[Durham] Dream Plug

Richard Mortimer richm at oldelvet.org.uk
Fri Nov 11 13:29:47 UTC 2011


On 11/11/2011 12:27, Andrew Glass wrote:
> Hello everyone!
> Has anyone got or used one of these before??
> http://newit.co.uk/shop/proddetail.php?prod=Deb_DreamPlug
> Really fancy getting one to run as my router/firewall and wireless ap with dns/squid etc
> Best get saving up for one as they are £115

I don't have one but I must admit that my experiences with Globalscale 
aren't exactly great. I do have a GuruPlug (the previous model before 
DreamPlug) and it has/had a number of flaws. Maybe these have been fixed 
with the DreamPlug but I'll list them and let you make up your own mind.

- First off check out the NewIT forums they often have good information 
and you will likely get a feel for problems people are having.

Guru Plug Notes

- The hardware delivered 6 months+ late. I had made the mistake of 
pre-ordering (I did have the option of cancelling from NewIT - so no 
complaints about NewIT) and it turns out that Globalscale had big 
problems with their engineering.

- In the end they fixed their cooling issues on the "silent" computer by 
building a hovercraft into it. Not exactly great.

- Globalscale give 30 days warranty on the device. If you look on their 
site you'll find that they claim that they are development boards and 
not end user boards. I'm not sure how that translates to NewIT because 
they are selling in the UK and are hence subject to consumer laws here. 
But basically the manufacturer doesn't expect it to last more than 30 days.

- uboot was incomplete at best. The supplied uboot image didn't support 
booting from much of the onboard hardware. To my knowledge GS haven't 
released an updated version and the suggested advice seems to be patch 
uboot yourself.

- jtag - you'll likely need access to a board if you mess up uboot 
upgrade. it also is the way that you get at serial console connections 
so install may be difficult without it.

- jtag - when I have had to use this I find it take about 20 attempts 
(over an hour) to reflash uboot via jtag. I've done a lot of work in the 
past with low level bios/firmware so I'm no numpty doing this. The 
hardware just seems to have rubbish poweron sequencing etc.

- wifi - beware of binary blob modules. The guruplug uses the libertas 
driver but you have to find magic modules and you need different blobs 
to use it as an access point or as a client. From memory a reboot is 
required to change blobs too. This might be better with newer kernels 
but with wheezy it certainly wasn't great.

DreamPlug may be different but personally I will think very carefully 
before buying another Globalscale product.



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