Linux Device Roundup
Kangaroo TV (www.kangaroo.tv)
It's official, folks—Linux has gone Joe Sixpack. That's because our beloved OS has infiltrated the world of NASCAR autoracing and other sporting events. Embedded Linux is the horsepower under the hood of Kangaroo TV, a new device available for rental at NASCAR (and soon other) events that gives spectators a more entertaining autoracing experience. The wireless, handheld Kangaroo TV provides racing fans a slew of event information, including ten live MPEG-4 video feeds (replays, highlights and in-car views), 64 AC3 audio feeds (driver-to-pit conversations and commentary) and a plethora of real-time stats.
Jean Arseneau, Kangaroo's CTO, says that his firm chose Linux four years ago for many reasons, including its good fit with the ARM processor, strong customization possibilities, easier standardized device driver development, easier graphic application development with embedded Qt, availability of codec open-source libraries and a small footprint, among others.
Linux also has allowed Kangaroo to offer advanced features, says Arseneau, such as video fluidity and audio quality with low latency and a high level of user customization. The device is upgradeable through the USB port by becoming a mass storage to the PC.
TomTom GO 930 (www.tomtom.com)
TomTom's GO 930 is one of the slicker portable navigation devices (PNDs) running Linux that has caught our experts' attention. Just switch on the GO 930 and get moving, right out of the box, to find any address in the US, Canada or Europe, complete with turn-by-turn spoken instructions. Bill Weinberg raves about the TomTom devices because they offer “a great experience at an aggressive price and have features that I really love”. He touts the community-based points of interest and IQ Routes (explained below), as well as TomTom's humorous approach to in-car navigation. For instance, you can choose John Cleese's voice to guide you, chuckling your way from point A to point B.
Although TomTom is coyest of all about sharing information on its Linux internals, it trumpets the IQ Routes that Weinberg enjoys. These are optimal driving routes that have been gathered by its users, calculated by gathering voluntary, anonymous historical driving data from more than seven million users.
But, the GO 930 isn't the only Linux-driven PND in TomTom's lineup—all of the company's products are and have been since 2004.
Our beloved Linux can do almost anything, including producing real, fresh ice cream in 45 seconds flat! Well, it used to do that anyway. For almost three years, Linux was the OS inside the MooBella Ice Cream System, a device that produces hard-packed ice creams fresh to order. The device also used Firefox and open-source SQL databases. LinuxDevices.com's Henry Kingman interviewed MooBella's VP of Engineering, Jim Baxter, who spoke highly of Linux, saying, “This product has gotten further than I ever imagined, in my wildest dreams.”
Then in early 2008, MooBella switched manufacturers, the new one a Windows-only shop chosen for non-OS-related reasons, said Bob Brooks, MooBella's Director of Marketing. Although we are saddened to see such a neat device move over to the other side, it's a great feeling to know that our favorite OS can help make your favorite ice cream!
Bill Weinberg's Blog: linuxpundit.wordpress.com
Shawn Powers' Video Reviews at LinuxJournal.com: www.linuxjournal.com/video
Shawn Powers' Web Site, The Brain of Shawn: The Thinks I Think: www.brainofshawn.com
Netbooks to Take the Market by Storm: www.deviceguru.com/2008/08/23/netbooks-to-take-the-market-by-storm
What's the Difference between a Netbook and a Nettop?: http://download.intel.com/pressroom/kits/events/idfspr_2008/Netbook-Nettopbriefing.pdf"/>
Rick Lehrbaum's Review of the Roku Netflix Player: www.deviceguru.com/2008/05/20/100-netflix-dvd-downloader-runs-linux
James Gray is Linux Journal Products Editor and a graduate student in environmental sciences and management at Michigan State University. A Linux enthusiast since the mid-1990s, he currently resides in Lansing, Michigan, with his wife and cats.
James Gray is Products Editor for Linux Journal.
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