Will Pricing Kill the Google Chromebook?

I was one of the lucky few who received a Google Chrome notebook computer known as the Cr-48 for beta testing. The computers were sent free from Google. I received mine in December 2010. Since that time I have used the pint sized laptop extensively and have taken it on several trips during the past few months. Compared to my 17″ laptop that serves as my main system, the Cr-48 has several advantages, such as light weight and 3G connectivity via Verizon. Google included a free Verizon account for everyone who tested the computer with a 100MB limit for two years.

I have written a half-dozen articles about the Cr-48, sharing my likes and dislikes of the test unit. My overall opinion is that I like the computer and the Chrome operating system. Yes, it is basically the Chrome browser with some added features, including instant boot, which is amazing, and the ability to quickly surf the Web. Over at the Google forum there was a general consensus that any future Chrome OS computers, when introduced to the market place, should be priced in the under $300 range. Most of us felt that a $250 price was reasonable and would ensure the success of the future Cr-48 models.

Today we learned that both Acer and Samsung will offer Chromebook models in the $349 to $499 price range. The least expensive Acer Chromebook model will be priced at $349, available on June 15, 2011 through Amazon and Best Buy. I went to the Amazon Web site and found an Acer Aspire AS5253-BZ602 laptop system, with 15.6 LED screen, 250 GB hard disk, 2GB of memory, DVD recorder, and wireless connection on sale for $349.

Now this I believe is where the problem is going to be. Why would I want to buy a Chromebook when I can get a full sized laptop for the same price? I have used both the Cr-48 and a full sized notebook and they are very different in form and function. Having instant on is great compared to waiting for Windows 7 to boot. I am a fan of cloud storage as long as it functions properly. But what happens when thousands of folks start using Google Docs all at once? Will the servers be able to handle the load?

These and other questions need to be answered before we can determine how good and reliable a Chromebook will be.

Comments welcome.

Could A Google Subscription Service For The Chrome Notebook Computer Work?

Microsoft has discussed a subscription service for its Windows operating system and Office system for years. I recall many discussions about how one day subscriptions to all software products would become standard and that distribution by CD and DVD would evaporate. But it seemed that the idea of subscription software went the same way as the paperless office went and never matured. There is now a rumor that Google may try such a service when it releases its Chrome operating system on notebooks some time in June or July of this year.

Though the exact plans are sketchy, the service would work by having the consumer purchase the notebook from a vendor. The notebook would have the Chrome operating system pre-installed. The user would then have the option to purchase a subscription costing between $10 to $20 a month. The service will provide hardware updates and may also include the replacement of faulty hardware during the subscription period.

What the Chrome OS could do is to redefine what the original notebook or netbook computers could not do. The original concept was that these lightweight computers were originally meant to be cheap devices connecting to the Internet only to access the cloud. What happened was that some companies tried to shoehorn Microsoft Windows onto the notebook and netbooks, and the hardware could not handle the heavy load of Windows. The Chrome OS is basically a browser that connects to the Web, starts fast, and boots in under 10 seconds. While this is a very attractive device, some question whether or not this is enough to unseat the Apple iPad or iPad 2 from their perches.

I have been beta testing the Google Chrome Cr-48 notebook computer since mid-December when I was fortunate enough to have received the device. During this time, I have had the opportunity to test and play with the system. I find some of the features very attractive for what I do on the Internet, e.g., blog for two sites, check email, surf for interesting articles, stay in touch with Facebook family and friends, and in general use the device for work more than to have fun with. The Chrome OS notebook has few options for game playing when compared to other devices.

The difference I see between the Google Chrome OS notebook computer compared to the Apple iPad is very simple: the Google Chrome OS notebook computer is a work machine whereas the Apple iPad is more for fun. IMO. Your opinion may differ from mine. But my opinion is the correct opinion. LOL

What do you think? Would you pay for a subscription plan for the Google Chrome OS notebook computer?

Source – Neowin

Would You Buy An Asus Chrome Netbook If It Sold For $250 Or Less?

Rumors are starting to fly that there may be a relatively cheap Chrome or Android Netbook computer coming our way, priced at $250 or less. The rumors also suggest that the price could drop to as low as $O if one signs up for a Verizon 3G data connection plan. The company that could make the small netbook computer is Asus and I would have to state that this could be an accurate rumor for several reasons.

