Android on Mini Laptops

Android sounds like a robot, but it is actually a Linux distribution by Google. Acer, the third largest PC maker will offer Android to its mini laptops. It will compete with several Linux distributions like gOS, Linpus and Ubuntu’s Netbook Remix among others. Most of all, Google is now a competitor of Microsoft in the OS market. Currently, most mini laptops are powered by Windows XP since Vista, Microsoft’s flagship OS is too slow and resource hungry to run the underpowered mini laptops. The Android offering is going to be attractive to consumers since Google already has the brand, the online office applications and Chrome, its own browser.

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.

Unix at 40

Unix is 40 years old today. It didn’t seem that long ago, but then again it seems like Unix has been around for a very long time. Now, take a look at this OS timeline here and you will see missed opportunities for Unix to get a foothold on the desktop computing in the early 1980’s. It’s too bad Unix could not take advantage of its opportunities before IBM and eventually Microsoft came along with their PC-DOS and Windows operating systems. Linux was born in 1991 when Finnish Linus Torvalds released an Unix-like kernel which subsequently turned into dozens of Linux distributions that we see today. Fast forward to now and the future, you see a world deeply entreched on the Windows. It’s still an uphill battle to get people to recognize that there is a third option to Windows and Apple operating systems. Unix and Linux in general have come a long way from its humble command-line beginnings to the current Gnome based GUIs.

Lenovo S10

I recently bought a mini laptop, a Lenovo S10. I love it. I’ve been searching for an affordable mini for several months now. I’ve looked at Asus, Dell and HP the past few months. Last week, I just happened to be at Frys Electronics down at Anaheim looking for audio cables and I came across the Lenovo S10. I fell in love with it from the start. It took me a better of 10 minutes to decide I needed to buy it.

That’s how much faith I had in the product because I haven’t seen any reviews when I bought it. I am glad to know that the Lenovo S10 had nothing but rave reviews from several sources. Here is a list of reviews from Lenovo’s website. There are plenty more reviews from third party vendors and technology blogs and websites. The Lenovo S10 have faired very well.

What’s in the Lenovo S10? Well, the Lenovo S10 is based on a 1.6Mhz Intel Atom Processor with 1GB of RAM and 160GB hard drive. It runs on Windows XP with a 10.2 inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1024×600. It weighs only a measly 2.4 lbs. The S10 has the following ports: VGA, Ethernet, mic, and headphone and a 4-in-1 card reader. It comes with 2 USB ports and ExpressCard slot. It also comes with 1.3mp built-in webcam. The laptop comes with a 3 cell battery good enough for 2.5 – 3 hours of uptime.

Performance has been great. I love the fact that it runs on Windows XP and not Vista. The S10 is fast enough for web browsing, chat and for editing documents. I even use it for live streaming. It works great. The other reason I didn’t have any hesitation to buying the S10 was it was a Lenovo. It’s built well which is typical of Lenovo’s line of products. Not bad for a mini that only costs $349. I absolutely love it.

In addition, one of two USB ports that is available is bootable. Maybe one day, I can install Ubuntu Linux on it. The ExpressCard is also a great option for adding Firewire, a SATA drive or a Wireless 3G device. Ah, the fun. If you are looking for a mini, be sure to check on the Lenovo S10. It might be the one you want.

Install Linux In Your Old Laptop

Breathe new life in your old Laptop by installing and running Linux. I have a Fujitsu Lifebook S6210 that’s about four years old. It showing its age. The laptop has cracks in the housing unit, several missing screws, worn out edges and a couple of dead pixels on the screen.

It was running Windows XP Home Edition. It was painfully slow. Applications took over a several minutes to fire up. My laptop needs a makeover. Quick. Well, after years of abuse, installing and uninstalling software, system updates, etcetera, the laptop is about to give up the ghost.

I found the original Fujitsu box containing several factory CDs. One of the CD is the Recovery Disk. Perfect. It was time to reinstall the software as if it were new when I first bought it. I ran the recovery, rebooted, then the Blue Screen of Death.

I reinstalled twice. Each time I got the same result, the Blue Screen of Death. This I know for sure, the Factory Recovery CD image does not work. Next move. Install Windows XP Home Edition from another source. The problem is I don’t have one.

My brother has Windows XP Professional. So, I tried that. I found out my OEM Serial Key does not work on Windows XP Professional only with Windows XP Home Edition. It was so frustrating.

Finally, I was so fed up. I switched over to Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron. I even tried Fedora 10. That worked as well. Needless to say, I didn’t have issues with the install. Just a couple of tweaks and I was ready to go.

So, if you have an old laptop that’s dying, don’t chuck it away. Install Linux. Install Ubuntu, Fedora or any other distribution you like. You’ll be amazed how your old hardware has found this fountain of youth called Linux.

Linux Boot Up Less Than 3 Seconds

There’s a Linux distribution borne out of Japan called Lineo that claims it can boot up in 2.97 seconds on a low-powered system. The technology uses something similar to hibernation or suspend to disk. It takes a snapshot of the system, compresses it and saves it in flash memory.

Boot up improvements can be up to 10 times faster than a normal Linux distribution. Meanwhile, Intel engineers were able to configure an Asus Eee PC running Fedora to boot up in less than 5 seconds. The boot system is comprised of modified software loads from Fedora and Moblin.

Better boot time could be a factor between choosing Linux over Windows. Less 5 seconds is fast, but less than 3 seconds. That’s heaven.

Dropbox

Today, I finally got a chance to play around with Dropbox, an online file sharing service. Shared files are accessed online via a web browser or a mobile device or client software. The client software looks just like any folder.

The software automates the synchronizing of files and photos. The Dropbox works just like any other folder on your computer, but with a few differences. You can drag and drop move files around, just like you normally would in any folder.

Any files or folders inside Dropbox will get synchronized to Dropbox’s servers and any other computer linked to your account. Green checkmarks will appear on top of your files to let you know that they’re synced and up to date.

Your files are always safe. All data is transferred over SSL and encrypted with AES-256 before storage.

Dropbox keeps track of every change made to any of its contents. Any changes are instantly and automatically sent to any other computer linked to your Dropbox. The Dropbox clients for Windows, Mac and Linux all play nice with one another too!

Dropbox’s shared folders make it easy for you to share a bunch of stuff with other people. This makes Dropbox perfect for team projects, music/video editing, and much more. Easily share files just two clicks away. share photos. There is a 2gb limit.

Visit Dropbox to learn more about the service or watch this screencast.

Adeona Service

Adeona is a Roman goddess of safe returns. It’s appropriate that a new open software service under GPLv2 is named after it. Adeona is an Open Source system for tracking the location of lost or stolen laptops. It does not require a proprietary or central service, but rather a free one.

The system is privacy-preserving meaning that no one besides the owner has access to Adeona for tracking a stolen system. Unlike other systems, Adeona users state-of-the-art cryptographic mechanisms to assure users their laptop information is secure.

Adeona uses a remote community storage facility to store a system’s information. Adeona client software is available in three platforms: Windows, Mac OS and Linux. The Mac OS version is capable of capturing iSight pictures accessible only to the laptop’s owner – for later access if recovered.

Give it a try. It’s a free service.