Just for quick reference, I’m posting a few photos I’ve snapped with my phone of what your computer should not look like inside.
Why is this on Muddy Geek? All that dust and dirt is causing heat to build up, especially on your processor. Without proper ventilation and heat dispersal, your computer will continue to heat up and become prone to crashing. A simple can of air and some careful vacuuming work will take care of it. And don’t forget, the harder your computer works, the more power you waste. Oh wait, don’t forget to recycle the air can when you’re done too. Gotta be green.
Since I’ve decided to go back to school for computer programming, I’ve had to switch back to Microsoft Windows most of the time. I’ve opted to take my classes online this semester and much to my surprise, a couple of classes actually require me to use Windows for specific software.
I’m taking a basic math class for starters. It’d be fine except I must use Course Compass which relies on an interesting combination of Internet Explorer, ActiveX controls (which I had to specifically ease up my security on), Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Adobe Flash player. Then to make it worse I had to install a program specifically from Course Compass to use it. Finally, I had to use Apple’s Quicktime Media Player (which makes no sense to me). While I can understand the security aspect of this class to prevent cheating, let us type out of our answers or even the whole problem/solution set in a word processor. For that matter, I should be able to use Firefox instead of IE. Argh.
My other issue is C++ programming. While I am given the option to use any compiler I see fit, the book suggests that there are special settings involved and that everything is designed around Microsoft Visual C++ Studio Express. Of course it only works under Windows.
So while I still dual boot and keep my Ubuntu install going, I’ve become an incidental Windows boy again. And I don’t mind. I’ve added as much open source as I can. I use Clamwin Antivirus. I use Firefox for all my regular browsing. I turn in all my assignments using OpenOffice Writer saved as Word Documents. Still I can’t help but feel that I’m betraying my open source views by resorting to a mostly dysfunctional operating system.
So criticizing the famous and now delayed Everex Cloudbook has been an unpopular decision. Heh, I guess it was just unpopular to go public with my opinion and making it even a little on Digg didn’t help. So in all fairness I think I should review the Cloudbook again in light of what everyone has mentioned. Before reading any further though, my kind readers need to understand that the point of MuddyGeek is to examine technology, open source, and environmentalism individually as well as how they may interact. For example, I may look at why a new solar powered building is very interesting from a technical perspective such as how researchers have made it thinner or more efficient. Or else I can look at the same building for its aesthetics and very noticeable stance on the environment. Not everything here is about cool technology. Something can be awesome from a geek perspective but environmentally detrimental nonetheless.
All that said, clarified, and finished… I would like to cover the Cloudbook completely like no one else has yet…
Just caught this on Digg (ick, I really don’t care much for that site but that’s a whole different post). On Direct2Dell, there’s a short story about the XPS notebook being offered in Europe. Expect the notebook to be released in the US for sale sometime the last week of January 2008.
I have to really appreciate Dell here. While they are being tremendously slow (or cautious) about opening up their product line as Linux offerings, they are obviously gradually doing it. Next, I would love to see an XPS desktop system as well as offering Linux in many many more countries. Currently, it looks like its offered in the US and Europe.
One last note, the pricing (though exchange rates makes it difficult to nail down) looks very competitive. Staples offers a Dell XPS M1330 notebook with Windows Vista Home Premium. It usually runs about $1100US but with only a basic Core 2 Duo and 2 GB RAM. I souped up my system on the Dell UK site and go a decently priced mean machine. An interesting option I noticed was the Solid State Drive.
The Everex Cloudbook is $400 ultra portable-ultra mobile notebook running gOS Linux (gOS for Good OS but g can also be for green as these utilize low voltage processors and g for Google for their bundled apps). I am going to examine why the Cloudbook simply doesn’t matter and why it is a mistake for Everex to pursue.
This is Everex’s attack on the a couple markets. First, its going after the ultra portable niche market where the Asus Eee resides. These devices more commonly seen as the abbreviation UMPC are low appeal for most consumers. Why they are small and light, they also lack the functionality that a full size slightly more expensive notebook offers. The 7 inch screen is certainly going to sip power compared to the behemoth 17 inch notebooks many consumers flock after now. A 7 inch screen is also going to be harder on the eyes for many older folks thus losing its appeal to one group. My other big problem here is that the CPU and RAM combination. The processor is a nice Via C7-M which is about as easy on the battery as it’ll come for 1.2 GHz. Its still underpowered for most Linux distros today and gOS won’t be an exception for long. Maybe this would be okay with more RAM but the unit comes with 512 MB and it can only be upgraded to 1 GB. A basic Sempron or Celeron would have afforded better performance even if cutting down battery life slightly. Heck, throw in a ultra low voltage Core 2 Duo and see it fly.