Though I have no proof of this and it is purely speculation on my part, but when I first received my Google Chrome Ct-48 netbook computer, I thought it may have been built by Asus. Why Asus? Google is going to need an established company to produce their first generation computer system. Consumers are going to want an inexpensive netbook but will not sacrifice on quality. Asus produces quality products at competitive pricing.

There was also this experience I had just before receiving the Cr-48 that had to do with a Asus laptop system I repaired. Though I have basically given up repairing computers as a full-time business, I still dabble occasionally repairing computers for family and friends. So after removing a malware critter from the system I returned the unit to its owner. Two days later when I received the Cr-48 the feel of the keyboard mimicked the Asus I had repaired. Coincidence? I’m not sure, but it gave me the feeling that Asus may have been part of the Google Chrome netbook production.

So who might be interested in a netbook computer from Asus? Someone like me. I tried using an Apple iPad to post a blog article and found it cumbersome. The built-in keyboard is awkward for me on the iPad. Since the Cr-48 has a traditional keyboard it is easier for me to use. If I had to make a choice between a tablet computer or a netbook system, I would have to go with the netbook for my personal use.

So what is currently happening in the world of Google Chrome and the Cr-48 netbook computer? A VP from Google has tweeted on March 8th, 2011 that the shipping of Cr-48 netbook computers has ceased. Google is now preparing to enter into a second phase of development as they continue to fine tune their Chrome OS. Google is mum on exactly when the Google Chrome OS will be released or when Google Chrome OS equipped computers will hit the street. There are some who are saying that June, 2011 is when Google will make a Chrome or Android netbook available.

I switched my Cr-48 over to developers mode to test more of the beta features Google is trying. If you haven’t tried developers mode, you may wish to give it a try. Performance improvement is amazing. :-)

Comments as always are welcome.

Source – CrunchGear

Source – Twitter

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Dell Inspiron Duo – Part Tablet And Part Notebook – Reviewed

Just before the holidays, I had spoken with a neighbor who was looking to buy a new computer. He mentioned his looking at both notebook and tablet computers, but was having trouble making up his mind. I briefly mentioned the Dell Inspiron Duo, and its part notebook part tablet design; I basically didn’t give it further thought about what he bought — until on Monday night when he called. Sure enough he had ordered a Dell Inspiron Duo several weeks ago and he knew I had a Cr-48. So we decided to swap computers for a day, which gave me the opportunity to review the Duo.

The first thing I had to do was put my prejudice aside regarding Dell computers. A decade ago I recommended Dell computers to all of my clients. But when Dell farmed out its technical support overseas, like others did, Dell lost its credibility. It became just ‘another PC maker’ and it was not offering anything new nor innovative. It also seemed to me that the quality of its hardware suffered. Again, Dell was no worse nor better than the others like HP, Compaq, and Acer to name a few.

Here is the first thing you must accept. Repeat after me: This is not an Apple iPad, this is not an Apple iPad. The Duo touch screen works fairly well. The only issue I noticed was that it appeared to me to be sluggish in performance. This could be a hardware issue since the little Duo comes with the Intel 1.5Ghz Dual-Core Atom processor. Windows 7 needs some extra horses, in my opinion. Also, I would prefer 3 GB of RAM instead of 2 GB, but that is just me.

Flipping from tablet mode to notebook mode is fairly simple. You just flip the screen and you are ready to go. But like with all touchscreen devices, this one is also a fingerprint magnet. For some of us, fingerprints aren’t a bother. But for me, I hate greasy fingerprints. I even keep my cell phone case and screen clean and free of fingerprints.

The Duo is also thick and heavy. Trying to hold the unit in one hand and use the touch screen with the other requires a good deal of strength. I had my wife try it and she thought it was heavy for holding in one hand, but worked just fine when placed on her lap or table.

I have another concern about the Duo. Since this is a brand new product and a brand new design, I wonder how long one could continue to flip the screen before developing problems? I think that waiting for the second generation of the Duo is advisable, unless you need the latest and greatest right now.

I think that Dell has a great idea and the Duo at $549 is reasonably priced for what you get. Yes, the notebook/touchscreen Duo could use a few additional hardware features, like more RAM, faster processor, better Web cam, and a media card reader. A future version of the Duo that addresses these concerns could be a winner, IMO.

If you own a Duo, please share your experience with us.

Comments welcome.

