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Transmeta

Crusoe To Power Microsoft-Based Tablet PC 187

buzzini writes: "Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft's upcoming Tablet PC will be powered by the Crusoe chip. An announcement is expected tomorrow during a BillG speech at WinHEC." According to the article, "the development versions of the Tablet PCs will likely follow a hardware outline given at Comdex. Aside from the Transmeta chips, they will likely include 128MB of RAM, a 10GB hard drive, a docking cradle, a USB (universal serial bus) keyboard and mouse, along with built-in local-area networking based on the 802.11." Wireless webpads will rock -- hope they're here before 2000! OK, before the new millenium. Well, errr ...
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Crusoe To Power Microsoft-Based Tablet PC

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  • by HerrGlock ( 141750 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @08:17AM (#339467) Homepage
    Bill and Linus working on the same end-result project? Cats and dogs living together. "C'mon Martha, time to get to the bomb shelter."

    DanH
    Cav Pilot's Reference Page [cavalrypilot.com]
  • unless they use this always-on LAN to invade privacy, report piracy, etc.
  • Where are the flying pigs?
    --
  • by rabtech ( 223758 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @08:20AM (#339470) Homepage
    The Tablet PC is NOT a Palm or WinCE device. Microsoft has demo'ed these units at several of its conferences, and they are a full-fledged PC running Windows 2000 or XP, with a touch-screen LCD. Basically, imagine breaking the screen off your notebook, turning it over to lay flat and upwards, making it touchscreen, and then as thin as a paper notebook and you'd have the Tablet PC. The large benefit Microsoft hopes to gain from this deal is in terms of power consumption and lowered heat output.

    The software for these devices is also very interesting. You can handwrite notes, and the software can spell-check, in handwriting! Also, you can doodle pictures, which are then automatically converted to images, which can them be resized and placed elsewhere. If you happen to be reading a book, you can drag the text down to create blank space in order to write your own personal notes. When you walk into your home (assuming you have wireless access on your PC as well), your documents and settings are syncronized with your desktop PC automatically; no having to put the Tablet in a cradle and manually run a program. It all just 'happens.' This is also part of the .NET strategy: Suppose you want to edit a document on your Tablet PC while you are in New York, but the document is still on your home PC? No problem... the Tablet PC can dial out through whatever Internet access you have, connect to your home PC, and download the document, all without any user intervention. The possibilities are endless, since it is a full PC after all. One might even be able to get Linux running on it, only sans the neato software.
    -------
    -- russ

    "You want people to think logically? ACK! Turn in your UID, you traitor!"
  • i wonder what intel has to say about this..
  • by nate1138 ( 325593 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @08:21AM (#339472)
    Haven't the folks at microsoft learned anything from Gateway/3com/epods?? People aren't ready for or just plain don't want these connected 'net appliances yet. Just ask virgin, who had to fold their webplayer service, or 3com, who just dumped kerbango and audrey(audrey didn't even last 6 mo's). Or ask Gateway, whose Transmeta-powered AOL pad isn't selling either. Or ask epods, if you can find them since they folded. I'm not saying give up, but the "build it and they will come" mentality is obviously flawed. Maybe the subscription services sold with the devices is what did them in, maybe just bad marketing or design, but some real research and forethought needs to go into this before someone tries again. just my .02 tho'
  • This was the design the Newton R&D group at Apple was trying to go for when they first started out. It fizzled due to the fact that it would have cost $8000 at the time. We've come a long way since then.
  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @08:23AM (#339474) Homepage Journal
    Why is it that a pen is considered to be more natural than a keyboard for typing (a typewriter)? I mean, even writing itself is not something natural in the animal kingdom. We came up with the idea of writing with a stick in some sand, with some paint on the cave walls and now with a keyboard on a computer screen. How can we possibly claim that one way us more natural than another to do an unnatural task?
    And forget the writing. Information should be entered into a computer directly with a thought. Evaluating the thought context is what they should concentrate on.
  • Finally, a good use for the Crusoe processor!

    I'm glad to see the Crusoe finally getting used in some devices. It's been available for months now, and this is the first major product I've seen it in. A web tablet or other sub-laptop device will work just perfectly with the Crusoe processor.

    The Crusoe isn't nearly powerful enough to suffice for most notebook users, as users are looking for a device that can handle professional applications like MS Office and StarOffice, and most users will also be playing limited games. The Crusoe simply is not powerful enough to meet the processing demands of the latest games and business software, but it should be ideally suited to a web tablet device, that will be used primarailly for web surfing and light text editing.

