Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

Discuss hardware related to portable usage, including the kind of storage devices people use, and how they use them.

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Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#1 Post by webfork » Fri May 06, 2011 10:48 am

There are a variety of bootable USB operating systems mentioned here on the site, but no USB sticks that are an entire computer (sans mouse/keyboard/screen).

This was up on Slashdot, but couldn't help mentioning it here: a USB device with an HDMI out that could fit on a keychain.

A friend of mine owns and uses a Tonido, but this is something else entirely.
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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#2 Post by m^(2) » Fri May 06, 2011 10:54 am

What's the point?
You need a keyboard, mouse and a monitor anyway and they won't fit in a pocket yet.
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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#3 Post by guinness » Fri May 06, 2011 11:12 am

What's the point?
It could be useful for others who might be interested. Thanks webfork.
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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#4 Post by m^(2) » Fri May 06, 2011 11:21 am

guinness wrote:
What's the point?
It could be useful for others who might be interested. Thanks webfork.
Sure, I just want to know why...
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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#5 Post by webfork » Fri May 06, 2011 11:50 am

m^(2) wrote:What's the point?
Size, portability, reliability, cost, resolving the digital divide, simplicity, uses less electricity, less waste in landfills, mobility, privacy ... I can think of quite a few direct applications that other types of computers can't hope to approach.

The initial device may be a little weak on capabilities versus a netbook for example. However, I suspect that -- like the Tonido -- future versions will do more in a similarly small space.
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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#6 Post by m^(2) » Fri May 06, 2011 12:17 pm

Well, as far as I can see, because of what you need to operate it, it doesn't beat a netbook in any of these fields (except possibly for privacy... I don't understand what do you mean here), at least unless it's going to be used as a server.
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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#7 Post by webfork » Fri May 06, 2011 1:13 pm

m^(2) wrote:Well, as far as I can see, because of what you need to operate it, it doesn't beat a netbook in any of these fields
I will volunteer that in terms of overall simplicity, a netbook is superior. However, if price is an issue the simplicity isn't going to mean much. Netbooks are cheap but not exactly disposable; when the keyboard or monitor breaks, its time to get a new device. Portable screens along with a portable keyboard would mean you could swap out parts easily and cheaply. That means less landfill waste as well as total cost.
m^(2) wrote:except possibly for privacy... I don't understand what do you mean here.
If you're in a country that's prone to that kind of thing, you can cheaply mail your computer to yourself to avoid your stuff getting detained at the airport. Installing a keylogger on something of this size in anything but a software format would be a joke. If you think your security might be compromised, you can easily throw it away and get another one and -- if necessary -- destroy your data to quickly and reliably to avoid recovery.
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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#8 Post by -.- » Fri May 06, 2011 8:21 pm

most cell phones are basically mini computers now :S

I can surf web, it has hdmi output so I can connect to tv/monitor and show what's on phone/ has a slideout keyboard, and the sd card gives it 32gb storage.
basically a computer if you think about it :D

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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#9 Post by carbonize » Sat May 07, 2011 1:08 am

Well the guy says it will be a cheap computer for schools but he expects these people to have TV's with HDMI input? If you can't afford a computer then odds are you can't afford a TV with HDMI input.

Would I be right in assuming it draws it's power from the HDMI of the TV?

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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#10 Post by freakazoid » Sat May 07, 2011 10:55 am

carbonize wrote:Well the guy says it will be a cheap computer for schools but he expects these people to have TV's with HDMI input? If you can't afford a computer then odds are you can't afford a TV with HDMI input.

Would I be right in assuming it draws it's power from the HDMI of the TV?
I was thinking this as well!
is it stealth? ;)

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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#11 Post by donald » Sun May 08, 2011 5:41 pm

I think some monitors have HDMI input, and thus the savings if any would be in the Box that would not be bought.

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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#12 Post by Hydaral » Mon May 09, 2011 5:00 pm

I think it might be a little difficult to squeeze a CPU, GPU, RAM, North/Southbridge, etc into something the size of a USB stick.

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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#13 Post by m^(2) » Mon May 09, 2011 10:23 pm

Hydaral wrote:I think it might be a little difficult to squeeze a CPU, GPU, RAM, North/Southbridge, etc into something the size of a USB stick.
So now you see you're wrong. It is not only possible, it's done.
And think about cell phones. There are small ones and they need whole lot of other things, battery, screen, antenna, speaker, microphone etc.
Technically, this computer is very very close to a phone.
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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#14 Post by carbonize » Tue May 10, 2011 1:44 am

Not even sure we use North bridges in computers these days. They were only really required when the CPU front bus speed was slow.

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Re: Entire computer on a thumb drive (not just the OS)

#15 Post by m^(2) » Tue May 10, 2011 3:11 am

The main functions of northbridges are built into CPUs nowadays.
Southbridges sometimes too, but mostly in embedded computers.
And so with GPUs...
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