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Hacking Oracle's $199 Net Appliance 92

RegardsSJ writes "I've documented my progress in hacking around with Larry E's $199 ThinkNIC box. It has great possibilities for use as various network appliances. My site describes what it is, what's inside, how to add a hard drive, and how to customize and burn a new system CD. "
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Hacking Oracle's $199 Net Appliance

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  • by Megane ( 129182 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @03:36AM (#639500) Homepage
    Does anyone have better pictures of the insides? Is the modem on a card? It kind of looks like it. Could it be replaced with a second Ethernet card?

    Not that this is better as a router than as a good cheap xterm, but I am interested in whether it can be made into a router.

  • Or change the boot order from "C only" to "CDROM, A, hard drive"

  • What is really sad is how easily people buy into the thinking that you are not allowed to take things that you bought and paid for apart to see how they work. Last time I looked, the desire to know how things worked was a part of human nature.
  • Why are keyboards such a problem? I am using a Danish one right here, and I use a different one again when in Belgium..

    well i'm sure danish people would be pretty disturbed if they have to use a keyboard from Belgium, or a spanish, or... etc

    just a swedes 2 cents ;-)
  • by romco ( 61131 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @05:09AM (#639504) Homepage
    I would be surprized if there ever is a Linux
    version. Netzero makes their money from the
    banner ad rotator.

    How long do you think it would take to "fix"
    that peskey add rotator thing in Linux?

  • by RegardsSJ ( 52802 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @06:18AM (#639505) Homepage
    Sorry about the pictures, I used my daughter's $100 digital camera. The modem is on a daughter card that mounts to the back of the unit. It could be removed and the onboard modem disabled.

    I don't think you could put in another eth as there aren't any PCI or ISA slots at all. If you wanted, you could get USB working and then a USB eth off that.

    As to routerizing it, it won't be a problem--things are close right now.
  • Had an episode where the bad guys captured a scientist who built a machine that manufactured $5,000 gold bars. They put him to work and the first thing he did was ask for some raw materials including a $10,000 bar of platinum to make each gold bar.

    D'yah get it?
  • <i>Or change the boot order from "C only" to "CDROM, A, hard drive" </i>

    That's a little obvious ;-) The only choice that allow's CD booting is the default CDROM, C on this version of the BIOS. You could flash the bios. <a href=>pcchips</a seems to be the mainboard vendor and they have downloads.
  • (Also offtopic, but in response to "Semi-Offtopic" ;-)

    XMMS, I guess in order to be completely skinnable, is an overrideredirect window, meaning one that the window manager will not add decoration to (or in any other way manage the window). This has the effect of making the window "sticky" (i.e. it will appear on all virtual desktops.), since the WM won't hide it when you switch to a different desktop. (This probably won't happen with alternate desktops that are full-time in separate portions of video memory though, just the virtual ones common with e.g. KDE, Gnome, and WindowMaker, to name just a few - hell, the same behaviour even appears under WinDOS NT using VERN for virtual desktops).

    To experiment quickly with overrideredirect, you can, for example, launch wish (Tcl/Tk windowing shell) and issue the command

    wm overrideredirect . 1

    to make the default wish GUI window into a window manager decoration-less window that will also follow you around the virtual desktops.

    (You may have to also issue an update command, I don't remember off the top of my head.)

    Hope this sheds at least a litle bit of light,


  • I agree. There are other browsers that are more stable. Clueless people might get the impression that Linux stuff is crap and unstable.
  • by NoWhere Man ( 68627 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @05:20AM (#639510) Homepage
    Thought a few people should hear from someone actually supporting these things. My company was contracted out to do the internet technical support on this product. Although I don't know much about the internal electronics of the NIC, what I can tell you may be of some help if you plan on pursuing this project.

