Could be here a while

Could be here a while, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

On Thursday my pc fell over so seriously that, after two days of trying to fix the booting issues, I installed Windows again.

This morning, it’s told me it needs to catch up on a few updates rolled out since the factory install disk was burnt.

I’m off out. It may have sorted itself by the time I get back.

iPad or Archos 9

Because I can’t help being contrary (and I’ll have plenty of time before I can afford to do anything about it anyway) I’ve started pondering whether I want an iPad or would rather have something like an Archos 9 Tablet. Many of my friends have Archos media players and I don’t think I’ve heard anything negative about them. Amazon user reviews on the 9 are biased toward the negative, though I’m inclined to think some of that is because it needs a bit more thought to set up (but is consequently more adaptable) than an iPad.

The Archos 9 is better value storage wise than the iPad. It has a smaller screen, though it claims 1080p display capability compared to the iPad’s 720p (though how it does this with a 1024 x 600 screen is beyond me). I don’t think it has the iPad’s orientation detection- it’s landscape all the way. And, most obviously, the Archos isn’t going to have the mass of apps that the iPad will. I’m not sure this is a deal breaker, I’d only really need a text editor, ebook reader (it’s Windows, I can run a version of Kindle on it as well as pdfs, rtf etc.) and a lightweight drawing package such as ArtRage. Anything more, as my nice new desktop proves, and I get distracted from doing any real work far too easily.

I’m definitely conflicted. But it’s going to be at least six months before I could afford either tablet, so I have plenty of time to think about it. Of course, the obvious way to work out which one is best for me would be if Archos and Apple would both be so kind as to send me a review copy for a month or so……….

It’s time to upgrade my graphics tablet

Sadly my trusty old Wacom PenPartner has no drivers available for Windows 7. It still works fine, on XP or earlier, but I’m going to have to get a new tablet for my new computer.

The Aiptek SlimTablet 600U Premium II looks good and has had a few good reviews, so that may be what I get. Unless someone would like to buy me a Cintiq.

I want that one. And that one. And……

The time has come. Every four or five years I spend a lot of money on a new computer. The idea is to have something which will be able to handle whatever new things take my fancy after I’ve bought it. My current pc wasn’t bought to edit video on, but it is powerful enough that it was up to the task, at least until I got a camera which shoots high definition video. Now I need something that will handle HD footage and maybe a move into 3d rendering.

So my new waste of time is visiting Mesh computers and mixing and matching components in an ttempt to build a system which will be too powerful for what I do at the moment but able to cope with whatever whim strikes me this time next year.

Its got to have Blu-ray.

And a larger monitor.

And RAID for peace of mind.


Do I want an iPad?

The greatest thing ever in the history of everything was announced on Wednesday. I was in the pub, so I’m only just starting to follow the hype.

Just a few of the pieces I’ve seen-

7 Ways the Apple iPad will affect Filmmakers and Creatives

Did You Hear? The Apple Tablet Is Gonna Save Comics, Too.

I haven’t been following the hype, and even I’ve read speculation that The New Flatness will save, in no particular order: Book publishing, newspapers, magazines, music, textbooks, games and the music industry. Also: The Whales, the Children, the Tiger, The Cheerleader/World, Energy, Ferris, and The Last Dance for Me.

So yeah, once it’s got all that sorted, it’s gonna save the comics industry. No, really; for months the comics press has teemed with forward-looking headlines both bold (“Apple Tablet Will Restore Comic Books to Former Glory”) and coy (“Could Apple’s iSlate Tablet Be a Digital Game-Changer?”)

The Morning After The Night Before – Comic Industry Wakes Up To The Apple iPad

Apple Event to Focus on Reinventing Content, Not Tablets

I may have to start saving for an iPad. It won’t be as good as all the hype, but it will be phenomenally popular. And it looks like there’ll be an iTunes extension for books. I’ll skip over the ebook readers I’ve been pondering for a while for the product that’s going to be in the most backpacks in a couple of years. I want to produce content for it, so I should get one to see what works best and maybe even to use whilst producing some of that content.

