Monthly Archive for September, 2008

More netbooks..

Who isn’t making netbooks these days?

Toshiba has announced a new netbook called NB100, which comes with Linux (Ubuntu 8.04) or Windows XP.

Samsung has announced the NC10, which comes only with Windows (at this stage).

Asus has also released the N10, a new notebook based on the Atom – but is not calling it a netbook. It comes with 2GB RAM, NVIDIA graphics and 120GB hard drive. Oh, and it runs Vista, so I guess we can see why it needs more grunt.


Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to Sydney I go

Tomorrow afternoon I am driving to Sydney to pick up Mendy, my fiancé, who is returning for a brief 10 day visit before returning to work in Macau.

Last time we saw each other was December last year, almost 9 months ago. Why she chooses to stay over there I don’t quite understand. I’m not that horrible, am I? I mean, I know I’m a ranga an’ all. (Walsh, resist the urge.. I still have to approve any comments, and don’t forget – I can beat you up! 🙂 )

Anyway, her plane arrives early Friday morning. I’m taking time off work and so will be back at the Archives on the 23rd.

Dell joins the fray

Dell have finally released their long awaited “EeePC killer” netbook in Australia, the Inspiron 910 (also affectionately dubbed the “Mini 9” – but that just makes me think of a cross between Mini-Me and the Crazy 88 from Kill Bill).

In the U.S. Dell is selling the Mini 9 in a few different configurations. The pricing starts at US$349 with Linux and US$449 with Windows. I configured the Mini 9 with the same specs as the top Windows version, but with Linux, and it came in at US$494. That’s US$15 more than the Windows version at US$479. Hmmm…

Unfortunately, in Australia Dell is only selling one model of the Mini 9 and it only comes with Windows.

So, how does it fair (on paper at least)? Is it really the EeePC killer as some claim? Well in regards to specifications, most of these netbooks are running the same Intel gear, so there won’t be much difference there except that Dell has apparently enabled hyper threading (remember that?). There is currently no dual-core version of the Atom available.

Time to look at specs and price. The Mini 9 more closely matches the EeePC 901, so I’m going to compare these two.
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OLPCA few months back Dave Tulloh let me borrow his XO (one laptop per child machine). It’s pretty sweet and a nice little unit, but I couldn’t use the UI for everyday stuff. So, I decided to build a custom Gentoo system for it – yes, of course optimised for the geode cpu.

What I did is not exactly ground breaking. I didn’t discover anything or work it out, all I did was make a Gentoo system and boot it from a USB memory key. I even cheated and used their kernel and initramfs 🙂 Tisk, tisk! But hey, someone out there might find it interesting.

The goal was to build as small a system as possible, with XFCE4, Firefox, other main applications and multimedia capabilities. Here’s what I did.
Continue reading ‘GentXo’