cypnk @davidpgil @jk to add, might as well add other stuff that fits - the Cat's UI metaphors by way of Raskin were basically word processing über alles, but it could do other stuff like spreadsheets embedded and run Forth. I'd like a tiny little eInk laptop, even if it was an SSH client made flesh.

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@calvin @davidpgil @jk There was a lot of chatting about this project ;)


The Freewrite came up in this thread as well

Basically, for what it is, we felt the Freewrite was expensive for what it is (also a bit on the heavy side). My DIY computer will use an ESP32 microcontroller and an e-ink display from an Amazon Kindle DX

@cypnk @calvin @jk i hope you share your work somehow! would be cool to have a chance to make all this stuff.

@davidpgil @calvin @jk All Open Source✌️

I’m working on the keyboard layout which will be on Github as both SVG and DXF templates (in case you like to make your own with a laser cutter). I’m learning vector editing so I can release case shapes too. Wiring diagrams, parts lists, instructions etc... will go up there

All the code will be released ISC or 2 clause BSD licensed (some code may have to be GPL because of shared libraries)

@davidpgil @calvin @jk TBA ;) I wanted to organize as much as I can before uploading. Also, because it's a work in progress. I know I'll get a bit of flack so I have to get ready for that too