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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief


stick me for my paper

so the origami (aka UMPC) has generated silly amounts of buzz for a few weeks. today they were revealed as small 7-inch tablet PC's that run XP, come stock with wireless ethernet (for the 5-something percent of places in the country with freely useable hotspots) and bluetooth (to tether with your cell phone, and use your disgustingly expensive data plan). for the two hours your battery will last.

i may mock it, but it's something i've wanted since i first started reading William Gibson novels and watching ST:TNG as a kid. everyone wanted one of those pad's that they tossed around like post-it notes, small hand-held mini-computers that are always connected, with no complicated interfaces - simply an intelligent touchscreen. think of the possibilities - unlimited access to information and global communication to friends, family and co-workers everywhere. you clearly don't need to hype this vision to me - i'm your customer, assuming you do this thing right.

my old handspring visor was the first of such devices that i hoped would meet my expectations. while it did have a touchscreen and lots of apps, the networking was flaky, the device was underpowered, and trying to do what i wanted with the Palm OS was like trying to make phone calls with a pad of paper - simply not designed for go-anywhere connectivity. at one time, i did have the wireless module working, VPN'd in to my office, but browsing today's web just doesn't work well on a screen that tiny.

my PSP can do about 50% of what i want - mobile video / audio, podcasts, basic web browsing (assuming you don't want to enter any text, which is awful on there). give me a touchscreen, bluetooth, and make that usb port take a keyboard (without a hack), and we're golden. still obviously missing some functionality, but we're closer.

my ears perked up at the nokia 770. great price point ($360) but a handful of technical shortcomings left it far from perfect (and thusly buyable). sluggish performance, an MMC slot instead of SD, not enough RAM...

i think i agree with most tech bloggers and journalists - while i dream over the concept of a machine like this, i don't think i'm the average consumer. origami machines, for the starting (read: no RAM or disk space) price-point of $600, it doesn't do enough. i see the lack of keyboard as a hinderance, not a benefit, as someone who types a lot and often prefers a CLI. it's not a good enough mobile computing device (in a world of laptops) and it's priced out of the Pocket-PC range. gimme a decently powered machine (1.2-1.5ghz, 1GB RAM, 60GB disk) for $400, and i'm sold. not at $600 - by then i'm starting to think sub-notebook laptop.

and personally, i want my next machine to basically replace my desktop. i don't really work my trusty homebuilt box to death anymore - the most juice i demand from it is during video conversions; otherwise i browse the web, read feeds, mail, chat, and listen to music and watch video. occasionally i'll fire up an emulator or photoshop. that's about it. but the crucial stuff - video conversion, photoshop, etc is what would keep me from using this. i understand it's not meant as a desktop replacement - but for the people they're supposedly targeting (students, on-the-go businesspeople, and non-tech-savvy people), they aren't going to squeeze that much money out of any of them.

i'm still interested in a new laptop to take around with me. renee's got mine now, and in a year or so it'll be starting to fade. so maybe there's a chance one of these will win me over - maybe the performance of the cheapest machine will be worthy.

my dream laptop? we saw a vaio at the sony store in schaumberg. a little out of my range at $3k though.

RIP biggie, nine years today. pour one out for our fallen homie.


for this post

Blogger Rob Says:

i miss you biggie. your music lives on through all of us

Anonymous Artie Says:

What about the new intel Mac laptops? Mac laptops are wicked cool, and the new ones will be able to dual boot to Vista. Best of both worlds.

Blogger Davie Says:

my birthday killed biggie.

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

the macbooks are intriguing. i'm not sure if i want to run vista, though, so unless they make an easy hack to allow dual-boot to XP i'm not sure i'm interested. loaded, one of those things is like $2600, and if i'm spending that much i may as well get a brand i trust, like a sony.

i've toyed around with the idea of an intel mac mini as a desktop replacement. $600 is a little more reasonable, and when OSX frustrates me i can boot to ubuntu.

Blogger Rob Says:

yeah dave, you're such a cancer to society.

Blogger MikeE Says:

Vista will not support booting onto the MAC-Intel machines. Sorry kids.


Blogger Justin Hall Says:

ha! awesome. screw that, no fisher price OS for me.

Blogger Bragg Says:

plus it's a mac. i don't care who you are, the mouse has only one button. also, for a guy who does nothing wicked cool with computers, there's no reason for me to drop the coin on something as wicked gay as a mac. I mean seriously, I can purchase a solid notebook and a desktop for the price of a powerbook. that's just yag!

Blogger Bragg Says:

oh, and JW...
Best Buy and probably a lot of local stores don't charge you the sales tax if you're a teacher. Have your wife pic one up at the store and you can get a wicked cool price on a viao (if it's on sale) AND you'll be able to stick it to the man.

I've got a thing for "wicked" today. It's friday

Blogger B-Call Says:

what the crap does all this mean???

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

wicked gay, indeed. good call on the employer discount - never thought of that!

(btw steve, apple caught up and now make two-button mice)

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

er. employer = educator.

i never expressed my disappointment that the penny arcade guys jumped on the mac bandwagon. they've been talking about them for like a week now. geez.

(you all can mock me heavily if i ever sell out and switch to a mac as my primary platform)

Blogger Bragg Says:

Don't worry. we will. we will...

Blogger ryanham Says:

You can use an intellipoint mouse, as well as many other variations of USB mice on Macs...But yeah, still having to use OSX ONLY is a problem. I liked supporting it cause it never broke, but I understand Windows so much better.

P.S. Gabe and Tycho have now ventured into the Mac world...and it seems as though they like it's diminished complexity.

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

yeah, they spoke about how they were so used to being in the so-called 'wilderness' of the wintel architecture that it was refreshing to experience the simplicity of the mac experience.

i could drive a fisher price car to work, if i wanted. it would be slow and fairly limited in complexity. it would also be brightly colored and maybe have a little horn that one could honk. it'd be simple, no doubt.

i prefer my real car, though. it may be a little more complex, but as i've said in the past, it doesn't make me feel like a child.

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

there's always the virtualized solution. with vmware player being free and all, it's not only cheap and easy, but apparently performs well. wouldn't be tough to create a livecd that'd boot straight to a windows vmware image.

Anonymous Dad Says:

I's still kind of leaning towards the PocketPC platform. Video, audio, network support, not the power of a laptop, but a lot easier to carry.

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

this from the handspring-for-life mogul, huh? i agree - they're getting much more capable - the treo 700w is a good example. that type of package does the communication part well, at least.

Blogger The Barber Says:

Justin, with all you write on each of your blog posts you could have written a doctoral thesis for several subjects. I must admit I am impressed with your consistent 10 page papers per blog. By the way I have no idea what the crap you all are talking about on this mac junk. What is Vista? Don't tell me I still won't understand. B-call I know how you feel.

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

windows vista is the next version of Windows, due to be released at the end of the year. no real compelling features or reason to upgrade.

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