CompuLab does it again – A new line of tiny, powerful PC’s

Fitlet. Model XCompuLab is a company in Israel that manufactures a line of small but powerful Intel-based PC computers. They got some publicity joining hands with the Linux Mint project and producing the MintBox. I wrote about them in the past.

As far as I know, CompuLab were the first to produce a PC computer that was not only very small, but also packaged in a way that made it useful for consumer-style applications as well as industrial ones. This concept of small form factor PCs has been popularized in recent years by Intel’s line of NUC PCs.

Now CompuLab are upping the game by creating ‘fitlet‘, a computer that is a lot smaller (To the point of fitting in one’s pocket) while still being as powerful as many models of NUC. It also seems to be cheaper.

Now I have to wonder if and when we’ll see people using those ‘fitlets’ to build ‘orange boxes‘…

Intense PC – Tiny intensely powered PC

The Intense PC (Front panel view)With its tiny dimensions, high-powered hardware spec, low power consumption and Linux Mint installed out of the factory, the Intense PC or its branded sibling, the Mint Box, might very well be the next computer I buy. The manufacturer operating out of Israel makes this practically a no-brainer.

About the only gripe I have about this device is that it contains no battery. Next to modern phones, laptops and tablets, the PC’s “habit” of shutting down at the slightest power interruption makes it seem as anachronistic as an 80s double cassette boom-box.

Configuring Aviem PRO2100 UPS on Debian 6.0 (Stable/Squeeze)

The Aviem PRO2100 is a SOHO Line-Interactive Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) unit that sells at a very compelling price/performance point. The PRO2100 is a 1000VA unit that sells at a price which is only slightly above that of other manufacturers` 650VA units, whereas comparable strength units typically sell for twice as much. What this means is that you can use if to power two computers for the price typically paid to power one.

That being said, the Aviem`s weak point is it`s Linux support (I cannot vouch for Windows support since I did not attempt to connect it to a Windows machine). While The UPS does ship with a CD that includes Linux software, it suffers from several shortcomings that are unfortunately all too common even for enterprise-level Linux supporting hardware:

  1. The CD only contains precompiled 32bit X86 binaries without any source code or any pointers to where the source code may be found.
  2. No pointers are given as to where updated software versions be be found, what seems to be the product name, “PowerD”, also doesn’t yield anything useful in a Google search.
  3. The software relies on an installation shell-script rather being packaged for use with the system`s package manager (E.g. RPM or DPKG) or at least something like Autopackage. The installation script also seems to assume all Linux systems are roughly built and behave like RedHat and would generally make a mess of your system regardless of the distribution (For example, the script tries to place binaries in “/etc” and set insecure file permissions such as “777”).

This particular software CD has another strange problem to it as the included “Readme.txt” file seems to be completely unreadable gibberish as well as resist being converted to anything readable with “iconv”.

All in all the software on the CD has a very strong abandon-ware feel to it and it is nothing I would be willing to install on my systems.

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Got a new toy today

Samsung Wave

Samsung Wave

Whenever I go to the Orange sales and service center I get suckered into buying a new phone. Today was no exception, I just got myself a brand new Samsung Wave. I hope I can find a way to get a good ROI for the extra 50nis/month I’m gonna be paying for the next 3 years…

It does seem to have one feature that may come in handy, it can act as a mobile WiFi access point.

Nights of IT: How to fix an EMC Celerra

Working in IT is typically a gray, dounting, stressing, frustrating and thankless experiance all at once, but it has it’s shining moments.

You are well into the night supervising a routine system shut-down and recovery test process, when all of a sudden the EMC technician directing the EMC-related part of the process on-site walks into your NOC and tells you a Celerra machine, the big critical one that supports half your organization, will simply not start up.

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