Source – Dell

Consumer Electronics Show – Everyone Is Picking On Microsoft

The mood at the consumer electronics show is not reflecting the way Microsoft has been treated in the past. On years, past, many would bow to the software giant in fear of retaliation. But that was then and this is now and there is a new day on the horizon. It could be a new day in which Microsoft plays a very minor role. The folks at Microsoft have ignored the tablet computer completely and have been caught in a tough position. Most companies are not going to sit back and wait for Microsoft to introduce a slimmer, meaner Windows for the tablet systems.

Over at CNet one article stated:

“Intel has urged Microsoft to tailor Windows for smaller devices, to no avail, an executive from the chipmaker said at the Consumer Electronics Show.

“Hey, we tried to get [Microsoft] to do a tablet OS (operating system) for a long time. Us, and others like Dell,” said Tom Kilroy, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Sales and Marketing Group, speaking to CNET at an Intel function last night.

Though Windows 7 is being used on a number tablets already, that operating system’s PC heritage makes it less than ideal, as many have attested to already.

Goldman Sachs released a research note last month critical of Microsoft’s tablet strategy.”

But it was this sentence that caught my eye:

“Kilroy said Intel is building Atom processors–known by the code names of Oak Trail and Moorestown–for the Android, Windows 7, and MeeGo operating systems.”

Meego? What is that? Over to the Meego site i went for a look-see and here is what I found. Apparently Meego is bringing forth operating systems for specific devices, including netbooks, handsets and in vehicle systems. So I downloaded Meego for Netbooks and took it for a quick ride. Most of you are aware that I am currently testing Mint and I am now using it as my full-time operating system.

Meego is another Linux distro. :-)

Unfortunately Meego requires a Atom processor and will not install on my laptop. It is definitely made for a netbook only device.

Comments welcome.

Source – CNet

Download Meego

Will Tablets Really Destroy Netbook Computers This Year?

It is kind of funny when you think about it. Every year there seems to be some type of story about how one piece of hardware is going to destroy another or how one piece of software will dominate the world. But the reality is that it doesn’t happen, even if someone who writes about it tries to will it to happen. In the world of technology we are fortunate to have a huge selection of devices that offers something for everyone. So who determines which device will succeed and which will fail? You and I will no matter what someone writes.

This afternoon I read another one of those boring 10 reason articles, that I personally do not like. Not the article, but the numbering system. But since I am just as guilty as the next person, I usually keep my list limited to 5, I just skipped the numbering nonsense and read what the writer had to state. Basically the ramblings was trying to convince us that tablet computers would bury netbooks.

Some of the reasons would lead one to believe that this could happen. Here are a few of the reasons the writer mentioned:

“1.But tablets are arguably more mobile. They are easier to carry around and they tend to be quite lightweight. Netbooks are a bit more bulky, and that could hurt them next year.”

Agree. the iPad is light weight, about 1.5 lbs, and is definitely not as bulky as a netbook. Even the Cr-48 I am testing is 3.8 lbs and I do not understand why it is so heavy.

“2.As usable as netbooks are, thanks to their full operating systems and physical keyboards, they don’t have the same “innovation factor” that Apple delivers. As a result, tablets are capturing consumers’ attention.”

The physical keyboard is really what separates the tablet from a netbook.  I personally need a physical keyboard to blog with. I tried the keyboard on the iPad and found it very uncomfortable.

“3. Netbooks are boring.”

Agree. Netbooks are nothing more than shrunken laptops. When was the last time you thought your laptop or desktop was exciting? Computers are tools.

“4. In fact, every major PC maker from Dell to HP to Acer is investing in tablets in 2011”

PC companies would be silly not to invest in tablets.

“5. The major issue with netbooks is that they lack touch screens.”

Agree. Touch screens are cool. So how about a netbook with a physical keyboard and a touch screen?

But this says it best:

“Interest in the Android mobile operating system has exploded in the past year. Based on its growth rate in 2010, most analysts believe it could at least come close to matching Symbian’s worldwide market share in 2014. After that, it could become the top mobile OS in the world. Because of that, consumers and enterprise customers are warming to the idea of running the operating system. In the process, they’re thinking twice about opting for the Windows-based netbook.”

Hang on here a minute. Are we talking about Windows-based netbooks or Android powered netbooks? It makes one wonder if the writer has had the opportunity to use the Cr-48 notebook aka netbook? isn’t Android so similar to Chrome that they could be cousins?

