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22 October 2009
OK, It's Windows 7 Launch Day.  Sorry, but as a Linux guy, I can't help but to make a few comments:
  • I'm sure Windows 7 really does solve some of the problems users have encountered with Vista.  Reviews I have read state that it is actually a usable OS. Even Linus gives it a Thumbs Up.
  • It still lacks many features us Linux/UNIX/Mac users are used to such as virtual desktops (workspaces), X-Windows cut&paste, Included utilities, Software Repositories, etc.
  • Apple's new "Broken Promises" ad is great.  It's 100% true, and will (should) get people thinking.  Whoever thought to include the flip-up glasses at the end is an absolute marketing genius.  It simultaneously sets the time period and drives home the point perfectly.  Apple needs to write some advertising guy a check that would make a Wallstreet banker blush.
  • Windows 7 is Expensive!  Since I am running Linux, I would have to pay the full price, not the upgrade price.  Also, there is no Family Pack. Let's assume I have 3 PC's that meet the System Requirements:
Windows  7 Home
Windows 7
Ubuntu 9.04
(or 9.10 Beta)
$199.99 x 3 = $599.97 $319.99 x 3 = $959.97 $0.00 x 3 = $0.00
        Wow!!  What do you think?  Am I likely to switch?
  • You're saying that it's not fair to compare a Free, Open Source OS with a Proprietary, Non-peer reviewed OS.  OK, I'll give you that -- Let's compare what it costs compared to what Mac users pay for upgrades:
Situation Windows 7
Home Premium
Mac OS 10.6
Snow Leopard
Upgrade qualified OS already installed (Single Machine) $119.99 $29.00
Upgrade qualified OS already installed (3 Machines in Family) $359.97 $49.00
No upgrade qualified OS installed (Single Machine) $199.99 $169.00*
No upgrade qualified OS installed (3 Machines in Family) $599.97 $229.00*
        *Also includes iLife, and iWorks, but I won't even count that.  Note that the Apple Family pack actually allows installation on 5, not 3 machines.  I am giving Windows a big advantage here by using 3 machines in my comparison. I also won't get into what functions are available in Mac OS X 10.6, but would require the more expensive Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate to get in the Microsoft OS.  For reference, using the worst case values, it is $1099.95 for 5 Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade Version Licenses vs. $49.00 for 5 Mac OS x 10.6 Upgrade Licenses.
  • Again -- Wow!  These are real numbers, right from Microsoft and Apple's websites.  This is NOT fan boy-ism. (If I have made an error, please let me know and I will correct it promptly.) Comparisons of the Features, Security, and Usability will come with time, and from less biased sources, but one thing is fact: Windows 7 is Expensive!

03 October 2009
New Commentary Posted -- The Green Guy with an Identity Crisis
"The term “Android” is a word from geeky science fiction.", Confused Android"... it's associated with things that are not real, or at least not yet developed sufficiently to be practical. These are exactly the associations I would not want in the mind of a prospective customer of technology goods."
Read the full Commentary.

03 September 2009
New Review Posted.  The Skyvoice S282 Dual Mode GSM/WiFi VoIP Mobile Phone.  Also known as the E28 R2821, it's simultaneously one of the worst cellphones I've seen in several years, and one of the coolest WiFi/VoIP handsets.

27 August 2009
(Edited 01 Sept 2009)
I told my wife to shoot me (or at least strongly discourage me) if I ever attempt to buy another Nokia product, and now this is announced.  I guess there is plenty of time to order a bullet-proof vest before the Nokia N900 is actually available.  Need a reason NOT to buy a Nokia N900 (Like for example to avoid a bullet wound)?  Wait for the Archos Android MID phone or what ever Apple has up their sleeves.

30 March 2009
RedHat's stock closed higher today than Microsoft's.  It is the first time this has happened excepting times near RedHat's IPO.  Now I understand market cap, and I am not suggesting that this means RedHat is a bigger company than Microsoft.  It does however say something about investors confidence in RedHat, Linux, and Open Source.  If RedHat is a small software company that is "below the radar" of some investors, what does it say when investors find a share of Microsoft to be less valuable than that of said small software company?  I hinted to this in my Predictions for 2009 article.

12 February 2009
New Commentary posted - Responds to stories of "Dangerous" Vulnerability in Google's Android OS, and uses this as an excuse to explain a little about Linux and Android security.

