We'd just like to wish you a very happy holiday season, and thank you for your support during 2007.
This is our last news before we break for Christmas, and you won't hear from us again until the end of February. (Unless of course something spectacular happens in the meantime, and we just can't wait that long to tell you about it.)
So until then, have a great break, and we look forward to seeing you in 2008.
In other news...
It's official! We're completely out of WRAP 1-2's. If we find any lurking in shadowy corners, we'll let you know, but in the meantime, it looks like you'll have to try the new ALIX 2-3. And as soon as monowall and pfSense fully support these boards, we'll be singing about it from the rooftops, or at the very least in our news. Can't wait for that one...
We can still only offer you OpenBSD 4.2 or Voyage Linux 0.4.1 on the ALIX boxes. m0n0wall's current beta has preliminary support for the ALIX boards, and pfSense does not support them at all yet. We'll keep you posted.
SanDisk have very helpfully discontinued their entire range of standard CF cards. The good news is that the Ultra II cards are now the same price as the standard CF cards, so this month we're offering the 2GB Ultra II and 4GB Ultra II cards.
We're also getting low on 128MB Compact Flash cards. The good news is that we've managed to source some 256MB cards which we'll offer once all the 128MB cards are gone.
We're down to our very last WRAP 1-2 boards. They might just last until Christmas at this rate.
We've also run out of 50cm N-male to N-male pigtails and given how many of them we were('nt) selling, we've decided not to get any more.
OpenBSD images updated
OpenBSD v4.2 has been released and our CF card images have been updated. Visit our OS images page to download them or add one to your next order.
Know anyone who wants a job?
We're currently looking to fill the newly-created position of Storeperson (IT) in our business.
There's an overview of the job on our new jobs page, so if you know anyone who might be suitable/interested, we'd really appreciate it if you'd tell them about it.
Christmas & New Years information
To help you plan ahead, here are the important dates for our end-of-year period:
Thursday, 20 Dec, 1:00PM - The absolute latest you'll need to place (and pay for) your order by, if you want it to arrive before Christmas.
You'll need to order even earlier if you're outside of the Express Post area (ask us if you're not sure), or if it's a large order. Of course we'll happily process your last minute order, but we just can't guarantee it'll arrive in time. So get in early, OK?
Friday 21 Dec, 1:00PM - When we close for our Christmas break.
Tuesday 8 Jan, 9:00AM - When we reopen after our Christmas break.
You're more than welcome to place orders via the website during this period, but we won't be answering the phones, shipping orders, or responding to emails until we reopen.
12 November 2007
ALIX 2 & 3 in stock
We finally have stock of the new ALIX 2 and ALIX 3 boards from PC Engines!
We'll be getting stock of the other new ALIX boards in early December.
We have cases for all of the 433MHz ALIX 2-3 and ALIX 3 boards, but we don't yet have cases (standalone or rack mount) for the 500MHz ALIX 2-3 boards. They should be arriving shortly.
Please note, because these boards are new, they are not yet fully supported by all operating systems. So far, we can offer you OpenBSD 4.2 or Voyage Linux 0.4.0 on these boxes. m0n0wall has preliminary support for the ALIX boards, and pfSense is not yet supported. We'll let you know as soon as they are.
We've added a new operating system to our image collection - iMedia Linux from iTuner.
With a distribution designed specifically for the ALIX series of boards, iMedia Linux can be used to create thin client computing appliances such as interactive set-top boxes, personal internet access and other embedded applications.
Visit our OS images page to download it or add one to your next ALIX 1 order.
Zeroshell worth a look
There's a relatively new Linux distribution called Zeroshell that looks promising because it supports VPN bonding for improved throughput and redundancy with multiple ADSL connections. Read all about it at www.zeroshell.net.
ALIX 2 & 3 update
PC Engines are now producing initial samples of their new ALIX 2 and ALIX 3 boards. Full production of the ALIX 2 and 3 boards is expected around late October. Check out our ALIX info page for photos of the boards.
The cards are low profile PCI boards, making them ideal for compact embedded systems and rack mount servers.
Use them to create multiple, simultaneous internet and/or LAN connections to ensure internet continuity, or segment your network for increased LAN security.
You'll find them on our new 'cards' page in the shop, and as options on the net5501. They also suit the net4801, and we're currently working on a backplane for our Yawarra blue and Yawarra black net4801 cases.
This one's ideal for the ALIX 1 board because it has an internal plug diameter of 2.5mm, instead of the 2.1mm plug on our 12V 1.5A and 18V 1A regulated power supplies. It also offers 30W of power for applications that draw that extra bit of power.
We're all out of 64MB Biwin Compact Flash cards, so now you can get a SanDisk 64MB card instead. And for the same price too! Cool, huh?
