First off let me make the declaration up front.  I am not involved with or being compensated by anyone for my remarks regarding this product.  The information below is based on my own opinions and understanding of the information I have consumed on the product.  I do not intend to mis-represent myself, my company, or this product in any way.  I apologize in advance for any errors and recommend you see their site for the 100% strait scoop.

For any of you that have not heard of these yet I would recommend checking them out here.  These are ingenious little ARM based PCs running Linux and what they are capable of seems to be the limits of the imagination.  Some of the things I have read have been things like file servers, terminal servers, media servers (yes they will run an ARM version of XBMC and support 1080p HD video if you spend the less than $5 to buy the codec licenses).  There is even an example showing one set up as a novelty photo printing setup.  It’s limited to 256MB of memory so I wouldn’t plan on replacing all of your companies servers with it just yet but does stimulate the mind to consider all of the wonderful possibilities.  Oh and the real selling point (no pun intended) is that the Model A runs for $25 and the Model B for $35.  Check the specs on their site there are differences.

I think the greatest thing about this whole story though below all the cool stuff you can do with one is the reason for them coming into being.  The original concept came from a couple of guys in the computer lab at Cambridge University who were trying to come up with a cheap computer that they could get into the hands of children to start driving interest in learning to program from a young age.  If your older like me remember back to the days of the Commodore64, the TRS-80, or the PET2000 when you had to program a computer to make it do anything other than blink a cursor at you.  The hours spent typing in code from a book and saving it to a tape or 12 inch floppy so you didn’t have to type in the same 500 lines of code or more the next time you wanted the computer to print your name across the screen.  This was their point, that there is a shrinking number of skilled teachers in computer sciences as most of them are getting sucked into the technology industry at higher pay.  This is due to a lack of skilled programmers and generally qualified technical people to fill the greedy demand of the industry.  This project they hope will drive the numbers back in the other direction with the hopes that some of these children will grow up to be the next generation of teachers that will continue to educate students in the computer sciences field.

A worthy cause to be sure and a great product at a reasonable cost to boot that can drive future innovations in small footprint computing devices.  Check them out and as always with any Open Source Project especially an NPO like this one, do not hesitate to support them.   I welcome your feedback, thoughts, and ideas surrounding this one it certainly has my brain working overtime.

-The Source



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