01 February 2009
New Commentary posted - Kathryn has no Time for Linux.  It is just a story, but it is also very typical.

09 Jan 2009

T-Mobile would like to clarify it's position on the T-Mobile/HTC/Google/G1/Dream/gPhone/Whatever you call it phone. My Predictions for 2009 article predicts great things for The G1's "Android" Operating System, while my entry on 16 Oct 2008 promotes a wait and see posture.  What gives? While the G1, and Android lack important features, and  I could list another half-dozen lesser complaints, the G1 is never the less,'s currently recommended phone for most people wanting a smart phone.  If you do not need to tether a laptop, MID, or netbook (In other words, you do not intend to use your phone as a modem for another device), and the other missing features of the G1 are not show stoppers for you, then the G1 is simply the most capable single-device solution out there.  It's real keyboard, compatibility with standard mini-USB cables, Micro SD card slot, and functional cut-and-paste push the G1 past even the smooth and stylish iPhone 3G.  With the passing of the CES event with out an announcement of an Android -based Sony Ericsson Xperia like device, and only promises of future HTC Android phones, it looks like the G1 will be the best choice through this summer at least.

24 Dec 2008 has posted it's Predictions for 2009 relating to Linux, Microsoft, and the Mobile Device market.

16 Oct 2008

T-Mobile G1Why isn't there more on about the T-Mobile G1?  With a touchscreen, and Linux under the hood, the G1 is not only a linuxslate, but it will be the largest deployment of a linuxslate in history.  Here at Linuxslate HQ, we're holding off. As mentioned in the review of the Motorola Motozine ZN5, it's nice to have a Linux phone with a real camera, standard ports, and Bluetooth that actually connects to other Bluetooth devices (not just headsets).  I predict that by the middle of next year, other Linux/Android phones from other manufacturers will start to appear.  They'll include standard connectors and fixes for most of the issues mentioned in reviews of the T-Mobile/HTC/Google/G1/Dream/gPhone/Whatever you call it phone.

16 Oct 2008

Target ASUS 8.9” Eee PC Mini-Review

Eee PC sold by targetTarget is now selling the ASUS Eee PC in the brick-and-mortar stores for $299. What do you get for $299? Is it worth it? Why is this significant?

The Eee in Target stores is basically a stripped down Eee PC 900. Target does not advertise it as a model 900, and rightfully so, since it is missing many features that “normal” 900's have. The Target Eee PC has only 4Gig of Solid State storage, and is missing the webcam. Other than that, it's a 900. The CPU speed is 900 Mhz. In the box is the restore CD, paper manual, getting started sheets, 5800 mAH 4-Cell battery, and a very compact brick-style power adapter. There is no included slip case. The quality is pretty good, and the 900 models, including this one, support 2 finger scrolling and zooming (in some apps). The feel of the trackpad buttons could be better on both the 900 series and the 701, but that's a minor gripe. The 8.9”, 1024x600 screen makes the unit look more professional, and allows webpages to be displayed without horizontal scrolling. Only Linux was available at my local store, but both White and Black colors were in stock. The Solid State drive is on it's own card, so swapping it out for a larger and faster one once prices come down will likely be a viable option.

Impressively, nothing (except the webcam capture app.) is missing on the software side. Full OpenOffice (2.0) is there, as is everything else seen on model 701 and 900 Linux Eee's.

Setup, and getting connected to the net was not a problem. I was even able to get online via my Motorola ZN5 connected via USB. I had to tell it to use a Dial-up connection as opposed to a GSM/3G/HSDPA connection, but once the relevant info was entered, it connected immediately – no command line or editing of any files was needed.

It's got to be Microsoft's worst nightmare – Linux pre-installed on a PC, displayed in a popular nationwide store, at a price low enough to be an impulse buy. Not only are people exposed to Linux, but also Open Office, Firefox, and games like Penguin Racer (Tux Racer). Even if people do decide to install Windows, it's likely that they will at least look at the default OS. Several people I have shown the machine to said that they had no idea Linux was as simple and functional as it is on the Eee.

11 Oct 2008
The review of the Motorola ZN5 is up.  Read the full review here.

30 Sept 2008 has received a Motorola ZN5 for review.  A full review will follow shortly, but for now, here's an Unboxing Video. Enjoy:

Please keep checking back for the full review.

