[Soekris] Why I need a "better" Soekris

Andreas Mixich sp.amix at gmx.net
Sun May 26 18:10:07 UTC 2002

 Hello All,

 judging by some negative replies to my posts I am not only a little
surprised in the tone, but also by the lack of understanding. Still, I
am thankful, that, all in all, the responses have been mostly positive.

 It seems to me, that the one or other of you have found a safe haven with
the netXXX devices, do they serve a special purpose and, as it seems,
very nicely. Now you feel this little system, that fills in your niche,
be it amateur or professional, in danger. You fear any requests for
expandibility might blow the netXXX up so violently that it slides out of
its niche, pops out of its hole, does not fit in anymore and hence is
gone forever.

I fully understand your concerns but I doubt this will happen.

 Besides, there are other niches as well, niches, that exist next to yours.
Since this was my first day on the list I was "sniffing around" asking a
simple question. My niche, so I had hoped, could be satisfied with a
Seokris product. That should not give reason to no one to shout at me.


 As a tech-aware user, a power-user and part time developer I hate the
tight grip of the industry around my throat: "This is a router it
routes". "This is a server, it serves." Go figure! (and pay twice).

 I very, very much dislike standard solutions. I prefer to pay a higher
price for my tools, but have them *fit* my needs.

 I am a "geek by higher forces" or name me a "must be geek", since the
misses me in most of their market-analysation. And I know from chit-chat
others, that I am not a minority.

Once I had a sceptic look at my computer...

 It had a CDRW, a DVD-ROM, a TV and radio tuner. It also could stream
media from disk and network. Looking at my HiFi, I discovered very
similar hardware. I wondered why I did have things twice.
And I wondered, why I could not simply connect the CD Player to the PC
and have it work as CD-ROM also. (Yeah, right, I am one of these
"Convergence" guys)

Two years back then I went to several computer shops with a goal:

 Replace all with one single box that fits into my living-room and
doesn't look like a computer.

 The vendors looked surprised, gave me a forced smile and sent me
completely idiotic offers (standard Windows PC) I could have setup
without their help.

Alas, I had to do it on my own. And so I did.

 What I have now is a central box, built on uATX, residing in a case that
matches my AV-receiver (brushed aluminium, yeah!) and is of the same width.
(very important! ;-)) It's mostly noiseless.

 It is my HiFi. It is my HomeCinema feed. It is my gaming-console, it
is my TV-tuner and VCR (DVB-Sat), my CD recorder, my DVD player, my radio
(shoutcast and DVB-Sat). I control it over an remote-control and a small

 It is no art to program my VCR (Linux VDR project) when I visit my parents
(which live 700 miles from here) over the internet.
I can listen to music that is of much higher programmatic quality than what
the local FM stations deliver.

I do not need a multi-room system either. I have something much better:

I have a network !

 There are ethernet outlets in my kitchen, my living room and my
bed-room. I can route the media streams to these places. All I (still
;-)) need is a little audio-client on the wall and a pair of active
I am actually able to "broadcast" my video and audio in the apartment as
I see fit. I found all my basic needs satisfied on Freshmeat, currently I
am evaluating the next step, a complete custom menuing OSD system I write
on my own, running on DirectFB (www.directfb.org).

 Should affordable, embedded devices appear, that fit some of my other needs
(motion-video capable touch-screen with mpeg support and ethernet running
for the kitchen and sleeping-room) you will sure find me sneaking around
on that mailing-lists also ;-).

 See. I'm a home-user. But one who does not like to sit restrained
tightly while it "still does not fit". Yuck!

 Instead I want to have a live and fun. No one lives forever.
And I live better with electronics that suit me.

So, now I have a Multimedia-Server, then why don't I just shut up and am
happy ?

Well, not so long ago I went to some computer shops. Again. I said:

 "I have a network at home (raised eyebrows). I have two workstations, a
notebook and a PDA. I do not want to run any of these 24/7. The
workstations are to resource hungry and too noisy. I need something that
fits into my ambience/habitat, which is a comfortable apartment.
Broadband is there as well and I want to get rid of this old rusty Pentium,
I use to serve right now. It is much too big for what it does (mini-tower),
still too noisy (two old SCSI disks) and for Gods sake, I want it out of
my view !"

Again, they did not help me at all. All they could think of was:
"standard PC, maybe running Linux"

 So, again I am on my own. And even this time I will succeed >B-). Bet on
Maybe my flaming friend(s) belong to those who would like to sell me a

a) a print-server for printing
b) a router for routing
c) a firewall for firewalling
d) a fax-server for the fax
e) a http-server for the httpd and database
f) a backup-server for backups
g) a file-server for my home-directories
h) ...

 All I can say: Hey, guy(s), I am "home alone". My living-room ain't no
clean-room. And my bed-room ain't no co-location.

Got it ? Good. :)

So, here we go...

 I want a central location to point my requests at. Something, that is
always "Up". I will use it for home-control, for data-serving, routing
and printing/faxing/scanning. Why waste CPUs ?

 What it shall do does not require a "Big-Box". All that is needed is a
device that offers me two very important things:

Connectivity and style...

 For the first I can go PCI. For the latter one however, it seems I can
only go embedded.

 I want a "cool box" both physically as stylish. I want to mount it on
the wall, right next to the cable modem. I use my cupboards for clothes,
not for hardware. Been there, done that. Thank you.

Who said "Access Point" does only fit "network access" ? Data
can be accessed in many different ways. And one should be able to
do that with a matching device. No need for PCI et all and noisy
boxes (hopefully).

Also I feel protocols like IrDA perfectly fit into anything
that is described as "Communications Computer", heck, if it would be me,
I even would add an optional AC97 codec to something, that is labelled a
"Communication Computer", so I could "communicate" over a mounted
doing telephony.

One might argue about security concerns, since this will be the system
hooked right at the cable modem and have servers running. Well, I do not
care. I am a home user with no public access. Even better, having a cool
analog modem connected on the serial I could run a hidden voice-mailbox
that acts as gate to any extended access from the outside.

For all my data-needs I want to point my finger at one location:

"My" new Soekris. ;-)

P.S. Flames please either private or >/dev/null.

P.P.S. Found this over at linuxdevices.com yesterday:

"personal servers" are needed because "the PC platform is incapable
of effectively managing the growing flow of digital content from the
many devices, file formats, and channels that consumers use today."

Memora cofounder Antonio Rodriguez

I tend to agree...

Regards, Andreas

GMX - Die Kommunikationsplattform im Internet.

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