    The Processor is a Cyrix 266 with a single pc100 64meg ram stick. It is running using a bootable Linux CD. Included on the CD is Netscape 4.73, vncviewer, Winframe client, a few games, etc.. It has support for an internet provider (also supported by us)called NetZero [] (free internet access), but it also has support for paid ISPs. It simply boots, when you turn it on, loads X and eventually Netscape (which, through a webpage, gives you connection options).
    There is no way to change settings for the operating system in any way. Other than adding connection information and bookmarks, etc. It only has 4MB of Flash RAM to store the information into it.

    Because it is using Linux all the hardware should run on any distribution of Linux, but the hardware is of the cheapest quality possible. Having said that, from the 3 demo models that were sent to us I can definately say that the case is nothing special, looks like something that came out of the late 80s. And after 3 hours they overheat and have to be turned off. Extra cooling may be needed if you plan to run it 24/7. It also does not have a floppy drive, for those of us, like myself, still needing one occasionally.

    It has a premotional price of $199 ($329 with the monitor).

    Personally, I am waiting until the Web Tablet [], from Qubit, comes out.
    Weights only 2.5 lbs.
    Active matrix 781x600 touch screen
    Roams up to 200 feet from base transmitter
    802.11B RF connectivity
    Includes an onscreen keyboard and wireless keyboard
  • MUCH, thanks. Us old folks need black text on a white background. The worst is blue or green on a black background! Designed for unreadability.
  • It's this little process most people refer to as "learning". So instead of sitting in a dusty classroom for hours with an equally dusty teacher trying to stuff your head full of theoretical knowledge you buy a reasonably cheap peace of hardware and play around with it. That way you won't be faced with teachers having difficulties with the fact that their students are generally smarter anyway...
  • Soyo makes a similar product []

    I would feel a little better ordering this product because it's from Soyo. Were I work we use Soyo boards exclusive and have ordered over 300 of their prodcuts. Totally satisfied with their support and hardware.

  • Same reason people climb a mountain.

    Because it's there.

  • why would the company -care- if people modify it?

    They should care. If you do a really good job they should hire you...
  • Think about the difference between hacking this and hacking the iOpener. The iOpener is intended to sell you an ISP contract. Larry Ellison wants nothing less than to kill Windows and sell more big servers that run Oracle. As long as the hacks you make don't interfere with his goals, I'm sure he'll have no problem.


  • Whelp under NT, the Task manager 'always on top' wins out over Juno's 'always on top' adrotator. I'd much rather look at my system resources than 'HIT THE MONKEY!' any day.
  • The motherboard for the bookPC is a compact all-in-one design from Intel, the 810. Intel has a page on installing Linux on this particular motherboard linuxinstal.htm Robert Thompson has done some work with this motherboard also a=0001072d-sp00000000
  • it was +$15 when I bought the thing (just last week, in fact).

    the 'amd' version (totally inaccurate usage of the term) is really just the mvp4 chipset that takes super-socket-7 (socket 7 @100mhz and split voltage rails) cpus.

    the other (usual) choice is socket-370 and the i810 chipset.


  • i am heavily in favor of anything that runs BeIA. i am an everyday Beo OS 5 Pro user, and highly anticipate anything that can help Be prosper.
  • This all sounds like the basic PC Chips Motherboard, much like that used the the Book PCs with the little cabled modem, - and using a SIS Ethernet, and PC Chips powersupply, this thing is made by pc chips.
  • and yet another (very useful and informative) link:

    amptron book-pc board specs [] fyi.


  • Hey, no fair. I saw it first:)

    Seriously, if it's going to a good home I'll try to be content with that.

  • by mmmbeer ( 9963 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @03:45AM (#639524) Homepage

    These things have been hacked all up and down already, and this is one of the most content-poor accounts I have seen. Here are some better resources:

    I've gotten one of these myself (, currently offline), pulled it apart, soldered another power connector on, and added a hard drive. The Cyrix PR266 is pretty underpowered, but it runs linux like a scalded dog.

  • Because it can be used as a small, cheap X terminal or other thing that can't be found easily otherwise, and what will be too expensive to replace by a full-blown computer.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @04:04AM (#639526)
    It arrived via a unmarked paper box. Little did the UPS guy know what I was going do.

