Sunday, May 10, 2009

netbooked

Finally succumbed and got myself a mobile internet device. Initially, I wanted an iPhone (and somehow, I still do). Considering my requirements and my experience with Iphones, however, I looked for alternatives.

I am not saying the iPhone is a bad thing. Not at all. I just wanted a more powerful solution, that was still portable. And my fingers are just wrong for the iPhone´s screen keyboards, I´m afraid. It would also have been hideously expensive, as I would have had to buy one WITHOUT a data plan. Got two of these things already. Do not really need another, do I?

Now, my favourite solution would have been a Mac OS X netbook. Unfortunately, the smallest Macbook is still 13.3 inches. Are you listening, Steve? AND WHILE YOU`RE AT IT: BRING BACK THE NEWTON. Honestly, a pen driven netbook with OS X the size of my venerable MessagePad 2100 and an up-to-date technolgy platform underneath would be THE SHIT. And I know you guys could do that right sodding now.

So, while I am waiting for those fine folks at Apple to deliver... I needed an alternative:
  • portable (netbook size)
  • enough processing power and storage to run a decent OS
  • keyboard suitable for actual use
I came up with the Samsung NC10, the keyboard and the accumulator capacity calling the shots. One Annoyance (with capital A): it came with Windows. It also does have an 802.11g Wifi, not draft-n. I will live. Did not get the one with an UMTS modem, as I wasn´t convinced it would work with other OSs than Windows.

Windows XP lasted for about five minutes, as I prepared for a hacked Mac OS X install. Seems that this is, at least not yet, a feasible solution, too little of hardware is being supported at present, and I didn´t want to start with massive hardware mods right away (like changing the WiFi i/f).

So, next stop: Linux. Turns out that a regular Ubuntu 09.04 desktop edition will do the trick nicely. I did not even go for the netbook remix. All hardware, power modes etc. supported.

Hooking it up to my UMTS phone and using it as an internet dialup was a matter of minutes. Moved to an USB stick in the meantime... more UMTS features.

I will watch the developments to adopt Mac OS X keenly though.

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