Looking for a new system? Time to upgrade? Skip the Microsoft Tax and buy Linux preloaded. Often the most difficult part of buying a new computer is finding reputable companies that sell Linux based systems. Even then, some still buy Windows systems, wipe them, and load Linux (thereby still buying a Windows system and paying Microsoft).
Why does it matter? For starters, if you don’t want to use Windows then don’t you shouldn’t have to pay for it let alone buy it. Very very few computer manufacturers are going to refund you the famed Microsoft Tax now. Many have EULAs that state you are buying the computer and preloaded software together. They go on to say that if you refuse the software to return it the whole unit for a full refund and that the software is not specifically eligible for a refund.
Another good reason for buying Linux preloaded? It tells the computer companies that people want Linux. Big names Dell and Lenovo started offering Linux options only after enough people petitioned. Now it entirely lies upon enough people buying these computers for the manufacturers to keep offering them and eventually pushing/advertising them.
I think it is entirely critical for Linux to get it preloaded and out there for consumers. I don’t believe in the Year of Linux or any such nonsense. I do believe there can be a year when Linux dies and I don’t want to see that. I believe the future of Linux relies on taking over the desktop now with all the bad press that Vista has.
So finally, I present the preloaded Linux options. This isn’t a review per se, only a listing of the computer manufacturers selling Linux preloaded.
This has nothing to do with the environment or being green, even really computers for that matter. Its just a really awful mod involving condoms, LEDs, and the computer. Wow.
Magnum Condom Sound Activated LED – video powered by Metacafe
The newcomer gOS is coming to an ultra portable notebook near you soon. Maybe. Someday. Everex, who started and sponsors gOS, did finally officially announce their gOS based notebook. Specs look decent with a Via 1.2 GHz low voltage processor, 512 MB RAM, 30 GB HDD, USB 2.0, and DVI output. What’s really cool is the developers’ version. That version gets a touch screen. Man, those developers get all the cool stuff.
Apparently, the Cloudbook version 2 which isn’t even announced yet will probably have touchscreen standard. Afterall, why mess with it on a developers’ version and not include it later?
Oh, did I mention the 7 inch screen? Talk about portable. Imagine the battery life! And to ice the cake, its touting a reported $400 price tag. Finally, ultra portable and ultra affordable. (I didn’t just say that, did I?)
Expect to see the Cloudbook at Consumer Electronic Show. In the meantime, Linux Devices has a little more information on it. Linux Devices was first with the story and supposedly they have an inside source who leaked the information. We’ll see how this goes.
UPDATE! January 3, 2008
Apparently this little notebook isn’t quite the innovation that Everex would have us all believe. UMPCPortal reviewed a Packard Bell Easynote XS in mid 2007. It certainly has a striking resemblance to the Everex Cloudbook, doesn’t it? The only difference that I can discern relates to the OS. Easynote runs Windows XP while Cloudbook while definitely ship with Linux. Definitely check out UMPCPortal though as they have a gallery of the notebook in action and a video demonstrating it.
My one final thought on this whole ordeal for now… Why does this even matter so much to so many geeks out there? Yeah, Linux is good and I want to see it grow but what’s passed that? I have read numerous opinions that this will give the Asus Eee a run for its money. I’m not sure anyone really even cares. These are fringe notebooks. The typical buyer is after a 15″ or 17″ laptop (or desktop replacement). If Everex wants to make a huge splash, then they need to release a powerful, inexpensive Linux based 17″ laptop. After that, Wal-Mart may be fine but they have to get into Circuit City, Best Buy, Staples, and wherever else people shop for good computers.
This is for Educational Purposes Only! While I am an ardent advocate of free and open software, I do not recommend pirating or cracking software in anyway. This post is solely for education purposes so that readers may learn what they can.
The application Windows Vista Activation and OEM Information tool allows you to install an OEM (those much less expensive copies of Windows) Vista on your computer without it actually being an OEM system. The especially helpful aspect is that you can pick any of the manufacturers (16 to choose from!) and the program will automatically fill in the correct OEM product key information.
This is helpful for security experts as it something new to learn from. Perhaps someone can design a better Windows Genuine Advantage tool from all this. Or you could just install Linux and learn all that mess behind.
This cool little tool lets you transform your typical Secure Digital memory card into a solid state drive for your computer. By plugging this in an IDE (or what they call PATA now — Parallel ATA) slot, you can load your preferred OS on the card. The best advantage is that solid state drives are quite fast and that they can speed up your whole system. Of course, I could keep a regular hard disk drive around for my regular storage but why dare run your OS of one now?
There are some other inherint advantages. These are going to be quieter and use much less energy. Plus SD cards hold up really well to abuse. To top it all off, you can buy one for only $25. The next idea? Do this with SATA II. Plus buy an Extreme SD card with the fastest read/write speeds you can find. Benchmark the difference.