Here are my thoughts. I personally believe that there are going to be tablets, laptops, notebooks, netbooks, smartphones and other devices that haven’t even been introduced, that all will survive. They will survive because they offer different features depending on the users need. There will ne no one device to fit everyone’s needs. In fact, many of you may need more than one device to meet what ever task you wish to complete.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – Eweek

Best Buy To Offer Buy Back Program – Will It Work?

Best Buy is in the process of starting a Buy Back program which is set to start on January 5, 2011, The program will cover the purchaser who buys a laptop computer, tablet computer, netbook computer, cell phone or HDTV. The plan is fairly simple. When the customer returns a purchase they will receive an amount determined by how long they have owned the device. According to one article the price is determined by the original MSRP of the device.

Here are the Buy Back program rates. If you buy a laptop, netbook, tablet or cell phone, you will get a gift card for up to 50% of the MSRP in the first six months and 20% of the MSRP during months 18-24. Did I mention that Best Buy charges an up front fee of just $59.95 to participate in the Buy Back program? Did I also mention that if you don’t bring back the device during the buy back period, they get to keep the $59.95?

Another of the special features included in the Buy Back program is the small print that items must be in ‘good condition’. Which makes me wonder. Who decides what ‘good condition’ really is?

Though I am sure that Best Buy could change the conditions governing their Buy Back program, it would appear to an outside observer, that this type of program may not be for everyone. I know that after reading the fine print, I seriously doubt that I would choose to participate. But that is just me,

How about you? Do you see any benefits to this type of Buy Back program?

Comments welcome.

Source – Technologizer

Google Chrome Cr-48 Shipments Stopped At 15k – Could This Be The Reason Why?

For those of you who haven’t applied for a test ride on a Google Chrome Cr-48 notebook computer, it seems that applications are still being accepted. I also do not know the accuracy of the web site that claims to be keeping track of how many Cr-48 notebooks have shipped, but the number seems to have stopped at 15,024 units delivered with another 40 still in transit. One could attribute the holidays as to why shipments have ceased.

Or is there another reason?

Over at Engadget they have posted an article about how the Cr-48 has been hacked:

Google built the Cr-48 with hacking in mind, so it’s no surprise that we’re seeing other operating systems crop up. Still, it’s fun to watch, and enterprising hackers have got most of the usual suspects up and running: first Ubuntu, and now Mac OS X and Windows. It sounds like a lot of work, and we pledged that 2011 was going to be the year we sat on our asses and didn’t do anything hard, but you’re welcome to give it a shot! Just hit up those source links below for instructions, and follow after the break for video of OS X in action.

I believe that Google was fully aware that their system would be exploited by some who received the freebie. One need not be a Rhodes scholar in order to install an alternative operating system on the Cr-48. But what is unfortunate is that these hacked machines are now useless in developing the Chrome operating system, since they provide no information to Google as to glitches and bugs that need fixing.

But there is another unfortunate consequence that may stall the delivery of an estimated 60,000 systems. Google may have to slow down the process and refine who gets one of the Cr-48 Chrome operating systems. Between people trying to sell the systems on e-Bay, hacking the units with other operating systems, Google may need to fine tune the application process.

I have been using the Cr-48 every day and it has not been without some issues, I am still experiencing slow performance on some web sites, but it is sporadic. Last week I took the Cr-48 along with me and I tried the unit on two public networks. It found both networks and worked very well.

The journey continues and I will continue and enjoying the Cr-48. I am looking forward to when Google issues updates for the Chrome OS that hopefully will help with slow page loading I am having for s

Sign-up for Google Chrome Cr-48 pilot program bere

Google Chrome Cr-48 shipment and delivery site information

Source – Engadget

My First Week Using The Google Chrome CR-48 Notebook Computer

Last evening I read an article at eWeek written by Don Reisinger and his opinion as to why Google Chrome is in serious trouble of failing. This was one of those 10 reason articles that is taught at journalism and blogging seminars on how to attract an audience. I am not going to comment on the article, but instead will let one of the people who commented do this for me.

The person [Danny] who commented stated:

I feel like it is pretty ignorant to judge this right now. Google does not want you to review it and I do not think its ready to be reviewed. Give it a chance to develop and let programmers jump on board to create apps and what not. I did not own an Android when it first came out but I am sure people said the same thing about that then too.

