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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A thought...

"Change without direction is like throwing pin, holding grenade."


Thursday, January 24, 2008

inCONTRAST... The Desktop Replacement

HP Pavilion HDX Entertainment Notebook PC - This is NOT a small or lightweight laptop, this a geek's most improper thoughts incarnate as a laptop. And it's elegant!
The HP Pavilion HDX Entertainment Notebook PC
Now, the killer, the price, while it starts at $1999.99 range, they "recommend" a configuration valued at... $3,645.97!

Dear Santa, I know it's early, but...

Stay Safe Online...

While some points might be obvious this is a heads up on being safe on-line.

The BUG... An interesting idea...

... but how can we use it.

As it has been compared to LEGO (Mega blocks for us Canadians) by CNET, this device begs the exploration of purpose and intent.

Frankly, the device caught my eye for the idea of a flexible, take/use what you need device, but I'm not sure what to do with it yet. Have a look, maybe it's right for your next project.

Bug Labs: Products: "BUG is a collection of easy-to-use electronic modules that snap together to build any gadget you can imagine."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Everex - The Alternative PC

Everex, a company whose name has been around since I was first building PCs, has made a comeback in recent years, and this little creation is just the thing to make them a common name. The Cloudbook, this cloudbook, will be available starting Friday (January 25th, 2008, er, February 15th... er, sometime this year maybe*) at ZaReason.com (a Linux system builder) and WAL-MARTs (yes, really) across North America. This lightweight wonder is the new competition to ASUS's Eee PC, a wonder in itself.

While this new entry into this MID notebook market is a wonder for availability, the price is what may distract those, including myself, from the high-end Eee PC. Both systems use a variation on Linux and are designed with ease-of-use and accommodation of needs for their user, the trade off being in disk size versus disk technology.

Comparable in many ways the use of Solid State technology affords the Eee PC user a comfortable 2-8 gigabytes (Gb) of disk space, while this new Cloudbook offers 30 Gb in a more commonly used hard disk. The trade-off is coolness alone it seems.

There are other notable differences, the Eee PC has a VGA monitor connector and SD Reader, while the Everex entry has a DVI (Digital Video) connector (allowing a better video image, but necessitating you remember the converter for use with a typical VGA monitor) and a 4-in-1 Media Reader (ie. more than simply SD Cards). I have no details on whether you can upgrade the RAM in a Cloudbook, potentially leaving you at a respectable 512Mb of RAM, while this compares well to the Eee PC 2G-4G Surf models, the 4G (non-Surf) allows for an upgrade to 1-2Gb through memory replacement.

The new Everex - The Alternative PC: "Think CloudBook Experience the Ultimate in Mobility"

9 Inches, 2 pounds, 5 hours of battery life. Surf, email, blog, IM, Skype, compute. Cloud computing makes it simple and easy for everyone.

Keep your shorts on... this might be a winner. Though... Acer is reportedly entering this race too.

I am thinking that this may be the type of device that will revolutionalize the road-warrior's toolkit. There's nothing, really, these devices can't do for the business and the software licensing is significantly cheaper than the Microsoft Windows model (at present). Microsoft's Windows CE was presenting to this manner of platform a few years ago but with restrictions on functionality and viability for the mobile user, the CE OS has been relegated to the advanced cell-phone market as PDA's are almost impossible to find. I'm not a fan of these devices for cost and would sooner see my money in an Eee PC or this new Cloudbook than another high-end cell-phone.

While my attention has shifted to this new device, my time-line to purchase is 4-5 months out so I have an opportunity to see all of the players, ASUS has done a wonderful job with delivering their product to market, let's sit back and watch as the early adopters fight and finesse this new tool for the well-connected. At $399 for a completely capable traveller tool, I'm pleased so far.

* UPDATED Dates... This spooks me and while there are some advantages, I'm favouring the ASUS as an AVAILABLE product. That said, apparently ASUS is taking the Eee PC branding and diluting it with new formats, but we'll see what they turn out.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The OLPC... Imperfect, but enough.

It seems that NickNeg has done a decent job of creating a tool for education. The durability, portability, and design of the OLPC is suitable and conducive to learning how to use a PC and, with some force for those of us using WPA on our routers, even enjoy wireless connectivity in both a peer and access-point modes. I'm a little mystified as to where all of the Mesh connections are that the system finds, but it seems promising.