    I quickly rushed it up to my lab and tore open the box. Inside was a smaller box marked system board.

    I was confused. A system board?? I hadn't heard of these. I tore open this new box and was able to gaze upon my quary. Damn! It looked just like a motherboard!!!!

    This 'system board' had a number of cryptically labelled connectors: IDE1, BANK1, SPKR. Only through my years of experience and hackerly knowledge would I even begin to discern what these cryptic labels meant. Perhaps these were just a rouse. After the iOpener incent, these hardware manufacturers were rumoured to mislabel items to prevent master hacker like me from repurposing their devices.

    Straight out of the box this thing wouldn't even boot Linux. I carefully set the CD at various locations and nothing. No light, no sound. It took more than a week of work to get a booting system. I used all my industry connections to get the extra pieces of hardware I would need. Through a dealer in Chinatown I obtained a 'Slot 1 Coppermine'. Through a company in Cleveland, run by Russian immigrants, I obtained PC133 SDRAM modules. Surfing the web I found this thing used a standard ATX power supply. The fools! You can get those anywhere!

    So it was a week later and I finally had a booting system. Now, could I install linux?

    I took the old RH6.2 disk I had burned 6 months earlier and gingerly placed it in a salvage CD-ROM drive I found in the dumpster of a local high-tech company. It worked! First try!!!

    I quickly had root and the system was mine. Now all i need to do is build an enclosure for this thing and I've turned this 'system board' into a full working Linux box.

    While my skillz are probably beyond those most of you posses, never fear. I'll be putting up a web site on Geocities to help you lusers transform the Tyan 'system board' into a working Linutz box.

  • by IO ERROR ( 128968 ) <> on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @05:23AM (#639527) Homepage Journal
    How long do you think it would take to "fix" that peskey add rotator thing in Linux?

    $ netstat -t
    $ ipchains -I output 1 -d x.x.x.x -j DENY

    Hm, looks like just a few seconds.

    Hell, with most window managers you could just stick it on another virtual desktop, or otherwise "hide" it without the app even knowing what happened.

  • The problem is that the site wasn't much help at all. Others have pointed out MUCH more helpful and informative sites. Hacking the IOpener was more interesting because people were actually doing some pretty low-level hacks (especially WRT the SanDisk, overclocking, CF, better sound, etc.). From reading that guy's page (even on IE5.5 it was kinda crappy) he didn't do much of that at all.

    Personally I found the satricial post hilarious. Maybe that's because I do system design and reverse engineering professionally though.

  • ThinkNIC ported thier version to Linux somehow. The programmers who designed NetZero don't see much of a market in supporting Linux versions (for some odd reason). They are more interested in getting a Mac version out (and no, I don't know when).

    Thought I think the reason for not getting a Linux distribution out might be that they are not too familiar with Linux, or that we would all have to re trained on Linux to support it.
  • Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.....

    Pooor business architects.

    Can you hear the violins playing???
  • Larry E decides to throw a fit and demand people stop "infringing intellectual property", I mirrored this site. NO, I won't tell where. I value my bandwidth. As I said, it's just in case.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You can but a similar system off ebay for around $150 (one with a hard drive even). The company is not losing money on this one. All the parts are cheap and easy to find. The reason i-opener was losing money was due to the lcd monitor. So if 3,000 Slashdoters buy these, they won't get mad at all.
  • is actually the bigger problem. The French can't even keep basic . and , and : in the same place. I can deal with a few letters being in different places, but if you have to shift for . that's pretty damn stupid. Compared to that the German layout is almost benign: the Y and Z are swapped, but at least the punctuation cluster is the same.
  • In my keyboard mapping, é is "apostrophe e". If I press the apostrophe before any letter that accepts an accent, the letter is accented, otherwise, like in "something's", the apostrophe is printed. To write " 'e" I either press the apostrophe twice or press the space bar after the apostrophe. The same works for the `, ", ~, and ^. This also works for ç and ñ. It works both in windoze and most Linux distributions, although Suse doesn't support this mapping, don't know why.
  • by uradu ( 10768 )
    A very small case like this with an intergrated power supply and a motherboard tailored to fit inside is perfect for a lot of custom devices. Such as an MP3 player, for example. Hook the audio up to you stereo, connect it to your network, whip up (or go find) some software with a nice UI that can pull MP3s off another host on the network, and you're set. Or put in your own HD and store the stuff there.
  • But on the Azerty layout, you have a "é" key on your keyboard instead of having the "4" button twice. Now that does sound more efficient, or is it just me?
  • > well, its sitting here, unused. want it? ;-)