We've renamed our 'net4801' sections of our shop to 'net', to allow for the long-awaited introduction of the net5501. Same old section, boring new name, exciting new products!
We've also decided to drop our WRAP 1-1 boards by $20, to try and make our WRAP 1-2's last longer. So if you don't really need those three ports, why not consider buying a WRAP 1-1 instead?
And if you do really need a WRAP 1-2, how about buying it with one of our less popular case colours? You can save $10 when you choose an orange, yellow, white or green case, and $20 when you choose "any old colour".
Voyage images updated
Our Voyage Linux CF card images have been updated to version 0.4.1, and we've also added Voyage and pfSense images for the net5501 and ALIX 1.
Visit our OS images page to download them or add one to your next order.
ALIX 1 standalone cases coming soon
We've designed our standalone case for the ALIX 1 and they're currently being manufactured. They should be available next month.
We do still have 64MB RAM WRAP 2 boards though, so if you need more WRAP 2 boxes (and you can't wait for the ALIX 3), you might just have to settle for the 64MB memory option.
Product information pages reorganised
To allow for our current (and future) new ALIX and net5501 products, we've reorganised our product information pages. There's now an introductory page for each series of computers, individual pages for different products within each series and a comparison table for the products in a range.
We've also developed a new detailed comparison chart that compares features across our entire range of small form factor computers. It's too big to fit on a web page, so you can download it as a pdf instead.
26 July 2007
ALIX 1 is here
The new Mini ITX board from PC Engines
Introducing the ALIX 1 board, the first in the new ALIX series of small form factor PC motherboards from PC Engines.
With a 500 MHz AMD Geode LX CPU and 256 MB of RAM, the ALIX 1 continues the tradition from PC Engines of small form factor, fanless boards for embedded applications.
Unlike the WRAPs, the ALIX 1 has two USB ports and two USB headers, as well as support for a monitor, keyboard and mouse, and sound, making it ideal for use as a thin client or as a kiosk PC.
And at 170cm square, the Mini ITX form-factor ALIX 1 is only slightly larger than our WRAP 1 and net4801 boards.
At this stage, we only have boards available, but we're working on rack mount and standalone cases.
So if you have a lonely net4801 board lying around, give it a new lease of life with one of our groovy net4801 cases.
We've rejigged our online shop groupings to allow for the new ALIX and net5501 boards (coming very soon).
So now you'll find our boxes, rack mounted units and boards under either 'WRAP', 'net4801', 'ALIX' or 'Eber' headings on their respective shop pages.
Our compliance testing on the net5501 is complete. The good news is that it passed - yippee! The bad news is that we haven't managed to get our hands on any stock - yet. We'll let you know as soon as we do.
We also certified the LAN1621 and LAN1641 PCI multiport ethernet adapters while we were at it, so we'll shortly be offering them for sale as well.
WRAP 2 boards running low
Our stock of WRAP 2 boards is running low and at this stage we're due to run out sometime in September.
We hope to have the ALIX 3 replacement on hand by then, but we'll just have to wait and see, won't we?
And the WRAP 1 replacements, the ALIX 2 boards, are also expected around the same time as the ALIX 3.
We've made our Yawarra black case, with two serial ports, the default for the net4801 box. So the list price is now $495, but you can still choose the Soekris green or Yawarra blue case from the product options, the same as before.
We've also decided to discontinue our silver WRAP 1 cases, so hopefully you silver case fans out there (wherever you are) can find another colour from our rainbow of choice that will satisfy.
net5501 coming soon
The net5501 will be coming soon, we promise! With 4 network ports, a faster processor (433 or 500MHz) and more memory (256 or 512MB), this one will be worth waiting for.
We're currently having compliance testing done on it, and hope to have something for you by August. We'll initially offer the net5501 in the standard Soekris green case, as well as in our groovy dual rack mount case.
24 May 2007
Using OpenBSD and a WRAP 1-2 for a firewall, router and VPN
Our featured case study this month is from Joel Sing, of Ionix Technology in Bendigo, Victoria.
We're currently developing a cut-down case for the net4801, with space for a hard drive and SMA punchouts to suit a pigtail and antenna, but only one serial port and no space for a PCI card.
The case will initially be available in red and black.
With a USB port and your choice of 128 or 256MB of RAM, the net4801 lite will be a great little box!
In other news...
All of our WRAP 1-2 cases now come with SMA punchouts. So we've added 'pigtail' and 'antenna' as options to the WRAP 1-2 box, to make it easy for you to add them to your next WRAP 1-2 bundle.
You can now choose between 64MB and 128MB of RAM for your WRAP 2 Outdoor or WRAP 2 Indoor box. Just select one of the 'memory' options and save up to $20.
