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Archive for the ‘Gadgets’ Category

Mobile Computer Booth/Cubicle

Inflatable office
An inflatable booth for you to work in [rolls eyeballs]

EXPAND your mind for a moment and imagine working everywhere. Imagine being able to grab your office (probably computer) everywhere you go.

If the thought seems pleasant, look no further. I have just come across what I can only describe as an inflatable igloo. Frankly, I doubt it will ever become a success. People go outdoors in order to escape, rather than pursue work in a disconnected, mobile environment.

Also see: Server in a Bubble

Linux on iPod Boots on Mac

Laptop and iPod
The little ‘object’ on the left has the most responsibility. The laptop may act as merely a relic, a host.

The title says it all. It is
Booting Linux on a Mac from an iPod”>yet another story which illustrates the versatility of GNU/Linux.

Think about this scenario for a moment: Using an iPod to boot Linux on a Mac. No, we’re not kidding. This is exactly what writer Dave Taylor describes in a new online article at entitled “Yellow Dog Linux Installs Neatly on an iPod.”

‘Origami’: Ultraportable PC?

iPod head
Can Origami become an iPod killer?

WE are all yet to hear about “Origami”. It is now at its ‘rumour stage’, but it is said to be a revolutionary piece of equipment from Microsoft. “Origami” could probably a miniature wearable (thus the name) hardware that is connected to a centralised network. CNET have some details.

Like Slashdot and other blogs and online forums, we, too, are getting tips about a new Microsoft concept gadget codenamed “Origami” that we understand is sort of a “Mini Me” PC.

Tiny Projectors for Phones and Handheld Computers

Internet Explorer 7 screenshot
Looking forward to running a presentation solely off your PDA?

ANOTHER tiny toy is yet to hit athe market: a matchbox-sized data projector that can be mounted onto a cellular phone or a PDA. Its projected resolution can be as high as 2048×1280 pixels and power consumption is not a major issue.

Light Blue Optics Ltd (LBO) has developed a revolutionary technology for miniature laser projectors dubbed PVPro. Today they announced their latest demonstrator unit, which is only 3.78 cubic inches in volume, and is similar in size and shape to a typical matchbox.

The gadget is of particular interest to me, perhaps owing to a personal vision. For quite while I have been wishing to have my PDA connect to external displays (analogous to projectors) at greater ease — something which is possible already, using third-party hard/software for Palm. Rather soon, one would hope, with miniature data projector readily-available and peripherals likewise, full-scale computers can unfold off our small pockets.

Related item: Spherical Display

Laptop Versus the Desktop and the PDA

Compaq with Linux

AFTER 6 years with a laptop, I gave up on it completely. This was mentioned in the context of the PDA and also 6 years to a laptop’s retirement. There are a two main reasons for giving up a laptop: (1) a desktop machine is typically more powerful; (2) a PDA can replace laptop for better mobility.

More on the deficiencies of the laptop, which I include as addenda to previous essays:

  • The laptop cannot be carried in the streets or pulled out within seconds to be used for a just few seconds, then pocketed
  • Laptops are heavier
  • Laptops rely on wireless connections while one travels. This makes Web navigation and mail rather impractical on the go. Text, navigation and productivity through creation seem like the stronger points when using laptops
  • Laptops are difficult and expensive to fix, maintain, and extend

Portable Applications

Shrimp USB drive
One of the most unusual drives

IT is worth bringing to people’s attention a new concept in computing: portable applications. Applications reside on a USB drive and can be run and used anywhere, any time on any modern computer which is capable of a USB boot. Data files can be stored on the device, unlike for example, most Live CD’s. The portable application Web site offers a large variety of programs. Below is the list of portable applications with equivalents on Sourceforge, some of which are under development:

  • For browsing: Firefox
  • For communication: Gaim
  • For Web development/design: NVU
  • As an office productivity tool: and AbiWord
  • For diary/scheduling/PIM: Sunbird
  • As a mail client: Thunderbird

It is not only applications that get mounted onto USB devices nowadays. Entire operating systems, notably Linux distributions, have become portable as well. I once mentioned this as an expectation for he near future in Computers as Relics and Computer Become Host. That’s where I expressed similar ideas that envisioned a USB-based or portable hard-drive-based operating systems. The concepts, which are very reminiscent of a Live CD, were brought to my attention via a reader’s comment.

Huge Success for Open Source Tablet

Nokia 770

THE Nokia 770, which I have mentioned before its arrival, is an Internet tablet that is based on Open Source and the Debian Linux distribution. It has proven to be very popular among gadgeteers from either side of the world. In fact, high demand rendered it “understocked”.

A new development environment has recently been introduced to the public. Its intent is to encourage involvement from the Open Source community. Many Open Source projects will sooner or later be ported to run on the Nokia 770 with its high performance hardware and high-resolution screen. As for size, the dimensions of the device are comparable with that of a typical Palm handheld.

The world’s largest mobile manufacturer Nokia looks to have scored a major hit with a new wireless device that doesn’t have any phone functionality. The Finnish firm announced on Wednesday that, against its expectations, it is to increase production of its 770 Internet Tablet handheld after achieving huge online sales since its launch in early November. In fact, demand for the product in Europe and the US is so great that the company has currently run out of stock and customers are facing a minimum two-week wait for the device.

As I said half a dozen times before, I am tempted to ditch Palm after many years. The Nokia unit suits my needs, as well as ‘development mantra’.

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