Posts Tagged ‘computers’

Netbooks are Great!

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

I’ve said similar things before, but it wasn’t until today that I realized how much I love netbooks. Someone showed a bit of interest, so I threw up a great tirade of excited chatter.

Netbooks are good for nearly everything you do on a computer. If you want to do high-level rendering or leading-edge gaming (by which I mean something made in the last ten years), you can get a desktop system with a powerful CPU for only a few hundred dollars.

If you really need a lot of storage, well, that’s not what a netbook is for. You can very well get a two-terabyte external USB drive, and either lug it around or not. With the netbook itself, 40 GB is plenty (16GB SSD + 16GB SD + 8GB USB Drive).

It has a great keyboard, it has a powerful wireless card, and its—to use Steve Job’s favourite word—magical to tilt and flip in your hands. And for $200? You’re getting more than you paid for, certainly.

A couple things:

  • The battery isn’t perfect. I’ve come to realize that the power cord really holds me down, like an anchor on a boat. It’s also kind of long and gangly, and isn’t a joy to pack up between plug-ins. The battery should last about sixteen hours, in a perfect world; then I could just plug it in at night.
  • I got it at such a low clearance price because the tech is kind of old. The SSD performs a bit worse than a hard-disk drive, which is really saying something. An upgrade would only cost $100, and it’ll be zippy as hell, but I have to find the right offering, first, and get it shipped to me (PATA ZIF SSDs are relatively uncommon, and slower than the newer interfaces). Then I’d have to reinstall Windows.
  • It’s great to have with you, but… no-one has yet thought about how to carry it? I need some sort of Netbook Holster. Backpacks are unwieldy, and I want both hands free. My custom-made extra-pocket is kind of crappy, and rips too often to walk around with it like I want to.

Those are minor complaints. SSDs are incredibly young, and I can just upgrade the drive. I can make a better holster within a few days, with the proper materials. I can get an extended battery, which would last six hours, at least, and that number would increase if I installed a power-smart OS.

There are two things the iPad did that seems to completely fly over everyone else’s heads: The battery life is all-day, so there’s no power cord tying you down; and the entire experience is snappy and smooth, due to its speed.
Netbooks could do those things, and then they would be awesome. Plus, you’d be able to use all your Windows executables; that’s something the iPad can’t do.

Netbands? Armbooks?

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Imagine you were in the coffee shop, waiting on a friend. You decide to check your email. You put your coffee down, and press a button on the armband covering your arm from the wrist to the elbow. The screen uncurls from your arm, revealing a keyboard. You press the mail icon, and see a note from your friend that they’re running a bit late.

The technology for this is here, today. It’s possible to find slightly curved screens, despite the popularity of flat screens. The thinnest netbook screens on the market today are so thin you can bend them a considerable amount. By combining the two, you could have a screen that folds over your arm and snaps into place.

However, I can’t see it being manufactured for a few reasons:

  • I’ve never seen rounded or curved motherboards, so existing fabrication methods wouldn’t be adequate.
  • Big armband things are gaudy. There’s no way we could convince everyone it’s a trendy thing to wear.
  • The screen would have to be well protected. Arms get bumped by things all day, and something worn on the body will be crushed without thinking about it.
  • There’s no way to make it two-handed, so it’ll be a one-handed device only. That’ll make it hard for people to type on for any length of time.

Old Selectors and New computers

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Is it wrong that I see the following

*:first-child+html p {font-size: 5em; }

And burst into laughter? I swear, I laugh every time I see it.


Early prototypes
At least three prototypes were unveiled for Android at the Mobile World Congress on 12 February 2008. One prototype at the ARM booth displayed several basic Google applications. A ‘d-pad’ controls zooming of items in the dock with a relatively quick response.[citation needed]
A prototype at the Google IO conference on May 28, 2008 had a 528 MHz Qualcomm processor and a Synaptics capacitive touchscreen and used the UMTS cellular standard. It had a 128 MB of RAM and 256 MB of flash.[citation needed]

I’m sure you know where I got the quote from. But take a look at those numbers: 528MHz? 128MB RAM? That’s as good as or better than computers ten years ago. I think the screens are getting to be VGA, now, too.
So there you go. I’d love to take one of those things back in time and casually pull it out as geeks are gushing about their latest-and-greatest 400MHz processors.

Oh, and another thing? Chrome has beaten out Opera in market share, and it’s only a few months old.