Burner Computers – and the meek shall inherit the electrons

I wanted to write these words a week ago, because the thought occurred to me then.  But, today I read the news of the latest 5$ Raspberry Pi Zero.  Of course, the world of computing has been on pause much of this past year waiting for the $9 Computer by Next Thing Co.  Of course, the Spark Photon has been making hay over the past year, and has the added benefit of integrated wifi.  Speaking of which, the ESP8266 really got things moving over the past year, because $3!  But, that’s for a fairly tiny micro controller, main benefit being integrated wifi.

So, how does this relate to burner computers?  Well, you know, in the movies, and more so on television crime serials, people are always picking up burner phones.  You know, the kind where you walk into a local convenience store, and seemingly pick a phone off the rack for about $30, make a few clandestine calls, and then throw it in the trash, or crush it convincingly under foot, or throw it deceivingly out the moving car window, or drop it into the pocket of a passerby to throw the trackers off your scent…  You know “burner phones”.  They are so appealing because they’re so cheap, and they provide such anonymous activity.

I feel computers are reaching the same level of ubiquity and cost structure.  As an example, last week I took possession of a laser cutter.  With the cutter there were two things.  A DVD, which contained software drivers, and a USB stick which contained who knows what.  Now, in days of old, I would have stuck that DVD into my Windows machine, seen what was on it, and probably unknowingly installed some sort of root kit.  Same with the USB thing.  Especially after reading about the USB Driveby, I realize there is no way to safely stick anything into your computer without coming away with some sort of disease.  Even worse if you connect anything to the internet, but what ja gonna do?

Well, with a fully functional computer at $5, you can simply plug that foreign media in, browse around, use some forensic tools on it, and when you’re done, or you’ve perhaps done this a few times, throw the computer away!  Yep, that’s right.  It’s served its purpose, that of being a prophylactic against diseases which might otherwise infect various other of your more important computing systems around the home and office.

So, at $5, or $9, or $3, or whatever the very low price is for ‘robust enough’ computing, the Compaticles have arrived!  They will become ubiquitous, low power consumer, all encompassing, and they will inherit the computing landscape.

Now, all they all need is a Lua core, and we’re all set.

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