Posted tagged ‘HP’

Using Android on Netbooks

April 2, 2009

We have talked about netbooks and Google’s Android before. I am pretty excited to see where Google’s Android is headed, and I am very hopefully that netbooks will continue to adopt Linux as a viable OS. Not that I fault anyone for buying a netbook with XP, but as Linux becomes more common on netbooks so too will the OS become more common in the mainstream.

So comes the news that HP is considering using Android in their netbooks. Ars does a good job breaking down the good and the bad. Android isn’t designed for the desktop, at least not yet. The OS is designed more for touch than for external input, but those barriers can be easily overcome. Perhaps the bigger negative is the ecosystem. Android has its own development platform and highly customized kernel. HP already ships with Ubuntu the advantage here is installing all the vast wealth of Linux and Open Source applications. Android would limit that integration with, as of now, a limited iPhone-like app store. However, this disadvantage to the Linux faithful may be an advantage to the Linux noob. If Google is reviewing each application it insures stability and compatability…something Ubuntu can’t do as of yet. It will also be pretty easy to install these applications. With that in mind having Google’s name backing up the otherwise nebulous OS may also be of great importance…who has heard of Ubuntu, but Google is something I can trust.

If HP takes Android in its current state than this is a bad move on HP’s part, but, given the open nature of Android, if they can make it into something truly revolutionary this may be one of the best moves for the Open Source community. Hopefully HP will surprise us all.


Cisco in the server market?

February 16, 2009

I am still uber-busy with school, so here’s another bit of Tech Republic goodness.

Give me Linux with a side of usability but hold the command line please

January 9, 2009

I think one reason that I am really excited about netbooks is because it started with Linux. Only when the machines became more popular and the bigger named companies took on the netbook did XP appear on the them. The idea is simple you design a machine to do a few specific tasks very well while keeping the cost down as much as possible. Considering the price of some of these machines, for just the hardware, adding a Windows license almost doubles the price. So they opted for Linux because you can both customize it to your exact specifications, thereby guaranteeing a good user experience, and licensing/price wasn’t an issue. So it is real exciting to see where netbooks may take Linux as they enter the mainstream. The only slight hiccup is that this has lead to each manufacturer to create their own version of Linux. It isn’t a major problem because, in my opinion, choice and customization are two of the strongest attributes of open source, but it can lead to ambiguity and confusion around an average consumer.

HP has taken an interesting tact in dealing with Linux on a netbook. The HP Mini Mi is shipping with the Linux CLI disabled. Thank you Ars for pointing that out.

First off if you are new to Linux this is cause for WWIII. “What no cli? How dare you.” Truly I believe that if one takes the time to learn the CLI the end result is that it is actually easier. I suppose it might depend on the person, but the CLI is so quick and easy. It doesn’t start off that way for sure, but once you get the hang of it you won’t go back. Most of the people who refuse to recognize this point argue that what can be simpler than clicking on an .exe and hitting next a few times (of course I could retort back that you can just copy and paste this in the cli ./configure; make; make install hit enter and the program is installed). What both sides forget is that everyone had to learn sometime. I remember when I first installed a Windows program. I didn’t know an .exe from a .bat and once I finally did get to the part where you just hit next I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing or if I would mess something up. I also remember trying to install my first program on Linux. I came into it from a Windows perspective, so I browsed into the directory from the gui and looked for the .exe file. I couldn’t tell where it was because of all those darn .jar files. Both are actually easy, but only after you learned how to do it. The Windows person insists that his way is easier because that is what he is used to, he can do it in his sleep now. And the Linux person insists that his way is better because he is a pretentious arrogant person (j/k sorry couldn’t resist). Once I actually took the time to learn the methodology neither one seems scary anymore. Whether it is to double click the .exe ore run a few commands it doesn’t matter they are both pretty easy. I do believe that the Linux CLI is harder up front because you can’t fumble your way through, but people need to get this silly notion out of their head that the CLI=user unfriendly.

Now that I got that off my chest I am happy to see that HP feels that it is confident enough not to include the CLI. I’d have to say that I would prefer to use the CLI, but if Linux has evolved to where they can accomplish everything without it all the better. I am all for making Linux as accessible as possible and if removing the CLI does that great. All that sounds good, but HP is being absurd about this. Think about it, Windows has a CLI and they ship thousands of Windows machines a day without disabling its CLI. Why is that? If you call Comcast and tell them you are having internet problems what is the first thing they are going to ask you to do? That is right open the CLI (or CMD for Windows I guess). And you type in a few commands and off they go to solve our problem. You almost get the picture that HP thinks what is holding Linux back from mainstream is that awful CLI, but it seems like a double standard not to disable the CLI on Windows. Truth be told, the king of gui, Apple, still allows access to the bash terminal. There isn’t much of anything that Apple hasn’t ported over to a pretty gui, honestly I can’t think of a single task that forces me to use the CLI yet even Apple realizes that some people might prefer it or that keeping it active might be an asset rather than a determent. So basically every computer user on the planet has access to a CLI, and, despite what cliphobes would like you to believe, people STILL get by using their computer.

People it is time we get this phobia of the CLI out of our minds. It is great to see that HP made a version of Linux that it believes needs no CLI, but at the same time I don’t think that people are going to avoid the Mini Mi because it has the option to use the CLI. If you don’t want to use it than you can ignore it like so many Apple and Windows users already do.

Today’s technology musing – HP TouchSmart

November 22, 2008

I like this.  If you’re looking for a middle-of-the-price-range entertainment PC, you might have just hit the jackpot.  I actually first really got to know the HP TouchSmart at Staples, but there’s a lot of buzz about it on the intertubes.  I was checking out some specs on it last night and am fairly impressed – HD capable on some models (provided you aren’t on the short end of the DRM stick, as Mark wrote), touchscreen capability, nice and speedy, and it uses the newly-almost-popular  monitor-only form factor.  I really like the wireless keyboard and mouse.  Very sleek and stylish.  Prices range from $1300 USD to $2000 USD.  Check out the video for more demonstration of the touch screen.

All in all, I am pretty impressed with it.  They have brought touchsreen to a level and price point where it could be useful for entertainment purposes.  I would enjoy having one wall-mounted in a den or in my recording studio (if you would be using one for that, I would point out that I seem to remember it being very quiet).

I usually like to point out some cons too.  This one is obvious – is it good for anything except media?  It seems heavily oriented toward pictures, video, and the like.  However, I don’t see it ever being popular as anything else.  Perhaps a kiosk computer.  I would also point out that the lower end models use integrated graphics, which steals some of your RAM and is just plain bad if you are into gaming.  The higher end model (IQ816) has an NVidia GeForce 9600 M GS HD, which is a 512 MB video card capable of doing a decent job for gamers.  Still, I just don’t see this catching on for much else besides entertainment.  But then, most Americans seem to have at least one computer whose primary function is Web surfing and entertainment.