Tor.com are running a competition to win a painted Asus Eee laptop, which is rather pretty. At just over two hundred pounds for an Eee, and less for an Elonex One, could we be seeing a rash of customised baby laptops? It’s certainly not as big a gamble as, say, a Macbook.
Coming soon from a company called Elonex- Linux laptops for less than a hundred pounds.
The experience has been a little disappointing. The Tecra A8 is a good enough piece of kit, but it wouldn’t be my choice if I were looking to spend some money on a laptop. It falls between the two types of machine I’d be interested in.
The Tecra was a little too large for me to consider putting it in my man-bag and toting it around town. True, the size allowed for a full size keyboard and the large screen, but these reduced its portability. I’d like to have something lighter and smaller that I can take anywhere with me. Like the old Portege I’m typing this post up on. An even simpler solution I’m thinking of is getting a bluetooth folding keyboard for my mobile.
At the other end of the price spectrum I could really go for the current version of the portege or some other tablet PC with a flip round screen that I could do art on. Or maybe an Apple Macbook, for all my video editing dreams.
It’s been interesting, but I’m afraid the Tecra A8 isn’t for me.
I turned the Tecra on without plugging it in, to test battery life, and got nearly two hours out of it. Which isn’t bad. I wasn’t doing anything too testing, definitely no cds or dvds and very little heavy processing. At some point the screen goes to half brightness to conserve power, which is a little irritating but I could live with it.
For various reasons I haven’t been able to play with the laptop as much as I’d like for the last few days. It is finally talking to the house network wirelessly, but only because I installed a NetGear USB wireless adaptor. Weak internal wireless is a problem at least one person has told me about on their personal Toshiba laptop.
The laptop doesn’t have a firewire socket, so I can’t get video off my old mini-dv camcorder. However, I now have a JVC hard drive camcorder which transfers by USB, so I’ll shoot some footage and try transferring it onto the laptop.
I have, however, been able to watch some stuff on the laptop. Video playback from dvd is crisp and stutter free. Sound from the built in speakers is good enough for something your watching whilst it’s sat on your lap.
The next challenge would be to see how well it copes as a games machine, but we don’t have anything in the house for pcs that would really test it.
So, overall, a mostly disappointing few days of Toshiba testing. I’ll try to get more done tomorrow.
I have been given a Toshiba laptop to review by the people at talktoshiba. Which is nice, except that we can’t get it to talk to the wireless.
The computer is a Tecra A8. I don’t have access to the technical specs right now, I may dig them out later. Today’s mission, between trying to fix a puncture 15 times (which is another story altogether), was to test connectivity. First, I wanted to transfer yWriter and WeFi from my PC. This was easy enough once I sorted out bluetooth ids.
Next I needed to send a yWriter project from my normal (borrowed) laptop, an old but reliable Toshiba Portege. I plugged an IR dongle into the back of the Tecra and it recognised it but didn’t want to use it for anything. I lined the two laptops up, but the Portege couldn’t detect the dongle. This looks like something I will have to try again.
Most annoying of all, I can’t get the Tecra to connect to the internet in the house. I’ve tried it around town with WeFi, where it can detect lots of wireless nodes. It could connect to the pay wireless in Cafe Nero, which wasn’t much use. On Albert Square there were dozens of nodes detectable, but none- not even StreetNet which I’ve used before- could be connected to. I didn’t have the Portege with me to do a side by side test, but I can say that it has been used to surf from the Albert memorial.
Damian has pointed out that I can just plug it into the house network with a cable, which is what I will do later, but it does kind of defeat the object of a laptop.
Tomorrow I’ll get the rest of the software onto the laptop and start using it properly.
Not really, though you can buy the role playing game. Whilst watching the Serenity DVD on Tuesday (sort of, it was on in the corner of a pancake day party) and yesterday realised that it really is time for a new version of Elite, with added role playing and small squad tactical bits for when you’re planet side.
I guess I could go and download Frontier.
The worlds first OpenSource Realtime Editing and Effects System. Jahshaka takes advantage of the power of OpenGL and OpenML to give its users exceptional levels of performance. We currently support Linux, OsX, Irix and Windows, and Solaris is on the way! Jahshaka is licenced to the public under the GNU GPL agreement.
I’m looking for a good video editor that I can afford. I’ve used Adobe Premiere Pro before, but I can’t afford to get a legitimate copy.
If that doesn’t work, wikipedia has a list of open source software.
Technorati tag: Video Editing
One student’s account of building a sex toy that fulfills several of Spinneyhead’s criteria.
I shall now detail how I constructed this item. The first order of business, right after the conga line, was acquiring a vibrator to modify. We went to Condom Kingdom in Melbourne Central at about 4pm. We had already been past there during the conga line, and were too soft to go to a proper, poorly-lit, sex shop. We bought a black battery operated vibrator for about $25. Then for about an hour we played with the vibrator, sneaking up on people, humping their heads and cock slapping them.
