Tiny Laptops

Small (2-3 lbs) and cheap ($300-400) laptops, also known as netbooks, have been the largest growing computer segment over the last year due to Asus’ Eee PC. These haven’t needed to be powerful computers because they can run Linux, with the Eee PC running the Xandros distribution of Linux.

Recently Asus has been joined by many other manufacturers in this market. Asus has lost some of limelight by making their newer machines slightly larger and more expensive.

The current model that most people are excited about is the MSI Wind. This and the many of the current crop of Eee PC’s run the Intel Atom chipset which is inexpensive and uses less power than similar class chips. Via will also be coming out with the Nano chipset which will outperform Intel.

Dell will likely also become a big player in next couple of months with their expected line of laptops. Lenovo (formerly IBM) is also rumored to have a cheap small laptop in that time.

With more power in this current group of laptops, they can run Windows XP or be hacked to run OS X as people have already done with the MSI Wind. Although Apple wouldn’t be happy about it, a cheap OS X laptop might be easier to achieve in the next few months as these devices become more ubiquitous. Of course, Apple is always rumored to be coming out with their own small laptop or tablet too.

Another reason to be excited about these laptops is the forthcoming Ubuntu Notebook Remix, using the most popular Linux distribution of Ubuntu but tuned and designed for small laptops and able to take special advantage of the Atom chipset.

Microsoft has had difficutly in this market because Windows Vista is not meant for low power laptops with small screens. So despite wanting to kill off XP, Microsoft has had to make an exception for this segment of laptops and continue to sell XP for it.

For more on these tiny laptops see the sites:
Liliputing
Asus Eee News Mods and Hacks
Eee User

Linksys Dual-Band Gaming Adapter

I just installed the Linksys Dual-Band Gaming Adapter for someone. It works great and is easier to set up than older models. It’s also an N router that can use 2.4 or 5GHz so if you have an N network, it should be more solid than a similar G device.

I only have a couple of nit-picks:

  1. Why call this a Gaming Adapter? It’s just a wireless bridge that allows one to hook up a ethernet connection to a wireless network. It works for any computer.. not just your game console.
  2. Linksys should offer a 5 port version like they did a couple of years ago. You could easily hook up a 5 port switch for the functionality, but the older WET54GS5 was a simpler solution. And if this is aimed at people with gaming consoles, it is likely that those people would have multiple devices needing Internet access such as a TiVo or additional game consoles.

iPhone 3G corporate discounts?

We’ve been researching the possibility of corporate and AAA discounts with the new iPhone 3G. Because the iPhone 3G does not have a profit sharing arrangement between AT&T and Apple like the original iPhone did, it should be treated as other phones offered by AT&T. And there are online reports backing up claims that AT&T is offering discounts. One source showed me his ordered Family plan that he got a 23% discount through his corporation. This applies only to the service, not the phone itself. But when calling AT&T directly, we were told that no discounts are possible.

So what’s the real deal? We’ll continue to investigate.

UPDATE: It is possible to get corporate discounts from AT&T for iPhone plans. The discount applies to the main line, and you still pay $9.99 for each additional line.

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