Digital Minefield

Why The Machines Are Winning

Clouds and Grasshoppers


Last week’s post tried to shed some light on how much we don’t know about Clouds. It was a revelation for many and a shock for some. Just yesterday, one friend asked, “What’s new?”

So I showed him what I had seen just the day before: the CuBox-i, a two-inch cube PC computer that runs Android and Linux. Starting at $45, you can add all the way up to a keyboard and monitor to get a full desktop computer.

Two things. At 8 cubic inches, this is not the smallest computer out there. Many are not much bigger than a flash drive. Also, this cube is not that new; it’s the second generation of the device.

I’m sure you’re aware of the computers inside your tablets and smart phones. These smaller computers actually began with netbooks (I still have mine). Well, the computers in those devices have become—surprise!—smaller and more powerful.

I was only vaguely aware of this trend and didn’t discover the extent of it until last week. One reason is no one is really sure what to call these little demons. Many say mini PC, but how is a mini PC smaller than the original micro-computer PC?

Some say tiny, because that’s more descriptive. However, without a common label how and where do you go to learn about them? One thing is for sure. You won’t find them in the big box stores.

Computer magazines at newsstands used to be a good source for new technology, both announced and advertised. No more. How many newsstands can you find? How many computer magazines?

Like everything else, it’s all online. If you can find it. (For these newer, littler guys you might try Laptop Magazine.) To help, I’ve decided to call them grasshoppers. Why? Because the first one I saw actually reminded me of a grasshopper. In Florida, I’ve seen them this big. So why not?

The real, more serious question is what are people doing with them? The phrase I keep seeing is “TV Box.” As to exactly what that is, I can only guess. Something to do with streaming media, I suppose.

That capability is the “why” of this post. At 32Gb of storage these grasshoppers will be using the Cloud. Sure you can hang a terabyte of storage on its USB connector but you’re quadrupling its bulk.

The Cloud may be selling storage and remote computing but it’s the perfect source for streaming to millions of grasshoppers. Of course, a virus might organize all these devices to stream at once, sucking The Cloud dry like a plague of locusts.

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