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Handhelds Hardware

$99 Linux Handheld with WiFi for Instant Messaging 194

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the never-offline dept.
An anonymous reader writes "LinuxDevices.com has an interesting write up about the new Aeronix Zipit instant messenger appliance. It is intended to free up a family PC from IM chatting teens. From the article: "the Zipit is based on a Cirrus EP7312-CR-90, an SoC (system-on-chip) with an ARM720T core that clocks up to 90MHz. This chip is supported by several Linux distributions, including FSMLabs's real-time RTLinux." At $99 (cheaper than many textbooks and graphing calculators) it could even be good for classrooms. With that 802.11b WiFi, I think this might be a perfect note-taking computer for students in lectures. "
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$99 Linux Handheld with WiFi for Instant Messaging

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  • Note-taking (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Sure, the wifi is cool, but let's not kid ourselves, wifi is compeletely unnecessary for note-taking.
  • by ndansmith (582590) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:10PM (#13086949)
    At $99 (cheaper than many textbooks and graphing calculators) it could even be good for classrooms.

    With the new epidemic of cheating via txt, I doubt we will see these little devices in the classrooms for tests.

    • Shutdown the WIFI AP during the test ;)
    • heh. I recall a psych class where a graphics calculator was needed to do a few formulas for a portion of the exam... but the rest of the test was simple question and answer... ..ahem... see the flaw the stupid professor didn't think of? And since I didn't announce how stupid it was, I have no idea how many other students simply put their notes in the graphics calculators.
      • In my college classes, I've used a PDA for taking notes. I've also used it in various classes as a calculator, even during tests. In some of the classes, I gave the prof my memory card, which contain my notes, for the test. But then again, I could just as easily copied those notes to local memory... The only time a prof outright said no was in the AI class I had, where we had to write Scheme code. He said no because a) I had a Scheme interpreter (PocketScheme) on my PDA, and b) I usually used that Scheme i
  • hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Capt. Caneyebus (883802) * on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:10PM (#13086950)
    I think i would rather spend the extra $$ and get something like a treo that has a phone feature, and if i am not mistaken the os on them is linux based. Also there is a wi-fi card for a tungsten palm that can be hacked to work on the Treo 650. But this is pretty cool for people on a budget.
    • Re:hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Keruo (771880)
      TA mentions audio features so I guess you could use skype to get the phone features working. Sure, the coverage area wouldn't be anything near gsm, but the device wasn't ment to replace phones to begin with.
      • by maotx (765127)
        TA mentions audio features so I guess you could use skype to get the phone features working.

        But the device uses an ARM chipset instead of the usual x86. Skype would have to be recompiled to support the ARM chip and while Skype is a great application, the source is not available requiring us to depend on the vendor to recompile it. I would love to have Skype on my Zaurus but the ARM chipset is not supported though there is a scream for it. [skype.com]
      • The thing only has a 90Mhz ARM, I don't think Skype would run too well on it. I've seen Skype use 40% - 50% CPU on my 3Ghz P4 laptop.

        Actually, I think Skype released or was planning to release Skype for the Zaurus, which did use an ARM...

        And another thing - there was no mention of a mic or mic input. So unless they hack that on too...
      • It mentions DAC, so I presume it can only output audio. Besides, as other posters have noted, it's probably unable to run Skype anyway.
    • Re:hmm (Score:2, Informative)

      by bodgit (658527)

      I think i would rather spend the extra $$ and get something like a treo that has a phone feature, and if i am not mistaken the os on them is linux based. Also there is a wi-fi card for a tungsten palm that can be hacked to work on the Treo 650. But this is pretty cool for people on a budget.

      IIRC Treo's run PalmOS.

    • The Treo currently runs PalmOS. PalmSource is currently creating a version of PalmOS (named Cobalt, v6.1 I believe) which uses the Linux kernel.


    • I love the Treo 650, it really is an awesome device.

      However

      The "WiFi" hack made the wifi card work, but only just barely, and it completely destroys the ease of use of the machine because it requires resets and some manual intervention to enable and disable it. For all intents and purposes, its not worth it. Especially since the 650 does cellular data at 3G speeds, so its not a big deal to simply use the net.

