[SATLUG] $200 Laptops Break a Business Model

John Clements jclements at grandecom.net
Wed Jan 28 19:52:08 CST 2009

This possibly is the Gumstix, on www.gumstix.com, reportedly runs Linux
and available in various versions, including wireless. 

Haven't used one, but fascinated, long time lurker.

John Clements
Corpus Christi

On Mon, 2009-01-26 at 20:36 -0600, 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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