Linked by David Adams on Tue 9th Jun 2009 16:28 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems What is it about gadget geeks? If there's one obsession common to all the generations of geekdom, it's got to be the desire for unification of all needs into one tool. It started out modestly. Maybe with the guy who fashioned his flint so he could easily both scrape and cut the animal hide. Then there was the guy who first put a nail puller on the back of a hammer, and on to to the combination compass/signaling mirror, the Swiss Army Knife, Leatherman, and an astounding array of multi-purpose hand tools. But it was with the advent of electronic gadgets that things really started to get out of hand. Read on for a rumination on multi-purpose gadgets and a review of a combo DSL/Wi-Fi/VoIP router.
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If I had to pick a favourite....
by Laurence on Tue 9th Jun 2009 16:52 UTC
Member since:

My current favourite "all in one" gadget is my G1 Android phone.
I use it as:
* an MP3 player,
* games console (with Genesis & snes emulators),
* SSH client (to check my servers on the move),
* Map book / atlas (Google maps)
* internet terminal (unlimited internet via G3 or WiFi) - plus facebook, ebay, myspace (and all teh other crud of web2.0) run better on the device than they do on my laptop.
* and the list goes on...
...Oh, and I also make phone calls and send texts on it hehehe

I'm sure other smart phone owners (iPhone owners particularly) feel the same sense of smug satisfaction with their device.
What was originally bought as a toy has become so much more ;)

Other than that, I've not indulged myself in any non-necessities for a while.

Reply Score: 3

kragil Member since:

The G1 is good, but my wish list would be a bit longer:

800x480 screen
camera with video and light
no unnecessary chrome (no chin, trackball, just 5 small buttons)
the ability to run X11 apps (maybe just GTK or Qt apps)
Tomtom-like navigation
easier access to the sd card

If Android develops like WinMo then devices with those specs should be possible within the year

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:

Nice, I'm in much the same place with my N810:

music, movie, pdf, ebook reader
games console (native and various emulators)
ssh client, server, sshfs and rsync
gps (Nokia "maps", google, yahoo, virtualearth and path tracking)
some internet over wifi when a bigger box isn't in reach
voice (Google video chat or Skype voice only)
wireless audit tool (kismet, aircrack and a few native GUI apps)
pentest tool when I haven't a bigger box handy (metasploit, ettercap, tcpdump, scapy, hping, other's I've forgotten)
remote desktop (vnc, windows terminal client)

I've simply taken the term Symbiot for it based on how much it can do beyond intended use. I provide it food from my power socket and it provides me extended functions.

The way it's looking, I may go Android when it eventually comes time to replace this unless Nokia can keep up. We'll see next year maybe.

Reply Score: 2

Jondice Member since:

Also if you have root access on your G1, you can use it as a WiFi router. Look for the app aNetShare.

I've even played 3d online games over 3g with it while stuck at the detroit airport.

/hate the airports that don't have free wifi

Reply Score: 1

by judgen on Tue 9th Jun 2009 16:58 UTC
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As far as i know one of those all in one router,voip and wifi point, 3g modem, dsl modem + alot more allready exists. Ericsson sells them quite cheaply.

Reply Score: 2

by righard on Tue 9th Jun 2009 17:02 UTC
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The Internet/Television/Telephone provider I have here in the Netherlands gives a modem? in which I can plug my computer, digital television, digital phone and it's also a wireless router. I can even connect to the internet with it directly via usb, though I have never tested that.

Reply Score: 1

Single device = eggs in one basket
by umccullough on Tue 9th Jun 2009 17:41 UTC
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I'm not personally a fan of the "consolidate everything on one device" strategy.

I want the ability to upgrade or replace each device one at a time.

Since I have a dedicated wire closet for these sorts of things (which I'll be wall-mounting a rack into shortly), and a 6 foot enclosed rack in the garage for the larger items, I guess I'm not searching for any "smaller" solutions ;)

Reply Score: 2

by hufman on Tue 9th Jun 2009 17:45 UTC
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My favorite device is my 15" laptop. It does absolutely everything I need it to, and it's with me everywhere ;)
I use it to talk to all of my friends, I use it to check my email, it's my music player, and it's even learned how to play Playstation and Wii games! Why would I need anything else?

Reply Score: 1

Guess what
by Eugenia on Tue 9th Jun 2009 18:08 UTC
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I wrote a similar editorial 4 years ago:
I even wrote the specs of such a phone "in 3 years time". Many laughed at me back then with the specs I wrote, but it seems that I was 100% on target (especially with some current smartphone devices).

Reply Score: 0

RE: Guess what
by Lobotomik on Wed 10th Jun 2009 06:21 UTC in reply to "Guess what"
Lobotomik Member since:

How insightful! And how kind of you to remind us!

But that's good, Eugenia, let self-appreciation never falter.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by TheLastYogurt
by TheLastYogurt on Tue 9th Jun 2009 19:39 UTC
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FTA: "I'd like to spend the rest of this essay discussing the inspired ones."

That plan went out the window pretty fast. This is all a personal recollection about the author's home network. Perhaps a more focused article could be headed "My Quest for an All-in-One Network Appliance".

Reply Score: 1

Maybe a Soekris box ?
by Lennie on Tue 9th Jun 2009 23:41 UTC
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I would think it's this:

It's just a PC, but without the moving parts (passive cooling, possible with sd-card), etc. it can do: dsl, voip, wireless, automation/lighting, I guess it could do home security.

The other device probably lifes in the livingroom a harddisk recorder, with media-center-like/filesharing abilities.

That leaves a small 5 or 8 port GB-switch and a UPS which keeps the Soekris running.

Reply Score: 1

by StephenBeDoper on Wed 10th Jun 2009 17:58 UTC
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"And everything's gotta play MP3s! ...except your MP3 player, it plays MP4s."

Reply Score: 2