    Cheers to Microsoft for pioneering the Tablet PC, and choosing Transmeta to power the device.

  • No, I didn't make that up.
  • Presuming that MS doesn't put any particularly incompatible hardware on the board, I'd expect someone to have a Linux port done in short order... an inasmuch as I don't much care to pay for a copy of Windows I'll not be using, that might be a cost I'm willing to accommodate to have one of these things.
  • I saw a Sony crusoe-based notebook today and boy, is it sweet! Let's just hope that M$ doesn't tie these into windows - the first thing i'll be doing is formatting the internal storage!
  • I certainly hope Microshaft doesn't tax the hell out of pricing on these bad boys. With hope, their intentions will be to get every dumb schmoe in America owning one. Then the price will be cheap, and I can buy one. :)
  • This is scary ... its like ... mater and anti-mater ... .... Im scared
  • Its not Linus and Bill working together. Its Transmeta and Microsoft working together. Trasmeta is in a position to sell the Curuso chips to one of the largest software companies in the world. Isnt that a great business opportunity? I think so.
  • Looks very good for crusoe. Whatever about Microsoft's previous operating systems, the company usually comes out with good hardware. Also looks good for our friend Linus, although I know that some people will object to his 'getting into bed' with Gates et al. But, commercial success is what puts the bread on the table..

    The spec sounds reasonable, the components exist to have small current requirements, and a long battery life.

    No need to wonder which o/s will be running on this baby.. I don't care - I will still want one.

  • by RussGarrett ( 90459 ) <russ@gBOYSENarrett.co.uk minus berry> on Monday March 26, 2001 @08:27AM (#339483) Homepage
    What is this I see?
    The brethren of Slashdot joining together to praise Microsoft?

    The end is nigh.
  • "It has that big 'ooh, ah' factor, but people want something they're familiar with, which is the keyboard," Promisel said. Huh? I've been using pens and pencils since I was 5, and crayons since before I can remember! As long as the handwriting software is decent (ie I can actually write letters instead of weird glyphs that I have to memorize), this would rule.
  • Maybe it's 'cause they all have one major flaw:
    proprietary OS tied to limited useability. If I buy a tablet PC, it better damn well run whatever *I* want it to, up to and including Linux, games, office suite, whatever. Today it's a web server, tomorrow, my newspaper, next day it's my gamepad while I'm in the crapper.
    This just in: Simplicity shouldn't be bundled in with limitations. Keep it simple but keep it open. Let the masses find their own uses for the device.

    sheesh. It's like buying a car that only drives on one freeway.

    3C
  • Hi, I just wanted to make a short non violent comment on your post about the Crusoe To Power Microsoft-Based... article on slashdot. You stated that Linux (or other free OSen) should be the only option available to consumers... I'm afraid I don't agree, and I don't think that this falls into the thought pattern of the OS world. If OS operating systems were the only option then they would have a monopoly, OS is about freedom and choice, not about forcing someone to use a particular idea, product or even thought pattern. My $.02
  • I had no idea what the Crusoe processor was or that it existed, and I certainly had no idea how it compared with other chips, so I ran a background check.

    Transmeta's official Crusoe web site [transmeta.com]

    ZDNet > Reviews > Hardware > Crusoe [zdnet.com]

    Apparently the chip delivers as you would expect any chip to, but it runs cooler. That alone is advantageous in several ways. I'm never the first to jump on the bandwagon, but I'm not the last either. I hope this thing really takes off...

  • Jezz, when was the last time you went to Frys or Circuit City? The smallest laptop on display with that lame half screen that you use a virtual desktop on, that's a Crusoe processor inside. I know this simply because there's 200 signs pointing at it saying "look, an actual product from Transmeta, buy me, buy me!" which no one does as soon as they try it because of that lame screen.
  • Microsoft is a blatant monopoly; that has been proven in a court of law (the Supreme Court, no less!)

    Um no. Only Judge Jackson found that Microsoft is a monopoly. Judge Jackosn is a District Court Judge (the lowest Federal Court).


    And yet, Transmeta is aiding Microsoft in their quest to dominate the planet

    Maybe Transmeta is a small company that sees a great opportunity to sell their chips to the LARGEST software ocmpany in the world? If they didnt persue this opportunity, they would be sued by every single one of their shareholders.. dont forget, they are in the business to make money!
  • as users are looking for a device that can handle professional applications like MS Office and StarOffice, and most users will also be playing limited games.

