Monday, May 28, 2007

Zonbu - net pc?

It was only this week that I was talking on about what I felt was missing in pc operating systems for simplified requirements.
It continues to perplex me why a "set top box - cable delivered - secured web tv computing OS isn't available".
I want a set top box using the TV display with a infra red keyboard that allows people to browse, web mail and store documents in a single central location (eg in the network - not on the local hard drive).
All of the favourites, photos, messages etc are stored off box.
When a screw up or some other catostrophic problem occurs...the user... (your mother) simply hits the big blue button on the top of the box and everything goes back to normal.
You cant tell me that this isn't worth $5-$10 a month per subscriber and a definte business model worth securing?


Then this week I came across it's a fanless box about the size of a paperback book. It has no harddrive but runs it's Linux OS on a flash card - relying on document storage from an online service (rebadged Amazon S3).

20 minute un-boxing demo video available here from Chris if you want to watch that kind of thing

Now the real question is $99 is good BUT..... what else can I hack this system to do instead - can I not use the Zonbu storage (and save the $10 a month storage fees) and use storage on my own server (pretty cool, i could send my mother a unit and have all her files securely backed up here on my windows server so that when she deleted them - no probs easy restore).

Or even better how about hacking it to become an Asterisk server to handle all of my phone traffic, at 1.2ghz it's actually faster than the server I currently use for Asterisk.

Or my favourite hooking up a elcheapo 19" monitor and then mounting them to the wall as a moving photo frame display that cycles through all of my holday snaps.

It will be interesting to see how much 'leakage' Zonbu have where people buy the device but then dont hook up the storage service depriving them of ongoing revenue.

Either way I'll put my hand up for one of them when they are released in 2 months time.

P.S. Hey address for the beta demo unit is on my website :)

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