After a couple of days hacking PirateBox based on MR3020 i’m really happy to give this concept life, but behind the announcements like “share freely for less than 40€ with your neighborhood” the reality differs.
The first main thing is that 40€ is the price, port excluded to get the MR3020 router, then you must add a storage (25€ for 16GB), add a battery if you want to be mobile (50-100€). Which made a big difference as it becomes quite as expensive as a tablet PC where you can install the software and be mobile with higher storage, higher mobility and much more capabilities. So, no magic around this.
Ok, i’ll tell me you can reuse an old external hard drive and not being mobile, just switching it up at home… and you’re right, this is a good capability for a reasonable price. But, once again, you’ll have to deal with the low Wifi power offer by this low cost router. I mean you’ll be able to exchange with your direct neighborhood : the one you cross daily in the stairs. Why not, it sounds good …
That last argument I also would like to share to finish to be a party killer, is about the Hadopi stuff and piracy freedom feeling…. Are you mad guys ? As much as I know, getting address of pirate is not so easy when you are downloading on Internet, even if it has been simplified, you’re one on million and the chance to be kept is small, then you will be identified more as a consumer than a provider. To identify the owner of the PirateBox is is quite easy by triangulation, then you just need to request a judge to get the needed paper to catch a provider..
In my opinion, PirateBox has to be mobile to not being kept or need to not be owned and hosted on public domain and sourced on solar power. (Like the USB Stick embedded in walls, but for more money) Which would be a great and interesting thing but requires investment.
For all these reasons, I love the idea, I like the product in a technological point of view, interesting and easy hack, but I do not consider it as something really ready for mass. It’s hype, it’s geek, not consumers.