A few weekends ago I picked up the looqs Meebox from Novatech. I would link to the looqs site, but as of the time of writing it's currently unavailable because they've not renewed the domain (edit: this is now resolved). TL;DR: The meebox is cheap because it's cheap. Runs an old Linux kernel, given time could probably get your own/other distros running, but I called it a day due to (lack of) hardware performance, the likelihood of not increasing its performance with custom “firmware”, and the fact that the vendor site wasn't available to dismantle a firmware update file at the time.
It's hardly a first, but I did find some of the information out there a bit spread out. So, just incase I need to go through this again, I figured a ‘blog post might be interesting - doubly so as I've not really got anything interesting from work, that I can blog about at the moment! So, a bit of background. The AppleTV (ATV) is basically a dumb x86 PC - Pentium M 1GHz, 256MB of RAM, 40 or 160GB PATA HDD, 1x USB 2, 1x IR receiver, 10/100Mb ethernet, 801.
I've been playing around with CouchDB for a few nights, inspired by the work of Stuart Langridgeand others at Ubuntu, and also J Chris Anderson. To break myself into the CouchDB world I started poking around at the capabilities, and mostly trying to not think of SQL-isms. Understanding map/reduce and getting your brain out of the SQL world is worth it, if for no other reason than to get a different perspective on data storage.
Ok, so maybe not again. After all there's not much you can get that happy about when it comes to filesystems these days - a lot of the really exciting stuff has been done so far. Like Resier[3|4], ZFS is one I'd heard about, did some research on but never considered using at all. The fact that it currently only runs on Solaris or via FUSE under Linux (which in itself can be considered to be a benefit, as the filesystem is recoverable and separate from the kernel - performance supposedly sucks though), had kind of put me off a bit.