Intel Moblin 2.0

What is Intel Moblin 2.0? Intel Moblin 2.0 is a Linux distribution built on top of Fedora and Gnome’s desktop environment. Moblin 2.0 will compete with Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system as well as with Google’s Android in the mini notebook market.

Recently, the Moblin project was turned over by Intel to the Linux Foundation in order to gain more community support. Moblin 2.0 main draw is simplicity and ease of use. The distro is somewhat similar to gOS, which essentially is Google applications running on top of the Ubuntu desktop.

Dell XPS 13

Dell is now offering Ubuntu and Vista on the XPS 13 for roughly $1000. The good news is that Ubuntu Linux is now an option. The bad news is the hardware upgrade options for Ubuntu seems to be on the short end of the stick.

The standard Dell XPS 13 comes with 2.4 GHz Intel Core Duo processor. Vista buyers can upgrade to 2.53 GHz and 2.6 GHz processors, while Ubuntu buyers can only upgrade to a 2.53 GHz processor.

In terms of RAM memory, Ubuntu buyers can only go up to 4GB, while Vista users can upgrade their systems to either 6GB or 8GB. The same goes for batteries. Ubuntu users don’t have upgrade options to purchase 9-cell batteries. Finally, there is no mobile broadband option for Ubuntu.

This doesn’t seem fair for Ubuntu users, but then again you might not need the extra bells and whistles if Ubuntu runs quite well on lower hardware requirements. The XPS 13 comes with Ubuntu 8.10 or 7.04 with 1 year of Basic Support.

Palm Pre

pre

Introducing the Palm Pre, slated to be out June 6, priced at $199 after rebate with a 2 year committment with Sprint. This Linux powered device does multi-tasking quite well, better than the iPhone. It has an integrated browser, a universal search feature, email and calendar sync with Outlook, Google and Facebook calendars.

The Pre has wi-fi support and a GPS. It also comes with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and with a 3 megapixel LED flash camera. You can read more details about the Pre from Palm’s website as well as the review from Gizmodo.

Lastly, here’s a couple of videos worth seeing.

Install FFMPEG in Ubuntu 9.04

I found an excellent tutorial on how to install FFMPEG in Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope. I have been struggling with the correct instructions until I accidentally bumped into this thread in the Ubuntu Forums. The instructions listed here did the trick for me. It not only works for Jaunty, but it has instructions for previous versions of Ubuntu as well. It takes a good 15-20 minutes to compile the source code, so grab a cup of coffee and come back later when it is all said and done.

Here’s a typical command to convert a Windows WMV video to Flash FLV video. Read the FFMPEG documentation.

# ffmpeg -i fifa32.wmv -r 25 -ac 2 -ab 64 -ar 11025 -s 300x200 -qscale .1 -y fifa32.flv

Dell Mini 10 with Ubuntu

mini

The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 now comes with Ubuntu as an alternative to the standard Windows XP. The difference in price is about $90. Ubuntu is priced at $360, while Windows XP is $460.

The high end Mini 10 comes preconfigured with an Atom Z530 processor, 10.1 inch LCD display, 1GB RAM, 160GB hard drive, 1.3 mp webcam and a 6 cell battery. The standard color is Osidian Black. Additional colors are available for an additional $40-60.

The Mini 10 comes with Ubuntu 8.04 LTS or long term support. Ubuntu’s latest release is version 9.04, codename Jaunty Jackalope.

DriveStation TurboUSB 1TB Hard Drive

buffalo

Are you looking for a 1 Terabyte external drive? Well, check out Buffalo’s DriveStation Turbo USB 1TB Hard Drive that just went on sale at Micro Center for just $99. It was originally priced at $149. The device is easy to setup and connects via USB 2.0 or Firewire IEEE1394. The DriveStation uses TurboUSB making it run 20% faster than the normal USB 2.0 transfer rate. The cables are included with the unit. With autoinstallation, it comes installed with Buffalo’s Memeoâ„¢ AutoBackup software. This is a fanless chassis design making the device run cooler and with less noise. The unit can be placed either vertically or horizontally.