    Remember what it was like back in the glory days of, say, pII-233? More than fast enough for office. Limited games, yes, but will be held back by lack of input device, and graphic adapter. A crusoe powered desktop and a GF2\kyro2 would be well powerful enough for the 95% of games available out there..

  • Maybe if you advertise the living fuck out of it you might get some people to buy it. Microsoft is in a position to do that. Personally I'd rather a decent size Mac tablet, because the Newton was just such a great product ;)
  • Wow... what a great idea. I'm surprised no one thought of it before. Oh yeah. Apple did.

    In all seriousness I think its very cool tech (love my Newton and would probably love one of these too) but I wonder how they'll do mass market wise. They won't be any cheaper than a laptop (prob more expensive due to the touch screens) without too much added benefit.

    The Bastard.

  • Linus may expect to get a pink slip any day now... Stranger things have happened.
  • Thought, tommorrow, voice, facial expressions, and glance tracking today [ibm.com].
  • by DrCode ( 95839 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @08:36AM (#339495)
    This was an area that Microsoft stayed out of. I wonder how this, along with the Xbox, will affect their relationship with the big PC manufacturers, who've always had a symbiotic relationship with MS?

    It used to be that everybody was Microsoft's friend, back when MS was an OS-and-tools company. It didn't matter that they controlled the OS, because everybody was making money with the growth of the PC. Then MS moved into the applications area, and suddenly, companies like Lotus and Corel (and Netscape!) were history.

    All along, the PC manufacturers were happy with MS's domination, because it made life easy and profitable to them. Why bother installing other OS's or applications, as long as they could keep moving boxes?

    I wonder how Michael Dell feels now, with MS poking its tentacles in his direction?

  • hehe... karmma to spare. Do your worst.

  • Want an inexpensive Windows CE-based web browser, email client, MP3 player, voice memo recorder, rudimentary games machine, and home automation X10 controller that will also create and edit Microsoft Word and Excel files with handwriting recognition and 16-bit color in a package that resembles a space-age Etch-a-Sketch? Get an ePods [geocities.com], hack it and for $199,00 it's all yours.
  • by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @08:36AM (#339498) Journal
    ZdNet is reporting [zdnet.com] that Transmeta "will assist Microsoft with tweaks to the Tablet PC's Windows XP operating system." So we could have Linus actually developing Windows XP.

  • The pen isn't more natural for text entry. But it works better than keyboard with mouse, imho, for pointing and "clicking", interspersed with occasional text entry. Especially if you can get a little digital keyboard up on the screen with a couple of easy "clicks". I know I'd love to have a device like this with a Palm-like interface, but with a laptop-sized screen, CPU, memory, etc. This would be very handy on airplanes, buses, trains. Places where you don't have a ton of room. This is also handy since you can hold the device in one arm while using the other to control it.
  • QBE [qbenet.com] makes a tablet computer now - Genus. While it isn't wireless out of the box I'm running mine with a wireless card and it works great. They have a new model - Vivo that will be wireless.
    These things aren't cheap, but they are pretty neat. Don't know about linux on it yet, but maybe in the future.
  • According to zdnet Transmeta "will assist Microsoft with tweaks to the Tablet PC's Windows XP operating system." Have fun in Redmond, Linus!

  • Now, they are going to get into the handheld-portable market, which has yet to turn a dime for anyone.

    PDA's didn't make a dime for anyone until the Palm. Of corse I already have a nice 802.11 laptop, so I'm not going to buy this unless it is dirt cheep and can run my OS of choice.

    Just because nobody else has made that market niche pay off doesn't mean MS can't. It also doesn't mean they can.

    All of this is to support their hopes for a Microsoft OS dominated world, which is completely ludicrus in a networking environment and is garaunteed to fail, because no one in their right mind is going to shell out $ for Microsoft servers that are twice as hard and twice as slow as free unix ones that work with everything. Microsoft is digging its grave. What idiots.

    I hate to break this to you, but there are lots and lots of places that do go for WinNT or 2000 on servers. Maybe they are insane. Maybe NT/2000 really is better for their task (probably because MS has kept the protocol closed). Maybe both.

