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My kids spend 99% of their time on the computer chatting with their friends via IM.  I’ve watched them do this for several years now and it has often struck me as a complete waste of a whole computer just to run the IM client.  That […]

Aeronix_zipitMy kids spend 99% of their time on the computer chatting with their friends via IM.  I’ve watched them do this for several years now and it has often struck me as a complete waste of a whole computer just to run the IM client.  That could all change with the release of the $99 Aeronix Zipit which runs on Linux and does only one thing- IM.  The Zipit is sold at Target and TigerDirect and connects to the internet via WiFi.  It won’t win any prizes with the 16-bit grayscale LCD but for simple text chatting who cares?  This price point makes it possible to give on to each kid in the house without breaking the bank and without tying up the family PC.  A complete review of the Zipit is available on LinuxDevices and I must say it’s a simple little device that serves its intended purpose quite well.  A review written by a user of the Zipit can be found here.

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  3. Tony Jewell Sunday, July 17, 2005

    Of course, if you’re looking for something to do in the long summer evenings, you could always buy one of these and install a ‘full’ version of Linux on it …

    http://www.aibohack.com/zipit/reflash.htm

  4. The other approach is used P3-500 notebooks.

    There are a ton of Pentium3-500 notebooks that are 4-5 years old that run Windows 2000 well (some with 256Mb of memory) can even run XP with Office 2003 on the market and they are good little surfing machines.

    Most are going on eBay or used computer shops for just under $100 these days.

    We have several for guests to use when they come to our house.

  5. Good idea fil but you know the greatest benefit of this IM appliance? No worries about spyware or virus that is rampant when kids use IM. I have wiped numerous machines clean because kids keep changing the security settings in AIM to let unknown people upload files. This eliminates that risk.

  6. True, although on all of our guest laptops at the house are loaded with Fedora Core 3 Linux and I only give them a limited [non-root] guest account with Opera, Firefox, Thunderbird, Gaim, tvrss, xmms, and VLC pre-installed.

    Plus I put them on a guest VLAN on a different DMZ subnet of my firewall.

    Kids and tech savvy adults knowingly have to defeat the security measures I’ve put in place to install hostile apps or do rogue things. If I see it, they don’t get access next time they come over.

    This is a cool device you gave though.

    Next up, a wifi-to-EVDO gateway via JunxionBox:
    http://wifi.weblogsinc.com/entry/1234000153044512/

    Sweet.

  7. Hey, you have pull and maybe you can pilot it before I buy one.

    Call JunxionBox, tell them who you are and see if they’ll let you pilot it.

    You know, you’re on the first google page on Verizon EVDO? Impressive!

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