Sunday, July 6, 2008

netbooks and the OLPC

I really wanted an OLPC. Unfortunately, the G1G1 campaign was limited to the US. 

I seriously considered asking my brother to snag me a pair, but I'm not making a lot of money, and my wife would not have given me peace had I got such a "Christmas present" for myself at that time.

Why do I want one?

Currently, I'm lugging an old clamshell iBook around to work. It's not bad, but the battery is long dead because the charging circuit is doing something or other funky. And it's too heavy to pop out of my bag and use while I'm standing up, hanging onto a strap on the train. 

I'm considering an eeepc or one of the near equivalents. But the screen is tiny. Seriously tiny. Well, okay, that's the point for the small eeepc -- about the size of a paperback novel. If the screen resolution were 1024 by 800, the size would be okay, but that kind of screen at that size is still too leading edge, I guess. But it can be used for writing e-mail, blog posts, and some kinds of source code.

The processor is iNTEL. I don't like to support companies with greater than 50% market share, especially when they don't seem to be able to refrain from unfair competition. Well, maybe I'm a little prejudiced, too. I believe in forgiving people, but it's hard to forgive the 80x86 when it's still strangling the computing landscape.

What a waste of engineering resources and rare earth minerals.

Oh. And the eeepc is only available in Japan in the MSWxp model. I asked a salesperson in the Yodobashi Camera store in Umeda why the Linux model isn't available, and he gave me this confused look and said, "But this is Japan." (Say what?)

Oh, I'm fully aware of the situation. Japanese society always follows the money. Money is prima facie evidence of righteousness. Yeah, the government uses Linux in servers and such, but, no, end users are not encouraged to know the issues well enough to make any informed decision other than the ones officially sanctioned by the experts with the most money. And geeks who are interested in Linux are expected to pay the Microsoft tax. Happily.

That probably has something to do with why nobody has protested the plans for computerized voting. There is talk about a proper paper trail, at least.

Anyway, I want an OLPC. I may end up with an eeepc, just because I need it now. Or I may just put up with the heavy, battery-less iBook and use the JPY 50,000 on something the family needs, instead.

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