    Sure, I'll have it. Mail me for details :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I can think of a few already... Cheap X terminal... Cheap Diskless Workstation.. (I'd even add like a 250 meg disk for configuration stuff). (cough) WinFrame client.... Firewall... All that is needed is a USBethernet device. I could use two or three of them already... That's all the reason we need to hack (er repurpose) them.
  • When I read about this one for the first time, I immediately expected it to be so darn hackable it's not even funny.

    Based on the specs from when I first read about it, I figured the only hack-proofing measures to be taken were : too small a case, mercury switch (and who sees those in computers nowadays?), proprietary CDROM, hardcoded BIOS. Everything else seemed quite standard and PC-like from the descriptions I read.

    Of course, now that it's hit /., it'll no doubt go the way of the IOpener--oh wait, they aren't trying to recoup their losses by forcing you into a service contract with an overpriced ISP!

    I know I'll be hoping that it's still around when I get paid again around Dec. 1.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This Anonymous Coward read that as cheap dickless workstation
  • You are so right. I mean the bast way to deal with this to roll over nad play dead right now. I mean the everyone knows the best way to stop soemthing from abusing you is to stop making them mad.
  • Even better than e-baying: check if the local government, state government, or local college/university has a surplus store.

    Some prices scavenged from U of M's property dispositions:
    Sparcstation 1 - $25 (everything but a monitor)
    P133, 2GB HD, 64 MB mem, CD, ethernet - $75 (no monitor)
    17" monitor, NEC - $50

    If you're a non-profit, these guys will even give you a 25-50% break (at least if you smile nice - we did, and got half off.)
    And best of all - nearly all are open to the public, and contain much outdated but useful hardware. Ever wanted an electron microscope?
  • At least wait until we get them over in Europe as well! We've already got no chance of seeing the CueCat over here, and I doubt the iOpener's going to be released either.

    Us smelly Metric-using Euros WANT these cool toys!

  • This box looks fairly stylish, but I can't wait to get hold of an Indrema and hack that into a general purpose DVD/DivX/E-mail box by the TV...
  • Or you could buy a vax and some terminals. You could proably get one pretty cheap from goverment surplus.

    Seriously lots of companys are doing this, or at least doing some of it. Sun has had their little purple thingys (the name escapes me) for a while now. They are really neat, they use Citrix Metaframe to do exactly what you have described.

    I don't think it is feasible to use a web browser for everything. I have yet to see an HTML based spreadsheet app, maybe you could make some Java Applet based office apps, if you didn't want them to be fast or work very well of course.

    Good luck and keep dreaming!

  • by kyz ( 225372 )
    While it seems so much easier to 'hack' than, say, a Playstation 2, Dreamcast, Tivo or otherwise (I mean, it boots a normal ISO CD-ROM, has no lockout mechanisms, and you can even look at file://localhost/ in the browser), it's still cool to see people making more out of the $199 box than they get as default. But then, I want to do more than surf the 'net with a PC, so I'm stuck into paying more for things like 3D cards, TV recievers, 30Gb HDs, etc...
  • Whilst I have absolutely no objections to people who wish to void their warranties in order to fiddle with the internals of these kinds of machines, why do they then have to go and announce to the world what they've done?

    It only leads to the company in question starting legal proceedings and pulling the product, and it tarnishes all of us with the same brush i.e. irresponsible law-breakers who shouldn't be trusted with a thing. Every time this happens, it strengthens the industry's resolve to get tighter legislation - after all if you can't stop something through technical means, then legislate it away!