As mentioned, I had some difficulty getting the micro-laptop to utilize my netgear router, it's lack of understanding of WPA was trivially annoying, though not a long term concern for me as this is a loaner.

Upgrading the OS to build 653 was simple for a technical person, the OLPC support website/wiki was clear and the unit's USB capabilities were essential. The keyboard is a little odd, but reliable as a membraine keyboard normally is. The sound reasonable and the installation of Flash 9.0.115 also a fairly technical though well documented process.

To open the thing, you need to flip up the "ears" then lift the lid. The use of the unit as a tablet is odd, with no obvious pointer control.

All around a poor laptop for general use, it will make the grade with a child and is a valid and affordable tool for those who do not have alternatives. My daughters and myself are following the news on the rumours of the new sub-notebook from Acer, and have a keen interest in the Asus EEE PC, which is a far more capable and useful PC for an older child in the NorthAmerican market.
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

May I Scream?

I enjoy a challenge, though they have become rare these last few weeks, unless you consider that wading through files replacing several routines with a new one aimed at simplifying both functionality and testing is not a challenge of the mind, but of my fortitude for the dull and uninteresting. So, I proceed.

The need for the scream is due to a project that is going nowhere, changes need to be made, and frankly no one in the business wants to work together or take responsibility. This is frustrating. I cannot take control, it is not my role or can I assume it to be. I also recognise that I tend to look to resolve the problems not allowing my work to be sub-prime or problematic, this is counter-productive in this instance as teh project is supposed to be going away.

The tool itself is a frightful mess I had inherited. I look forward to its demise and must I resign to the many trivial updates and uninteresting changes. I have commenced that work for the moment while I employ a Project Manager to get some level of commitment and interest generated.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Are you an XBOX LIVE Arcade fan?

Well, I hope you have the XBOX you want and were not planning an upgrade to an XBOX with HDMI or even thinking out-of-warranty replacement.

It seems that the geniuses at Microsoft have created a rather unfortunate manner to ensure people can't take it with them when they upgrade their hardware to take advantage of HDMI. I'm learning the hard way that while you hoped for a better over-all path to better picture and (in my case) bigger drive, you're sadly mistaken because the licensing for all of those, wonderfully affordable family-friendly games in the XBOX Live Arcade will not be playable when not logged into XBOX LIVE without creating a new silver account and re-buying the games. Yes RE-PURCHASING EACH GAME.

I acknowledge that very few of use bought our XBOX for the games offered by XBOX Live Arcade, but there are some fairly cool and mindless games there that help keep the family game nights interesting.

The problem, it seems, is that if you have your console repaired (such as due to a Red Ring of Death) you're reportedly safe, but if you re-invested in the replacement or upgrade because you're a dedicated supporter of the platform, you're S[imply] Out of Luck.

If you're a die hard online gamer and you've been spending more time off line than online because of the recent XBOX LIVE outages, this would mean that your Arcade purchases might be all you want to play, but should you decide to upgrade, you're simply going to be stuck with the Trial version of any of those games.

Microsoft, I presume, is more interested in selling you the over-priced 120Gb hard disk for $210, and leaving you with something less than HDMI, but should you have reached the end of the warranty periods (1 year, or 3 years for the RRoD), you'll be at a loss. I went all out when my XBOX 360 Premium had it's RRoD, I purchased an XBOX 360 ELITE. Now, I'm stuck with the understanding that to allow my daughters to play games I've already purchased once, I will need to go get a new Microsoft Points card and on a NEW account, not my current one, re-purchase each bit of content I would like to access off line.

Now, this isn't a design flaw, Microsoft has the capacity to change which console is licensed for these games, they simply won't. Should you have had a hardware failure and the console is replaced, the license is reportedly migrated. You might think that ordering the Data Migration Kit would help, it will not, I tried that too.

So, before you buy from the arcade, make sure you are absolutely happy with your current XBOX360. Otherwise consider the cost of the re-purchase a hidden cost to the upgrade. And they wonder why people try to hack their console with bigger drives? It'll be a few days before I'm able to let this go and play a game on my console. I wonder if this affects watching my downloaded Red vs. Blue content while XBOX LIVE is down?

UPDATE: It does not affect my Video Content.

NEW: Video!