  • Because learning institutuions are so slow at implementing programs to teach grade-schoolers to type (not to mention the over 50 crow who never had the chance), the default mode of written language will remain the pen and paper. What this device will do is lower the learning curve allowing the clueless to use the same skills they are learning in school to access the web/word processor.
  • Which is why pen computers have failed, failed, failed in the marketplace. Pen organizers (e.g. Palm) are different because they are designed to be useful despite the much slower input method - you're using them while walking about, so it's not such a big deal. Pen computers are just too cumbersome to use effectively, except for special applications.

    Remember Go, Eo, General Magic, Grid, Windows for Pens / Winpad, Compaq Concerto, and various WinCE flavors? All crashed and burned. I don't see why this will be any different.

  • Am I the only one around that doesn't think that having everything wireless is a "good thing?" You don't have to be very intrusive to listen in on the communications, and you don't even have to violate federal wiretap laws to do it. (The FBI at least needs a court order to tap into your phone line, but not if they want to park a wireless frame sniffer outside your house. That's only a heartbeat away from random checks).

    IMO, this is especially bad if the software will be juggling your "personal information" back and forth (including Wallet) as often and as automaticly as this information susggests.

    ... or am I just paranoid?

  • This isn't Yet Another Internet Appliance. TabletPC comes as advertised: a full-fledged PC, running Windows XP, not Linux/BeIA/Java with a dumbed-down, captive UI. It will make strong use of "ink" as an input device, but underneath, it's a notebook. The keyboard and mouse are just dockable devices. Wireless networking will come in some combination of wireless Ethernet and Bluetooth, depending of the OEMs' designs.

    I absolutely love the idea. It bridges the gap between PDAs and notebooks far better than sub-notebooks like Toshiba Libretto or Sony Vaio C1.

    We're not scare-mongering/This is really happening - Radiohead
  • Yes, you're absolutely right, history has shown that when it comes to making money, Microsoft have no clue. Erm, wait a minute...
  • Suppose you want to edit a document on your Tablet PC while you are in New York, but the document is still on your home PC?

    Unfortunately, I don't have broadband at home. But if I did, I could do the same in a couple ways today.

    In KDE:
    Click on "home PC" icon.
    Click on document to edit.

    Anywhere:
    "telnet myhomePC"
    "emacs mydoc"

  • Although I like this new device, I don't agree with it being the first major product with a Crusoe.

    I have a Sony Picturebook with a 600 MHz Crusoe for months now. I must say, it simply rocks. The thing has a 1024x480 wide screen (perfect for two xterms next to each other), 12 GB HD and 128 MB RAM. Although webpads are a great idea, I just love having a keyboard standard attached to this device.

    I run Win2k on it because of the (partly offline) strength of IE and the power management support. But FreeBSD ran on it too (a make world of FreeBSD 4.2-STABLE took only about 4 hours, which doesn't disappoint me at all).

    Most DiVX movies I've encountered run great on this little gadget. Only when the highest bitrates were used for encoding, playing is problematic. You should see the faces on the people on the train when I'm watching a movie on my picturebook. I didn't know people could actually physically turn green from jalouzy.. ;-)

    It's hard to give an exact performance indication of the processor, since it's performance increases over time as it caches the optimized VLIW (very long intruction words) into the 16 MB of RAM it uses for that purpose. It's for sure a lot faster than my K6-300 which doesn't play DiVX at all. Some benchmarks have shown the Crusoe 600 to be about comparable to a Celeron 533.

    When plugged into the network at home (most of the time) I run an X-server to my FreeBSD box so I can have the joys of UNIX (I like Windows/IE for movie/sound media and browsing, but everything else, incl. mail, I do in UNIX).

    There's one drawback to this baby: the price. Other than that it's simply perfect for my needs.

    O yeah, battery life is about two hours on full usage. But bear in mind the battery is small. This things weighs 1 kilo including the battery! The extended battery doubles uptime.

    Rogier

  • Of course you are aware that the Sony PCG-C1VN [zdnet.com], which was the first, IIRC, Crusoe product, comes with Windows Me pre-installed.
  • At the CeBit in Hannover on Saturday I was able to hold and play with a ProGear webpad [frontpath.com] from Frontpath [frontpath.com]. It features a 400MHz Crusoe and a about 10" touchscreen display. It runs Transmeta [transmeta.com]'s Midori Linux [transmeta.com]. In the demo version they were running Netscape (only), the X Server let you rotate the view in all directions, and it supports a (not yet finished) handwriting support (and of course on-screen keyboard). In the completed version it will support other applications (i.e. probably be a full Linux system). It was linked up with a WaveLan card and the overall performance was impressive. (From what I heard a touchscreen that big is a pretty tricky thing to implement.) This might be a nice alternative to a MS WebPad, especially for people who like to play with such things - it features almost all the things this MS WebPad will have, and it comes with Linux ;-)

