Frznmargarita is our house computer, it watches for people and tells us what the temperature in the space is over IRC. The ARM based Bug Labs device runs Poky Linux and sits on the LAN. I’ve used it as an SSH proxy, and a shell for running my IRC client. It’s about as versatile as any shell server you might have lying around in a datacenter or attached to a desirable subnet. Frznmargarita is fairly small, even by mini-ITX standards, and consumes very little power. With a healthy microSD card, you’ve got an enormous, yet small and unobtrusive world to stow data, serve up web pages, or even interact with the environment. With that in mind, I set out to add a new service: Wiki.
Inspired in part by Aram Bartholl’s Dead Drops project involving USB keys in public spaces, the idea of a tiny, self-contained library of files and knowledge seemed a good fit, although Frznmargarita is not “off-the-grid,” and evolutionary step might involve wrapping a similar ARM system in an outdoor weatherproof enclosure, strapping on a solar panel, and configuring it as a wireless access point – off-grid – to become an “interactive dead drop” where others can get an interactive experience, such as a replicated copy of Wikipedia, or a location-specific Wiki. Perhaps the romantic notion of an old school Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) or community BBS that can only be accessed by visitors to the neighborhood or park where the device is located.
In the meantime, feel free to take a look at our modest, and fragile, little Wiki on a Wall – it’s a proof of concept, so treat it with kid gloves, please. 🙂