I’ve been debating for a while between Android vs WebOS, all touch screen vs physical keyboard, now vs later. Yesterday I made my fateful decision by buying a Palm Pre Plus from Verizon Wireless. Unfortunately, the two stores in town were out of stock (that sounds good for Palm though, I think?) and they ordered it. Needless to say, I’m really excited. This is a big step up from my Centro. But how did I come to the Pre? Why not wait?
Category Archives: Technology
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…
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.
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 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.
While this is extremely un-green and probably uses as much electricity in a day as I do in an entire month, the geek in me still craves for this kind of crazy setup. Wow. Please, someone, help? Maybe just a couple of monitors? I don’t need all 24, maybe 4, 6, even 8?
This derivative of Ubuntu, known as gOS, has been perhaps the most popular item on my site and for good reason. Its new. And from my own personal expression, its really quite sad.
There are plenty of reviews out there that really examine lots of technical crap with it. I don’t care. These are my thoughts having messed with it for as long as the typical user would. I liked some aspects and I cursed others.
- Ubuntu Repositories turned off by default
Now this wouldn’t have been a big deal if the gOS repo had something to actually offer. Basically, if it wasn’t preinstalled, there wasn’t much to add. I enabled the Ubuntu repos so that I could install something useful.
- As LinuxPlanet so kindly points out, gOS comes without documentation.
As I searched for ways to add the eye candy of gOS to my Ubuntu system, I found there really wasn’t anything to even read. The company offers no real documentation or help. When you hit their Support Link, you get directed to Faqly. Everex is beefing up its tech support to deal with the customers of gPC but gOS still offers nothing for its users.
- Bleeding Edge Hurts Consumers
If this new kid had just appeared on DistroWatch and wasn’t being sold on a computer system, bleeding edge would be great. Afterall, someone has to test that software. But gOS uses Ubuntu which is solid but throws on E17 (Enlightenment Desktop) which is still beta. If you’re out to get new users, give them something tested and stable. It will help build confidence with those users. And consider this market: Its a $200 PC at Wal-Mart. It will attract the poor folks who need a cheap simple computer. GOS is not for them. Try Linspire, Ubuntu, or Xandros with these folks. Give them something easy and tested, not beta release eye candy.
- Don’t use a random photo to say technology is sexy…
- Don’t sell through Wal-Mart
If you’re about being a “green” company, Wal-Mart is not the first place to go. Consider marketing directly to green customers. Consider Staples (as they have their huge Eco Easy push) or go direct online.
- Web Apps aren’t ready
Grouping the distro with Google Apps may seem like a good idea, its not so if there’s nothing offline to work with. OpenOffice should be installed by default. (I’m reading now that some people have OOo installed by default, anyone want to confirm?)
- Poor Hardware Support
I take full advantage of Ubuntu’s Restricted Driver Manager. That’s how I make my laptop’s wireless work as well as install the proprietary video card drivers. Its not there in gOS. On my laptop, I could not never configure my wifi card correctly.
- No Recycling Bin
- Huge Splash
First off, this unknown distro has created so much talk its ridiculous. It came out of nowhere and has been going like crazy.
- Tight Integration with Google
The g in gOS is for good or green (depending on what you read), not Google as many had hoped for. However, gOS still offers all the Google apps as your fingertips. You do get quick access to Google and other handy links.
- Nice Eye Candy
When I first saw this distro, I thought they were copying Mac OS X. Perhaps they are. The toolbar at the bottom is certainly reminiscent of OS X.