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This Raspberry Pi-Powered Desk Calendar Mimics a Retro Mac UI

A photo of the SystemSix desktop calendar.
Engineers Need Art

That’s not a Mac; it’s a SystemSix desktop calendar! Developed by former Apple software engineer John Calhoun, the SystemSix uses a Raspberry Pi 3, an e-ink display, and a laser-cut acrylic stand to mimic the Macintosh Plus and deliver daily updates on weather and daily tasks.

The SystemSix was initially inspired by 13Bytes’ eInkCalendar project, which uses a Pi computer to show a simple calendar interface on an e-ink panel. But John Calhoun felt inspired to make a Macintosh-styled digital calendar after running a photo of the moon through an Atkinson dithering tool. (The Atkinson dithering algorithm produces stunning low-res black and white images. It’s famous for its use in early Mac computers.)

Engineers Need Art

After getting the retro bug, John pulled screenshots of windows and other assets from the Mini vMac emulator. These screenshots served as the basis for the SystemSix interface, which looks like a screenshot from an early Macintosh.

But the SystemSix interface isn’t interactive. It’s a static desktop calendar designed to look like a busy computer. The Raspberry Pi constantly checks for changes to the weather or calendar (presumably Google Calendar), but to keep the e-ink screen from constantly refreshing, John programmed it to update once per day.

All of the information for John’s project is available at Engineers Need Art. Note that this project should work with the Pi Zero, the Pi 3, or Pi 4.

Source: Engineers Need Art (John Calhoun) via The Raspberry Pi Foundation

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »