Thursday, June 24, 2010

Looking for my next technical venture

My regular readers know that I used to be an HP-UX admin until a few months ago, and I threw the towel on my sysadmin career.

I'm left with an interesting-enough IT-related job at work, but I can't blog about it easily. The work I'm doing cannot be easily contributed back in a generic way. And the technologies I'm learning are mostly specific industrial stuff and I don't think anyone would be interested in reading about this. Case in point: Is there anybody here, expect perhaps me, interested in IRIG-B ? Yeah, I thought so.

So I'm slowly investigating where I should spend maybe 2 hours a week learning the ins and outs of a new technical thing, and possibly start contributing to the community in whatever means I can, once I feel good enough with it (which might end up taking years). Since I work with embedded devices at work, I've been getting interested in the embedded market and it looks like my next venture might be with OpenWrt but as I don't have many practical uses for it at home, I'm still not sure.

I just found out that a smaller-than-netbook device named běn NanoNote went into production recently, and it runs OpenWrt. What is special with the NanoNote is that both the software and the hardware schematics are completely open designs. At 99$, it's as cheap as it can get. It's almost the same price as a dumb HP digital picture frame I purchased a few days ago, yet I can do whatever I want with it.

Whatever I want with it... I've been spending half an hour staring at the NanoNote specs and pictures, thinking about what I could use it for. Remember that it's very limited in memory and flash, and you can't fatten it up with thousands of bloated applications. In our iPhone/Android era, I simply don't know what people would think of this. But I'll admit it has one advantage against smartphones up its sleeves: it is cheap, and can be mass-produced unencumbered by patents and legal restrictions (at least, I think so).

One can only hope that someone smarter than me will invent a proper use for this device.


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