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Arise, Lazarus May 5, 2008

Posted by reverseengineer in Asus, Developments, Hardware.
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So I’m back.

Didn’t think I’d be back this soon either, but nothing like a line refresh to get the blood blog going again.

I knew this blog’s still got some life in it.

Yes, I got me an EeePC 900 today. It’s a review unit, and they want it back before the official launching Monday next.

Sure. As soon as they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.


Actually, they said I can buy it if I want – at the usual press discount? – but I dunno yet.

Anyhow, expect some input here again. At least for the duration.

Unboxing pics are coming up later, when I get home.


The next generation March 4, 2008

Posted by reverseengineer in Asus, Developments, Hardware.

The only thing that’d possibly get me to sell my EeePC is coming out: another EeePC. New and improved.

DailyTech confirms the new EeePC 900, which is coming out in a few months.

8.9-inch screen, 1024×600 resolution, a 12gb SSD, a bigger touchpad, a gig of RAM. It might use a different processor (likely the Intel Atom, also known as Silverthorne), and might have a different software bundle.

It’ll be a little thicker and a little heavier, but everything I’ve been grousing about is fixed. (It’s as if Asus was actually listening!) Although the deal breaker might be the eventual price. If it wanders off the value-for-money sweet spot, I might hold on to the 701 longer yet. Reports put it at US$600. Hmm…

RAM and storage are moot; we’ve found alternatives and solutions we can live with. But damn. 1024×600 on 9 inches. Bigger touchpad. Oooh.

I hope there’ll be black ones too.

UPDATE: Engadget‘s got a photo gallery! (It looks almost exactly the same save for the bigger parts; in one photo we see they took out the modem hole entirely.)

UPDATE II: It’ll have a better webcam too. 1.3mp, as opposed to the original .3mp. Nice. And Xandros’ll still be the default OS. (Hopefully an improved distro?)

250gb SSDs by yearend! February 24, 2008

Posted by reverseengineer in Developments, Hardware.

CNet‘s Nanotech blog reports that Samsung might be able to release 250gb solid state drives by year’s end, due to multi-level cell (MLC) technology which increases capacity by writing more bits to several levels more in each memory cell.

According to Nanotech, Samsung will definitely be releasing a 128gb SSD with MLC by 3Q08 at the very least.

Samsung predicts a 35 to 45% drop in SSD pricing year-to-year, which is good news because at current rates getting hi-cap SSDs isn’t feasible for consumer-level users (like the good folk at EEEPH). Choosing the 64gb SSD’ed Macbook Air adds US$900 to its price, so that puts the 64gb SSD at about the cost of a little over two 4G Eeeps.

The article also puts to rest a couple of misconceptions about SSDs.

That they have short life spans:

A flash device that is rated at 100,000 write cycles, for example, can write 100,000 times “to every single (memory) cell within the device,” (Michael Yang, flash marketing manager at Samsung) said. In other words, the device doesn’t write to the same cell over and over again but spreads out the writes over many different cells. This is achieved through “wear leveling,” which is carried out by the SSD’s controller, he said. This would make it virtually impossible to wear out a flash chip. Yang said a pattern could be perpetually repeated in which a 64GB SSD is completely filled with data, erased, filled again, then erased again every hour of every day for years, and the user still wouldn’t reach the theoretical write limit. He added that if a failure ever does occur, it will not occur in the flash chip itself but in the controller.”

That they are not that much faster than traditional hard disk drives:

HDDs do 120 to 150 IOPS (input/output operations per second). SSDs (do) 10,000 to 30,000 IOPS.”

Read the good news from Nanotech here.

Cool new Linux-only 3D transitions for OpenOffice Impress February 18, 2008

Posted by reverseengineer in Apps, Developments.

Microsoft Office Powerpoint is so (poorly) used these days. Presentations are either boring because of their unimaginative-ness, or horrifying from over-imaginative excess. Smart and sparing are probably two words a presenter must embrace. And maybe restraint too, for the creative folk among us.

The software is so much a part of office life that it has become an actual verb – “Could you powerpoint your report for the meeting tomorrow? Thanks.” And a noun – “Great report. Could you email me that powerpoint?”

I personally use Apple’s Keynote when I can – for three basic reasons: it’s easy to use; it works flawlessly and efficiently; and it’s got killer transitions.

Only one thing ruins it for me: it only works on Macs, and when people ask for a copy of the presentation itself, I have to decline, not unless I have the luxury of exporting it to Powerpoint and then tweaking the translation kinks out – which means I need to use Powerpoint anyway and defeats the purpose of using something other than Powerpoint to begin with.

But on a standard EeePC, your options tend to be limited to OpenOffice‘s Impress, the presentation component of the free productivity suite that comes in the box with it. If I’m going to insist on using the Eeep for everyday use (which includes work things), I’ll have to live with OOo and its version of Powerpoint.

While it does the job, Impress is largely just adequate. It’s no Powerpoint or Keynote, and using it in the trenches sometimes makes you uneasy, especially when it’s an important client and landing the account hinges on your presentation.

Things might get better for us Eeepers and other Open Office users though.

Some folk doing work for the Google Summer of Code 2007 have created ten new 3D Open-GL-rendered transitions for Impress that should be coming out in the new OpenOffice.org 2.4 due March. The transitions include flipping tiles, turning cubes, helixes and circles, among others.

Here’s the odd part. Apparently, the transitions will only be available for the Linux version, and they will not be for Windows, nor will they be exportable to the Windows version of OOo 2.4. The feature might be included in other versions as an extension package, or come built-in on other editions.

As of now you can try it out with a torrentable Linux-only experimental snapshot binary, but be forewarned that in its current state of development the requirements might be a bit hefty yet.

More on it from OpenOffice.org Ninja, including screencaps and video.

A bigger screen, yes, but… January 10, 2008

Posted by reverseengineer in Developments.
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…it’s still the same old resolution as the original EeePC: 800×480. The updated Asus subnotebook may be 8 or almost 9 inches, but it still packs the same number of pixels, which elicits a resounding Doh!

Those among you who understand monitor math will know why this is such a waste. Sigh.

More details and more pics from jkkmobile.

Asus presscon: WiMAX, bigger screens, Windows January 9, 2008

Posted by reverseengineer in Asus, Developments, Events, Updates, Windows.
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I don’t intend to make pEeePCeee a news blog, it’s more a rambling, introspective, reflective kind of thing, but now and then if something is newsworthy, I’ll make an exception.

Like now.

At the Asus press conference at the WiMAX convention yesterday, they announced that the EeePC is their most successful product ever, and proceeded to announce, among other things, wider screens, WiMAX …heck, it’s all in the picture I cribbed from Engadget, which did a liveblog from the event.

No other details, really, as in when these things’ll be released, or how much, but at least it puts to bed all those rumors.

Commentary on these developments next time. Gotta rush to work.