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World's Smallet Web Server 
Author:   iran_courier <>
Date:   1999/02/24
Forum:   soc.culture.iranian
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(BBC Online -


Surfing on a matchbox

The smallest web server yet has been built and is now running a website.
It is one tenth the size of a Palm Pilot and dwarfed by a typical desktop
computer, which is 3,000 times larger.

The matchbox-sized server was built from standard components by Professor
Vaughan Pratt, a computer scientist at Stanford University, California.

"It's basically a powerful little computer and we could have set it up for a
number of different uses," he said. "But, because most people think of servers
as mysterious boxes, located in dark basements, I thought making it into a web
server was particularly dramatic."

Computer clothes

The new Stanford web server is one of the first projects from a new Wearables
Laboratory that Professor Pratt has started to develop computers that can be
incorporated in clothing.

"Put this computer into your shirt pocket, hook it to a wireless modem, and
you could carry it around with you," Professor Pratt says.

The tiny computer's vital statistics are:

6.9 x 4.3 x 0.6 cm in size
AMD 486-SX computer,
66 MHz CPU
16 MB flash ROM
partial version of RedHat 5.2 Linux operating system
2 watts from a 5V power supply at 100% CPU usage

Professor Pratt believes the biggest obstacle to a truly wearable computer is
the lack of an easy, compact way of inputting data. Professor Pratt and
doctoral student Greg Defouw are now working on a special glove that can
recognize a digital sign language, called Thumbcode.

The talking type

Future versions of the matchbox computer should be powerful enough to run
voice recognition software, he says.

The Wearables group is already working on a more powerful server, combining a
credit-card-size Pentium motherboard with a new 340 MB hard drive from IBM
that is a fraction of an inch thick and less than five centimetres on a side.

The previous world's smallest web server was a custom computer from Phar Lap
Software, more than 10 times the size of the new one. The Phar Lap server
provides up-to-date local weather data for Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Its purpose is to show how "embedded systems" can connect to the World Wide
Web. Embedded systems are computers fitted in devices ranging from
refrigerators to lifts to medical instruments.

( **what's the big deal - it is just a card with a processor and some memory -
no hard drive, no monitor...of course it'll be small! I could have built it in
my basement.)

Provided Courtesy of
The Iran Courier News

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