CompactFlash (CF) Evaluated Lifespan – per Zonbu

September 23, 2007

Compact Flash CardOne of the common refrains about using CompactFlash as a hard disk replacement is that it has a limited number of “writes” (reads don’t impact lifespan). This is a major concern for a potential Zonbu owner. Is that card going to burn out in the next year or two?

I’ve done some Internet research, and while “don’t use it in a high frequency write environment as it will ‘burn out’ the card” is a common refrain, I could not find any hard statistics on the lifespan of modern cards. Thankfully, it looks like the Zonbu team has done some testing in this regard…

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Documentation Wiki

September 23, 2007

Well it looks like more of the community building has started, although it can only be edited by Zonbu employees at the moment, perhaps that will change in the future:

We’ve launched a new documentation wiki, located here. It consolidates all of the pre-existing support pages, and also contains answers to many frequently asked questions.

Currently, only Zonbu staff members can edit pages. If you notice any errors or glaring omissions, please let us know in the Documentation forum. Similarly, if there’s anything you would like to add, such as a how-to guide to modify the OS in a certain way, feel free to post it in the forum and we’ll add it to the wiki.

-Mr. Zonbu

A quick update on the Zonbu in the lobby…

September 23, 2007

Security GuardsA quick update on the Zonbu in the lobby of our office.

It hasn’t seen as much traffic as the desktop PC it replaced as I think some people are suspicious of it. However, I did notice something funny. I went out to check on it one day and there were three copies of the MSN messenger installer exe on the desktop. Clearly someone wanted to IM and didn’t realize it wasn’t windows.

That tells us two things… One, the box provides a consistent enough web experience for a random end user with no instructions that they identified it as the familiar Windows set-up. And two, they couldn’t identify or locate the IM client. While “Instant Messenger” is a logical name for it in the menus, I would point out that non-techies refer “AIM” “MSN or MSN Messenger” or “Yahoo Messenger”. The words “instant messenger” often aren’t included in that conversation, strangely enough. So the menu name might be tweaked a bit to be AIM/MSN/Yahoo Messenger.

On the upside, our security guard seems to use it to surf the web for about two hours a day without too many problems. On the other hand, thats not what we pay him for… I need to talk to him about that.

The wireless is generally working fine, although for some reason, even though it isn’t required, the setup SSID selector appears after boot/login. This is despite the fact that the system auto-associates with the local AP you last used. I think it shouldn’t appear unless I ask for it, but maybe I’m old fashioned. Seen and not heard?

Just an observation…

-Mr. Zonbu

Is the beta period about to end?

September 23, 2007

Zonbu Beta Logo

According to the Zonbu support site, the production version is almost ready and may be only (days?weeks?) away.

I have to be honest, and I don’t want to be negative about all the great work that the Zonbu team have done, but… based on my professional software development management experience and the current state of the major Linux distros, I have a feeling they’re jumping the gun.

I would have been happier to hear the end of October or early November was a target, in order to meet the Christmas buying season….

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