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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:36 pm  Post subject: UltraPortables? Notebooks?
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I think the holy grail of mobile computing is something that's as small and as light as possible, and something with enough juice and power to match a laptop. The problem is I don't think anythings ever come close to achieving this; not even remotely.

Anyway, as far as i've glanced there's the following categories of portables:
Laptops (big to large)
Notebooks (Smaller laptops)
Small Form Notebooks (aka. palm tops, smaller than laptops, full size keyboard, etc. often run full OS)
MobilePCs (I think this is a "microsoft" thing, uses a CE OS)
UltraPortables (These are like semi-hard keyboards in non-standard layouts, big screen, light, but often lacking in OS or hardware)
Tablet PCs (Tablet, touch screen, but i've yet to see one that works well)
Mobiles/PDAs (phones, but severely lacking in power and functionality)


I want something that's smaller than a laptop and light, but i want something I can use. We are talking:
  • Must run desktop applications
  • Eclipse - Java, MVN, SVN, PHP, etc. will all be required, so we are talking a chunk of ram and a decent cpu
  • Full sized/or smaller form but full layout of keys
  • Network capabilities / Wireless


I have a pda which i view as woefully inadequet for more than basic scheduling and maybe an email. I have a phone that can handle mail fine. I have a laptop that's decent enough (can run weblogic and do java builds/whatever) but is not portable enough. I like keyboards.

Essentially i have time during the day I see as downtime, and would like to try and recoup my train travel time and actually do some work. I have a laptop and use it round the house, but its far too big for me to carry round all the time.

So does anyone have any advice, has seen a device either out or upcoming, etc. that they can share?

What I've descibed is most likely not been achieved, and if a company came along and cracked it I think we'd see a blackberry kind of explosion in business sectors.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 8:40 pm  Post subject:
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http://www.dynamism.com <-- drool

I've been watching ebay for a Toshiba Libretto.
The prices are insane, even for a used one.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 12:10 am  Post subject:
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Sounds like you understood me. :) I've been looking at some of the machines they list there actually but there's a few more i've not seen; they are usually priced £700-2000 (+for the 'indestructables', etc.). Quite deer but its 'cutting edge' portables on the other hand.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 4:02 pm  Post subject:
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I got some suggestions from fh:
RizzzO wrote:
Some suggestions:

HTC Advantage (more PDA than notebook, but certainly small and light as hell, for what its capable of):

Image

Some specs: Quadband, 3G, 3MP cam + second VGA video cam, 8GB mini drive, 128MB RAM, 256MB ROM, USB host, integrated GPS, integrated WifiG, 5" Touchscreen, Bluetooth 2.0, detachable keyboard...google knows more.

Detail pics: http://www.mypocketpc.ch/Reviews/PocketPCs/17545.aspx

////

Toshiba SS RX / Portege 500 series

Image

Damn sweet thing...

Specs: ULV 1.07 DuoCore, upto 2GB RAM, 12.1" LCD, integrated DVDRW,up to 6.2 hours battery life...and weighs 848 grams!! Without the DVDRW even 768...damn, and I thought my Vaio SZ1XP was light, 1.62kg...

///

Those are the first two things that came to my mind. Interesting subject btw, been looking for such a solution myself. Kinda stopped due to the lack of sufficient funding... :wacky:

RizzzO


unmake wrote:
Why not wait for the OLPC or Asus Eee PC to become available? Until they do, subnotebooks seem to be exclusively premium items.


spudthedestroyer wrote:
HTC Advantage is way too low spec i'm afraid. I've gone off pda's completely too. Too limited on the software front, and the interface I can't stand. not suitable for programming work imo.

@Toshiba,
lol http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lw2kZy1B5Hg

It looks to be speced great, and will be very adequet for dev work (might chug a bit with weblogic running and some heavy development, but i'm very unlikely to be doing that on the move). its 2000euros, which is about £1400 when you do the wacky moronic conversion and add in the astronomical amount of tax we have to pay. That puts it in the same region as the Sony Vaio TZ series.

@Asus EEE
interesting, but it sounds like it has the power of a spectrum.
Its got an old 900Mhz pentium 4 with 512mb of ram and an incredibly small hdd (SSD). I don't know if its powerful enough, but at £199 its amazingly cheap and something i'm gonna look out for :o

@HP Compaq TC1000, Specs are a little low but its kind of personal hatred of tablets that's blocked that one :lol:


I'm going to scout around for some reviews and snizzle, but I'll be looking at:
Toshiba SS RX
Sony Vaio TZ
Asus EEE (hopefully they'll have a beefier model)

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 6:42 pm  Post subject:
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okay this is where i've got.