“Let every man judge according to his own standards, by what he has himself read, not by what others tell him.”

Thus far I have been enjoying my experience using the Google Chrome CR-48 notebook computer. Some of you may recall that I have previously written about the blur between a netbook and notebook computer, so I am going with the flow calling the CR-48 a notebook.

The Google Chrome CR-48 notebook is a specialty computer that is meant to attack the mighty kingdom in Redmond in which Windows is king. Rather I look at this pint-sized laptop as a computer that will attract a loyal crowd similar to what Apple does with their band of loyalists. Once one can accept this fact, it makes it easier to move on and talk about the specifics of why the computer will succeed.

Next we all need to remember that this is a test computer with beta software. The folks at Google are looking for real world experiences from users so they can fine tune and tweak their software and maybe the hardware as well. I do have one question? When have we seen any company in the technology industry send out 60,000 free computers to be tested? This tells me that the people at Google who designed this have a heck of a lot of confidence that this baby is going to fly.

Some are saying that Google Chrome OS is nothing but Linux in sheep clothing. I have used Linux distros and I am familiar what Linux is. Though the unseen engine may in fact be based on Linux, the OS itself is basically a Chrome browser. This is what makes the system so simple. Everyone has used a browser of some sort and using the Chrome OS is like using a browser.

Others complain that in order for the Chrome OS to function you need an Internet connection. True. Currently the Chrome OS requires an Internet connection to do everything. Whether this will change in the future is still unknown. But if you are reading this it is obvious you have an Internet connection. With thousands of hot spots located almost everywhere, I do not see the problem. Also for a fee you can connect to the Verizon network and be connected wherever you go.

Here is one I really like. You can not do video editing on Google Chrome OS. True. You can’t do video editing on an Apple iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Kindle and many other devices as well. Get over it and move on.

Some are saying that the keyboard is hard to use or that the trackball is unstable. No kidding Sherlock. This is a test computer. If you want perfection by an Apple.

Another stroke of brilliance is those who say that would not store their precious documents with Google using one of their online apps such as Google Doc’s. There is no requirement to use any Google app. That choice is yours and yours alone. For those of you who have your secret formula for making soap, keep these classified documents on your Windows and Apple machine. No one will ever be able to access your stuff because you are protected by a firewall. LOL

What I am finding for my own personal computing needs is that I originally thought I spent about 90% of my computing time using the Internet. I have now come to the realization that number is more like 99% of my time is spent using the computer on the Internet. For me the CR-48 is basically all I would need.

But that is me. Your needs may not be met by a Google Chrome OS powered machine. This is what is going to separate a Google Chrome OS computer from other boxes on the market.

Comments welcome.

Source – eWeek

Would You Buy The Google Chrome OS CR-48 Laptop For $11,100?

First let me start by saying, Google made it very clear to those who received their new CR-48 laptop computer with their very own Google Chrome OS, that is was not supposed to be sold, loaned nor even given away. These are the exact words in the Google agreement when you sign-up to be part of the pilot program:

I agree to not sell or transfer the device to anyone else, unless under written instruction from Google to do so.

But someone put their CR-48 up for sale on eBay starting the bidding at 1 cent. After 36 bids the offers had increased to $11,100. Even the original box that the CR-48 came in was being sold for $99 on eBay. Some were clever in their wording saying that they were not actually selling the device. But you were welcome to go ahead and bid anyway.

Google didn’t take kindly to those who were selling their laptops saying they were actually considered stolen property:

If you buy one of the Cr-48 Notebooks that pops up on eBay, you are in fact purchasing stolen property. Google had these laptops manufactured specifically to test out their new operating system, and shipped them to people who agreed to test them over the coming months. Anyone who is selling one this soon has in effect stolen said laptop from Google.

Google knew that some of their systems would in fact tried to be sold. I would venture a guess that Google has the legal muscle to go after those who seem to have ignored the agreement.

For me I believe that those of us who received a computer from Google and accepted the agreement, have the responsibility to complete and fulfill what I believe is a legal contract.

With that being said I will sell mine at a discount for only $10,000! LOL

Just joking Google. I am  typing this post on your product as I am sure you can tell by tracking my moves.

Comments welcome.