    This sort of behaviour has already led to such measures as the DMCA. What more do you people want?

  • I was going to use KOffice or StarOffice for my desktop applications... The web applications that I was talking about are business apps, like a schedualling/appointment program for the entire organization being run through the web. Email being run through the web. I would also love to have a single interface into my voicemail / email / appointment / messaging systems.

    Companies like hospitals could have web based registration systems and web based lab systems linked together seemlessly through a web interface.
  • I love see things like this. People will also be curious on how things work. I remember my next store neighbor when we were kids get free cables channel just from opening thier cable channel changer(If anyone remember those). People will always try and get the most they can out things. Or they are just doing for the hack of it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @02:35AM (#639550)
    Lary's ego... []
  • This is the hackers challenge: to take something like this poor little box, that no one should be able to screw up, and screw it up. To make it into something new and more interesting, sure, but fundamentally, to screw it up.

    But unless one of the things screwed up is the business model, no one minds what the hackers do. The real person to protect the device from is the clueless newbie. I'm sure the only reason is that there are so many more of them than us, but I find it funny that the things we have to work so hard to get around are put there in futile attempts to safeguard the device from people who have no idea what is going on.

  • by psergiu ( 67614 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @02:51AM (#639552)
    ... and we won't see them until the E.U. becomes one-big-country like the U.S.

    Think about-it. Why some Sweedish company will provide someone who lives in Italy with a low cost toy as they know upfront that they won't dial to their ISP service in the other part of the Europe.
    Setting up branches in each end every contry given the actual laws is too much trouble (and that's why you don't have RadioShack Europe and cue:cats). And add to all this all the laws in all the eu countries and the fact that the unit must have versions of the software and keyboards for all the languages spoken here.

    You can have the following:
    - Emigrate in U.S.
    - Build your own stuff
    - Get one from ebay
    - Get a plane, spend a weekend in US of A and buy from there. (enter into each radioShack you can find, pose as an american (it's easy, just speak with american accent and pretend you know nothing about the metric system) and get a shitload of cuecats. (If you do so, please send me one too:)

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @02:51AM (#639553)
    for pure hackable fun, the book-pc (search google, there's lotsa hits) is my choice.

    I was a very early adopter of the I-opener (still have my hacked one sitting here collecting dust from non-use; was more fun to hack than actually use) and I also just got a tivo and hacked it as well.

    but the book-pc is a real pc with no need to "break in" to it. it has onboard video (both composite/s-video AND svga outs), onboard digital audio sound (real spdif digital in,out via the uber-cool cmi8738 chip), onboard 10/100, usual ide and floppy, 2 usb, 1 printer and modem. only thing missing is serial and you can steal the modem port for that (still looking for pinouts on that header, though).

    its $179 for a barebones system (add cpu ram and hard drive). I threw the installed cdrom drive away since its junk and added a 2nd hard drive in its space. makes a most excellent mp3 player. with the 60gig's of storage I have on there and an external audio alchemy DAC connected to the spdif out, you get sound quality that is truly cd or better (better since you control the audio circuitry via which DAC you buy and connect).

    you can get a socket-7 version (what I bought) which uses the mvp4 chipset (very standard) or you can get the [cough] i810 set and futz with the agp port a bit to get video/X11 working. I didn't have a cel370 chip sitting around and I did have a k6-3 being unused so I ordered the socket7 version ($15 more). didn't regret it - X came up pretty easily.


  • From above...

    for pure hackable fun, the book-pc (search google, there's lotsa hits) is my choice.

    What the hell are you talking about? this guy said he had LOTS of hits

    Someone mod this wacko down

    ---There is no spoon....---
  • There is a significant difference between this system and the ones whom you refer to - this company does not sell ANY kind of service along with this computer. It is a stand-alone unit, without any kind of mandatory server that must be signed up for.