23 Sept 2008
A few quick thoughts on the T-Mobile / Google G1 "Google Phone", "HTC Dream", 1st Andriod Phone, (or whatever you want to call it) that was announced today, and previously mentioned in my "Super Phones" article:
  • It shares a lot with the iPhone - both in terms of features that are present and features that, at least for the launch, are missing.
  • I think it really is valid competition for the iPhone, and in some ways it's ahead: Google Maps with compass mode and street view look a generation ahead of Google Maps on the iPhone. Playing standard media formats, and using the DRM free Amazon MP3 store makes it far more consumer friendly than the iPhone/iTunes combination.  I also like the customizable homescreen, and slide up icon menu.
  • Including a QWERTY keyboad and memory card slot are 2 huge hardware advantages. 
  • Some of the missing features are Bluetooth profiles such as A2DP, OBEX, HID, etc., video record, and as far as I know, voice dialing or voice control.  There is also no current method (official or hack) to allow tethering.
  • It lacks a standard 3.5 (or even 2.5mm) headset/headphone jack, instead using a proprietary connector for audio, charging and USB.
For me the lack of standard connectors is, perhaps not a show stopper,  but, at least for the moment,  when concidered along with the rest of the omissions, will give me pause.

So what's a geek to do when he/she wants working Bluetooth, camcorder, voice dialing, and standard connectors? Well, you can wait for other Android devices next year, or, if you don't need Accelerometers, 3G, GPS, and an "App Store", you may want to consider the Motorola ZN5 as an alternative.  It's out now, and is working on getting one for an in-depth technical review.

18 August 2008
Several manufactures are readying new, feature rich Linux-based mobile phones. has compiled a guide that will mention a few notable ones, and speculate about whether any of these could potentially be the much anticipated "iPhone-killer".

24 July 2008
New Commentary Posted.  The Wallstreet Journal's All Things Digital posted a leaked Microsoft internal memo outlining Steve Ballmer's plans for Microsoft's 2009 Fiscal Year.  I can't help but to make some comments.

25 June 2008
New review Posted.  The Wibrain B1L with Ubuntu Linux. How does the Linux based Wibrains stack up against the Eee PC, Pepper Pad 3 and the Nokia Tablets? What should a new or prospective owner know about this Ultra Mobile PC? Click here for the article.

25 Jan 2008
Comming soon:  I have been working on a Web-based transcoder system for MythTV. It consists of some perl and html and requires mencoder and ffmpeg.  I'll be uploading it after I clean it up a bit.

25 Jan 2008
New Review: reviews an inexpensive Ethernet IP Phone currently being sold on

03 Oct 2007
My first opinion peice in quite a long time.  Please read my comments relating to possible legal action over the Apple iPhone 1.1.1 Firmware update issue.

12 Sept 2007
The forums are now open! For now, you will have to email me to register.  Please post questions to those forums.

07 Sept 2007 has moved to  OnNow supports Open Source Projects, so Supports OnNow.  Check them out for your hosting needs.
For now, (most of) the old content has been restored, but that, too will only be temporary. In the near future, there will be a new, more professional site here, including:
  • More articles and reviews
  • A more dynamic blog-style front page
  • Forums !!  At the moment I am planning the following forums:
    • Linux on Modern Tablet PC's
    • Pepper Pad 3
    • Pepper Pad 2
    • Classic Fujitsu Active Pen Systems (1000, 1200, 2300, etc.)
    • Classic Fujitsu Passive Pen Systems (LTC-500, etc.
    • Other Classic Pen Tablets (IBM, Ricoh, etc.)
    • Linux Based Mobile phone hacking (Motorola, E28, others.)
    • MythTV on HP Media Center PC's
    • Rewiew Discussion
    • Other Cool Hardware to hack as it appears

20 Jul 2007 reviews a Linux slate - a really cool Linux slate - The Pepper Pad 3.  Read my "Non-Dumb" Review here.

 08 Feb 2007
I have designed and constructed a "Keyboard Dock" for my Nokia 770 Internet Tablet.  Yes, its kind of like the "Unslate", but it really is a cool and useable accessory for the Nokia 770.  Keyboard Dock for the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet

13 Sept 2006
Another Review posted.  WowWee's newest robotic dinosaur - RoboReptile is actually on the shelves.  Check out my review: WowWee's latest Robot Dinosaur - the RoboReptile

05 August 2006
Motorola A780As mentioned in the previous post, I just bought a Motorola A780 mobile phone.  Since it has a touch screen, and runs Linux, it really is a Linuxslate.  I have posted my first How-To for this phone.  It covers building (compiling) Moto4Lin on Fedora Core, and using it to enable certain phone features. Moto4Lin is a great utility for not just the A780, but many Motorola phones.  Another How-To will follow shortly.  Get to the How-To from the Guides and Help page.