      Further, PalmOS is headed towards being linux-based (and thank god! Its like OS9 now, with resets
    • Re:hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nametaken (610866)

      If you're REALLY on a budget, there's the 900mhz Motorola IMFree. At the moment it only does AIM, and it's JUST a messenger, but Walmarts have been dropping it to the discount shelves at $15, with the usb base station. The girlfriend and I have them, and we can roam to each others base stations at each house. Someone also developed linux support for them. Really slick for a $15 setup.
  • Nice but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eth00 (612841) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:10PM (#13086951) Homepage
    While it does look like a nice device for chatting I cannot see it doing much more. The idea of taking notes on something that small is impossible for most classes where you are moving pretty fast. I ended up getting a laptop with a full size keyboard so that it would be easier to type.

    I am all for little devices running linux but I do not see this exact device being used for anything like textbooks. With a lot schools (high school and college) implementing WIFI it will however be a great distraction from what is being taught...
    • 'impossible for most classes where you are moving pretty fast' I spent God knows how many years at school and they didn't teach me that much.
    • I'm pretty sure I took notes on a TI-82 once or twice, and this would have been a nice step up from that. ^_^
      • At one point it highschool I was so adept at typing on my TI-85 that I abhored the thought of using my qwerty keyboard at home to type on. Back in that day I was a quite the whiz at t-basic (great place to put notes for your math test and program algebra equations) :)

        -kaplanfx
    • When I was at school I regularly took notes and even wrote a 3000 word essay on a Psion Series 3. It had an 8086-compatible (a Nec V30H, as I recall) running at 4.77MHz, a 480x160 screen (no shades of grey - pixels were on or off) with a keyboard similar in size to the one in the article. It wasn't quite as ergonomic as a real keyboard, but I could type reasonably fast on it. I kept using it until it broke (although batteries cost a fortune - it used alkaline AAs, and got through a couple a week).

      My poi

  • 99 bucks is cheaper than *many* text books? Come on. Sure, there are *some* that cost more than that, but not *many*...
    • by Cait Sith (34507) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:14PM (#13086972) Homepage
      You haven't gone to a college bookstore lately have you?
    • Question: Are you in college?

      Because my standard books nearly ALL cost 100+$ USD.
      And thats AFTER finding the cheapest price online instead of getting ripped off the additional 30% by the local bookstore. (Often used books can come in at under 100, but many of these still are very expensive).
      • Must be some wierd american thing. In the UK typical price you'd pay for a undergrad textbook in any subject is £30 (about $50)
        • In the UK typical price you'd pay for a undergrad textbook in any subject is £30 (about $50)

          Depends on the course and option you take then. I did my undergrad in the UK, graduated in 2001. In my final year, books averaged £60, about 7 books for the year: courses were based around time series analysis, game theory, finance. These were the standard text books for the subject, add it that photocopying costs for all of the journal articles (though the legal signs above every photocopier said
        • Yep. They increase the prices of textbooks for the US. A lot of us more economically inclined (read: cheap) students go online and buy international versions of the books, which are pretty much identical (except most times they are softcover - even then, not always!) and cost less than half the cost as a normal US version.

          Of course, the bookmakers don't like that and try their hardest to forbid it, but... yeah...

          *points to the thermodynamics textbook that was international and cost 30 USD new in my cl
    • Where did you purchase your textbooks? Most semesters that I take end up costing well over $500 for books with one semester over $800. While it is true you can save some money by purchasing used textbooks they are always changing around the texts so you have to purchase a new version of that $200 book. That being said I would like to see you just try and read one page from a textbook on that little screen, it would take forever as you have to scroll every other sentence. It would also be pretty hard to dis
    • FYI, average costs of a new engineering text are~ $160-180

      I think I had 1 semester in college where I managed to stay under $500 on books alone...

      Oh, and to doubly fuck you over, there is a new edition every 2-3 semesters (whenever the used market gets saturated) that doesn't fix any of the errors, just changes all the problems at the end of the chapter so if you manage to find a previous edition, you also have to borrow someone else's book to do any homework


    • All of my text books except for English were over $99.
  • Looks like a toy (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It looks fisher pricey. Despite the well-spaced qwery keyboard, I think you can only thumb-type with those hard rubber keys.
  • by Slayk (691976) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:16PM (#13086983)
    For $99, this thing is a good way to experiment with embedded linux for those who are interested. I haven't gone out to get one myself, but I've seen one with a serial header soldered on (for flashing the ROM with better linux goodness than what is provided). It's rather small, has a wireless connection, and has decent battery life.