    On the other hand, the people there from Frontpath said that at the moment they are concentrating more on B2B deals - many businesses want to use it for things like taking inverntory, medial purposes, etc. Whether or not this will catch on with the general public remains to be seen... but with all the places that have wavelans set up, it might soon be possible to surf anywhere, anytime ;-)
  • Writing is what it is today for one simple important reason: mankind wanted to be able to created archives that will live on for a long time after the writer is dead.

    If it was not for writing, mankind would still be an animal today.

    ---------------
    Sig
    abbr.
  • Look, all they have to do is clock the damn thing up and it'll rock. A 1GHz Crusoe should be just fine. And it's not like they're not about to.

    z
  • You can always use "secure microsoft VPN" software. bwahaha. But seriously, encrypt your data stream.
  • Yes Apple invented everything.

    Microsoft has been doing this pen based/table evangelizing for many, many years. With Windows 3.1 they had all sorts of pen/table APIs written and they tried to push it. I remember PC magazine announcing the death of normal laptops and PCs...albeit a decade or so too early.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    They are both pathetic girly-men compared to Larry "The Enforcer" Ellison.
  • Bill Gates could personally take a cold hard cash loss of a billion dollars and it wouldn't affect his life style one iota. I'm sure that hes not too worried about Chapter 11.

    Besides -- even if it is running Windows Table Edition -- using one of these things would be pretty cool... (Me in my Crocodile Dundee voice to Palm user: "PDA? That's not a PDA! THIS is a PDA!")
  • The screen is not 'lame'. It's obviously not what suits your needs. But that doesn't mean it lame. The picturebook was designed for ultimate portability, that's why the screen is smaller than on other laptops.

    You probably also think carseats are 'lame' because they aren't as comfortable as your couch at home?

  • Can we install Linux on these things, and make a Beowulf cluster out of them?

    . . .

  • to install Windows XP. I guess you could attach a USB floppy drive to save.
  • "that has been proven in a court of law (the Supreme Court, no less!)"

    Somebody flunked their high school citizenship course...

    Let's see if I can't walk you through this: Above the highest state courts (such as the Florida Supreme Court or the Maryland Court of Appeals) is the lowest federal court, called the U. S. District Court. This is where Microsoft has been found guilty of violating anti-trust laws.

    So, they appealed the finding, and they are now appearing in the next step of the ladder, the U. S. Court of Appeals. Only after they're done here and need to appeal again does the case appear before the U. S. Supreme Court (maybe).

  • Yes, people want archives of the "great stories of mankind", but don't you think that writing is not needed for this. Don't forget that many popular tales and myths were propagated through the centuries (and altered, I agree) merely by verbal communication.

    As for the input method: it's all a matter of training. This weekend I had the occasion of trying a pen as input device (my uncle is an artist and well, you know Mac + Pen-Input is his thing). Honestly: he had to explain it to me how to use it (the pad is the monitor...), I still wanted to use it as a mouse. For me it was very difficult....I still did the movements I was used from using a mouse which is clearly not the idea.

    Oh, and to end in beauty with a quote (contradicting yours, sorry):

    "For millions of years mankind lived just like animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk. -- Pink Floyd / Division Bell / Keep Talking

  • by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @08:56AM (#339523) Homepage
    ie I can actually write letters instead of weird glyphs that I have to memorize

    Wha...?

    That doesn't even make sense - you learned the alphabet, right? You are too lazy to learn a second? Actually, the Palm's glyphs are relatively easy to adapt to, from what little I have played with them. I would personally buy a Palm and fully learn it, if I had a real world use for one (actually, I am beginning to think I do, what with all the information I keep, etc).

    Give it a chance, and don't be so lazy...

    Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!
  • Some benchmarks have. More specific: the benchmarks that do not take in consideration the fact that the Crusoe gets faster when it's repeating things (because of optimization and caching of instructions).

    So, if your testcase consists of a lot of things, each of which is only tested once (the usual case for benchmarks), the results are not flattening.

    On the other hand, if you also test repeating things (as in the normal world: like watching DiVX and other things with lots of repeating instrucions), things look a lot better.

  • 2000? We going retro these days?

