[SATLUG] $200 Laptops Break a Business Model

Charles Hogan cd_satl at futuretechsolutions.com
Mon Jan 26 21:44:00 CST 2009

Is this the one you are talking about:

Alan Lesmerises wrote:
> Since everyone else has been commenting on the service and not really 
> addressing one of your main questions below ;), I'll chime in here.
> I recall a few e-mails being passed around the group (I think it was 
> last year or maybe 2007) about very small computers along with a link of 
> one someone had found and wanted opinions.  That prompted me to do a 
> little looking around and I came across an ultra micro computer that 
> looked to be barely big enough to plug in an RJ-45 jack at one end, and 
> maybe about 2 to 2 1/2 inches long.  I don't recall if it had a USB port 
> (I think it might have), but I can't believe it would draw more than a 
> couple of Watts given it's size.  It supposedly ran a stripped-down 
> version of Linux from a solid-state data storage chip, if I remember 
> right.  Unfortunately, I don't seem to have kept a bookmark to where I 
> found it, but I _can_ say it's out there.
> Also, I came across some other very small computers that were just big 
> enough to house a CD/DVD drive with a fairly full complement of I/O 
> ports (ps2 for mouse & keyboard, DIN-15 for video, USB, etc.).  I would 
> expect the power requirements to be pretty low here as well.
> Al Lesmerises
> Borries Demeler wrote:
>> Just wanted to share a couple of items with this group:
>> 1st item:
>> I recently ordered a MagicJack - anyone knows about this? For $39.95 +
>> s/h you get a little usb plugin device that at the other end allows 
>> you to
>> plug in your home phone. If you run Windows or Mac OSX and have 
>> broadband,
>> this allows you to make/get unlimited calling in the US, Canada and
>> Puerto Rico.  There is a $19.95 yearly charge for this service (first
>> year is included in the $39.95). It includes voicemail, a local number,
>> and caller ID. I run the software on an XP image running under VMWare on
>> my linux laptop. If you set up your network correctly, it works great,
>> sound quality is very good, even on international calls (for which you
>> have to pay, but only very little). You can also use a headset instead 
>> of the
>> phone. They are working on a Linux driver, but no ETA yet. The concept 
>> and
>> cost is the best VOIP solution I have found, so now I want to get rid of
>> my landline and replace it with this MJ device. I did have several 
>> startup
>> difficulties, which were all resolved with the help of their online chat
>> help, but it was tedious and time consuming. The problem was the original
>> number didn't work for incoming calls, they changed my number, now it 
>> works
>> great. One word of caution: They chat help is pretty incompetent, 
>> until you
>> get elevated high enough in their hirarchy.
>> 2nd item:
>> So, now I am thinking about getting a very low power consuming laptop
>> that I can leave on all the time without a big draw of electricity. It
>> only needs to run the MJ device. I was looking at the 8.9" intel Atom
>> netbooks, and also was wondering if there is something very low power
>> consuming but also very cheap, that may even come without a screen and
>> runs off of a CF card that I could preload with WinXP until they come
>> out with the Linux driver, so I don't need to have VMWare running all the
>> time. My current Linux system is a Inspiron 9400 power hog with lots of
>> memory, big screen and big harddrive, so I don't want to let it run 24/7.
>> I'm hoping I can get something for less than $200 that draws maybe 8-10
>> watts max.  Any suggestions?
>> 3rd item:
>> here is an interesting article in today's NYTimes:
>> $200 Laptops Break a Business Model
>> As consumers are finding ways to buy computers at a lower cost, 
>> high-margin businesses are hurting.
>> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/26/technology/26spend.html?th&emc=th
>> Some excerpts:
>>    "...So who's up, who's down and who's out this time around? 
>> Microsoft's
>>    valuable Windows franchise appears vulnerable after two decades of
>>    dominance. Revenue for the company's Windows operating system fell for
>>    the first time in history in the last quarter of 2008. The popularity
>>    of Linux, a free operating system installed on many netbooks instead
>>    of Windows, forced Microsoft to lower the prices on its operating
>>    system to compete."
>>    "...The makers of open-source software also continue to benefit from
>>    the growing appeal of their often cheap, if not free, products. Sun
>>    Microsystems distributes 65,000 downloads a day of its MySQL
>>    database, which has turned into the favored business software of
>>    new companies. The job search engine Indeed.com shows a thriving job
>>    market for MySQL and Linux developers..."
>> So maybe us Linux geeks and programmers are recession proof this time 
>> around?
>> Let's hope so...
>> -Borries

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