    The problem that caused the earlier legal hassles was that people figured out how to hack the various boxes to (at least potentially) avoid the service that was generating revenue for the company, and in many cases making up for the fact that the hardware was being sold at a loss. Since the NIC is sold without any such commitments and is able to connect to any service the purchaser wants to use, why would the company -care- if people modify it?
  • Disregard my previous post, I'ts a littile early here...

    ---There is no spoon....---
  • the guy was making a document available to people who like to tinker around w/stuff like that. If you aren't into it, fine, don't bash it. Move your trolling elsewhere.
  • Radio Shack in canada Does not carry the little buggers either. I have to go states side.

  • Have you never started to rip something apart just to see how it worked. The next step is to see if you can get it to do what you want.

    Why hack something? Why not.....
  • I won't dismiss the fascination of opening up a black box like this one and turning it into a web-enabled toaster, but I don't see why someone would want to buy such a device to turn it into a cheap firewall/router/webserver. Why ? because you can build a better PC for the same money. Sure it won't look as sleek as Oracle's little box, but a Pentium 266 with mb and ram can be purchased for peanuts. Even if you do run up to 199$ in parts, the assembled product is still much more upgradeable and versatile than a bastardized Oracle box.
  • Semi-Offtopic: XMMS seems to be a renegade, in that whenever it's launched, the interface follows me from desktop to desktop. Have an insights about that, or why a netzero client, if it ever existed, wouldn't do that as well?

    (I'm actually just scooping for an answer to my question, but it seemed a bit appropriate :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually NIC doesn't discourage people to play
    with their NIC. On egroups they actively
    participate in the discussion on thinknic-tech.
    Unlike devices like the i-opener they don't
    rely on a monthly subscription service for
    their revenue. So bascially they don't care
    about hacked NICs and they love to see people
    do cool stuff with their NIC. Just keep in mind
    that fiddling with the hardware does void
    the warranty. So basically you get the hardware
    at very small margin, the software for free,
    and you can make your own CDs to make it
    a router, mp3 player or whatever else you can
    think of ..
  • Why are keyboards such a problem?

    They are a problem in France, where it goes AZERTY.

    I don't know why those frogs cannot accept the God-given QWERTY layout, which everybody knows is the correct order of the keys, but that's it.

  • Order them over the web! Cheaper and better quality than Tandy (generally)
  • OK, stop moaning. I've changed the site fonts and colors. Any better?
  • Once I was staying in France and did a lot of troubleshooting on a friends windoze computer. It was back in the days of DOS and I ended up remapping the keyboard to QWERTY and typing blind. Thats what I think of AZERTY!
  • Once you get used to it, Azerty is actually more useful than Qwerty. Instead of having a row of numbers on top of your keyboard that are located on the right of your keyboard as well, those buttons actually do something useful. Having è,é, etc available on one key only makes pretty much sense to me. It was getting used to qwerty again after I spent a week in France that really pissed me off. What was it again? Alt137? No that's not it. Alt131, etc....
  • I have a Dell computer that came with a Brazilian keyboard layout. It's based on the Brazilian typewriter positions, with the Ç key where the ;/: key is in the US layout. I switched the keycaps to the US standard positions, so as not to confuse me when I peek at the keys, and use the "US-international" keyboard mapping.
  • It has support for an internet provider (also supported by us)called NetZero (free internet access), but it also has support for paid ISPs.

    I'm there a version of NetZero that is available and works under Linux for mere mortals? I check the NetZero web site and the best they have there is that it's 'planned'.

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @07:53AM (#639571)
    I checked your link and it does look interesting, but I think its a bit bigger in size and there was no mention of what audio chip it has in it.

    for me, the big choice was the famous and luvable 8748 chip from c-media. I can't say enough good things about this chip. being a dat-head for many years (and believing in literal non-lossy digital audio transfer protocols like 44.1 spdif) I just LOVE the fact that you can get motherboards with this chip already embedded. it has a decent onboard (onchip) analog out section, but the beauty is that you can hook it up to a used "ebay" $75 DAC and have just amazing sound quality. and all the analog electronics are way outside the pc chassis. just like a home cd or dvd player.

    so unless that soyo has the cmpci (linux term for the module you load) chip on it, I'll pass.


