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Al Williams

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Holiday Arm Hacking

December 01, 2010

When I'm looking for a small ARM-based computer for a "one off" I usually drop by eBay and pick up a Mini2440 board. They are cheap, run Linux (or CE, but I haven't used CE for a few years), and you can get them with cheap touch screens.

However, a lot of people buy things like routers and hack them. I was doing some holiday shopping online when I came across several major retailers selling PogoPlugs at very low prices (under US$40). I thought that they looked pretty hackable.

If you haven't seen one, a PogoPlug is an Arm-based computer that plugs into the wall and an Ethernet cable. It offers some software that lets you use it as a file sharing hub (with an external USB drive). The hardware is a SheevaPlug, if you've heard of those.

For US$40 I figured I'd order one. I don't have it yet but I started looking and, in fact, there is an active hacking community for these including a Linux distribution (called PlugBox Linux (formerly OpenPogo).

I'll report more on how it goes once I get it. Meanwhile, holiday shopping is a bit more tolerable if you can look for hackable devices among the sweaters, MP3 players, and fruitcakes.

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