The CHIP is and excellent little computer. The production is having difficulties at present, but hopefully this will be sorted out soon. You can even get a keyboard and screen case thing, for mobile use. In short it’s a competitor to the Raspberry Pi, and has a number of benefits of not needing a WiFi dingle, and has SD disk built in, so not needing a card. What hasn’t it got by default? HDMI, many USB ports, free Mathematics, easy SD card swapping, and only has one OS choice. What extra does it have? Supports composite video, an easy portable case is available, has a built in battery charge circuit, costs less, has Bluetooth and WiFi builtin, and if bought with the pocket case with screen, it has some free game software thrown in. A more in depth out of the box review to follow.
Why my interest? Thin client possibilities of the future and present. So far so good. Quite intuitive to use, and only 17% (after an apt upgrade) of the disk used with the default install. The keyboard is a little fiddly but everything is there. There should be some good options for tools building on this. WiFi connects smoothly, no problems. The home key and ALT+TAB are effective for window management, and the included home screen defaults, are for good fun. Notable exceptions to the install are no immediate browsing, or JS/HTML client. No RTF or anything more than a simple text editor. But considering the pocketCHIP form factor, this would be an ideal typing on the go platform, where whipping out a laptop would be excessive, and a tablet might do, but a Windows Tablet will consume more power, and an Android Tablet would not quite be as customizable. Not that this all can’t be sorted given enough skill with Linux, and given the device is designed for such hackery. it’s likely a plus.
For cloud deploy, the missing features are some kind of file sync. something that would make corporate grade application prototyping a breeze. I think config files have to become config directories with date ordering priority for applied last relevance. It could make some kind of key code download architecture for situational setup. Of course this would have to be done at user level privileges. Maybe a git branch tag or ID. So I think the first install is git, and then someway to monkey patch the menu system. Looks like gksu or -A on sudo is going to have to be used to add a script, and then delete the script installer, so as to prevent the hijack of the script at a later date. This would make a wget over https pipe into bash as a one line boot strap.
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