Technology

Little Printer Lives!

Back in late 2014, I bought a Little Printer on the cheap.  I’d always wanted one – it was cheerful and tactile and whimsical in a moment when most tech… wasn’t. Skeuomorphism was on the skids, back then; ‘flat’ and faceless experiences like iOS7 and Metro ascendant.

I got a steal on Little Printer because the product was already end-of-life’d.  Berg, the tiny UK firm producing it, had folded a couple months prior, and while a skeleton crew kept Berg’s servers running, my Little (and very-Bergcloud-dependent) Printer was never meant to last.

the longest Little Printer roll ever!

But, boy, did Tam love the thing while it worked.

The flashing light that indicated there was news to print was a big excitement.  She liked the feed from the ‘Little Men’ books.  She particularly adored one feed that dished up Daily Cats.  

For a while, she was obsessed with creating the longest-possible uncut Little Printer feed.  Just because. 

And then, alas, they shut it all down.

I followed along for a bit as one of the founders worked to spin up an open-source version of the Bergcloud servers, but it was fairly gnarly at the start, and frankly, beyond my technical ken.  From an end-user perspective, the old cheer and charm seemed permanently out of reach.

Fast-forward, then, four years, when I stumble across this headline:  Little Printer returns as an open-source messaging device

The article tells the story, but in short, a small UK consultancy re-built the client side of the equation, going so far as to release an iOS app, and most importantly, a fairly straightforward guide on how to get up and running.  A nice little side project for the company portfolio and PR efforts.

It was enough to get me interested.  And to attempt late-night open-heart surgery on the circuit board inside Little Printer’s bridge, using a USB-to-TTL cable, old-school SSH, and some very careful copy-and-pasting of commands in terminal windows.

It worked.

And here we are in 2019, with our Little Friend back in the kitchen.

 

 

Geo metadata, A2B.cc, and Cambridge cats

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