Home | News Archive | July 2005
July 21, 2005
Already skilled in the art of shoehorning surprising components into unassuming locations, Peter Watson was driven to create the Mini-ITX Supra after seeing Clarre Strand's various HTPC projects. By all accounts it wasn't an easy ride, and Peter managed to turn a few hacksaw blades into a very special kind of hot rod before it was done. But the result is a Toyota EPIA 800 hybrid with enough horsepower to serve up Peter's webpages and work as a modem/router.
Maybe the only cylinders are found on the hard disks, but we think it's wheely cool (oh dear)
Impromptu pun competition: drop us a line if you have any more...
Peter Watson's "Supra-Server"
July 18, 2005
Nick Young chose a SEGA Mega-CD 1, an EPIA 5000 motherboard and Fedora Core 2 for his silent Retro-PC creation. Here's how he did it.
Nick Young's "Mega-ITX"
White Box Robotics Model 914 PC-BOT
July 09, 2005
It's been some time since our last look at White Box Robotics, so we thought we'd treat you to an update. The latest Model 914 PC-BOT prototypes use 1GHz EPIA TC boards and have 8 drive bays for adding various robot-friendly components. An onboard battery gives approximately 3.5 hours of life, although White Box are working to improve this. MobileRobotics.org recently reviewed a pre-production model.
Most interesting of all, White Box has revealed prices: approximately $10,000 for embedded security system models. That sounds a lot, but it's a massive drop compared to the current typical cost of around $40-60K for this kind of technology, and it's all thanks to using cheap, readily available components like Mini-ITX boards. Even better, we heard a rumour that in the near future White Box hopes to retail a less sophisticated Windows XP version to the general public for just $1200. If the historical trend of price drops in IT hardware is anything to go by, then you can imagine how widespread these robots could become in a very short time.
Cynics may be saying, "but it's just a PC on wheels", and of course they're right. However, it's very cool, and potentially very cheap, and it represents the first hesitant steps into a completely new market. We hope it won't be long before such devices find their uses. We can imagine them checking ID cards, working as mobile cameras in high-security areas, or in the home as sommelier PCs ready to receive voice commands ... like "bring more beer, scumbot".
Not to mention it can probably work out how to override that tractor beam next time you get stuck in it.
July 07, 2005
"A room without books", said Marcus Tullius Cicero, "is like a body without a soul".
"And a living room without a PC", said twenty-first-century Cicero namesake Marco Venezia (probably), "is a potential home cinema lacking DivX support".
To solve both problems, Marco fabricated the Encyclomedia: a Mini-ITX-based DVD/DivX player squeezed into a set of imitation textbooks. The books were originally polystyrene but have been hollowed out to fit an EPIA M10000 with DVD player and 40GB hard disk. The result is a living room PC that offers modern entertainment without sacrificing traditional style, and perhaps more importantly, doesn't make Marco's mum too angry...
Marco Venezia's "Encyclomedia"
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