05 August 2006
Linux is getting popular in the Mobile Phone business. From a PCMAG article:
"...Motorola will be abandoning the familiar operating system used on its feature phones, such as the RAZR, for a Linux- and Java-based solution"
and From ZDNet Asia:
"The world No. 2 mobile phone maker, which debuted the Ming smartphone in March this year in China, shipped more than one million Linux-based units in China alone last quarter, according to research firm Canalys."
It's not just Motorola.  Nokia has also released a major product based on Linux, and there are indications that Nokia may release more products based on Linux.
This growth of Linux in the mobile market recently hit home for me in another way.
A Co-Woker was showing me his new Cingular 8150.  It runs Windows Mobile.  Interesting I thought.  Cingular is not a phone manufacturer -- they are a Wireless Service Provider (WSP).  The only prominent marking on the phone says Cingular.  Cingular's website does not mention the manufacturer.  Why not?  The phone is really made by HTC.  HTC stands for "High Tech Computer Corp." -- No - Really. It Does.  On the other hand, I just bought a Motorola A780.  It runs Linux.  No need to try to hide  that name.    The No. 1 and No. 2 Mobile phone companies are moving toward Linux, while the Microsoft OS is relegated to the "High Tech Computer Corp."  Ironic how things change isn't it?

24 May 2006
The review of the Ecotest МКS-05 Portable Radiation Detector/Meter has been posted.  Follow this link.

14 May 2006
The site has been down for a few days due to some upstream network connectivity issues.  This is an informal, just for fun type of operation, so this kind of problem is to be expected.  The server itself has been up for over 117 days with out a re-boot.

In other news, I have recieved my Ecotest МКS-05 radiation detector, and with the site being down, I sort of lost the incentive to start the review.  The positive offshoot of this is that I have had a few more days to evaluate the МКS-05, and thus the review will be better when it does get published.  Oh...  and I have found something else near me that is  amazingly radioactive.  (Actually 2 things, although one is only very mildly radioactive).  Look for the story in the Ecotest МКS-05 review soon.  Catch the links from the Radiation Detector Buyer's Guide.

29 April 2006
I have expanded my coverage of Personal Radiation Detectors.  Now, in addition to the Review of the Russian DRSB-88 Pocket Dosimeter, I have a Buyer's Guide for these devices.  Look for more reviews to follow soon.

14 January 2006
The Ulitimate Pre-Built MythTV box?  Perhaps.  Read about my attempts to install Linux for MythTV on the HP z555 Media Center PC.  Oh... and help out if you can. Click the Link above, or you can get there from the Guides & Help Page.

16 December 2005
I can't help wanting to talk about my new Nokia 770.  I said I wouldn't do a review since others have, so I decided to do something that is not a review, but may also be useful to those considering buying this cool Linux Slate.
Please read "Nokia 770 Internet Tablet paired with the Nokia N-GageQD vs. The Nokia 9500  - How does the combination of a Nokia 770 Tablet and a medium range phone compare to a high-end WiFi 'SmartPhone'?"  Even though technically it isn't a Review, you can get there from Reviews.

10 December 2005
I just picked up 2 Nokia 770's from CompUSA.  I have only just set it up, but I can say:
WOW !!  This seems to be the device I had always hoped somebody would release.  I think Nokia really did it right -- Both in terms of the actual device, and the development environment/philosophy.  I expect the software availability and functionality of this devices (and subsequent derivative devices) to explode unlike anything we've seen before.  I do not plan on reviewing the device, since others have done excellent reviews already.  I do plan on porting some existing apps, but probably not until after the US Holidays.

20 November 2005
New Review Posted.  The Tiger VuGo "Multimedia System."
Read about it along with my other Reviews.


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