    Seriously though, what's the pricing on these tablets going to be? I have a feeling it's going to be caught in a nasty place between palm-tops and laptops.

    Oh and let's not forget battery life.

  • What happens when someone slips some GPL code in?
  • It would still be lower power than comparable processors because the frequency is dynamically adjusted realtime (as is the voltage). This is done more fine-grained that something like Intel's SpeedStep, so it still has an advantage.
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @09:03AM (#339528) Journal
    There have been several incarnations of this with different hardware probably over the past ten years, all under the name Pen Computing [pencomputing.com].

    Pen computers running Windows are used primarily in vertical markets such as utilities, insurance, health care, transportation, government, and sales force automation. Unbeknownst to the general public, there are dozens of different pen computers available from companies such as Telxon, Symbol Technologies, Fujitsu PC, Fujitsu-ICL, MicroSlate, WalkAbout, Xplore, Melard, Panasonic, Intermec , Itronix (now including Husky), and others. Pen computers come as tablets, clamshells, and slates in many different sizes, configurations, and degrees of ruggedness.

    Check out the link for lotsa info and lotsa links.

  • by Dman33 ( 110217 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @09:04AM (#339529)
    Okay, perhaps this is off-topic, but I wonder if this would allow me to scribble a flow-chart free-hand and it will convert it into a Visio document??? I would be sold on that in a heartbeat. I can imagine sitting in a meetng scribbling the flow for an app and then sending off the chart to other developers without having to go back to my desk to make the chart from my pathetic notes...

    I also see a future for this type of thing in the medical field as long as the security is not by M$FT...
  • The screen is not 'lame'. It's obviously not what suits your needs. But that doesn't mean it lame.

    Actually it is lame if you use Windows, too many dialog boxes don't fit on the screen, and you need (as far as I know) 3rd party software to let you drag (some of) them so you can fill 'em out!

    Oddly enough, under Unix way fewer things didn't fit, and virtual desktops took care of the not fitting problem (plus the window manager can be instructed to let you drag any non-override redirect window anyway).

    The larger Viao 505PCG-JS was far more usable, and didn't weigh much different (it did cost a lot different though). The even larger and heftier PowerBook G3 works out even better for me, but YMMV, esp if you want a built in video cam.

    Note: this was with the older Intel powered version, and I assume a older version of Windows. The new CPU won't change any of this, a newer Windows may.

  • Wasn't trying to claim that Apple did; just that this isn't exactly a new thing here.

    You're right about MS and their fettish for a pen based computer. I remember some of the first incarnations on WinCE: the tablets. I think it was an HP design that included a keyboard and a screen that you could flip around. For a "tablet/web pad" I thought it was the best of both worlds. You could write on the screen AND type and the form factor was fairly light. Good idea, crap sales. The trade off seems to be pay almost the same as a laptop for less functionality, or pay a crap load more for equivalent functionality.

    The Bastard.

  • Why is it that a pen is considered to be more natural than a keyboard for typing (a typewriter)? I mean, even writing itself is not something natural in the animal kingdom. We came up with the idea of writing with a stick in some sand, with some paint on the cave walls and now with a keyboard on a computer screen. How can we possibly claim that one way us more natural than another to do an unnatural task?

    Don't confuse unnatural with unique. Writing is perfectly natural, and we are the only species on the planet (AFAIK/as far as we can tell so far) that communicates using written language. How is writing unnatural when it is the product of nothing but purely biological thought processes? (Yes, yes, apologies to those that believe that humankind was endowed with the ability to write by monolith/aliens/divine providence/etc.)

    In regard to whether a keyboard or pen is more "natural" for writing, consider this:

    • A pen and paper/writing media consist of two parts. The writer uses the pen to trace out the patterns of which characters he or she wishes to write using the pen. The strokes of the pen are displayed on the paper/writing media.
    • A keyboard is of a device with many keys (let's say 105,) and a number of which have rather abstract functions (shift, shift/caps lock, return--not to mention the control keys used on most computers.) The user presses the keys in sequence to form words and sentences, and the result is displayed by the output mechanism (screen, paper, etc.)
    Now, while it is true that one will generally be far more productive with a keyboard than a pen (upon attaining a reasonable level of mastery,) a pen is decidedly less complex of an interface to get used to. In a purely empirical sense, it is easier to learn how to use an interfafce with one element as opposed to scores of elements. Again, I'm not trying to claim that pens are better than keyboards; I think they're worse. pens are slow, create inconsistent results (which vary widely between individuals), and are generally more prone to physical failure than keyboards. But they are easier to use. That, and they're a lot easier to make, as even the cheapest keyboard costs about five dollars more than a finger and some dust.

