Thursday, May 19, 2011

Computer in a pocket


Raspberry Pi (UK) have announced that they are building a computer for school children to learn more about programming for a price of around $40 NZ. The computer is shown on the right hand picture, and uses a 700 MHz ARM Processor with 256 Mb RAM. A SD Memory Card slides in from the bottom to hold the Operating system and Data. The Screen is a HDMI Television set and the single USB port goes to a HUB to provide Mouse and Keyboard Input. The provided Operating System is a stripped down Ubuntu, but other Operating Systems that use the Phone type ARM chip could be used. Maybe Windows 8 which is being developed for ARM chips could also be a possibility. The Specifications look minimal, but the first iPads ran on something similar.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Easy to use Computers


Ubuntu has just released their 11.04 operating system. The desktop has been designed with the user in mind. There is no Control Panel, Menu or Start Buttons. Everything is started using the Quick Launch (left of the screen) or the Dashboard (centre of the screen). The Dashboard comprises of three sections (most used, installed and can be installed). There are a number of dashboards that are split into various sections (Internet, Multimedia, office, etc). If the programs name is known, typing into the search box will find it. When an application is running the Quick launch slides away out of sight but can be brought back at any time by pushing the mouse to the left of the screen. There are four desktops that can be run simultaneously with an easy desktop switcher application that determines which is the current screen in use. The complete system resembles a cross between a phone or tablet, and has touch screen functionality built in as well as normal keyboard and mouse use.  I am running this system happily on an eight year old computer with 1 Gb of slow RAM. Like the iPhone, Android, and modern tablets, the traditional computer manufactures may be too slow to see these new devices coming. System 76, ZaReason, Kogan and Jolibook computers are already just starting to appear on the market.