A Mini? Or a “Lini”?
Apple has always produced sexy hardware designs and the recent Macintosh Mini
is no exception. Given its size and features, the diminutive machine has been converted into tiny media servers, digital video recorders, and more. AOpen (http://www.aopen.com
), a hardware company from Taiwan popular with CPU overclocking speed freaks, has taken note of the Mini’s success and has released their own tiny, svelte machine, running Linux!
The AOpen MiniPC, a 6.5-inch-square box only two inches high, is fashionable in brushed aluminum, yet packs a punch with mid-range Intel processors, 512 MB RAM, 40-80 GB disk drives, Gigabit Ethernet, and a slot loading DVD player. But more important, AOpen is offering a MiniPC powered by Linspire Linux. Wow!
Starting at $399, AOpen’s slick little machines are begging for prime real estate on your desktop!
Can You Beat the iPod?
Neuros(), a multimedia hardware vendor, has taken an innovative approach with the launch of its new 442 media player. Recognizing the dominance of Apple’s iPod, the company has opened both the firmware and the interface of the 442, hoping that software hackers will give the product a boost. The approach just might work.
The 442 is certainly an impressive device with its 40 GB drive, ability to record from any video source, 3.6” screen, and video out. It’s one of those toys that begs to be hacked for more creative uses than originally intended.
Neuros got the ball rolling early and released its software at http://open.neurostechnology.com
. The site features an impressive commitment to open source development, including a blog, documentation, forums and a wiki stating, “We intend to support hackers efforts as fully as possible.” Check out the 442 and see how the progress is coming.
A Dynamite Desktop Database
Microsoft Access databases clutter the desktops of Windows machines all over the world, because the popular product allows virtually anyone to create effective, data-driven applications. But the product is bulky, restrictive, and of course, little use to Linux users.
If you need an equivalent to Access, try Alpha Software’s (http://www.alphasoftware.com/
) Alpha Five
database. Aimed squarely at web programmers and do-it-yourself desktop users, the new Version 7
creates data-driven applications quickly with little to no written code. Its unique “field rules” allow you to speed data entry and avoid input errors, and Alpha Five can now generate reports in a variety of formats, including PDF
And if you have data stored in Access, Excel, MySQL,
the new release can import your existing directly. It even has built-in tools for accepting credit cards in applications.
Desktop databases are the backbone for thousands of small businesses — this Linux solution is a welcome addition, sure to make inroads to previously unreachable niches.
Attention, Paranoid Penguins
Shhhh, come closer, and keep this to yourself and one thousand of your closest friends: TrueCrypt,
an open source disk encryption project previously available only for Windows, has been ported to Linux. The impressive software (available at http://www.truecrypt.org
) can encrypt a disk, a partition, or an entire storage device, and create virtual encrypted disks. It also supports a nifty feature called “hidden volumes” that allows a secret volume to exist even if the outer volume is compromised. TrueCrypt supports AES, Blowfish, Triple DES and other encryption algorithms, including cascading support.
Remember, just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you. Protect yourself with TrueCrypt (and a lot of aluminum foil).