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Old 10-14-2021, 06:59 PM   #1
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Talking Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

This was brought to me about a week ago, the Mennonite owner wondering if I could do anything with it........ Hmmmmm....









Ok, wooden box....what could be in this thing..... Maybe a holy hamster running in a wheel, or maybe some abacus beads?

Nope, just a PC..... 5th gen i5, 8gb RAM and a 250gb SSD (the second drive is something I added, just keep reading).



It has some very stripped down version of Linux on it, not even sure what. The developers encrypted all the partitions and there's zero version information anywhere.....all this thing can do is type letters, do spreadsheets, and run some accounting software that I was never able to identify either. Yes, they put a PC in a wooden box, strip down a version of Linux, and call it a "word processor"....I guess that squares it with God in their minds....





The church group that makes these will not even allow them to open any kind of media files; images or videos....apparently they think digital imaging is the devil's instrument....and won't make concessions for church groups that don't agree with that.....which is why it was brought to me....he wanted to see what I could do about 'unlocking' it.....well I couldn't... I cloned the drive and tried every trick I knew to break/remove the encryption....all I succeeded in doing was corrupting the drive.

....so with some creativity, its now a dual boot with Mint 20.2... The owner is savvy enough to work with that, but wanted the original accounting software left as it was, they use it for their business......





I guess they'll have to say a couple extra hail mary's for the blasphemy, but he's very happy with it now.....but it's quite a racket that the church group has that makes these!
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Old 10-15-2021, 04:17 AM   #2
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

cant you id the accounting software from the filetypes it saves or the copywrite / about box?

btw, how the hell does it stay cool with just a small vent?
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Old 10-15-2021, 04:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

Sounds like the config files are locked like Fort Knox! So you couldn't change them to allow mounting and opening of external drives.
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Old 10-15-2021, 07:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topcat View Post
The church group that makes these will not even allow them to open any kind of media files; images or videos....apparently they think digital imaging is the devil's instrument....and won't make concessions for church groups that don't agree with that...
Because of the Anabaptist (Amish, Mennonite, etc.) interpretation of the prohibition on graven images (part of the 10th commandment). They (like Muslims, ironically enough) take "graven images" as absolute and to include all images depicting reality and not a matter of intent of the viewer... Most Christians (to include myself) view this as a "don't worship images or idols as if they are God", not "don't make images". This can be taken in a more conservative way "don't post pictures in church"... on the other end of the spectrum would be Catholics and similar minded churches where their sanctuaries are filled with statutes, murals, and stained glass depictions... Clearly a lot of different opinions out there!
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Old 10-15-2021, 09:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

That's... quite something. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-15-2021, 10:05 AM   #6
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

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Originally Posted by ratdude747 View Post
Because of the Anabaptist (Amish, Mennonite, etc.) interpretation of the prohibition on graven images (part of the 10th commandment). They (like Muslims, ironically enough) take "graven images" as absolute and to include all images depicting reality and not a matter of intent of the viewer... Most Christians (to include myself) view this as a "don't worship images or idols as if they are God", not "don't make images". This can be taken in a more conservative way "don't post pictures in church"... on the other end of the spectrum would be Catholics and similar minded churches where their sanctuaries are filled with statutes, murals, and stained glass depictions... Clearly a lot of different opinions out there!
Thanks for the explanation. Hardcore Amish are still very much 'old school', but a lot of the local Mennonites have stepped into the 21st century; they drive cars, use phones, have electricity, and these silly "word processors".....

Quote:
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cant you id the accounting software from the filetypes it saves or the copywrite / about box?

btw, how the hell does it stay cool with just a small vent?
I thought of that. It opens up a database on some central server somewhere; local apparently. No file types or extensions were ever shown.

I also thought that about the cooling....but it seems to say cool, no gripes or crashes....
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Old 10-15-2021, 10:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

creapping, world processor blow mi mind..
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:35 AM   #8
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

Version 1.0

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article...gadget-culture
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ratdude747 View Post
They (like Muslims, ironically enough) take "graven images" as absolute and to include all images depicting reality and not a matter of intent of the viewer...
The first broad interpretation, one day in June, 2014, IIRC, literally caused me to get depressed for the rest of the day and go back to bed, thinking that I'm going to get sent to hell! Was thinking that I'm going to get sent to hell for YT'ing and the like!
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Old 10-15-2021, 12:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

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Yup, loopholes indeed. I also found out they can use machinery as long as they don't 'own' it. I had a Mennonite crew doing some dirt work for me....they showed up with a dumptruck, D5 cat, skidsteer, and an excavator.... As long as they rent or lease the equipment, it's kosher with God. Any vehicle they use for transport must be black.

