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COMPUTERS AND NETWORKING
$25 COMPUTER HITS THE MARKET
Back in August of 2011, we described the Raspberry Pi Foundation ( www.raspberrypi.org) and its efforts to
develop a functional computer that would sell for $25, thus
making it affordable to virtually everyone, everywhere. The
result was the Raspberry Pi Model B which actually comes
in at $35 instead. However, with the recently announced
Model A, the $25 goal has been met. Both models are
based on an ARM1176JZFS processor with floating point,
running at 700 MHz, but apparently you can overclock it to
800 MHz if you want. They also include a Videocore 4 GPU
which is capable of 1 Gpixel/s, 1.5 Gtexel/s, or 24 GFLOPs
of general-purpose computing, giving it graphics capabilities
that are "roughly equivalent to an Xbox 1 level of
Debian ( www.debian.org) is the default distribution OS.
The only apparent difference is that the Model A is a
stripped-down version of the Model B with no Ethernet, only
one USB port instead of two, and 256 MB of RAM rather
than 512 MB. This means that the Model A draws only
about one third of the power, so it might be a better choice
for "those of you wanting to run projects from a battery or
■ The Raspberry Pi® Model A computer — a
stripped-down version of the Model B.
solar power: robots, sensor platforms in remote locations,
Wi-Fi repeaters attached to the local bus stop, and so forth."
As of this writing, the Model As are available only in Europe,
but that is slated to change "very soon."
Why did the Model B come before the Model A? Who
knows. Why did the Model T Ford come before the Model
A? Life is a mystery. ▲
GET OFF OF MY CLOUD!
Also, "cloud computing" is basically just a trendy marketing term for the use of shared hardware
and/or software resources over the Internet. (However, if
you want a government-generated seven-page document
that makes it sound much more complicated, just go to
www.nist.gov and search for "special publication 800-
145.") Among the pros of cloud computing are cost
reduction, simpler collaboration, and off-site storage of
sensitive data. Among the cons, there are big questions
about the ability to access your files if the server goes
■ Your own
down or you have a dispute with the provider, and even
bigger questions about privacy.
The host has full access to your data at all times, and
communications are not necessarily secure from outside
parties. Recall, for example, that little incident in which a
formerly secret program by the National Security Agency
(with cooperation from AT&T and Verizon) recorded
more than 10 million US citizens' domestic telephone
Now, you can dump your backup services and set up
your own private secure cloud service using a Transporter
device from Connected Data (actually located at
www.filetransporter.com). According to the company,
"What sets Transporter apart from all other solutions is
the ability to communicate and share files with other
Transporter devices located anywhere in the world. This
ability eliminates all complexity associated with syncing
files and delivers fast local copies of data without having
to move it into or out of the cloud."
All stored files are available to any computer or
mobile device with Internet access, and files can be
synced for offline access. In addition, there are no
monthly fees, so you're just looking at a one-time cost.
Three versions that are essentially the same are available.
One comes without a hard drive, so you can just install
your own ($199), another includes a 1 TB SATA drive
($299), and the third comes with a 2 TB drive ($399).
They are available from the usual sources on the web. ▲
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