Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I told Juha (from OpenRemote) I was looking at Netbooks and that I had become particularly interested in the Samsung NC20 Netbook. The price ($550 US) is a bit steep as you can purchase a normal laptop for the same amount (Hmm). Anyway it has a good screen 1280x800 and it's only a little smaller than the IBM T43 I use for work, which I'm very comfortable with. It looks like the US battery (5900mAH) will last at least 5 hours. Oh, back to Juha. He mentioned the AlwaysInnovating Touchbook. It's an ARM based touch screen computer, as opposed to an x86 computer. It runs an OS called Touch Book OS which appears to be Linux based (based on OpenEmbedded). It can run 10+ hours on its battery. At $399 I'm not sure what to make of it. For a kitchen touch screen with 1280x600 that's pretty good! For a traveling Netbook, I don't know. Still it's good to know. :-) Wish I had the budget for both but I'll need to decide on one for my studies. I may need to travel into Manhattan and I'd prefer to have just the netbook as opposed to a notebook, pen etc., for class.


At 4/15/2009 7:06 PM, Blogger solarwind said...

If the touchbook is ARM, you can run Linux on it -> you can run X on it -> you can run almost any open source app on it -> just as good as a netbook.

At 4/15/2009 9:09 PM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

My primary need for the netbook is to use it in my studies. I want to get a Masters in Comp Sci. For that using Open Office on the ARM can be problematic. The x86 makes a better choice. More ready made apps for the x86 family.

If I do go the touch screen route for home automation then the ARM is a much better choice as I'll have full control ofver what apps are installed (it won't be Firefox or Thunderbird. :-)

One of the problems with normal server or desktop Linux is that it is not well suited towards power conservation. Embedded Linux is generally too minimalistic for a netbook. For netbooks you need to have a distribution that is tuned for it. I currently don't have the necessary knowledge to make such adjustments.

For school work I'm pretty sure I can use Open Office for most of the work. I'll probably have Linux on the machine anyway as doing comp. sci. work and using MS seems contrary to what I'll need most (I'll have Linux and Open Source classes :-) ).

For the home touch screen controllers I'll prefer to have Linux running. These systems don't need MS products and I know Linux much better than I know Microsoft.

At 4/15/2009 10:38 PM, Blogger solarwind said...

About the power consumption: the reason that desktop linux OSs have not been suitable for lower power use in the past was because of the hardware. For example, they would not turn off the screen when the lid was closed, they would not suspend properly, they would not shut down hard drive after certain amount of inactivity, etc. However, that is not a problem for this device. Due to its open source nature, almost all of the drivers should be available upon its release. Also, there is no hard drive to spin down and it's a really really power-saving architecture. I love ARM :)

But you're right that sometimes, microsoft office is required. As much as I love open source, open office is just not as good as ms office :( -- That's why I always dual boot xp and some Linux (usually Arch Linux)

At 4/16/2009 7:39 AM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

When you shut down a drive the power usage drops. I believe that the SSD are on no matter what so it's power usage is higher. This, I read in a electronics article. These are the kinds of things that make using an OS tricky. Just because it's Open Source doesn't mean the user/admin knows what to do to make it more efficient.

What features of MS Office do you use that you've found to be lacking in Open Office? Other than no having Visio the rest of the package does what I need for work and school.


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