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  • Death of My Kurobox

    Posted on October 4th, 2009 Brian No comments

    After serving faithfully for over three years, and a year-and-a-half after getting a hard drive upgrade, my Kurobox Lulu died this past week.  I suspect a power surge caused a stroke.

    You see, I went to turn on the printer, and it started cursing at me with long beeps and flashing lights.  Google told me that I should try unplugging it, holding down some keys, and then plugging it back in.  Unfortunately, because I didn’t have the plugs labeled, I accidentally unplugged Lulu.  She wouldn’t start up when I turned her back on.

    Connecting the net console to the bootloader, I discovered that it would hang shortly after decompressing the kernel.  Worse, it failed the exact same way when trying to boot into EM mode.  I could poke around on the hard drive, thanks to U-Boot’s features, so I was left to conclude that the motherboard had been fried – probably the memory.  The coincidence with the printer’s death leads me to believe it was a power surge.

    So now I had to decide with what to replace the venerable Lulu.  Despite her minuscule memory and pathetic processor, she had served admirably in several roles, including a Galleon TiVo server, a Samba file server, a print server, a scan server, running a TwitterBot in IRC, and regularly syncing data to Amazon S3.  Though three years had passed, the Kurobox was still selling new for $150, or more if you got their fancy ARM version.  Skeptical that they were still worth that much, I started shopping around.

    So, what can you buy today for the $150 you could spend on a Kurobox?  How about a 1.6 GHz Atom 230 CPU/motherboard combo ($64.99), 2GB of Kingston memory ($35.49), and a Mini ITX Computer Case with 200w Power Supply ($39.99) in which to house it all.  So for the exact same price as the Kuro, you can get a modern, mainstream CPU and a generous quantity of memory.  I was prepared to spend more – not having to deal with the headaches of U-Boot and a PPC Gentoo build would have been worth an extra hundred easy – but at the same price it was just a no-brainer.

    So I ordered it all, and it should all be arriving this week.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get new Lulu on her feet quickly; Hedda and I are both really missing her.