Linux Ultra-Portables

May 7, 2008

Engadget has a nice feature on the growth of Linux based UMPCs.Linux Ultra-Portables

ASUS set the pace with Xandros on the Eee PC, and HP has tapped Novel SuSE Linux for the 2133 Mini-Note, but whereas the Eee’s positioning has been somewhat of a loose hybrid between an adult OLPC and the Nintendo Wii’s culture of global inclusion, the HP Mini-Note has been strongly focused on reckless, immature students while acknowledging potential for senior executives that have been known to share their temperament.

It’s interesting to see how this product niche has almost appeared from nowhere and is growing rapidly.

It seems to be a product that appeals to people who already own a computer, but want a laptop (and a small laptop at that) to complement it. The advantage of these little Linux laptops as well as the small size is the small price.

I have already seen quite a few of these laptops in college, brought in by learners, so I am expecting to see more of them.


Sony VAIO UX1XN as a conference tool

March 18, 2008

I have always liked the Sony VAIO UX1XN.

I have always been disappointed with the battery life. My original intention was to use the UX1XN as my main conference computer, my first attempt was at the JISC digitisation conference in Cardiff back in 2007.

Here Brian Kelly is presenting…

Sony VAIO UX1XN as a conference tool

It’s small enough to be unintrusive, unlike a laptop which can be a bit of a barrier, it has two cameras which enable me to send images to Flickr or take short video clips, and the keyboard is usable unlike the fiddly mobile phone type split keyboard of the Q1 Ultra. You can also use it without needing to put it on the table or on your lap which makes it ideal in the conference hall or break-out room environment.

However as I said at the beginning the battery life is the downer, I only really get about an hour and half from it, and this means that it won’t last the day at a conference.

So recently I ordered the extended battery for it, which should make it usable and hopefully last the day at a meeting or a conference.

I have therefore been practicing using the keyboard, which is quite thumbs orientated, and have managed to get a reasonable speed using it.

I wouldn’t want to write a long blog entry (like this one) on it, but for entering URLs or posting tweets or jaiku postings, I think it will work just fine.

Now of course what works well in the conference means that it would work equally well in the classroom or lecture theatre or workshop as a communication tool for learners.

Alas Sony no longer produce the UX1XN in the UK and though available from some suppliers still, generally you would need to get another UMPC if you were going to provide them to learners.


When is an UMPC not an UMPC?

March 4, 2008

When is an UMPC not an UMPC?

When it’s a 9″ UMPC.

When is an UMPC not an UMPC?

The infamous little EeePC is getting bigger by two whole inches.

Coming out next year with a bigger screen, the EeePC will still be running Linux but will also be available with Windows XP.

Compared to the original 7″ EeePC the 9″ model is not that much bigger, so will still be relatively just as portable.

Engadget on the 9″ EeePC, ASUS’ 9-inch Eee PC and Hands-on with the 9-inch Eee PC.


The £99 UMPC

February 17, 2008

The £99 UMPC

Elonex who I remember as a manufacturer of high end laptops according to the Times will be releasing a £99 umpc laptop at the Education Show later this month.

…it includes a free word processor and spreadsheet, a free web browser and free e-mail software. It has a 7in screen, a rubbery little keyboard and no CD drive. And it all runs on an ageing chip that was designed before its target audience of seven-year-olds were even born.

Read more at the Times. Elonex’s website. The news has even reached Engadget.


Stephen Fry talks EeePC

February 6, 2008

Seems I am not the only one enamoured with Asus’ tiny little linux based UMPC.Stephen Fry talks EeePC

The Asus EEE PC perched on my knee combines GNU software with a Linux kernel powered by an Intel Celeron Mobile Processor to produce a very extraordinary little laptop. It weighs less than a kilogram, starts up from cold in about 12 seconds and shuts down in five. It has no internal hard disk and no CD drive. It offers 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage and a seven-inch display; wireless, dial-out modem and ethernet adaptors are available for networking and internet connections, three USB ports, mini-jack sockets for headphones and microphone, a VGA out, an SD card slot and a built-in webcam. All for about £200 – less than the price of a show, dinner and taxi for two in London’s West End.

So is Stephen Fry.


Asus Eee PC arrives

February 5, 2008

I have been wondering how good the Asus Eee PC is. The small linux UMPC is certainly creating waves in the tech world as well as the MoLeNET community.

Asus Eee PC arrives

Lilian (one of the MoLeNET mentors) demonstrated one at the MoLeNET Online Conference last Friday and I was quite intrigued.

So you can imagine my surprise when the one I had ordered arrived today.

It was interesting to see how this small UMPC was going to work out.

It booted up fine and after a minimal setup process was ready to work. Already loaded with internet, office, media and other applications it is ready to go.

I tried a few things such as running a PowerPoint presentation and playing a video file.

It handled the few things I tried with ease.

I still need to try the internet applications, so it will be interesting to see how the Eee PC can be used to access our college VLE and other online services.


Asus release Eee-PC in Japan with Windows XP

January 24, 2008

A lot of MoLeNET projects seem to be looking at the Eee-PC, a small linux based UMPC which though full of features such as wifi, SD card slot and camera, is relatively cheap at around £200.

Asus release Eee-PC in Japan with Windows XP

Interestingly for a flash based device it is possible to run Windows XP on it and the manufacturer has released the Eee-PC in Japan running Windows XP.

Read more at Engadget.