Squeak Box Message
Last updated at 12:16 pm UTC on 17 January 2006
We three three elves (Michael, Ian and I) have been busy. We finally made it through the challenges of booting Linux from Compact Flash, and I've negotiated with my supplier (for weather stations) for a "Squeak PC" configuration at a special price. Since it's a cool thing, and seasonally appropriate, I thought I'd send out an announcement.
After unwrapping you get...
A black box that is just the right size for an LCD display stand (1.75"x9"x11.5"). Also a 12v power supply that plugs into the wall. Inside is a 533MHz VIA Mini-ITX motherboard with 64M of memory installed. There are no fans in the box, and it still stays cool. On the front is a slot that accepts a compact flash card, which appears to the processor as an IDE disk drive. The Squeak PC is shipped with a 96M flash installed which includes 1) A compact Linux 2.4 boot system, 2) A full Squeak 3.6 (plus OSProcess and Games) with Linux VM, and 3) about 60MB of free space (!). On the back is a host of connectors that include stereo audio in and out, network, 2 USB, RS232, mouse, keyboard, display, video and printer port. There's much more about the motherboards at http://www.solarpc.com/bepia.htm.
The unit is complete and ready to boot. All you add is keyboard, mouse and display. With no fans and no disk, the only moving parts are the boot button and hte electrons. It is silent. The 12v setup is nice, since you can buy a UPS for the price of a battery, or power it straight from your car.
The price is $250.
The supplier is SolarPC.com. They make a specialty of Mini-ITX products. Check out their web site at http://www.SolarPC.com or jump straight to the order page at http://126.96.36.199/store/commerce.cgi?product=SolarPC. (The Squeak configuration is at the bottom of the page. If you get the message "The identity certificate is invalid", just say OK and proceed).
The Flash is set up for Squeak but, of course it could be anything else that is happy with this Linux. Other squeak images should run fine (you can import them via FTP, or a USB memory stick), and other compact Linux-compatible systems should run fine as well. Of course you can put in more memory, and use bigger Flash or even a hard drive, but we wanted to make the SPC simple and cheap. If people get into this, we can start a wiki page with useful info and fun hacks.
Ho, Ho, Ho...