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In my life experience, I have seen many Robots ,By far the most impressive is PLEO .Its basically a robot dinosaur that could
replace a house hold pet. The same man who jointly created Furby's now has a new AI robot.
I was impressed by the use of capacitive switches to give the skin a sort of nerve response and it works well. Stroke the scally
rubberised skin and furby will respond. Feedback form straining motors gives the response of pain. There are tilt switches so the AI
knows which was is up etc. There are also 2 ARM processors that are used to control the AI and the Motors .
I have successfully managed to Telnet into furby using a USB cable and ExtraPutty 0.6 this version allows you to use a Serial
connection to remote shell.
I'm fascinated by the Life Operating System which seems to be very small and an embedded Linux variant .
Besides all this Pleo is an excellent toy/pet for all ages , but is only recommended
for childern over 8.
I recently acquired a CnM minibook . These mini laptops usually have no moving parts except for
the keys, in otherwords there are no fans , harddrives or CDROMS, Just USB and SD slots.
The CnM site was limited at first it just said welcome and the next week there was more than one
page but still lacked the answers I wanted. By looking for over 2 weeks through search engines
and wikipedia I found some interesting things:
I bought mine from Maplin it was sold as a generic minibook. I done some investigating into the
product and found that it is actually sold unvarious names and brands in different countries .
Names included, Trendtac, Razorbook, Alpha 400, CnM minibook.
Genetically the family seems to originate from Ingenic semiconductor company in china. The
Processor is an Xburst which is purpose built and is the main internal component to 2 JZ47xx
intergrated circuits that have the full functions of WIFI ,Mediaplayers,USB host etc. I tried
downloading PDF's and Linux,boot and winCE files but the link was slow and I always got cut off
half way through the download.
PDF's seem to be mixed with Chinese and English.
You may at first be frustrated by the lack of :
A terminal window
Ability to add or install your own software.
The un expandable desktop.
Lack of a BIOS or bootloader that can be tweeked.
However, the screen is small yet very clear and easy to read, sounds good enough and can excel
and some things PC's 100's of times bigger struggle to do.
When I stumbled upon the Dutch Trendtac site most of my quibbles above where solved.
There was a Patch that I tried that once installed ,using the minibook installer, allowed me to open a Terminal window by pressing
Ctrl+Alt+F3 . From this I went into the 'devs' and 'etc' to discover what was running on this little wonder.
It is also possible to read the directory structure using Bon Echo (Firefox) . Just type
File:/// into the URL box and you will see what I mean.
Trendtac also have a back up image and recovery procedure. I used a key sequence at boot up (or start up) and found that the
operating system is actually Alpha 400, though sold as CnM. It seems to me like somesort of franchise or reseller business going
on ,hence the difficulty in getting any information form any one place.
I am currently trying to reverse engineer the minibook so I can safely replace the desktop or add to it. On initial idea is to add a
single button to flip to another virtual type desktop , but it might be beyond my capabilities. But for now I will at least try and give
existing commands and create an open source manual . I'm sure a manual is out there somewhere but with most of the source
files not having GNU licensing files attached its hard to find the originators of the software.
Network wise, at present i can use the wired Ethernet connection with almost no security to my router for direct access to the
internet. The WIFI was also easy but takes a while to connect once set up. I hav'nt tried the mobile modem yet , and I'm
struggling to get somesort of Putty/Telnet/Hyperterminal connection into the minibook or for it to be visible on a linux (live disc) or
A USB mouse worked instantaeously with no driver needed and no setting up and not even a hardware installed thingy like
windows does. I have yet to try a keyboard, Pinnancle Nano TV USB, USB Camera .
To use an SD can within the terminal window is easy. Just use CD / to get to root and LS to see the directory there you will see a
blue SD cd to that and the cd to SD_1
and you can see the mounted SD card, its limited to seeing 4GB even with an 8GB card.
Below is a Zip file of images showing some directories and procedures.
I could say a lot more that would take the fun out of it. May be another day, hey.
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Another of my Techabilities is Operating Systems. Another science fiction into reality is to create a true Machine Intellegent
So Far my best attempts have been with a simple Linux boot, which I used to boot FreeDOS. I recompiled the freedos kernel
removing unwanted old tech and generic commands that in my mind should be external . The hardest part is trting to get
audio to play on Realtek hardware, they are only supported in windows command prompt mode.
I have seen that tech compaines such as AMD and Intel are moving into a similar direction as me. Old technology that
worked is being used with the Best of Now. That is , away with Floppydrives and disk media , hello to Static memory such as
USB sticks and SD cards. mini ITX computers can now be pico or nano with additions for keyboard mouse VGA, with an
ethernet of wireless connection, you don't need anything else, all other devices can interface through the CAT5 or wireless.
The advantage of using web browser languages is there free and common place, I dont need to know how these languages
work just install the parser to work as a server on my OS. The file system is the hardest part, so why not skip it and go direct
to what you want it to do, in my case a browser /email web client. This is true cloud computing , almost dream like in its
construction as it only uses minimal hardware to work. Inspirations for this OS are , Ghost in the Shell and Laine.
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