Techy Question: Web Browser in a Box? - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-12-2004, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Techy Question: Web Browser in a Box?

I'm looking for some hardware. A few years ago there was talk about a cheap Web browser type computer, I think it was Sun that was going to make it. Did that ever happen? Are they available. I forgot what they were called.

Here's what I'm looking to do. I want to build a cheap network with half-way descent displays. Power consumption is a consideration. I have the main machine that will operate as the Web server what I want is three or so terminals networked. The terminals need little more than a mouse, keyboard, display, networkable, and be able to display a Web browser. All this will be run off a generator at times so power is a concern.

Anyone have any ideas?

I'm thinking I could just scoop up a few old laptops and network them but I was wondering if there was another solution out there I might be missing.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-12-2004, 01:08 PM
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they made these things called I-openers for a while. It was pretty much what you're looking for. Let me see if I can find some info on it........

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-12-2004, 01:11 PM
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What IS an Iopener?
The Iopener is a nifty little computer built by Netpliance. It is essentially an "internet terminal," a compact and attractive 10" LCD monitor with a complete computer built into the enclosure. It is cheap, silent, energy efficient, and has a small footprint. It's the "kitchen counter" internet appliance that geeks the world over have been looking for.

Why the hype? It sells for $99. No kidding. But there's a catch - Netpliance designed the system to work solely with their ISP service, which is priced at a reasonable $22 a month. A modem is built in to the unit, and the software that comes with it is well done - the first time you turn it on and plug your modem in, it will "phone home" and let you set up an account.

This is where they screwed up. Some enterprising wireheads realized that if you never plugged it into a phone line, it never dialed home. And if it never dialed home... you had a $99 computer, free and clear. This is sort of like the "cell phone for a penny" deals... Imagine if those one cent cell phones would double as home cordless phones with some simple modifications...

That's what happened. Someone opened the case, and as Gomer Pyle would say -- surprise, surprise, surprise. The hardware inside the Iopener is almost entirely standard PC gear. There's a standard Pentium compatible processor, identifiable chipsets, and the greatest discovery -- an IDE hard drive port.

What this means is, that with a little work - you can add a hard disk to your Iopener. So there's no need to use their pre-installed software. You can run almost any operating system (currently people have a few flavors of windows and unix running on theirs) that supports the intel architecture.

But you may be in for some bad karma. It's pretty obvious that it is costing poor Netpliance more than $99 apiece for the hardware. Their business model clearly depends on them augmenting the hardware cost through ISP usage. So every converted Iopener out there is costing the company money. There is clearly an interest in this hardware. More than a few people have suggested that if Netpliance were to sell the machines alone, without software, they'd be willing to pay substantially more than $99. If the company moves quickly, they could be sitting on top of an interesting opportunity - selling hardware-only solutions to interested hackers, while continuing to sell their bundled service to the average home user. The possibilities for an affordable machine like the Iopener are endless. To the best of my knowledge, there is no official word from Netpliance as to their stance on these modified machines, nor does anyone know what percentage of machines sold are being activated under the ISP service plan.



http://www.iopener.net

That's their site but i couldn't pull it up. I think the company went out of business. You can still find them online if you don't mind hacking it.

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"I wouldn't be surprised to see this guy catch a pass with his ass cheeks"

Last edited by JoJo; 04-12-2004 at 01:16 PM.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-12-2004, 01:13 PM
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Notebooks are probably your best bet with the power consumption. Sounds like your going to set up a viewing station at the track for pics. If you are then the notebooks would be the way to go. Easily packed up and you would only need to run the generator long enough to charge the batteries.

Check this site out. http://www.notebookmall.com/

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-12-2004, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info guys! Yeah, picture viewing stations.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-12-2004, 01:26 PM
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yeah, the iopeners will probably be more of a pain in the a$$ to setup at the track due to the no battery thing

My name is JB, people call me JB

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-12-2004, 01:30 PM
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another cheap place to get used laptops http://secondwindpc.com

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-12-2004, 01:31 PM
 
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Try this. Small form factor, very low power consumption. Builtin CPU/audio/video/lan/usb. All you need to add is RAM, HDD, CD, and case. The mini ITX cases usually come with low wattage(<200W) power supplies. Should be able to do it for around $300 per station plus monitor.

http://www.viavpsd.com/product/epia_...therboardId=81


Check this site out, see what other people have done.
http://www.epiacenter.com
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