It seems I’ve finally- after years of resisting Macs (of my own, I did borrow time on Damian’s to do some video editing), iPods and iPhones- fallen for the Apple shiny. I’m ready to be assimilated into the iBorg now.

A few notes on the Elonex Onet+

A few weeks ago I gave my sister the Maplin Minibook and started using the Elonex instead. Even though they’re effectively the same machine I have noticed some differences. For instance, the Elonex copes better with wifi. It’s been far less of a production getting connected in Oklahoma, my regular coffee shop cum surfing location. I admit I haven’t tried anywhere else and have yet to sort out wireless in the house, but so far so good.

I’ll come straight out and admit that I should really have got an Asus Eee, even before I’ve done a full side by side comparison, but I didn’t, so I’ll live with the machine I’ve got. For a while, anyway.

It’s been a while since I’ve used a computer that can’t refresh its screen fast enough to keep up with my typing. The Elonex can’t and it’s not because I’ve been speeding up my touch-typing. That’s slightly annoying, as is the occasional combination of key presses that sees seemingly random letters being dumped into whatever I’m typing. I haven’t worked out what makes this happen yet, but I’ll try to pay attention in future.

One particular strange feature I’ve noticed in the last few days could have an adverse effect on the machine’s effectiveness at its main job. The idea is that it can be tossed into a pannier or backpack and taken around to be whipped out and used wherever. However, when I do this it has a habit of turning itself on and draining its batteries. The casing on the back of the screen flexes. This is not a problem when it’s in use but when it’s closed- say in a bag- that flexing can close the contacts on the power button and turn the machine on. I never noticed this problem with the Minibook, either the switch was in a different place or the case I used with it protected it better from being poked by other obects.

Anyway, I shall continue using the Elonex. I plan to do a lot of my NaNoWriMo composition on it, probably whilst sat in Oklahoma sipping coffee or hot chocolate.

Resources for fixing your Elonex/ Maplin Minibook/ whatever

As I suspected, the Maplin Minibook and Elonex One t are the same computer, differing only in a few cosmetic ways. There are a few other brands selling the same little laptop in the same package, and they no doubt all have the same problems with wifi. The site has more details on what’s turning out to be a generic diddy computer. No matter what it says on the tin, it appears your Elonex etc. is actually a CnMBook with modified packaging.

Don’t get me wrong, both the Minibook and the One t are lovely little things, and if it weren’t for the wifi problems they’d be just what I wanted for wandering around, writing and occasionally posting from cafes. But wifi problems they have. CnM themselves suggest that if problems persist you might want to change the settings on your router, avoiding the real issue of the laptop being hard or impossible to connect away from home.

I’ve mostly used the Maplin, because I got that before the Elonex. I’ll install some of the little linux recommended patches and see what happens. Then I may transfer the stuff that works over to the Elonex.

The strictly unofficial Elonex One blog has more information.

I should finally get my Elonex Onet+ this week 6

I’ve been waiting long enough. The mini laptops were supposed to ship en masse last week, prior to today’s official launch date. I’ve just been on the phone to customer support at their shop, where the official line is that they were held up by Customs and are currently being quality checked.

I do hope the little machine’s worth the wait.

A little list of Lilliputters

Lilliputters seems to be the name for all those little laptops spawned from the success of the Asus Eee. This list allows you to compare most of them. I’m still waiting for my Elonex Onet+ to arrive. If I’d known it would take this long I’d have just gone out and bought an Eee. When I finally do get it, I ‘ll try to do a comparison test with and Asus.

Elite 4?

After seeing it mentioned on Bowch’s blog I did a little digging and yes, David Braben says that Elite 4 is on the way. It won’t be as big a deal for most gamers as, say, GTAIV, because too many of them will be too young to remember.

The original Elite(wiki) holds a very special place in the hearts of gamers of a certain age ie those of us who now have phones with nearly a million times more memory than their first computer. I don’t think I ever attained the hallowed status, only getting as far as Deadly. I played both the Frontier sequel games as well, but they were so buggy it was a terrible experience.

Please let Braben be telling the truth. I’d love to see what can be made of this flashback to my teens.