I really like the idea of the Toshiba R500, but I've heard the screen for the retail is terrible and the battery life is bad.

The Sony Vaio is nice, but its expensive and not perfect.

I like the idea of the Asus U1F, but its got some aspects that i find a tad worrying.

I love everything about the Lenovo X61s (well its a bit heavier though :( ) except it doesn't have a touchpad and that's really worrying.


So i'm searching high and low for some video footage of someone using a Lenovo Thinkpad X61s, which includes them navigating around with the 'mouse nipple' and the mouse buttons (maybe scrolling up and down a page too).... if i can rest my fears about it not being very good to use, then i'm probably going to get one of those.


Can anyone help with that?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:14 pm  Post subject:
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I made my choice, and it was the LeNovo/IBM ThinkPad X61s:


Image

http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/lenovo- ... 65540.html
http://www.laptopmag.com/Review/Lenovo- ... d-X61s.htm
http://www.notebookreview.com/default.a ... eview=X61s

I'm guessing it will take a few weeks to arrive now though, but I've made the purchase based on videos/images and a heck of a lot of positive feedback :)

I got it with the following specs:
* Model: X61s 7669-88U
* Operating System: Vista Business 32 Bit
* CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz L7500 4MB L2 Cache 800MHz FSB
* Chipset: Intel i965M
* Memory: 4GB DDR2 PC5300 2 Slots, 0 Open 4GB Max
* Hard Drive: 120GB 5400rpm
* Screen: 12” XGA 1024x768
* Graphics Card: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
* Wireless: ThinkPad A/B/G/N, Bluetooth
* Inputs: 88 Key Keyboard, PointStick with UltraNav Buttons
* Buttons: Power, ThinkVantage, Power Up and Down, Mute, and WiFi/Bluetooth On/Off Switch
* Ports:
o Three USB Ports – One Left Side, Two Right Side
o Four Pin FireWire
o Ethernet and Modem
o VGA Out
o Headphone and Microphone Jacks
* Slots:
o SD Card Reader
o Express Card Slot
o Dock Connector
* Battery : Eight Cell
* Dimensions With Eight Cell Battery:
o Width – 10.5”
o Depth – 9.4”
o Height – 0.8”(Front) / 1.4”(Rear)
* Weight: 3.3 Lbs.
* Warranty: Three Years


<table><td>
Pros:
Very powerful for an ultraportable,
Supposedly good battery life,

Cons:
Slightly heavier than the more expensive alternatives I listed,
Would have been nice to have a track pad too.
Availability means i have to switch out the keyboard from a us import to a uk one :(
</td></table>


Once i get it I'll give some more detailed feedback if you want :)

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 4:23 am  Post subject:
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You'll probably hate the 'nipple pointer" at first but they aren't bad after you get used to 'em.

It's nice if you do a lot of typing because it's right there and you don't have to move your hands off the keys.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 5:22 am  Post subject:
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thanks for the info, yeah your the umpteenth person to tell me that, and i kind of figured i'm not gonna be used to it right away... but a heck of a lot of people rave about "nipples", thinks like scrolling is supposed to be a lot easier :)

You know much about the thinkpad range, x61s, comments on the specs? I'm commited to buying now, but hey, feel free to put me down if you have a better notepad now! :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 11:03 pm  Post subject:
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my replacement keyboard has arrived but i'm thinking its going to be several weeks until i get my laptop :(

The specs are above the base unit, so I'm guessing lenovo has to build it up, ship it to the merchant, the merchant then has to inventory it, then pack it up and ship it to me. Oh well....


So, what is essential notebook software?

imo, the following are essential applications:

Synergy: Freeware
http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/
Used to allow you to control more than one machine with a single mouse and keyboard. All machines operate distinctly, unlike some other apps you can get which are just running a little vnc server and mounting it as a seperate display for a single machine.

TortoiseSVN: Freeware
http://tortoisesvn.tigris.org/
IMO the best way to share documents between machines. If your a programmer in any collaborative environment you will have used svn, or at least know what it is. A replacement for CVS, a superior system to VSS, etc. Setup a subversion repository on a server, and version control my documents, etc. Merging is best with xml, txt, etc. but office files are supported (merging is needed when you get conflicts, ie. change a document on your laptop that's been changed simultaneously elsewhere).