Source – Fast Company

Google Chrome CR-48 Netbook First Day Review

When I signed up to test the new Chrome netbook, I agreed to use the computer for my daily activities. This may prove to be a problem for me. After getting the computer setup and becoming familiar with how it works, I dropped over to both of my Lockergnome blog sites. I logged in expecting a similar experience I normally have with writing, posting my blog and answering comments. What I found was a slow, like in molasses, response time. My blog sites are where I spent a good deal of my time when on the Internet and I need the sites to work properly. Instead I found that trying to refresh a page was painful. Painful in that it either took forever to refresh or I got an error saying the webpage could not load.

Over at the Chrome OS web site it states:

Fast: No more waiting around. Chrome notebooks start-up in seconds and webpages load in a snap.

I went to check my Gmail and the page loaded slow as well. I do realize that both the software and hardware are new, but this is painful folks. That is when I recalled reading this:

The Pilot program is not for the faint of heart.

I won’t give up.

I tried blocking Flash and the system seems to be working better. I’ll report about this in a follow-up review.

As previous reviewer have reported the beauty part about Google Chrome OS is that it starts quickly. If you close the lid it the computer goes into standby mode and the system instantly comes to life when you reopen the lid. This morning when I got up I tried this and everything, including all of my open tabs, came to life immediately,

What has become obvious to me is how much of what I do on a computer is Internet-based. Chrome satisfies about 90% of my computing needs. This is the market where Google is aiming at. You don’t even need Google Chrome to determine your computer habits.

That is about all for now. Except for the slowness on the Internet, which may be attributed to Flash, my overall experience has been positive. I believe that Google Chrome, Android or whatever Google calls it, will satisfy your computing needs if you spend a lot of time on the Internet.

I hooked up a USB mice to the netbook which made using the system easier for me. I am not a huge fan of track-pads.

Comments welcome.

PS I will report back in a week with another review.

Google Chrome Netbook – I Got Mine!

Just a quick note. About one hour ago the UPS man came and brought me an unmarked box with only a UPS Louisville, Kentucky as the sender. I opened the box and I was surprised to see a no name netbook inside. It was the Google Chrome netbook I had signed up for to test. Setup was very simple and I was up and running in under 10 minutes. In facr I am writing this from the Google Chrome netbook.

The only thing I immediately noticed was that the 10 inch screen is small compared to my 17 inch Toshiba. But I guess this is a trade-off for having a very portable device compared to a full blown laptop. :-)

I’ll be posting a review of the unit over at the Blade, once I get to play with my new toy this weekend.

Vacuum Tube to BlackBerries – My Phone Can Navigate to the Moon

There should be an image here!Cloud computing reminds me of the early days of computing — at least of computing with digital computers. The first digital computer I worked on was a Bendix G15. An interesting feature of it was that you could pull out each bit and look at it. Each bit was on a card with two vacuum tubes. Non-volatile memory was punched tape fed through a reader. Again, you could see the bits.

In the sixties, we carried punch cards to a mainframe to submit in a queue for running in batch mode. Later we got dumb terminals that could actually talk, more or less, to the mainframe (wired, of course). Personal computers used audio cassettes to store kilobits of information. Finally personal computers got cheap enough and powerful enough to do some real work by themselves. My first commercial purchase was an Apple ][ complete with 64k of RAM (an upgrade) and two floppy drives. Adding a dot-matrix printer with false descenders brought the bill to about $4,400, if I remember right.

The first night at home, I carefully removed the motherboard and installed the capability of true upper and lower case typing. This could have been done more easily, but I did not want to obviously void my warranty. The wires were hidden underneath.

Next, we removed the cover, never to be replaced, and installed a variety of upgrade cards, most of which were too big for the cover. The Apple looked a bit like a hotrod automobile with cutouts in the hood to make room for extra carburetors. To give a flavor of the times, one could use the normal power supply (the shape and volume of a box of animal crackers) to speed copy all 270k bytes from one floppy to another, but the application would open with “Copy from ___” and you entered the identifier. Then it asked “Copy to__” and identifier. So far so good, but before commencing the operation, the system asked “Destroy power supply y/n?” That caught your attention. An external or upgraded power supply was useful.

But shortly thereafter, I scored on some Sage computers from a company that was going out of business. This was in the early seventies. We were the only private house on the block (or maybe city) with a central server and four terminals and a dialup connection — cloud computing of its day. My wife of the time had a terminal in the kitchen for her recipes. Was that cutting edge or what? We switched from BASIC to Pascal. Fortran still ruled on the mainframe.

