This box is pretty much an utter piece of crap, but it has a very special place in my heart because it was the first computer I really went at with a soldering iron and I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make it better, or more suitable to a certain task. A process that I find invaluable today.
For awhile, I wanted to make this into an IRC box, for awhile an mp3 car box, for awhile a stereo component etc.
Hell I was even starting to develop my own distro for the damn thing's 16mb sandisk. I came very close to being the maintainer for Midori on this thing (and I suppose I still could).
Anyways, meet and greet IOPENER.
Back in late 1999, I believe, I got this unit and probably almost peed myself from excitement when I thought of all the things I could do with a very cheap, very small x86 computer. It sure was a good way to pick up some Electrical Engineering knowledge along the way.
The Iopener was made by the Texas based company Netpliance to serve as an "internet appliance", a cheap, limited purpose email/web machine for people who either weren't tech savvy enough to work a real computer or too cheap to get one.
At its lowest price, these things originally sold at CompUSA's across the nation for $99USD, the only catch was that you had to sign up for NetPliance's Internet Service at $21 a month. If the purchasers of these units signed up for 2 years or more, the company would have covered its cost of production for these (probably around $400-$450 per unit), and been able to make pure profit.
Instead, they have gone belly up, due to the large number of people buying these and not signing up for the service.
Lets get a closer look at this thing and see what I have done to the poor machine.