Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Netbook Distraction

I'm a bit perplexed by the whole 'netbook' thing (sorry Psion). A nine to 12 inch screen, compact keyboard -or worse, rearranged keyboard, and if it comes with Windows XP you get limited functionality. At the very least, the Dell Mini 9 below comes with Ubuntu 
This eeePC below is running Ubuntu. You can get a good idea of how small it is

I just don't get the whole netbook thing. Ever since the first Windows CE Handheld computers came out (mine first was the Casio Cassiopia), I had one. I got pretty good at three finger typing, and wrote an entire operations manual on one. 

When the HP version came out, I was in HPC heaven. The keyboard was a great improvement:

But those handhelds were compact, easy to carry around. I could keep mine in my pocket, or a little belt pouch. My Toy, as it came to be known, was always with me. These netbook things are almost big enough to be a regular laptop. Big enough to be just slighly too big to be portable.

I think people see the price tags on these things (usually under $400, and some close to $200), and think they can get by just fine with it. Some people like them, some return them -Linux or not.

Besides price, I think the other thing people like about these netbooks is battery life. I have a P3 Acer Travelmate with Ubuntu 8.04 LTS on it. I consider that my 'netbook' because it has a 4 hour battery life. My 2.8 Ghz HP is more powerful, but with the battery hold a 40 minute charge at best, it's more a desktop replacement. The travelmate is pretty light and thin enough, and the HP is heavy and bulky. Guess which one I use more?

As laptops come down in price, increase in battery life, and cellphones like the G1 and the iPhone increase functionality, these netbooks are not going to last.

Monday, January 05, 2009

2009 Predictions

Let's start with the Tech Predictions:
  • Linux will just slightly overtake Mac OSX- Many people are choosing to keep their existing hardware. At the same time, many geeks are promoting Linux -especially Ubuntu- to help keep malware off the average users system. By the end of this year, Linux will just barely, even arguable, beat OSX.
  • Steve Jobs will quit Apple, sort of- He will leave his current position, but will remain on the board. This will cause a slight dip in Apple shares. But, when the announcement comes, so will a significant technology from Apple. Within less than 3 days, Apple shares will recover and increase slightly.
  • OSX will have a significant security problem. 
  • Oracle will buy or form some sort of partnership with Red Hat. The shares of both will rise.
  • There will be a major security breach in the credit industry. One or more of the credit data sources will be greatly compromised. 
  • Windows 7, if it comes out this year, will be a hit. Like Windows XP, there will probably be fewer choices, maybe even just one version. It will be the cheapest version of Windows so far. 

National Predictions

I think most of us realize things are not going to be that good in the USA for awhile. It's easy to predict that mortgages will fail, foreclosures will happen, jobs will be lost, etc. I'll let the financial people deal with those. My national predictions will have to do with trends I see that we don't hear much about.
  • The publishing industry as we know it will falter- We're already seeing agents taking fewer submissions, and most don't even take fiction submissions at all anymore. Like Realtors, some have even changed jobs. One of the major brick-and-mortar stores, Borders and Barnes and Noble, or both, will go belly-up.
  • The discussion of the legalization of marijuana will greatly increase -anytime there is a downturn in the economy, there is an increase in crime and drug/alcohol use. As long as drugs are illegal, more crimes will be drug related, and they will be violent crimes.  Usually the talk of crime in an economic downturn is toward gun control. I don't think the Obama administration is going to touch that discussion. The legalization of marijuana will be dicussed as a possible measure to prevent violent drug crime.
  • More people will began to suspect the 'bailout' money is not going toward any bailout for the businesses, banks, or people. 
  • The security breech to the credit system will start a major change in the credit structure.
  • China will start to speak up on some of the problems in the middle east and Islamic terrorists. Their problems with internal Islamic terrorism will become a major topic of discussion in the US.
  • The US and Mexico will enter into talks on a major economic transition between the two countries.
  • Toward the end of the year, a few people will find out where all the bailout money is actually going.
So, those are my predictions. At the end of the year, I'll review this post and see what came to pass.