    The downside to the whole thing is that the device does not fully conform to the LGPL (there's some issue surrounding linking), but most of what they've used is available [zipitwireless.com]
  • OLD NEWS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:19PM (#13086999)
    Read this story ages ago on linuxdevices.com.

    http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS4557745057.html [linuxdevices.com]

    What's next? Will /. tell me WiMAX is a "disruptive technology"?

    http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS3095094669.html [linuxdevices.com]
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:25PM (#13087021)
    What's wrong with taking notes in class using a pen and paper? If anything, it is probably quicker than trying to use one of these little doodads.

    • by NightWulf (672561) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:30PM (#13087045)
      Yeah pens and paper, yeesh gramps why not just ask us to carve it into stone tablets. Get with the times!
    • Compared to this, yes, pen/paper is better. Compared to a laptop with a keyboard - assuming you can type at least 40-60 wpm and aren't a hunt'n'pecker - pen/paper is horrible.
      • ledgiable text! every try to reed an engineers scribbles?
        • Yes. Very often. And they're usually quite insightful. I struggle these days with the young engineers who have grown up using their instant messegers and typing like fools. Their typed documents are often more difficult to read than any handwritten documents from older engineers.

          On small devices such as these it is no doubt that unintelligble shorthand will be used. Your typical "OmG i b l8 4 wrk cuz caR brk dn" malarky.

          I'd take a written document any day.

      • The only problem I have with note-taking on stuff like laptops is copying down diagrams and such in the science classes.

        Of course, my idea for copying down notes was simply to bring a small digital camera and photograph everything the teacher puts up on the whiteboard... ;)
    • I have severe problems with writing [think kinder gardener level] to the point that the local school district has issued me an electronic aid to keep my notes on and do some assignments. Without this I could never finish taking notes in time and be legible. Now I can be done before most people are half way finished since I am able to type faster then I can write.

      Though the device I use is a glorified palm pilot with wifi and a full size keyboard it is still better for me then using a pencil. http://www2. [alphasmart.com]
    • In middle school/high school there nothing wrong with the paper and pen. In college though that's a whole 'nother game. Professors, unlike teacher's won't stop to repeat what they said so if you can't keep up, your kinda assed out. Remember the good ol' days where they actually had short hand courses so you can keep up? That's going to the way side with technology.

      You can still get it done with paper and pen if need be and you probably right that paper and pen is faster than this new gadget. Any new

      • Where did you go to college? When I was in school, my professors were -not- maniacial asshats who sped through material without caring who "kept up". By the time I was sitting in on graduate seminars, in fact, we spent most of our time discussing things openly -- notes were helpful, but hardly the focus.
    • That's quaint, old man. You probably run Debian, too. Get with the times.
    • Some of us are more comfortable with keyboards that with p&p. We type faster than we write, we make fewer mistakes, it's easier to read our notes, and electronic notes are easier to search and organize.

      So you're more comfortable with p&p. Nothing wrong with that. Nor is there anything wrong with other people using the technology they are comfortable with.

      What is wrong is people getting all righteous about other people who want to do things differently.

    • What's wrong with taking notes in class using a pen and paper? If anything, it is probably quicker than trying to use one of these little doodads.

      I type faster and easier than I can write. I can search what I write easily. Other people can read (and receive) what I write without interpreting and exchange of money.

      Personally? I type with my thumbs about as fast as I type which is about 100x faster than I can write. Yeah, I can scribble something down quickly but I spend 3x as long trying to decipher w
      • It's easier to fix a broken pencil than a broken laptop. Heck pencils are cheap enough that you could keep a spare in case you do break one in the middle of class.

        Writing quickly and legibly requires practice, practice that you should have gotten plenty of in elementary school.
    • Being left handed, I can say that there are 2 major problems for me.

      I smear the writing with my hand, and I can't write comfortably from margin to margin.

    • If you're dyslexic like me then it can be very advantageous to use a computer. I take notes using a mind mapping program which can convert my map to a set of outline notes that I can import to a word processor and write a fuller report from if I need.

      Ian

  • by DoorFrame (22108) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:32PM (#13087053) Homepage
    Just wondering.
    • Sure, it's mac inspired looks are a little dated (a 1998 Johny come lately M$ ringer) [morochove.com], but I prefer that simple look to the really ugly athletic shoe inspired junk. The folding case is good. Of course, the 1/3 to 1/10 price tag is something to be admired.

      This is just a sign of things to come. With a MMC or CF card slot and less intentional crippling, this would be a better buy than a $80 stand alone music player. Cheap, multi function wireless devices based on free software will soon flood the market.

