EEE PC and Hotcakes, Aisle 3

December 26, 2007

I just saw this and wanted to pass it along. I’d love to know how it compares to the unit sales of the Zonbu product to date.

Of course, the Zonbu hardware means getting people to accept a fundamentally different approach with a monthly fee, which is always a challenge.  And, to be honest, after playing with my Eee for a week it is really a very different product, but still something that can threaten Zonbu sales…

Taipei (Taiwan) – Asustek has managed to take their Eee little PC and turn it into big sales numbers. In the first quarter of sales, the Eee PC shipped 350,000 units, which is 50,000 more than industry experts’ predictions. The Eee PC will be available at Best Buy in U.S. in 2008, and also in Japan at the same time. They are also available for online sales right now.”

More here: http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/35385/122/

I said it before, I’ll say it again.  I’d be benchmarking seriously against this device, the gOS PC, and the N8x0 series tablets as well as an Acer entry level laptop.  Those are the products that can will  are stealing sales from Zonbu.

-Mr. Zonbu

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$400 Acer + 17″ LCD – Is Zonbu getting squeezed by the mainstream PC makers?

December 24, 2007

Acer SystemWith so many PCs available at or below $500 now, is Zonbu at risk of getting squeezed by the main stream makers?

I think so, and I think it may be time for them to start considering some higher profile partners. HP, Acer, Dell and Asus all come to mind and have all shown interest in Linux products. I’d warm up the phone lines at Zonbu HQ, it may be time to start seeing other people (beyond Via)…

I just saw this deal posted over at Deal News:

“Acer Aspire T180-UA381B AMD Athlon 2.4GHz Desktop PC + 17” LCD

TigerDirect.com offers the Acer Aspire T180-UA381B AMD Athlon 2.4GHz Desktop PC with a Acer AL1706AB 17″ LCD Monitor for $399.97. With around $36 for shipping, it’s the lowest total price we could find by $76. It features an AMD Athlon 64 3800+ 2.4GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB SATA hard drive, dual-layer DVD burner, Gigabit Ethernet, memory card reader, and Windows Vista Home Basic.”

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Skype Video calls work on Asus Eee PC

December 22, 2007

Skype LogoI haven’t tried this personally (yet) but there is a nice how-to over at LaptopMag.com that details how to install Skype 2.0 on the Asus Eee PC and make video calls with it.

While we have Skype 2.0 support on the Zonbu, the Zonbu hardware currently lacks any built-in camera. More annoyingly, the Logitech family of Quickcams (one of the most popular) does not currently work either. As I’ve noted for months, this is a key area Zonbu needs to progress rapidly.

You can read the LaptopMag.com post here: http://www.laptopmag.com/features/Skype-with-Your-Webcam-on-the-Eee-PC.htm

-Mr. Zonbu


Asus Eee PC has great video performance

December 22, 2007

I’m still testing the Asus eee PC but so far I’m really impressed.

That being said, it is in a different category to the Zonbu, so its value to Zonbu is as a potential benchmark in a number of categories. And benchmarking against it should be a priority for the Zonbu team. It is a very well done product.

I’ll be posting more in the coming days, but in the mean time, as I expected, I’ve discovered the graphics power is substantially better than the Zonbu. Video and Flash playback is wonderful and advanced desktop effects appear to work well. The whole machine feels snappier than the Zonbu laptop (albeit a lot less usable with the smaller screen and tiny keyboard).

Check out this example of Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy running on a 3e with Compiz enabled. Very nice. Our Zonbus should have something like this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRP8fPcaSzI

-Mr. Zonbu


The Beauty on the Zonbu Laptop

December 21, 2007

The Beauty told me at lunch today that she is finding the Zonbu fine for daily use but finds it very slow to boot and that after multiple hibernations it doesn’t always come back.  She then presented me with the laptop, after 20 minutes of waiting, trying to recover from hibernation.

Definitely a few things to work on.  But so far, no major complaints.   Well except for the wireless not persisting on reboot (part of the reason for the hibernation constantly), and the printer insisting on being re-installed each time it is powered on.

-Mr. Zonbu


Half the puzzle? Does Zonbu have the software right and the hardware wrong?

December 18, 2007

PuzzleThis has really been bothering me for the last month or so: I think Zonbu may well have one of the nicest, easiest to use, most consistently integrated and user friendly Linux desktops available.

I don’t say that lightly, as I’ve used it extensively for the past four months as my home Internet machine and I’ve now moved my wife on to the platform.

But I have strong lingering concerns that the Via CPU and graphics chipset that Zonbu is currently shipping as their hardware platform is going to be rapidly eclipsed by better performing, better marketed hardware running other, less impressive, Linux distributions.

Hardware is a commodity business – let the experts do their stuff…

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My Asus 3e PC has arrived…

December 18, 2007

Asus 3eee PCMy Asus 3e PC unit has arrived.  In fact it arrived at my tropical island lair looking like a forklift skid had been driven clean through the shipping box.  Said skid then severely maimed the box the Asus unit was in, but managed to miss the unit itself, thankfully.

I’ll do a full review in a few days, but a few frist impressions:

-Very nice build quality, looks and feels expensive and well put together

-It’s small, very small, but stylish (mine is black) and you can tell it was put together by people who have been building laptops for a long time and keep a list of what works and what doesn’t for port layout etc

-The touchpad properly supports double tapping

-Keyboard is too small for my regular sized man hands

-It had a nice little “first run” wizard, but didn’t seem to save my WiFi encryption key (however I was able to easily pull it off a flash key

-Screen is nice but 800 x 480 quickly becomes a problem, but its perfect for quick “on the go” tasks

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Beauty & the Geek – The experiment has evolved…

December 16, 2007

Beauty and the Geek logoFor the next chapter in our story, I’m going to take the Zonbu laptop and pass it along to my beautiful wife.

She currently has a Windows XP system on a 2.5 year old Celeron 1.4 GHz Acer laptop. This Acer was her first personal computer. She’s been a PC user for some time, but always used mine at home and had one at the office so the Zonbu will be the second machine that has been hers to customize.

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BBC iPlayer to include Flash derivative

December 15, 2007

BBC LogoFor all of you who are Top Gear fans (and really, who isn’t a Top Gear fan? Even my wife loves it), some good news from the BBC this week. DownloadSquad.com is reporting that there will be a Flash based derivative of their previously Windows only (and very contentious) iPlayer platform:

As observant readers may recall, in August we chatted with Peter Brown of the Free Software Foundation about the BBC iPlayer, and DRM in general. The BBC iPlayer is the U.K. public broadcaster’s drawn-out and vastly expensive endeavour to bring the BBC’s wealth of content into the 21st century.

Until today, the entire project has been Windows-only, with Mac and Linux support missing despite having been much-debated – and required at some stage due to the BBC’s remit for platform independence. As expected, the BBC is starting a new beta phase today with the introduction of a ‘7-day catch-up’ online streaming service via Adobe Flash player to cater for all three platforms.

Wow, another tier one site moves to a flash based video platform.

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DesktopLinux.com: New Flash player important, slow

December 11, 2007

There is a very interesting piece over at DesktopLinux.com, regarding Flash and H.264. If I didn’t know better, I’d be tempted to think Steven J. Vaughan Nichols has been reading my blog.

Adobe clearly means to claim HDTV for its Flash line of products. At the same time, Adobe has also committed itself to support Linux on the same level as Windows and Mac OS. Slow performance and all, it appears to me that Adobe Flash Player is going to become for Linux multimedia, what OpenOffice is for office software and Firefox is for Web-browsing: the application of choice for Linux users everywhere.

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