[SATLUG] $200 Laptops Break a Business Model

Alan Lesmerises alesmerises at satx.rr.com
Mon Jan 26 22:15:22 CST 2009

No -- actually, it was sort-off like this one 
(http://www.picotux.com/).  It's 19x19x36 mm (3/4 x 3/4 x 1 1/2) as 
shown, but the one I saw had a little housing on it, so it would have 
been a little bigger.

Al Lesmerises

Charles Hogan wrote:
> Is this the one you are talking about:
> http://www.hemmy.net/2006/05/02/space-cube-smallest-pc/
> 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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