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Promised NSW Laptops: Linux in the wings? 30 November, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Linux, Netbooks, Open Office, Windows.
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In the 2007 Australian Federal Election, the incoming Labor leader, now Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, promised federal spending on the state’s education systems, particularly to increace access to computers, calling it an ‘education revolution’. Reading the Sydney Morning Herald this morning, it turns out that the New South Wales (NSW) Government will spend money by buying netbooks, probably 10″ models, for secondary school students.

A prize phrases in the article is

“NSW stands ready to deliver teenager-friendly, custom-built laptops to the nation,”

What does the phrase ‘teenager friendly’ mean? It is likely to refer to the design, being lightweight and portable. But when I read it, it just sounded like the OS. There’s another interesting phrase here:

These custom-made laptops are … powerful enough to support all the IT needs of our high school students.

Just what are the IT needs of the high school students? Facebook? MySpae? But I digress… If you consider the needs of a student to be working on documents in an office suite, then Linux should be fine. In fact Linux may be an advantage, given that it will be harder for students to install games. Unfortunately, OpenOffice is not percieved to be fully compatible yet. Students typing out a document in OO then wanting to work on in on their school computer, that has MS office, there will be problems. Will there be pring servers set up to work?

So, I think that Linux is a good posibility, but the education department probably isn’t that smart. They don’t understand Linux, and that’s a problem. If they go Linux, MS will probably come along and lobby. Nothing is beneath them. When I first heard this issue discussed, over a year ago, the only $500 netbook was the Linux EEE. Now there are plenty of XP models for less.

ARM ready to move into the netbook market 25 October, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Netbooks.
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Currently ARM, a processor manufacturer makes chips only for phones, PDAs and the like. Currently,  only Intel and VIA chips (the Atom and C7-M) have been used much, with low uptake of AMD’s Geode and the Longsoon.

The ARM Cortex A9The ARM Cortex A9

Recently, AMD have started to move into computing markets with Dell releasing “Blacktop” a blackberry like splashtop interface that specially boots using a low power ARM processor. Next, it seems like ARM may move into the netbook market with low power processors, the Cortex A8 and Cortex A9. I’d be in favour of more competition. It seemed that the launch of the Atom coincided with increaced interest in producing good quality machines that could do more than email.

Dell takes Ubuntu seriously 14 October, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Dell, Linux, Netbooks, Ubuntu.
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The VAR guy has an article showing an advertisement for the Dell inspiron mini 9 featuring Ubuntu, with no mention of a Windows model. Well done Dell. But I was more surprised when I saw this page.

Ubuntu is not hidden. In fact, it says ‘Ubuntu’ 4 times, and gives an opetion to build each of the XP machines with Ubuntu. Dell must be confident.

Aspire one: number one in bad marketing 21 August, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Acer, Aspire one, Asus, Cloud Computing, EeePC, Linpus, Netbooks, Uncategorized, XP.
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Poorly directed marketing

Poorly directed marketing

Many global corporations seem to like using different advertising in different regions. Acer has a good general marketing campaign that attempts to market the Aspire One as a wanted product. But someone decided to put this on the Australian site. And I thought that I might buy one(*sigh*). After getting through the cringeworthy presentation, what I thought was the intro, oh look it repeats. Great.

The focus on children is greatly misdirected. Originally Asus had a focus on children, childhood and learning with the EeePC. Crap version of Linux, crap hardware. Who would ever want to buy that? Unfortunately for them, all of the people that don’t want to shell out 2000+ for an ultraportable. Apple must not be happy. It seems that nobody expected that consumers would flock to the devices, eager to mod and hack, getting rid of the childish OS on it and putting on something decent (like Hackintosh ). Or, just putting up with it and using it as a coffee shop toy (cynically, that’s all the Mac book air is, too).

Better, more trendy, and perhaps more effective marketing

Better, more trendy, and perhaps more effective marketing

Coming round to the realisation that ordinary consumers don’t want to be sold things marketed as children’s toys, Asus has cleverly updated their UK site to better target the market. Hopefully other manufacturers will learn from the mistakes of Asus, and now Acer.

Edit: I think that I should also show good marketing from MSI.

"Love edition"
“Love edition”

HP finally releases Linux netbook 17 August, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Cloud Computing, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Linux, Netbooks, Suse, Vista, Windows.
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Despite having product details for the Suse versions up for a while, Hewlett Packard has finally decided to release its Suse enterprise version of its 2133 Mininote. But only for two versions, compared to Vista’s 6.

Also of note; Dell has expanded its Ubuntu lineup by 2 computers, including a 1,200 USD XPS model. Perhaps they are getting more serious about offering Linux, putting it on not just the lowest grade hardware.

Lenovo joins the crowd in not offering Linux 11 August, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Cloud Computing, Linux, Netbooks, Vista, Windows.
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Lenovo has unveiled a new series, the Ideapas S series. With two optionsa available, the S9 and the S10, sporting a choice of XP or Linux, Australain and US consumers will get the choice of the 10 inch model only and XP only. Why? There’s absolutely no reasonable explanation. Unlike the others, like MSI that just delayed the Linux model (but of course they had enough parts for the XP model to launch on time) or Asus, making the Linux version of the 900 series more expensive than the XP model, Lenovo has made up no excuse as to why Linux models cannot be offered here. But the US? That’s steep. They offer SLED versions of the Thinkpad there and not here. So does Dell with Ubuntu, again not here. And so does HP, offering a SLED mininote there, but I haven’t seen one here (probably available at an online retailer). Same with the linux version of the Acer Aspire.

And yet we keep applauding each manufacturer that joins the fray and offers a nonexistant Linux computer. I don’t think that the Linux netbook market really exists. Yes, there are low cost devices that are aimed at poor people, and education. But they aren’t available for retail.  Then there are the ‘consumer’ Linux models. But they suck, pure and simple. They are usually small, low speced seven inch models, with tiny screens and keyboards. Reviewers always seem to point out the difficult to use touch pad (especially the cloudbook’s), fairly short battery life, etc…

So, if you want a good netbook, you’ll be wanting an 8.9-10 inch model. And you’ll have to pay more, and that means that it’s that much easier to slip in the cost of a MS license. Manufacturers use dodgy pricing and confusing configurations to mask the cost of the Windows operation system, and to make higher margins. And the Linux versions that everyone is raving about seem to dry up. And I’m getting sick of another hyped up product that I’ll never see in a shop, or never consider buying.

Walmart: I don’t get it. 9 August, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Cloud Computing, Netbooks.
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I had a look at the Everex Cloudbook on Walmart. I don’t really get how you would go about buying one. I’m jealous of all of you in the US that can buy Linux PCs, including a whole lot of cute netbooks.