  • Please don't make the mistake of lumping NIC in with some of the other spoilsports - they've been _extremely_ helpful with the community in exploring new possibilities with this box.

    Please have a look at the archives for the thinknic-tech mailing list at egroups [] - you'll notice lots of addresses in the responses. They've been very supportive of the burgeoning developer community for these boxes.

    As a side note, we've just rolled out 125 of these boxes as X-based terminals on our High School campus - booting completely off the network and they just plain rock. My hat's off to the company for producing such a flexible piece of hardware!

  • total flamebait...

    You buy it and you can do with it as you please. It probably voids any warranty, but so does 'chipping' your VW Jetta. Same goes for a 'user install' of hardware on your store bought machine. The list goes on ...

    IMHO it is oftentimes the most versatile products out there that have the most popularity and shelf life out there. This applies to videogames as well as hard goods.

  • I 'HIT THE MONKEY' and bash that little poop thrower hard, right in the jaw. And where is my $20, this is a fscking rip off. I am going to beat the hell out of that dam monkey next time I see that little SOB. I got a nice metal 32 bat waiting for him, COME ON SHOW YOUR FACE YOUR MONKEY COWARD, I WILL WACK YOU GOOD!!!

    Dam monkey. Can't sleep or will miss monkey. Can't sleep or will miss monkey. Can't sleep or will miss monkey.

    Then they throw me in this tree and I dig at the tree for an hour and there is no MONKEY CASH, THERE IS NO MONEY.

    you can't make money off the monkey. Dam monkey. Can't sleep or will miss monkey. Can't sleep or will miss monkey. Can't sleep or will miss monkey.

  • Not at this time. The one in the ThinkNIC is a port that they did. Because we have no idea what they did to it, we can't release it as our own or recommend it to other Linux users.
  • by HiyaPower ( 131263 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @02:59AM (#639576)
    Check out the BBS here []. This started as a I-opener hacking site, but has evolved into a more general internet appliance, etc. hacking site. Recomend it to everyone.
  • by henley ( 29988 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @03:06AM (#639577) Homepage

    This is an honest question posing as a troll/flamebait.

    Given recent history, is this activity illegal under the DMCA? It would certainly appear to be reverse engineering, and I'm wondering whether Sun could claim (fairly or not) that they've implemented "technical measures" to prevent such. I'm not suggesting they would, but I would be interested to know whether The Collective views this as a possibility?

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2000 @03:10AM (#639578)

    your searching talent leaves much to be desired. it is NOT a troll! ok, clueless, here's your links spoon-fed for you:

    directron (a place who sells them) []

    review of book pc []

    another review of it []

    short specs page []

    another place to buy them from []

    MODERATORS: in the future, I suggest you try to search FOR YOURSELVES before believing [blindly] that "I searched google and found no hits for ...". sigh.. now please moderate my base post BACK UP again and ignore that moron who can't even type 'book pc' at the google search prompt. HARUMPH!


  • "I threw the installed cdrom drive away..."

    You threw away hardware?!?

  • "Note; I was unable to get a CD to boot from the CD drive while the hard drive was connected. Anybody get this to work?"

    Could this possibly be just a case of making sure the CD is set as 'master' and the hard drive is set as 'slave'?

  • well, its sitting here, unused. want it? ;-)

    the sound it makes from spinup and down wreaks of cheap build. the unit shipped to me was the same one I bought from compgeeks a few months ago. claimed to support DAE (digital audio extraction) and it kinda sorta does, but with very poor jitter read. its not really usable for clean extraction; better to spend a few (or more than a few) dollars and just get a plextor 40x. now THAT is a serious DAE-capable drive!

    anyway, the unit that came with my book-pc is a "top G" brand unit. avoid like the plague. maybe they got their name from the plane take-off sound it makes when it spins up!


