Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Latest tech

Two new tech things of significance:  I had to pick up another laptop since I have a new guy starting in two weeks.  So I applied Company Trickle-Down Theory and got a new Penryn-based MacBook Pro to replace my Santa Rosa.  Short version - they are, for all intents and purposes, the same.  No significant differences.  The Penryn has slightly better battery life, and runs a wee bit cooler.  But it's just basically a CPU refresh.  The multi-touch trackpad?  Whoop.

More potentially cool is the handheld computer I got as an experiment.  I ordered an Asus EEE PC (the 8GB version) from Newegg last week and got it on Friday.  I used it a couple of days with the built-in Linux, and now I'm playing with Windows XP on it (I will clone the HD image and save it in a week or two, then go back to Linux).  I upgraded it to 2GB RAM (to go with the 8GB SSD in it), and it's a pretty interesting device.  Small enough to stuff in my coat pocket, a little quirky, but the short version of this one is (I'm writing a more extensive review for the BNUG blog) this:

Windows - more apps, fast boot, easier management, far easier networking (wireless networking on Linux even annoys me!).  Runs hotter, though, and the battery life is a little less.

Under Linux, pretty much all the stuff you'll need is there.  It's got good connectivity, but package management is a pain if you stick to defaults.  Honestly, though, the next generation of these is going to rock.  The specs on mine (out of the box):  1GB RAM, 8GB SSD, 10/100 Ethernet and b/g wifi, a SDHC cardslot, 7" 800x480 screen, and a 900 MHz processor underclocked to 630.  I figure the next-gen model will be like this:

2GB RAM, 16 (or maybe 32) GB of SSD, Gigabit Ethernet, b/g/n wifi, an option to add EVDO or WiMAX, a 8" or 9" screen (probably at 1024x600 or some similar resolution), and the processor will be about 1.2 GHz and able to run at that speed with lower voltage.  Battery life will probably go to 4-5 hours from the current 3-3.5.  Imagine that for a minute - that was close to state-of-the art specs from a couple of years ago, but squeezed into a paperback book.  Cool.

When that does happen, I will get one, get VMware running on it, and that'll do double duty as my Windows machine instead of picking and choosing.  Food for thought.