I’ve been looking for an ARMed replacement for Beast’s power-sucking/fanfull/large corpse. This isn’t it. It is a very well documented controller that ships with a minimal installation of Debian GNU/Linux complete with GUI. I could, for instance, use this thing to make a pulsewidth modulator for a power supply. It’s obviously overkill for such a task but at the advertised price, $9, it’s OK. Why it can’t replace Beast:
- only 512MB RAM
- no gigabit/s Ethernet, just USB and Bluetooth and Wifi…
- only 1gHz CPU
- no SATA
- not shipping until June, 2016
In some ways, it’s a lot like my ancient Ohio Scientific Superboard II, but way better. Just using regular Debian GNU/Linux is a huge plus. There’s a very gentle learning curve. Bluetooth is interesting. I could replace my ancient keyboard and wireless mouse with that technology immediately. Will I be building kernels on it soon? Not likely but there is a SDK which should permit me to fire up Beast to do that from time to time and a simple process to write the local storage. This thing is a great way to add intelligence to any electronic project. It’s not state of the art but it’s tiny and cheap. I’d bet schools would love this. I would love to use this thing to automate the greenhouse, build some intelligent power supplies, manage solar/wind power, monitor water-levels, control pumps, make time-lapse studies of my plants… It could replace a lot of gadgets with simple relays/solenoid valves and such.