    Information should be entered into a computer directly with a thought. Evaluating the thought context is what they should concentrate on.

    Pssh. We shouldn't even need to enter information into computers; they should be able to do it themselves, thanks to amazingly powerful AI routines. But then again, that isn't even close to reality yet, nor are thought-controlled computers.

  • um...just so you know....Open source is an Ideology and not a buissness model. therefore if everything was open source you could not have a monoploy.
  • "Then MS moved into the applications area, and suddenly, companies like Lotus and Corel (and Netscape!) were history."

    If you are talking about WordPerfect, it had already lost against Word long before Corel bought it (remember Corel was the third owner of WordPerfect). Corel also wasted a lot of money trying to rewrite WordPerfect in Java.

    Netscape made the same mistake, trying to rewrite Navigator in Java instead of competing with IE.

    Come to think of it, you could probably make the case that Sun had more to do with Corel and Netscape's problems than Microsoft, at least indirectly.
  • BTW: CowboyNeal has one too, (the old one with PII 400). Here's [cowboyneal.org] his page where you can see a picture that shows the tinyness of the Picturebook, as well as his story about how he installed Linux on it.
  • VADER: It is your destiny. Join me, and we can rule the galaxy as father and son. Come with me. It's the only way.
  • by goldmeer ( 65554 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @09:13AM (#339537)
    Let's see:

    Step 1 - The XBox. This is a box that will sit in your house, connect up to your internet connection (broadband) and aslo have the side benifit of running games and DVDs. It Will act as the "Computer furnace" for the rest of the devices (coming soon)

    Step 2 - The Webpad. You have these screens (Of various sizes and color depth, just watch you'll see all sizes dorn to a cheap 160X160 B/W model) that connect up wirelessly to your information furnace (Step 1) and give you neat-o keen connectivity from anywhere within range.

    Step 3 - Terminal Services. As the limitations of the webpad become apparent, Microsoft starts to roll out the ability to use your "Information Furnace" as a Terminal Server. You have all the applications on all your webpads updated at once. No fuss no muss. This is accepted because of:

    Step 4 - Application Subscription. The cost for this will be ongoing because the new software will be subscription based. You won't even need to administer your furnace, because the subscription includes monthly maintenance of your furnace. Of course, with persistant internet connectivity, they will always have complete access over all the Microsoft computers on your home network.

    This is how Microsoft will get complete control of the home computer arena. They don't tell you to bend all the way over all at once. First, you lean a little, then a little more. Pretty soon you are completely bent over and you don't even know it.

    Of course, I could be wrong.

    -Joe

  • Anything looks tiny when it's sitting next to CowboyNeal.

    Apologies to CowboyNeal for that one.

  • So either you used something before w2k (which doesn't have the problem either as far as I know, heck the thing comes pre-installed with 98 on the xs and ME on the vn/ve), or you're video driver had some problem.

    This thing long pre-dates Win2K. It might have had Win95 on it, but I think it was Win98. It was a very very old PictureBook, maybe bought within a month of release (it is actually broken now). I didn't use KDE on Unix (I havn't ever really used it or GNOME), I ran FVWM2 on it, and some xterms mostly (gcc, gdb, nvi...), and netscape and a few other things. Maybe that isn't all that fair, but that's all I needed :-)

    I think most of the windows dialogs fit, but 3rd party ones (maybe the SecureCRT host set up?) didn't allways. I seem to recall at least one MSIE box not fitting though. It was two+ years ago though, so I don't 100% recall.

  • Wrong. Ever heard of glagolica [thezaurus.com]?
  • Yeah, right. Microsoft is going to take technology from Transmeta in order to get Winbloat XP running better on laptops. That is the only reason they are partnering. They do it all the time. Transmeta will get some $$ but Microsoft will end up owning the API's and techniques. They did it to Sybase (SQL), they did it with SpyGlass (Mosaic), they did it to Stac (disk compressor)......
    Microsoft is such a powerfull company because they leverage their monopoly power to eliminate competition. IMHO

    LoB
  • So we could have Linus actually developing Windows XP.

    Can he do that? Doesn't this create a potential violation of the GPL, if (for example) he lays his eyes on some proprietary bit of WinXP? Would he have to hand off the Linux kernel to Alan Cox until the non-disclosure with Microsoft runs out?