8 Linux Distributions Compared

Here’s an interesting article comparing 8 Linux distributions. The distros reviewed were Fedora, Mandriva, OpenSuse, Knoppix, Ubuntu, PuppyLinux, Backtrack and ArchLinux. Surprisingly, Fedora got the highest grade of 28/30, while Knoppix posted the lowest grade of 23/30. The specialty distros: PuppyLinux, Backtrack and ArchLinux were not given grades.

It certainly is a good idea to try other distributions. It gives you an idea of their look and feel, and how they work and behave. You will also get to know their quirks. I personally like Ubuntu. Mandriva used to be my favorite. I have Fedora now on my laptop. I haven’t tried OpenSuse in years. The last 3 specialty distros, I’m not too excited about.

So, here’s my advice. Go with a distro that floats your boat. One thing I’m glad of is that, there are many, many choices for Linux users. And that’s a good thing.

OpenOffice 3.1

OpenOffice 3.1 was released today. The previous version, OpenOffice 3.0 has been downloaded over 60 million times since it was released last October 2008.

So, what’s new with OpenOffice 3.1? An improved on screen graphics or anti-aliasing heads the list of improvements. The improved graphics even extend to images that are dragged across the screen.

Writer, the word processor now supports ‘reply’ and ‘conversation’ as well as an integrated grammar check operation. Calc, the spreadsheet comes with improved sorting, hot new formulas and overall improved performance.

To see all the new features of OpenOffice 3.1, check out the official release statement from the OpenOffice.org community.

Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope released just a few weeks ago comes with OpenOffice 3.0.1. To upgrade to OpenOffice 3.1, just follow the instructions detailed by Andrew.

Windows 7 At First Glance

I’ve just gathered a few articles worth noting as Windows 7 begins to take shape. As most of you know, Windows 7 Release Candidate was released to the general public for download. It’s a bit odd for Microsoft to do this. Was Microsoft feeling the pressure to release it? I just can’t get over the fact that Microsoft is giving away their latest OS for free with a license that will not expire until June 1, 2010. Perhaps, it was to relieve the pressure from Vista users for all their troubles.

Microsoft plans to offer six different versions of Windows 7. That seems a lot. Confusion may abound. There is a Starter edition which runs in XP mode targeting netbooks. XP mode is a bit restrictive since it can only run three applications at one time. Also, initial results of the speed test indicate that Windows 7 is not much faster than Vista. In addition, Microsoft also released the Windows 7 system requirements and they are not much different than Vista.

Complaints are beginning to trickle in. Mozilla recently said Windows 7 poses an unfair advantage over other browsers. That sounds familiar? There are other issues as well. One reviewer said Windows 7 did not install because it could not recognize the hard drive. The user had to use Gparted, a Linux tool to partition a drive and then Windows 7 proceeded with the install. Classic.

Do we expect big changes between now and the final release? Maybe. Maybe not. Report show that Microsoft tends to be slow in their development. There are not too many changes between the beta version and the release candidate. The downer is that initial reports indicate that as much as 84% of businesses will not upgrade to Windows 7.

In any case, we all want the Windows 7 product to succeed. We don’t want all Windows users switching to other operating systems like Linux and the Mac, do we?

You can read all Windows 7 related articles from ComputerWorld.

Kindle DX

Here are some of the features of Amazon’s Kindle DX:

  • Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines
  • Carry Your Library: Holds up to 3,500 books, periodicals, and documents
  • Beautiful Large Display: 9.7″ diagonal e-ink screen reads like real paper; boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and sharp images
  • Auto-Rotating Screen: Display auto-rotates from portrait to landscape as you turn the device so you can view full-width maps, graphs, tables, and Web pages
  • Built-In PDF Reader: Native PDF support allows you to carry and read all of your personal and professional documents on the go
  • Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle DX, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, no annual contracts, and no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Books In Under 60 Seconds: You get free wireless delivery of books in less than 60 seconds; no PC required
  • Long Battery Life: Read for days without recharging
  • Read-to-Me: With the text-to-speech feature, Kindle DX can read newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you, unless the book’s rights holder made the feature unavailable
  • Big Selection, Low Prices: Over 275,000 books; New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases are only $9.99, unless marked otherwise
  • More Than Books: U.S. and international newspapers including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, magazines including The New Yorker and Time, plus popular blogs, all auto-delivered wirelessly

It looks great, but at $489! Who could afford? In this economy? Maybe, Amazon is not really targeting students, but the over 40 crowd.