Was playing with my newest Ubuntu install and found in the 'Examples' directory, a recording of Alice in Wonderland's first chapter in spoken form, coming from LibriVox, a free online collection of audiobooks from the public domain and recorded by volunteers. You will find works from Lao-Tsu's Tao Te King to Austen's Pride and Prejudice, poetry (Shakespeare) and other miscellaneous (US Declaration of Independence).

So I took the laptop my brother was using for school, formatted it, and reinstalled it to my taste. It's a machine he got over the Holidays in 2000-01, thus an antiquity of a few hundreds mHz and just 192 Mb of RAM. Of the 20Gb HD, I made a 10Gb WinXP partition, in case, but the Linux partition, an Ubuntu install for regular 32-bit PCs works just as well - there's a working Flash, and network/sound work like a charm, but I am guessing that the multimedia might be choppier than on WinXP.

Essentially, now I need to get myself a cheap wireless card for no more than $50, taxes not included. As I shopped around, some brands were charging way more than $70 - I don't understand what sort of features one would be willing to pay for on an appliance that is only meant to be a network adapter... just like the problem I have with fancy keyboards that cost more than $10, such that one can't find plain old $10 kb anymore.

Solely doing this for the portability. I guess that the biggest dilemma in laptop-buying is how much portability are you willing to sacrifice in exchange for raw computing power. If you aren't going to play games, or do heavy heavy multimedia editing, then any decent laptop in 2001-02 will do. And even then, this laptop has a DVD player, and I remember having watched movies on it before. But basically, all the crunch, server-based testing, would be handled by the remote comp.

And eventually, in the future, "tablet PCs" are dirt cheap and essentially portable, before being powerful. It's starting with Web 2.0, whatever MS calls Windows Live, and interactive web-based applications. I think that the web as we know it is probably limited by design - and a new sort of standard would eventually arise and spread to allow richer applications across network (and thus a more intelligent form of decentralization of computing power).

(See MIT's Project Oxygen and the Semantic Web.)


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This page contains a single entry by Cedric published on May 7, 2006 1:51 AM.

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