ThunderBirdPortable: Freeware
http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/t ... d_portable
A portable mail client, I've stuck mine in a network share, otherwise you can put it on a usb pen, etc. and take your entire inbox with you :)

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:51 pm  Post subject:
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My laptop has arrived, i'll post an update with some info. Replaced the keyboard with a uk one (sorry yanks, but your keyboard layout is completely retarded; i'll include photographic evidence of how stupid it is too :lol: )

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:45 pm  Post subject:
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Okay here's my mini review:

Build Quality: I have to say, its one of the most solid and well designed laptops out there. The build quality of thinkpads is outstanding and this one is no different, its got a really solid keyboard and the whole think feels great. There's no touchpad, but i've got used to the mouse nipple very quickly. I switched out the keyboard because frankly, the us layout is just plum crappy, that and i'm used to the uk one (larger return key, back slash is under the little finger, colon is right shift semi-colon, quotes are at different sides of the folder). Anyway, switching that out was easy, the laptop screws are clearly labelled. One thing that's annoying about the keyboard however is that the fn key is where ctrl should be. Will have to see if i can get fn +c, v, x, a, etc bind to ctrl. There's a plethora of fn functions, and some volume buttons. An awesome feature i didn't even know the laptop had is a very lower power reading light style led above the screen which lights up the keys for a low light environment. Excellent feature. The screen is bright, although its only a small 1024x768 resolution. To be honest, although i work on huge monitors usually, its enough for an ultra portable atm.

Battery Life: The battery lasts for many solid hours with the wireless on; with things like a USB powered HDD the life span is substantially sapped as expected. First charge with wireless on, and the screen on full brightness, it lasted about 5hrs before i put it in the dock. It was down to about 20% when i did that.

Software The thinkvantage software is great, it puts my previous acer to shame. Its got loads and loads of functionality, much more than i was expecting.

Some snaps:

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2007 5:10 am  Post subject:
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Are those little alien toys on the desk?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:02 pm  Post subject:
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Seems like a good machine :D

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:33 am  Post subject:
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karstmobile wrote:
Are those little alien toys on the desk?


sure are :)

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:59 am  Post subject:
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spudthedestroyer wrote:
karstmobile wrote:
Are those little alien toys on the desk?


sure are :)


Nice. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 11:07 am  Post subject:
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LOL, i see my laptop review went down a storm :lol:

Maybe i should have reviewed the background objects or my wallpaper :)

Its a sweet laptop and extremely portable. The mouse nipple rules!

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 11:33 am  Post subject:
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I question the nipple...

I really love my Dell X300 (work comp.). Unless you don't plan on docking it, or if it is just going to hang out on a desk... ultra portable is the way to go. I think the 1024 x 768 sucks balls though, but I've learned to get over it.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 12:00 pm  Post subject:
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you see i work with 1920x1200 + 1600x1200 dual monitor setup; but i don't mind the resolution... the only thing that's bugged me is the amount of scrolling, but that's where the nipple really comes into its own. You don't need to take your hands off the keyboard, you press middle mouse with your thumb and then move the nipple to scroll... its a life saver.

Vista actually makes things a lot better, with the windows + tab aero feature they stole from pretty much every linux distro... makes it much easier to manage your windows. :)


Oh and as far as using vista goes its been pretty rock solid for me. Took me a while to setup ed2k link clicking, but in the end it was mozilla that was being retarded and I had to use mozex to get it working. Going to write a piece on setting up this in the faq when i find a second.

So i'm not getting the vista hate, just seems like any other windows OS to me atm.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 12:15 pm  Post subject:
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spudthedestroyer wrote:
Oh and as far as using vista goes its been pretty rock solid for me. Took me a while to setup ed2k link clicking, but in the end it was mozilla that was being retarded and I had to use mozex to get it working. Going to write a piece on setting up this in the faq when i find a second.


How did you install emule? Or did you just copy over the program folder?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 12:19 pm  Post subject:
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actually i haven't installed emule, i have emule running on my main server and have every other pc setup to send links across the network.

I use a program called "ed2k linker". On vista, the registry locker prevented me claiming the ed2k class, however turning off the uep or whatever that feature is called solves all those nag screen issues and lets you do anything you want (I'm thinking a lot of people who've tried vista just didn't realise you can turn off the nags ;) ). Anyway, after claiming the registry key, mozilla didn't want to send links, so I used mozex to associate ed2k with ed2k linker. Has happened to me a few times that.

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