We've dropped the price on our 64MB WRAP 2 board to $180. So if you don't need extra memory, don't spend extra money!
OpenBSD v4.1 has been released and our CF card images have been updated. Visit our OS images page to download them or add one to your next order.
Express Post limit raised
We've found Express Post to be very reliable and fast, so we've raised our limit for shipping by Express Post from $2000 to $3000. Only bulky orders or orders over $3000 will be shipped by courier from now on.
26 April 2007
SOHO m0n0wall firewall
Building a home business firewall using a WRAP 1-1 and m0n0wall
Our featured case study this month is from Steve Forkin, of Forkin Consulting in Coffs Harbour, NSW.
Our SanDisk CF cards have all come down by $5 this month. Now you can pick up a 1GB card for just $40! It's insane!!
Soekris are now producing initial samples of their new net5501, with shipment expected in mid May. Full production of the net5501 is expected around late June. We'll keep you posted.
You can read more about the new net5501 board on the Soekris website.
m0n0wall and Voyage updates
Our monowall and Voyage images have been updated to v1.231 and v0.3.1 respectively. Visit our OS images page to download them or add one to your next order.
We've had a number of reports of pfSense becoming corrupted during use.
We're trying to track down the problem, and so far it seems to be related to the CF card being mounted read/write during boot-up. Until we've found a viable solution, if this happens to you, your only recourse is to reinstall the pfSense image.
So we strongly recommend that you use the 'backup/restore' feature (under 'Diagnostics' in the menu) every time you update your pfSense configuration, to save you much heartache down the track.
22 March 2007
WRAP-based PBX system
RMS uses a WRAP 1-2 and a WRAP 2 Indoor for a cost effective and powerful PBX system
Our featured case study this month is from RMS, a provider of resource and reservation management software, and QuickSwitch, a provider of flexible and affordable PABX solutions.
RMS replaced their old Commander PBX system with a powerful and affordable PBX system using Asterisk Linux and our WRAP boxes. At the same time, they extended their phone system to their interstate and overseas offices and avoided the cost and complexity of traditional PBX systems.
Due to popular demand, we're now offering the net4801-60 board from Soekris. This board is identical to our current net4801 board, except that it comes with 256MB of RAM onboard, instead of 128MB. (And it costs more.)
So you can either buy the board on its own, or choose 256MB of memory in the options when you order your next dual rackmount net4801 or net4801 box.
We don't know about you, but we found our 'related products' section in the product pop-ups less than helpful at times.
So we've split it into:
'Similar products' - products you might want to buy instead of the current one AND
'Related products' - products you might want to buy to go with the current one
Hopefully you'll find this more useful when trying to figure out what goes with what, and which product suits you best.
As always, please let us know if you have any other suggestions on how we can make our website even better.
new Soekris board coming - the net5501
Soekris are currently developing a new board for their range - the net5501.
This new board will have a 500MHz processor, four 10/100 Mbit ethernet ports, up to 1 Gbyte DDR-SDRAM main memory and a Compact Flash slot. It will also have capacity for one miniPCI card, a hard drive and one or two low-power PCI cards.
We can't commit to an availability date until the board's officially released, and then we have to sort out compliance issues and all that muck before we can sell it here in Australia. But we plan to have net5501-based products on offer by the new financial year. We'll keep you posted.
You can read more about the new net5501 on the Soekris website. Can't wait for that one!
22 February 2007
Water, wireless and WRAP
MarinaNet starts using the versatile and robust WRAP Series
Our featured case study this month is from AccessPlus, a provider of high speed Internet access to hotels, motels and other accommodation based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
This is because the AMD Geode SC1100 processor has been discontinued (EOL), and the 266MHz processor is no longer available. Supplies of the 233MHz processor are also limited.
This means that the WRAP and net4801 boards have to be redesigned to accommodate a new processor. News from the manufacturers is that this process is underway, and both the net4801 and the WRAP boards will be replaced with new and improved versions later this year. The new boards will have a new processor, but the same form factor and mechanical features as the old boards (i.e. the sticky-out bits will be in the same place).
We expect minimal disruption to supply as a result of these changes, and we'll keep you posted as news comes to hand about the new WRAP and net4801 boards.
The Bankcard credit card scheme has been discontinued across Australia, and so now our range of accepted credit cards comprises Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diner's Club.
And there's lots of other small changes around the website, including minor changes to our terms and conditions, a new link to our terms on the checkout page, more quotes from happy customers, the addition of product thumbnails to search results, the ability to enter multiple Email CC addresses (comma separated) when you checkout, a 'pay by credit card by phone or fax' payment option, and various tidbits of information scattered around.