Mike Stone

Mostly The Lonely Howls Of Mike Baying His Ideological Purity At The Moon

The Mycroft Mark II Has Arrived!!!

25 Nov 2022

The long awaited day is finally here! The Mark II has arrived!!

For those who aren’t aware, I was part of the original Mycroft Kickstarter back in back in 2016 where I got my Mark I, and I Kickstarted again in 2018 for the Mark II. I’ve been waiting (mostly) patiently since 2018 for the Mark II to arrive. There have been challenges over the years, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t always confident that it would ever arrive. Thankfully the people at Mycroft didn’t stop their hard work, and in the end it’s paid off.

Of course, a factor completely outside of the control of the people at Mycroft has complicated my situation. It arrived less than 30 minutes before I was supposed to leave to spend the weekend with my wife’s parents for Thanksgiving. How frustrating!! All these years of waiting I really didn’t want to wait until after the weekend to try it out!!

Soooo…. I brought it with me.

Here I am, sitting in a hotel room unboxing my brand new Mycroft Mark II. I’d have done an unboxing video, but personally I find them uninteresting. “Oh look, it has a power brick!”

The setup went mostly smoothly despite the unusual environment. I plugged it in, powered it on, and away it went with the initial run wizard. Like many IoT devices, it creates a hostspot for you to connect to for the configuration. Here’s where I ran into the first complication. I’m pretty sure the people at Mycroft didn’t expect to be connecting to hotel WiFi, so the wizard assumed that there were things present that weren’t, like a password for the access point. I couldn’t get through that and still use the wizard. So, I fired up the hotspot on my phone and wanted to use that. The second downside is that the list of available hotspots doesn’t update after the initial scan, so I had to restart the Mycroft to get the hotspot to show up on the Mycroft. No big deal.

After these initial bumps, everything went perfectly. It took me longer to type all that up than it did to actually do it, and now the Mycroft was up and running on my personal hotspot. I did a couple test queries, and it was absolutely flawless.

Software wise, it was very familiar. I’ve been using Mycroft pretty much constantly on one device or another since the original Kickstarter. The only real difference here is the the Mark II ships with a pared down version of the software called “Dinkum”. While technically Dinkum is less functional than standard Mycroft core, it still has pretty much every feature that the average person is going to use an assistant for. If you’re feeling held back by Dinkum, the back of the device is all the exposed ports and one of those ports is a USB port where the OS boots from a USB key. The Dinkum key can easily be swapped out any other software you want to run on it. At its core, the Mark 2 is a Raspberry Pi 4, and anything that will run on a Pi 4 can run on the Mycroft. The exposed ports make this thing a full computer should you choose to use it that way. When I get home, I fully plan on swapping out the USB device for a spare one and add a keyboard/mouse/monitor just to see how it performs.

If I’m being absolutely honest here, the actual arrival was almost anticlimactic. I plugged it in, did a super fast configuration (even with the weird bumps the hotel room caused), and it was working perfectly. I have another one coming in the spring. I won’t say that this release was “smooth” as it had many bumps along the way, and the final product barely resembles the device that was originally promised in the Kickstarter. Still, now that the device has arrived I’m excited to see what will come from Mycroft AI next.

Day 21 of the #100DaysToOffload Series.

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