The Next Unit Of Computing

We’re having a new door access system installed at the church (more blog posts on that once I’ve taken it apart).

Meanwhile, though, we need a permanently stationed Windows machine in order to take full advantage of our new system (e.g. being able to view live logs of people accessing the building, being able to connect remotely to make updates and grant/revoke access…)

It really does have to be Windows, so a Raspberry Pi in a cupboard wasn’t going to cut it. But I wanted a small machine that could be hidden away and connected to remotely.

That’s when I remembered NUCs - they haven’t exactly taken the world by storm (probably because it’s way cheaper to drive your digital signage from a Raspberry Pi) but for this type of use-case it seemed like a goer.

I ordered from iCubes, with a fairly modest spec and Windows 11 Pro, and here it is:

iCubes NUC

First impressions? It has built-in WiFi, which wasn’t obvious from the spec sheets (take it as read in this day and age, perhaps…). It doesn’t take power over USB-C, which is a bit of a shame as it would otherwise have looked super neat on my desk with one cable connected during set-up. But doesn’t matter at all for its permanent deployment.

Despite the DVD in the box (for a machine with no DVD drive), it came with Windows pre-installed and just needed an hour or so to bring up to date.

Enabling remote desktop was a breeze, although we’ll be leaving it hidden firmly behind our VPN rather than exposing that directly to the Internet.

The next blog post will hopefully be all about Paxton’s venerable Net2 system and how we’re using it on this machine.