Pink unicorn now?! I liked the other one better.
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Old 10-16-2021, 07:17 PM   #11
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Talking Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

I saw the USB plugs on the side. Will it let you save files to these USB sticks? Sadly, I suspect there will be few clues there -- the documents probably have a minimum of formatting codes, like "rich text" (unless the documents are encrypted too).

(Why would the manufacturer encrypt anything? The chance of identity theft, indeed any theft, is pretty low in Amish/Mennonite areas.)

Side note: when Kim Jong-pUNk came up with "computers" and "networking" for the Norks, people examined the word processing files with a hex editor (at least I assumed that's what they used). Each person who modified the document had their name secretly added like some kind of "hidden text" in case they needed to be tracked down and executed for "wrong" thinking.

Thanks for the tour of a very interesting computer. Back in June 2007, my mother and I mother and I were able to tour an Amish schoolhouse northwest of Columbus, Ohio. School was obviously not in session, but the schoolmistress was there.

I noticed the printer (some model I had never seen before), and probably commented about it. She referred to it as a "laser", but it could not have been a laser. It was powered by a car battery. Batteries, of course, cannot handle the 1000-watt surge when a laser begins operation. So there are bits of hardware out there that I've never seen before. A whole different world.

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Old 10-17-2021, 12:30 AM   #12
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

Follow-up questions: What motherboard is that? How much RAM does it have? What video chip does it use? That is an Intel stock CPU cooler, correct? What CPU did they use?

Last edited by Hondaman; 10-17-2021 at 12:34 AM..
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Old 10-17-2021, 02:34 AM   #13
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

Okay, I found the perfect photo. Mount Hope, Ohio, at a county auction. Shot with my Canon S3IS. I love the "tot spot" chairs for the little ones. Enjoy.
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Old 10-17-2021, 10:55 AM   #14
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondaman View Post
Follow-up questions: What motherboard is that? How much RAM does it have? What video chip does it use? That is an Intel stock CPU cooler, correct? What CPU did they use?
It is a MSI, don't remember the model....i5 CPU, don't remember the model, but it was a 5th gen. 8gb RAM, using the onboard intel HD graphics. Yes stock cooler.

Behind the monitor was a big vent opening & wire channel. It didn't run hot.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:01 AM   #15
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

Looking at the icons tells me that the word processing software is likely based on LibreOffice.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:10 AM   #16
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Looking at the icons tells me that the word processing software is likely based on LibreOffice.
It is.
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Old 10-22-2021, 03:58 PM   #17
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

Here's a couple pics of the accounting software, that the company that built this 'computer' put their name on....which I'm sure is something open source that they've rebadged. Anyone recognize it?



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Old 11-11-2021, 12:55 PM   #18
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

Like once a year they let their kids/young adults have a party day. Rom spring er . Probably not spelled right. Anyway they get to drink ,party, use modern electronics, ect. Decide witch life they want.
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Old 11-11-2021, 12:58 PM   #19
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondaman View Post
... It was powered by a car battery. Batteries, of course, cannot handle the 1000-watt surge when a laser begins operation.
1000W is not a problem for car batteries...
Car starters use 100+ amps. They are 12V. 1200W right there when you're starting your car!

Car starter batteries are known for there specific power - they can dump lots of power fast for relatively small volume. Specific weight and specific energy...now these they kind of lack on compared to Li-ion.
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Old 11-11-2021, 05:06 PM   #20
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Default Re: Amish Computer - No, this is not a joke!

Quote:
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Here's a couple pics of the accounting software, that the company that built this 'computer' put their name on....which I'm sure is something open source that they've rebadged. Anyone recognize it?
I did find this about the company listed on the screen: https://www.dnb.com/business-directo...d2f1dbde6.html
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Company Description: Conservative Technology Services Inc is located in East Earl, PA, United States and is part of the Computer Systems Design and Related Services Industry. Conservative Technology Services Inc has 4 total employees across all of its locations
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