But all was not well. My two boys picked up the possibilities quickly. They showed me how to defeat the early copy protection on floppies. One evening my twelve year old son ran out of the house as I came home. The phone was ringing. He shouted back, “If that is the Air Force again, tell them I’m not here.” Turns out he had probably hacked into a CDC6600 somewhere. The word “again” seemed particularly ominous. My other son called me into his room one night. “Look here, I found a bulletin board for gay marines — you want to see what they want to do to each other?” Later I found a program had been installed without my knowledge that dialed telephone numbers randomly and recorded those that responded to a computer query. After several incidents like that, I curtailed access. How successful that curtailment was is unknown. By that time, they were proficient enough to cover their tracks.

But times went on and computers continued to evolve. Personal computing became less of an expensive hobby and more of a cheap necessity. Meanwhile mainframes also evolved. Now my phone is more powerful than a super computer of yore — certainly more powerful than the computers that went to the moon. The Internet blossomed as memory costs decreased. Who would have thought in the sixties that we would devote enough computer memory to stockpile many Library of Congress equivalents to the mundane task of preserving videos of Pamela Anderson? What else do you do when a 2 terabyte hard drive cost less than $100?

Now armed with extremely powerful personal computers, we are beginning to back off and voluntarily purchase less powerful computers in the form of netbooks and augment computing power with cloud computing. What goes around comes around.

What are your memories of that seminal period?

[Photo above by Paulo Henrique Rodrigues / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Saying Goodbye To Windows XP – Not So Fast There, Buddy!

Today is the day that Microsoft places the requirements on OEMs to no longer install Windows XP on any and all computer systems. The nine-year old system is going to be put to bed by Microsoft, but not by consumers. This afternoon my grandson and his friend were playing an Internet game and guess what OS is on the laptop? Yes, good old reliable Windows XP. It is funny that the old OS can hold its own in this day and age, when Microsoft no longer wishes us to be using it.

In one recent article it stated that:

Netbooks were the last category of PCs on which Microsoft was still allowing XP preloads at this point. Back in April 2008, Microsoft told OEMs that October 22, 2010, would be the day that no more XP Home would be permitted to be preinstalled on new netbooks.

Update: XP preloads are done, but XP downgrades are not, by the way. Best any of us Microsoft watchers can tell, it looks like XP downgrades will be allowed up until 2015. (Microsoft won’t confirm or deny that date.)

Windows XP for many of us remains as a good friend and will remain that way for many years to come. I believe the old girl still has a lot of miles left in her, and will continue to be a popular OS for the foreseeable future.

Comments welcome.

Source – ZDNet

Toshiba Protege Laptop – Compact & More Powerful Than A Netbook

Netbooks were geared to replace the bulky laptop for those who travel a lot and need Internet access. The pint sized laptops were limited in the power they provided to users using light weight processors to do their computing. But Toshiba has a laptop that could should fill the need for the light weight advantage of a netbook, but with the power of a laptop.

Last night a friend of ours stopped by to show off a new laptops she had just purchased at Best Buy. The unit was a Toshiba Protege Laptop being sold at Best Buy for $799.99 and comes with the following setup:

  • Intel® Core™ i3-350M processor
    With a 3MB cache and 2.26GHz processor speed.
  • Intel® Core™ i3 processor
    Features smart 4-way processing performance for HD quality computing. Intel® HD graphics provide extra graphics power for your laptop when you need it.
  • 4GB DDR3 memory
    For multitasking power, expandable to 8GB.
  • Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive
    Create custom DVDs and CDs.
  • 13.3″ LED-backlit high-definition widescreen display
    With TruBrite technology and a 1366 x 768 resolution delivers intense detail and clarity. Native support for 720p content.
  • Intel® Wireless Display
    Wirelessly transmits streamed or downloaded movies, TV shows, music, photos and more from your laptop, network or the Internet to your TV (NETGEAR Push2TV adapter required, not included).
  • 500GB Serial ATA hard drive (5400 rpm)
    Offers fast read/write times. 3D hard drive impact sensor for smooth operation.

Some of the features I liked was that a HDMI outlet was included and that this laptop only weighs about 3 lbs. In addition the netbook comes with Windows 7 Home Premium which makes it easy to use. This laptop I believe offers the advantage of a laptop along with the light weight of a netbook.

Take a look and see what you think.

Comments welcome.

Best Buy – Toshiba Laptop