Cheap Penguins, Sharing Files via P2P, and More

The best new products from around the industry.

For Sale: Cheap Portable Penguins

Linspire, the company formerly known as Lindows, has just made Linux laptops a whole lot cheaper to buy. The company recently released two computers that are eminently affordable and perfect for the gearhead on the go: the MobilePC and the Balance.
The MobilePC, an eNote Ultralite, is a 2.9 pound ultra-portable, featuring a a 1.0 GHz VIA processor, a 40 GB hard disk, and a 12.1” display. Loaded with the Linspire Linux distribution, the device starts at just$ 799, making the MobilePC a powerful alternative to some of the high end personal digital assistants (PDAs) flooding the market.
Meanwhile, the Balance is an entry-level laptop, if there ever was one. The Balance is resold through Wal-Mart and retails for a mere$ 498. The device features a 1.0 GHz processor and a 14.1” screen. It also comes with Linspire Linux, OpenOffice, Mozilla, and several other applications.
With mobile computers rapidly gaining marketshare at the cost of desktops, Linspire has used Linux to further reduce costs. At such reasonable prices, you have no other choice, but to take your penguin with you.

P2P for Grown-Ups: PeerFS

Everyone’s heard of peer-to-peer (P2P) backends for file sharing, but what about P2P for business? Radiant Data (http://www.radiantdata.com) puts P2P to work with PeerFS.

PeerFS uses P2P to replicate your data onto other hosts, increasing availability. PeerFS can replicate from multiple sources to multiple targets, and offers 256-bit AES encryption for security.
PeerFS software allows you to create a scalable infrastructure with no change to the existing applications or hardware. The software can be deployed quickly, and is much cheaper then traditional hardware solutions. P2P is great for file sharing, but now you can use it to protect your data, too.

Big Brother, Powered by Linux

With wireless networking, deploying a surveillance system has been transformed from an expensive hassle to an afternoon project. Smartvue (http://www.smartvue.com) has recently released an advanced digital surveillance product, the S2, and it’s powered by Linux.

The S2 consists of a management system, powered by a 1.4 GHz Celeron processor and Debian Linux, that supports up to ten remote cameras. The S2 also handles image archiving and provides a secure web server. The cameras themselves are powered by 300 MHz PowerPC chips running Debian, and use 802.11n, a new wireless networking standard with increased throughput.
The S2 system is very easy to deploy and can cover up to 100,000 square feet using all ten cameras. More importantly, the system is based on open software and standards. Smartvue plans on releasing a Linux software development kit, so programmers can add features.
While the product might be overkill for your apartment or small office, it’s great for a larger home or office building. The management systems retails for$ 2,975 and each camera costs$ 1,750.
Rest safely knowing the Penguin is always watching.

Cheap RAID: Pug Vault

Sometimes simple is better. That’s what Pug Vault from Pug Servers (http://www.pugservers.com) is banking on. The Pug Vault is a bare-bones Linux-powered file server. It does one thing, but it does it well.
The small device uses a mini-ITX board, a 600 MHz VIA processor, and an onboard NIC, and provides RAID-1 mirroring using two IDE drives. The Linux device runs Samba for files haring and Apache for its administration portal. It can be configured for use with any Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X machine.
The Pug Vault is a great choice for any small office. The RAID mirroring provides an effective backup solution that’s compatible with many environments. The software is also very easy to use and can be running out of the box in just minutes. And the Pug Vault’s low price is easy on any budget, starting at$ 699. Additional options are available and the Pug Vault can hold drives up to 200 GB.

Linux for the iPod?

We all know you’re the king of the Linux geeks, but you just had to get the coolest gadget around — the iPod. Sure you can manage the iPod using your Linux box, but how about running Linux on the iPod? Well, now you can, thanks to the iPodLinux Project (http://www.ipodlinux.org).

iPodLinux has ported the uCLinux kernel to the iPod and created an interface known as Podzilla. The handy bootloader lets you choose between iPodLinux and the standard Apple firmware, so you don’t lose any features. You probably won’t want to use iPodLinux all the time, for now, but there are some intriguing applications available. Several games are offered at the project site, in addition to a web server, and an interesting recording feature available either via microphone or line-in.

Send your product picks to Matt Tanase.

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