BUILD YOUR OWN
PHOTO COURTESY OF VIA TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
■ A VIA EPIA PX-Series Pico-ITX board.
If you have been frustrated by off-the-shelf computers that suffer
from poor quality and sloppy
workmanship, never fear! You now
have an opportunity to screw one
up all by yourself. VIA Technologies
( www.via.com.tw), a provider of x86
silicon and platform products,
recently launched VIA ARTiGO, a
build-it-yourself ultra-compact PC kit.
Designed by the creators of the
Pico-ITX form factor, the VIA ARTiGO
Builder Kit provides all of the
components necessary to create a
reasonably robust machine that fits in
a 5. 9 x 4. 3 x 1.8 in ( 15 x 11 x 4 cm),
1.14 lb (520 g) package. You get a
VIA EPIA PX10000 Pico-ITX board,
chassis, power adapter, and other
essential accessories, including
cabling and port accessories. You just
add your choice of system memory,
a hard drive, and an operating system
(Windows 2000/XP, WinCE, XPe, or
Linux) and you’re ready to go.
The powerboard has been
designed for low power draw, with a
system consuming around 15 W in
idle, while the mainboard consumes
a maximum of 20 W under full load.
It runs a 1 GHz VIA C7 processor
and supports up to 1 GB of DDR2
system memory. You get 10/100 Fast
Ethernet, a VGA monitor port, four
USB 2.0 ports, and two audio jacks.
The retail price is $300.
JOIN THE SEARCH FOR ET
telescope has just been upgraded
with seven new receivers that allow
it to record signals from seven sky
regions simultaneously, the data flow
has increased to about 300 GB/day,
and SETI@home needs many more
volunteers. If you want to sign up, all
you have to do is download and
install the software, which is
basically a screen saver that
performs the analytical work
while giving you a glimpse
of what’s going on from the
SETI@home website. Then,
whenever your PC is just sitting
there twiddling its digits, it can
receive a 300 kB chunk of
SERENDIP data, analyze it,
and send back the results. To
get started, visit setiathome.ssl.
berkeley.edu/. Who knows?
You may be among the first to
process reality TV programming
from the Sagittarius Dwarf.
PHOTO COURTESY OF NAIC-ARECIBO OBSERVATORY, A FACILI T Y OF THE NSF.
■ Aerial view of the Arecibo facility.
You are probably aware of the
Search for Extraterrestrial
Intelligence (SETI) Institute, founded
in 1984 to “explore, understand,
and explain the origin, nature, and
prevalence of life in the universe.”
But you may not have heard of the
SETI@home project. This is not
actually a project of the SETI Institute,
but there is a connection in that the
Institute supports UC Berkeley’s
Project SERENDIP (Search for
Extraterrestrial Radio Emissions from
Nearby Developed Intelligent
Populations) which, in turn, provides
SETI@home with data from the
Arecibo Radio Telescope down in
Puerto Rico. Or something like that.
What’s important is that
SETI@home is an eight-year-old
program designed to take
advantage of unused PC
processing cycles to help
crunch the numbers coming
in from Arecibo. At present,
about 320,000 home
computers are part of
Because the Arecibo
TRACK YOUR TOOLS
Once upon a time, a pickup
truck was a pretty basic entity,
generally sporting a stick shift, a
marginally decent radio, and a
modest price tag. About the only
option anyone wanted was a gun
rack. But today, they come with an
array of luxury options that push the
price tags up to $40,000 or more.
One of the latest (but at least
practical) frills comes from
ThingMagic ( www.thingmagic.com),
which recently announced a
partnership with Ford Motor Co.
( www.ford.com) and DEWALT
■ ThingMagic’s RFID system
has been adopted by
Ford and DEWALT.
PHOTO COUR TES Y OF THINGMAGIC, INC.
April 2008 13