  • by GameGod0 (680382) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:34PM (#13087061)
    There's a wiki dedicated to the ZipIt located here [elinux.org] that contains useful HOW-TOs explaining how to install Linux on the thing... Myself and several others have written up tons of instructions on how to hack this thing. For example, I use my ZipIt as a wireless SSH client (the OpenZipIt firmware includes dropbear ssh...), and also to play streaming MP3 radio (groovesalad is nice...) It's a really cool device, and there's a ton of hacking potential...
    • AWESOME!!! (Score:1, Redundant)

      by ylikone (589264)
      I've been waiting for a really cheap device (like this one) that will act as a wireless SSH client! Sweet!
  • by PhYrE2k2 (806396) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:44PM (#13087107)
    Aeronix does not have a subscription revenue from Zipit usage. They would benefit from making the platform as open as possible without incuring any additional expense. Leaving solder points for the serial ports and additional points for the unused GPIO pins would make enhancing the product much easier. The more things that can be done with the device, the more devices people will buy.


    Take a look at any MSN/Yahoo/AOL clone application for example. MSN changes their code, Trillian/GAIM/etc catch up and release a patch.

    You can't have that nearly as much with a mobile device. I'd imagine there's a licensing issue with Microsoft's protocol for example as to keeping it tight and protected so that others can't get at it.

    -M
  • by gmplague (412185)
    Does anyone know of a similarly priced/featured device that supports IMAP? Seems Instant Messaging alone will get you a fairly restricted market, but if you added mail into the equation, you'd be in good shape.
    • I would buy one at the drop of a hat if it could act as a little portable WiFi IMAP client, a budget blackberry. I could spend more time in the cafe and less in the office.
  • Blackberry wannabe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HermanAB (661181) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:54PM (#13087149)
    It looks to me like a Blackberry Wannabe. This is not a notebook PC by any stretch of the imagination.
  • Although it seems that the company has created an interesting linux based device, from reading some of the linked pages it seems it has a few flaws. The foremost being that the company isn't fully embracing the open source nature of the devices operating system. Apparently they have chosen to make it more difficult to develop for the unit by encrypting their firmware updates. Even worse, until they were asked to, they neglected to make the GPL and LGPL licensed software they used in their device available.
    • "Apparently they have chosen to make it more difficult to develop for the unit by encrypting their firmware updates. Even worse, until they were asked to, they neglected to make the GPL and LGPL licensed software they used in their device available."

      So let's reward them for using GPL'd software and not making their mods available it, by buying lots and lots of these Zipits!

      To hell with them. If I buy a device, I want to be able to use it as I want to use it. For them to use GPL'd linux and then encrypt t
  • Taking notes? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ShyGuy91284 (701108) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @01:26PM (#13087271)
    He's joking, right? On that little keyboard? I've used little keyboard devices before, they work for some things, but taking notes on it (quickly most likely too) would be hell.... I'd just spend a couple hundred more for a old craptop if I needed something to do that that badly..... Or a cheap PDA and keyboard....
  • From TFA:

    "Aeronix Inc. originally did not post any of the GPL and LGPL source code used in the Zipit. After we confirmed that they used Linux, we politely asked that they comply with the license terms. I am one of the copyright holders in the code they use. I am pleased to see that they have at least posted pointers to the tools they used. They are still in violation of the terms of the LGPL for glibc."
  • by BeBoxer (14448) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @01:50PM (#13087374)
    This looks like a nice form factor to be a remote for a freevo or jukebox system with the right software. And the price is right to play around with. Much more reasonable than buying a Zaurus or something to use as a remote. It looks pretty tempting. Linux. WiFi. Flash-able. Under $100. Very tempting.
    • I was thinking the same thing. Too bad they did not hook the serial port up as an IR port as well.
      I can see a lot of uses for this.
      1. Remote for AV as well as home automation.
      2. Portable streaming audio player. Think about WiFi headphones.
      3. Home brew games. I see poker. If you could get these to work as an ad hock network I can see poker being popular.
      4. Add a serial port an you might even have a fun little toy for packet.
      • by StarKruzr (74642)
        4. Add a serial port and you might even have a fun little toy for packet.

        Good call! Instant packet-to-802.11 bridge! :D
  • Neat toy but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by uncoveror (570620) <webmasterNO@SPAMuncoveror.com> on Sunday July 17, 2005 @02:00PM (#13087420) Homepage
    I would like one with a color screen. My job requires me to travel to some really out of the way places, and my cell phone has wireless internet. With a full Qwerty keyboard and a decent screen, I could get on mapquest, but the ultra thin laptops I could hide under my seat cost way too much. Anyon know of a gadget like the one in the article with a color screen and a USB port?
  • It needs a browser and email client.

