Sunday, 6 March 2016

A perfect mini PC?


I’ve found what could be considered the perfect dongle or mini PC.  PQ Labs have just released a new series of iSticks known as the A300 series.  The best is the A350-SSD.  It is the usual RK3188 dongle running Android but it also has an ethernet port, internal msata, a built-in cooling fan and it is only slightly bigger than a typical dongle.  I’ve installed a 250GB msata drive and initially I ran an Owncloud server through a Linux 'chroot'.  Here are some pictures to show how it looks from the outside and inside, how it compares size-wise to an RKM MK802IV and some screenshots.







Next I got Linux running on my iStick A350-SSD minipc complete with working fan and a SSD. I extended my multiboot software to allow booting from either the SSD, a USB, the SSD card or from NAND, plus the ability to change the default boot option.


Realistically I'm not using so many boot options as I'm running an Ubuntu Server 14.04 from the SSD with only a CLI but I also have Ubuntu 12.04 (desktop with Unity) installed on NAND if I need GUI based applications.

If you want to install this on your iStick A350-SSD then download and unzip https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B99O3A0dDe67M3QtdlBwRTZ4ejA and
flash as update.img using either Linux or Windows.

The Ubuntu Server 14.04 RFS can be download and unzipped from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B99O3A0dDe67SzJPSXNwc3p6eUk which
also includes my A350-SSD kernel's library modules.


Now that I have a small and reasonably powerful little server in the A350-SSD minipc, I thought I'd see just how portable it could be. Having installed Minecraft, I took my minipc, Chromebook, a battery pack and my mobile phone on a road trip.  The battery pack powered the minipc and I used the hotspot functionality on my phone to create an ad-hoc network for my Chromebook and minipc. I then started 'crouton' on my Chromebook to give me an Ubuntu 14.04 desktop so I could use 'ssh' to connect to my minipc to start the Minecraft server. Then it was just a case of running the minecraft java client and connecting to my minecraft server.

It was so successful I've made my first video ... I've even thrown in the kitchen sink!

video

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