An Internet appliance sold as a loss leader by Netpliance that could be hacked into a cheap PC with its own flat panel display. It ran QNX. Originally sold by Circuit City, then later CompUSA; both stores were slashdotted in RL as a result, causing 6-8 week delays to get one - if you ever did.

The saga comes in stages by version of the machine:

v1: the original, no protection except a 44-pin IDE header with its pins wired backwards. Hook up a hard drive and it would boot from it.

v2: the first strike from Netpliance - the BIOS chip was glued down with epoxy (the dreaded 'bios goo'), and the BIOS itself had been modified to refuse to boot from external hard drives. Sometimes pins had been clipped on the IDE header as well, but this apparently was too much work for too little return. Hardware hackers struck back through painstaking manual removal of the epoxy, extraction of the BIOS chip, and reflashing to the original BIOS. (Later, a program was written that allowed the BIOS chip to be reflashed right on the motherboard - no scraping of the bios goo required. And there was much rejoicing.

v3: Netpliance's latest effort - security Torx screws, bios goo, and an inability to reach a QNX root prompt. The built-in tutorial also has a female voice rather than a male one. Absolutely requires removal of the bios goo and reflashing - but then will boot up just like the previous versions.

It is not much of a computer after the hack - the WinChip processor is pretty weak - but the hack is a hell of a lot of fun and the little flat-panel display is uber-cute.

The saga continues...

I-opener specs:
CPU:WINChip C6 180MHz
Memory:32MB Dram (SODIMM)
Storage:16MB Sandisk Flash On Board
Display:10" color lcd 800x600 16bpp / Cyberblade i7 Video
Chip--UMA XF86Config
Sound----Yamaha YMF715 Stereo Speakers
Modem----56k internal modem on Com1
Keyboard-Net KB with built in mouse PS/2
Printer Port--Standard LPT Port
USB--1 Usb Port

Using an I-mod upgrade kit, the I-opener can now be hacked to run many OS's (not at the same time...yet!) including Mandrake Linux, BeOS and Windows 98 as well as it's native QNX, all in glorious 16 bit 800x600.

With minimal cash and a little paitence and a 2.5 HDD upgrade, you can have yourself a slick looking machine so you can impress all your buddies.


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