    And it needs to come in BLACK. It will still look like a GBA SP, but at least the color won't make you throw up.

  • Zipit Wiki (Score:2, Informative)

    by Fusen (841730)
    http://www.elinux.org/wiki/ZipIt [elinux.org] useful for anyone looking to hack it
  • Seems that this device, which appears to be aimed at a market of teens for chatting, is not ready to be sold for that purpose.

    One look at the bug/wish list at http://www.elkgrovewireless.com/zipit [elkgrovewireless.com] will show you that.

    It will also remind many of us of the Audrey -- 3Com's very clevery attempt at a similar type of device that did a LOT more than chat and still didn't sell.

    Granted, their device was around the $300 range (now you can get them for about $50 on eBay), but it had a 640x480 screen and full web br
  • Using the Zipit (Score:5, Informative)

    by lightyear4 (852813) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @02:35PM (#13087583) Homepage

    I have one of these little darlings, and in addition to helping on the devel front [yahoo.com] I have done quite a bit of truly productive work actually using. The linux devices article was, quite frankly, the best starting resource to date for anyone wishing to obtain and play with a Zipit. Prior to it, there were no concise collections of relevant links. Do stop by the wiki [elinux.org], as it is currently under construction and showing some good progress.

    For the curious, a brief overview of impressions and capabilities:

    • The device comes (stock) with:
    • ARM720T processor @ 90mhz
    • 16 mb RAM
    • 2 mb ROM for kernel and userspace programs
    • 320x240 grayscale LCD
    • Agere 802.11b/g wifi
    • Wolfson Micro stereo DAC audio
    • ships with linux kernel 2.4.21 with the rmk arm patch, as well as an aeronix-specific extension to this patch, plus wireless extensions
    • the standard pcmcia-cs wifi driver with two relevant patches
    • Busybox 1.00 pre1
    • uClibc 0.9.15
    • glibc-2.2.5
    • Wireless Tools 26

    Also included are non-GPL'd bootloader, audiodriver, and the zipit messaging application.

    As-is when purchased, the device is indeed running linux natively. The appropriate drivers and programs are brought about with a few init scripts, all transparent to the user. The zipit messaging program is a rather large 1.6ish megabyte arm binary which includes framebuffer, embedded audio, some decent graphics, and generally stable performance. NOTE: The zipit messaging binary is statically linked to glibc, therefore containing GPL'd code, yet Aeronix has thus far refused to release the code for this program!! If this bothers you (as it should), do something about it. At time of writing, the current firmware does not support the playing of streaming audio, though it is promised in a future upgrade.

    On the devel front involved in hacking the zipit, thanks go to Aibopet and Ken McGuire primarily for their work in deciphering the process by which the firmware operates and updates. The yahoo community [yahoo.com] by which much of this work has been accomplished, has also produced an OpenZipit linux "distro" of sorts. It is superior in several ways to the stock Aeronix linux distro; indeed, McGuire from the abovementioned yahoo group has rewritten the audio driver to perform much better than the supplied driver. Streaming audio via madplay and freebase is indeed possible, and having played with it myself, does truly function well. While a bit underpowered for some uses, the processor has quite enough power to decode mp3/ogg audio (if you want to whine about processor speed, go get a laptop; the zipit is not for you). Others in the group were instrumental in tracing gpios and adding a serial port for troubleshooting. OpenZipit includes, among others, madplay, freebase, dropbear ssh, and the busybox versions of (b)ash, vi, ftp, telnet, etc. Please see the yahoo message board and the wiki for more information involving OpenZipit and its specifications.

    From a user standpoint, the zipit is quite useful. One of my specialties is in wireless networking and wireless security; the zipit is quite good for a handheld auditing tool. (a port of kismet is in the works, for those of you that are interested). The range and robust nature of the wifi chip has never failed to surprise me: it has better range and sensitivity (perhaps not on paper, but indeed in use) than many of the most popular wifi cards available (orinoco, senao). Additionally, with the dropbear ssh client, any open (legal) wifi signal is a free ticket to your box of choice for console based applications. Battery life is an astounding 6+ hours. The 2mb ROM is too tiny for much in the way of userspace apps, but as the device is built for wireless connectivity, ssh serves as a gateway to most applications you mig

    • Re:Using the Zipit (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      NOTE: The zipit messaging binary is statically linked to glibc, therefore containing GPL'd code, yet Aeronix has thus far refused to release the code for this program!! If this bothers you (as it should), do something about it

      Glibc is not GPL'd, it is LGPL'd. They are not in any way obliged to release the source. They are, however, required to release the compiled object files for their program to people who purchase the device so that an end user can link them with a newer or modified version of glibc

      • LGPL says that you can link to it dynamically, not statically. If you link to glibc statically you are including GPL code IN your program and thus need to release the full source.

