Archive for the 'Hacks & Projects' Category

Latest Crush: The Compaq IA-1 Internet Appliance

Monday, December 19th, 2005

IA-1I got my Compaq IA-1 today. It’s a spiffy little Internet machine from the peak of dot-com optimism (read: circa 2000). Unfortunately, it only runs a dumbed down version of Windows CE, was designed to use only Microsoft’s MSN ISP service, doesn’t have an Ethernet card built-in, and won’t do anything unless you’re connected to the Internet. So why get it? Because it was absurdly cheap and really neat-looking — and you can put Linux on it! That’s right, folks…these days, someone could find a way to put Linux on my toilet if they tried hard enough, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is already a guide somewhere out there to do just that.

Some of the unit’s virtues are thus: a 266MHz AMD K6 CPU, 32MB SDRam, internal 16MB Flash RAM, integrated 800×600 color LCD display, four USB ports, a 56K modem, built-in microphone and speaker, a compact flash slot, wireless IR keyboard, and it’s tiny! Supposedly, the best form of Linux for the IA-1 is a variant called Midori, so I’ll try that out and let you know how it goes. With any luck, I’ll have an underpowered web-browsin’ machine in a few days. What’s the point? I have no idea. It’s the hack that counts.