Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Apple Tablet, Windows OS X, Mac OS X

Apple’s Tablet is not out yet, but here’s more talk:

Given my experience with the iPhone 3Gs, very specifically, I’ve enjoyed having the ability to lay down flat on my back and read web pages, if the Apple Tablet is sufficiently light weight such that I can hold it like a book, there’s a very good chance I’ll wind up buying it when it’s out.

 On another note, I was at someone’s Vista machine last night trying to diagnose some issues for them. While I like the idea of having an underlying 64 bit Windows OS, more contemporary icons and Windows Media Center (for connectivity to the XBox360), I’ve gotten so accustomed to the appearance of what I've dubbed Windows OS X (see image) at home I don’t like the default appearance of Vista at all. Thankfully Stardock, the company that makes the customization possible, already has a beta of their software running on Windows 7.

I also happen to be in the market for a used Mac Mini, specifically the current high end model:

Except I am not paying $800 for commodity hardware (the parts would probably cost me $350). Lots of people build Hackintoshes but I don’t want to go that route since I’ve read people having issues when a new version of Mac OS X is released, i.e. Apple doing things to dissuade the use of Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware. I don’t need such hassles. I am hoping to find a 2+ GHz Mac Mini on Craigslist at some point, i.e., let someone else bear the cost of lining Mr. Jobs’ pockets with green. So far I have not seen one listed as the current models are relatively new (only a few months old).

If I got a Mac Mini I would setup Synergy and have Windows and Mac OS X be one large virtual desktop across two displays.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Brewing Storm for Microsoft

Apparently this nettop (netbook+desktop) from Acer is out now and readily available at Newegg for $200:

Here’s a more detailed article about the Acer AspireRevo from six months ago on Gizmodo:

If this kind of hardware becomes crazy pervasive, it could be a big problem for Microsoft in the long term, i.e. the cost of Windows and Office would be significantly more than the cost of hardware. Robert X. Cringely predicted this would eventually become a big problem for Microsoft and it seems with hardware being scaled down so much this is a portent of things to come.

Which is why I have often said that Microsoft made a brilliant move with getting into the gaming console market. Today the XBox360 is a low cost hardware platform whose storage makes it capable of running different programs and in my view Microsoft's entry into the gaming console market was a hedge against this transition. At least I would hope someone inside of Microsoft was sufficiently prescient and saw the potential problem of home PCs being displaced once HDTVs truly became pervasive. Simply because, the top three computing activities in the home are browsing, email and gaming. If you've had occasion to see the web browser that runs on the Playstation 3, it is functional on many web sites. Again, a portent of things to come. Unfortunately for Microsoft every shipped XBox shipped means no license for Windows and Office going alongside it. And Windows and Office accounts for approximately two thirds of Microsoft's revenues.

While the HD playback on the Acer AspireRevo is an issue, things are brewing to remedy this problem:

While this VIA daughterboard currently is too big to fit into the Acer AspireRevo it happens to be perfect for Netbooks. Now imagine when this VIA PICO hardware winds up being just a single die (chip). Then you are talking about having a $200 PC for your living room capable of delivering content off the Net that does not have the usual hassle factors – cost (the upfront cost and your utility bill going up because of your new space heater), noise (fans) and size (bulk).