WB4JFI wb4jfi at knology.net
Tue Nov 18 10:25:05 CST 2008

> -----Original Message-----
> From: tacos-bounces+wb4jfi=amrad.org at amrad.org
> [mailto:tacos-bounces+wb4jfi=amrad.org at amrad.org]On Behalf Of Robert E.
> Seastrom
> Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 8:38 AM
> To: Sean Sheedy
> Cc: Tacos at Amrad.Org; rs at seastrom.com
> Subject: Re: OLPC
> Sean Sheedy <sean at theSheedys.com> writes:
> > The OLPC buy-one-donate-one offer is on again, and I noticed that
> > there was a discussion about this last year, and several people had
> > some in their hands.
> >
> > This machine looks like a killer ham laptop for field day, outdoors
> > work, or using in the shack on emergency power.  I read a criticism
> > that the keyboard was too small but I seem to not use the keyboard
> > that much for ham applications and one can plug an external keyboard
> > and mouse in via the USB ports.
> >
> > A year has passed; what's the opinion about these machines now?
> I've played with one and come to the following conclusions:
> 1) Keyboard is too small for adult hands.  "You can plug in an
> external keyboard" defeats the whole purpose of having a small laptop.
> 2) Screen is smaller than you want.
> 3) The Linux flavor and window manager are alien technologies compared
> to what you want if you're looking for a "killer ham laptop for field
> day".
> 4) Retrofitting other Linux distros or Windows or whatever onto it is
> a chore and a half, though possible.
> 5) Having been involved in some educational-technology-for-young-kids
> brouhahas here in the US, I'm casting a dubious eye on the underlying
> premise (aside from the "e-book reader is cheaper than distributing
> paper and cardboard books, which might be true depending on what kind
> of magic accounting you use).  Despite my impending unemployment at
> the end of this year, I intend to make a donation of equivalent funds
> to the "buy one give one" to a charity that is actually doing stuff
> that is desperately needed in the Third World.  Last year, a group my
> uncle volunteers for ( http://www.lifewater.ca/ - they've got way cool
> geek content on their site should you wish to drill your own well
> using low-tech hardware) got my money.
> Just as the standard-capacity-magazine-ban of 1994 combined with
> proliferation of shall-issue concealed carry created a whole new
> generation of nifty small, concealable handguns, so too Negroponte's
> media whoring has caused there to be a whole bunch of new interesting
> laptops out there.  Known as "netbooks", these are generally Celeron,
> Atom, or Via-based low-power, low-capability, small-in-size laptops
> that carry a correspondingly low price tag.
> Two that I have actually handled are the Intel Classmate and the Asus
> "eee".  The larger eee (the 1000) actually has a usable keyboard; I
> did not find the Classmate's keyboard too odious.  The Lenovo Ideapad
> S10 looks very interesting too; I'm thinking if I buy one of that type
> of laptop it may well be an Ideapad.
> One of those running XP or Ubuntu should be just the ticket for field
> day.  Before you buy, check around for an appropriate 12v power supply
> for extended runtime when you're operating from battery/emergency power.
> My $0.02,
> -r (ai4uc)
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> http://www.amrad.org/mailman/listinfo/tacos

I was in a Walmart in North Carolina last week, and noticed that they are
selling  an Acer Aspire One for under $400.  It uses an Intel Atom N270
processor (6.6GHz, 533MHz FSB, 512k L2 cache), Win XP, 8.9" 1024x600
display, 1GB DDR2 memory, Graphics acelerator (Intel 950), and 120GB hard
drive.  It also has the typical card reader, Webcam, wireless enet, wired
ethernet, 3 USB.  It weighs just over 2lb.  It's about 6.6x9.75 in size.

I haven't tried to type on it, or mess with it at all.  I'm also looking for
a very small subnotebook for ham use.  But, I want to run Ubuntu on it, and
possible a simple SDR application.  All these are a little slow for real SDR
work, I think.  But, for an accessory PC to run ham apps, they should be


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