        GPL code can't be linked to statically or dynamically without having this problem. That's the difference.
  • by realmolo (574068) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @02:45PM (#13087642)
    If you are typing your notes, you're doing it wrong.

    Notes are supposed to be quick and dirty. Pen and paper are the best tools for note-taking, because you can cross things out, draw arrows, underline important ideas...all of which are impossible to do (in real-time, anyway) if you are typing.

    A computer isn't the best tool for every job, guys.
    • The Motorola device requires a proprietary wireless receiver to be tethered via USB to a computer with a working internet connection, and the wireless is most certainly not WiFi. Additionally, the Motorola device is a closed device compared with the ZipIt.

      I'm sorely tempted to get one of these ZipIts. I saw the Motorola device, thought it might be useful for being contacted with short text messages without the cell phone charges, but then found out about the Moto's limitations. The ZipIt seems to correct o

    • $exyNerdie wrote:
      Motorola IMFree Handheld Instant Messenger Kit for $19.99

      Local walmart has the same on sale for $15...

      It never ceases to amaze me how many self-declared "nerds", "geeks", and "hackers" completely miss why something is cool.

      If you think it's cool because it does wireless IM, and there's something similar at Wal*Mart, so it must be cool too, and it's a lot cheaper, you aren't really a nerd, geek, or hacker.

      It's cool because:

      1. It uses WiFi, not some proprietary wireless technology, an
  • What about a VNC for this puppy? It seems like a nice thinclient. You could surf the web using Firefox while using the restroom, eating breakfast, or while out at the pool. That'd be worth the $99 to me.
    • VNC on a 320x240 display with 16 shades of grey? I doubt you'd be able to run FireFox very well on it. You'd be better off picking some applications designed for devices short on screen real-estate.
  • Does it support WEP-128 so it can be used with at least a minimally secured access point? I don't want to open myself up to wardrivers just to let my kids IM from the backyard.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @04:02PM (#13088035) Homepage
    It just occured to me (yeah I know people have probably realized this for years now) that Linux's most effective means of entry is in areas where it is the most invisible. The consumer doesn't care as long as it works ... whatever it is. The people spending money only care that it's as inexpensive as possible and sells as much as possible.

    The lure of Linux embedded in devices is irresistable. Most stand-alone devices don't need to be "compatible" with other things so outside of adjusting to this "foreign" development environment, there's not much reason to use anything but the free environment that Linux stuff offers.

    So I'm thinking that the more Microsoft targets these areas of the market (home appliances) the more I see that Linux is already beating them to the punch. But I wonder how this will help in getting this edge as leverage into the desktop? I wonder if, by the time it happens, the desktop is a thing of the past? I'm doubting that the desktop PC/workstation will ever be a thing of the past in the office... and by extension, that it will ever expire at home.... well anyway... just random thoughts.
  • Obviously, this serves a niche, but it does not include me.

    My teens each has a PC of their own, with all the chat software they want on it. And since I bought them used, they are not much more than 99$ specially when you factor in that they do their homework on it as well.

  • Geesh thats what i call multitasking... ( and wasting a lot of time ).

    But, in all seriousness, how 'open' are these things? Is it practical to convert it into some sort of cheap wifi terminal?

    Sure a PDA might be better suited, but this does have a keyboard.. and is pretty cheap.
  • VNC/RDP Terminal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @07:19PM (#13089173) Homepage Journal
    This might make a cheap little 'terminal' to access your home machine via your local free wifi point..

    Too bad the screen is a bit small, and B/W.. Hard to find anything that isnt color these days..
  • I saw this at the Kahului Walmart a couple of months ago, where they were evidently trying to clear them out at $35. Worth it just for the wifi access point, if it's not too locked down. I had looked over the hacking sites to see if the client device could support Jabber IM s/w, and it seems plausable.

panic: kernel trap (ignored)

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