  • I guess there's a fine line between "humour" and "trolling". Personally, I found it funny, but I'm interested to know who modded it up as "informative"!
  • There are already agreements where you can dial an ISP from one country in another. GRIC do a system like this. I am in Denmark right now and dialling a local number to access my mail on my ISP in the UK.

    Don't have a RadioShack Europe?! What about Tandy? That's the uk arm of RS.

    Why are keyboards such a problem? I am using a Danish one right here, and I use a different one again when in Belgium..

  • Last year I used Netzero under Windows for a while, but there was no Linux client. I just went to their site & there's still no Linux client avalable for download (there is a link asking if you want a Mac version). It would be cool to take the client from this box & try it on a regular distro... AFAIK there are no free dial up services which support Linux.
  • That was the first thing I checked too. What's the scoop on dialup access from this box? If it's a standard-issue ppp, then show us the config script (minus your username/password of course).

    Most of the "Free" ISP's include an ad window that can't be closed (hence only Windoze support). Does the NetZero do this? Does the NIC show the ads or does it sidestep them somehow?

  • Or, since it seems to be your computer, you could just go out and buy a $7 keyboard and be done with the troubles.
  • It's +$20 for the "AMD version".

    Does that mean, it comes with a CPU, or it's $20 more for Socket 7?

  • I've got a test/demo lab with a bunch of routers and switches and firewalls and things. This is the cheapest mostly-full-functionality box I've seen - you can plug it into an Ethernet and ping it, and if you use the hacking instructions described here to burn a fancier CD, you can telnet and ftp to it. I do have some cheaper solutions (we've got leftover Pentium 60 desktops), but these are much smaller, can probably run keyboardless(?), and do the job.
  • If I ever run a business I would use this device for all my desktops, along with a black 15" LCD monitor at 1024x768. The sleek design and good looks of the systems would be a startling difference to customers who are used to seeing huge bulky computers and monitors.

    I would have the machines boot from a file server and authenticate all the users using LDAP and openssh.

    When users logged into a machine their home directories would be mounted to the local machine. Thus, all files would reside on a network file server for easy backup. All shared directories for this persons groups would be mounted under the users home directory, allowing shared access to the files that are needed by a team of people.

    This way, if there is a problem with a workstation it will take about 5 minutes to replace the box and get the user up and running again.

    Since all the files are in one location, updating the desktops or the applications is as easy as upgrading the files in a single location.

    The company would use web based e-mail, appointment, contact management software to schedual appointments and business applications would all have to be web accessable or I wouldn't use them. Apache web server, PHP 4.x and MySQL would be the companies basic infrastructure for writing web apps that are fully integrated with all the information that the company has.

    As the demand grows the database can be pulled off to a seperate server, upgraded to a proprietary database if needed, and the front end webservers can be clustered together to share the load across multiple web servers.

    This also seperates the tasks performed among the various systems... The workstation performs the presentation of data... The web servers run the apps and provide business logic... And the database servers store and manage the data. This allows any one layer to be upgraded without affecting the other layers. (If testing was performed adequately enough!)

    I would train people on the software that is provided to them, but such training is often needed for people to get the most out of new MS versions as well anyway, so this is not an additional expense. All training would be video taped and classes would be available on the web.

    Home access would be done through VNC, using a seperate terminal server. This would allow access to the companies computer resources no matter what kind of computer the employee had at home. And if the employee didn't have a computer at home and needed to work, a ThinkNIC can cheaply be sent home that will connect to the companies terminal server and provide a VNC session that way.

    The final thing that I would do is make all the workstations part of a large cluster that would allow excess processor to be utilized by the main server to perform the companies heavy number crunching. In a CAD/CAM or multimedia environment the secretaries computer can be used to render a video.

  • This box isn't hiding information - you may have a software license for the box, but much of the content is covered by the GPL.
  • Actually it's a little-known fact that the QWERTY layout was invented back in the days of mechanical typewriters. It was specifically designed to slow down typists whose speed was too quick for the machine to follow -- keys would get stuck together, etc.

    Of course, once you're used to any one system, it hardly matters how objectively "speedy" it's designed to be...

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.