When we got tired of that, I dropped by home to see what parts I had lying around that I could make use of. I grabbed a cordless drill motor/gearbox, some aluminium tubing/sheet/rod, nuts and bolts, transistors, resistors, diodes, an old parallel port cable and a protoboard. I also grabbed my notebook computer, an IBM PIII 700, running Slackware Linux 10.1. I determined that the only other parts I would need to buy would be three relays, two 3 amp for two vibrate speeds, and one 5 amp for ‘thrust’.
Technorati tag: Sex Toy
Researchers at the University of Essex are using wireless networking and Linux to fly groups of model aeroplanes that display flocking characteristics. One early prototype, for an indoor helicopter, is the world’s smallest flying webserver and can send pages with shots from its onboard camera.
Technorati tag: Linux
If MontaVista Software gets its way, we could be seeing Linux in mobile phones, competing with Symbian and Windows Mobile for “mid-range featurephones”.
I’ve got a beowulf cluster of atomic supermen.
There are more than enough geeks in Team Spinneyhead and the Friends of Spinneyhead to be able to pull this one off- Installing Linux on a dead badger
Via Tom’s Hardware I’ve discovered the joy of Knoppix. It’s a Linux distribution that boots off a CD without touching your hard drives. A cd-rom drive and some memory is all it ever needs. Klaus Knopper (it’s creator) has really hit on a good idea here. All you need to do is download the CD image (.iso) and burn it on a disk. A capsule review follows:
On my system it goes from boot to desktop in about 2 minutes including detecting hardware. It’s got web browsers, email clients, office software (office xp compatible), media players, a CD-ROM burner and a bunch of other stuff I’ve haven’t explored yet. You can make custom Knoppix builds with the apps and drivers you want.
Configuring my Alcatel Speedtouch (the most common ASDL modem in the UK) is a real ball-ache but eventually it will work. It doesn’t detect the mouse in my shiny new MS wireless desktop (in defense it’s brand new gear and my old USB mouse and the new wireless keyboard do work from boot).
There is no ugly . Ok, the ASDL modem thing is a drag and the current version can’t write to NTFS volumes but it reads them without problems.
It does what it says on the tin. This is an OS that will boot from a CD on a box without a working system disk and give a you a good GUI afterwards. Even if you’re not into Linux you have to admit that this makes it a damn powerful (and cheap) data recovery tool. The customisation possibilities mean you can build your own virtual PC on a CD that will boot on any relatively modern hardware.
So I’ve downloaded and installed the XP update, like I’m supposed to, and so far it’s managed to mess with BlackIce (if this patch is supposed to improve my security why is the firewall the first thing it screws up?) and lose the drivers for the USB modem (much swearing and a desperate scrabble around to find the installation disks ensued). Those problems seem to be solved, but I wonder what other programs it’s pissed off to the point of not working any more.
Microsoft- the world leader in unproductivity tools. When I’m brave enough I’m going over to Linux. (I’ve been saying that for years. One day…….)
I started reading this article in the Guardian. It started off talking in loving detail about two teenagers’ first computers in 1981. The teenagers names were dropped in a way that made me think I should know who they were, David Braben and Ian Bell. This clearly being a computerish article, I consulted resident geek No 1 (Daz). He ummed, said he thought he recognised one of the names but wasn’t sure.
So I read on, hoping for enlightenment. It described how they’d both gone to Cambridge, met up and started working on a game together. The title of the game, Elite, was dropped in a similar, accidental-on-purpose fashion. Still none the wiser, I tried out this title on the other resident geek (Ian).
Ian stuck his head through the banister and burbled for five minutes including phrases like “the first truly genius game”, “It was really cool with trading and shooting people” and “It’s ELITE! How could you not have heard of this?” and then wandered off to see if he could find anything about it on the net.
So it seems I am the only one who hasn’t heard of this. Elite came out in 1984 when I had more important things on my mind (turning 4, adopting the girl next door as my big sister, trying to climb the back fence). It has a apparently fell into the black hole between the true antiques, Pacman and Space Invaders, and the games I started to play in the late 80s, along with anything on the Spectrum.
But I live with geeks and have therefore be not only educated in the wonder that is Elite but supplied with a link to a Java version. Which I present here, whether you have sat here thinking “What is she talking about?” or happily reminiscing about the hours you wasted at it the first time.
Cross-posted to my LJ along with lots of other pointless gubbins.
(I have also spent the last hour arguing with Daz about whether he is a geek.)
Linus Torvalds (the Linux guy for the less geeky out there) is running for Governor of California. Given the number sci-fi movies that Arnie’s been in the best Linus can hope to do is split the geek vote.