    ObJectBridge [sourceforge.net] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

  • by AugstWest ( 79042 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @09:54AM (#339562)
    After using first a Palm III and then a Vx for a couple of years now, I came in last week to find a new Jornada on my desk. I was instantly excited and went to work setting it up....

    What a horribly mangled interface. There's no easy way to switch between applications without quitting back to the main menu and getting a list of all the applications. There's no way to just close the app you're working with, you again have to go out to the main menu and pull up a list of running programs.

    Many of the applications written for the "Pocket PC" or WinCE platforms don't deal well with the screen shape and dimensions.... sometimes you're running an app, but you can't pull up the keyboard, and since there's no area set aside for the "scribbling," you're screwed unless you can access the menu to pull it up.

    Basically, the PocketPC isn't 1/100th as elegant as the Palm, and I'm completely frustrated every time I pick the thing up. They're basically trying to cram the Windows95 interface into a 2"x3" screen, and it's just not possible, or even worthwhile to try.

    Yes, I realize that they're talking about using XP on these tablets, but if they can't get WinCE right in 6 years, my hopes aren't very high.
  • Don't sell the Vaio C1 short. I have one with an Orinoco 802.11 card, and it rocks. All Sony really needed to do to make truly-portable computing practical was get the size and weight down without compromising on features, and they got it right with the C1. When your computer weighs only 2.2 pounds, all sorts of interesting things become possible.

    It sounds like TabletPC is basically the same thing with even better ergonomics. It's going to be interesting to see if I feel like trading my C1 for one of them.
  • ... and it'll take you about 20 seconds to get used to the Trackpoint device's virtual-resolution feature.

    In short, RTFM before flaming the PCG-C1VN. It's easily the coolest toy I've run across in the last 5 or 6 years. If it helps, don't think of it as a PC with a small screen -- think of it as a PDA with a huge screen.

  • It also hasn't shown particularly that they have a clue anywhere except a certain monopolistic operating system. Also a few closely associated applications where they illegally leveraged the operating system to gain market share e.g. wordprocessors (allegedly), web browsers (as found by a court)...

    Nothing kills quicker than believing your own press.
  • Is this the same Windows 2000 that blue screened on me 3 times in 20 minutes with memory errors when I was trying to download a CD ISO image? You must have the non-crash US version. This (P)OS has given me more trouble than Win98, 7 different Linux distros and QNX RTP put together, starting with the 15 reboots required before it would even install.
  • Wuggers wrote: "Why would anyone need so much processing power in a web tablet? Let's be reasonable about what these devices can be conventiently used for: comfortable data retrieval (great form factor, no wires, very nice), and unobtrustive data entry (the electronic legal pad). People aren't going to be cruching numbers on them, writing novels, etc. Why a 10Gb harddrive?! A full desktop OS!? This is insanity!"

    Eh?

    Not that a less-endowed web pad would not also be cool (the Epod is a cool one), but I dunno ... whay the heck *shouldn't* someone be able / happy to write a novel on a web pad? Anything with a USB port can take a keyboard, and a webpad with one of the new USB happy hacker boards sounds better to me than the usual laptop.

    But whatever it ends up being used for, you sound anxious to limit its options -- why?! A webpad might end up being the guts of a wearable, a remote data station, a giant remote control, home automation doodad, e-book, portable knowledge base, whatever. It's like "640kb ought to be enough for anybody" ... why limit when the limits aren't inherently good? A big hard drive? Cool! Maybe I'll use it as an in-field dumping station for digital pictures or even video. Why the heck not?! :) Add a small USB camera, it's my portable videoconference system.

    And re: "a full desktop OS" being insanity, well, it depends what constitutes "full" and "desktop" -- certainly I'd like the OS to be appropriate to the device, but in a device with a moderately powerful x86, memory, and a nice screen, why cripple it with a weak OS? There are small Linux distros all over, and 128MB isn't too slouchy. Not huge (anymore) but not bad, and plenty to play with.

    timothy

  • Microsoft used a brilliant strategy (I believe it was serendipty, but I'll still give them credit) in the 80's and early 90's with their approach to the Operating System and Application Layer (essentially merging the two). This verticle solution accomplished two goals:
    • Killed off competition
    • Solidified Windows and NT as the office and residential OS of choice.
    Now, Microsoft is attempting to use that same "vertical" strategy in the internet, by trying to make the internet microsoft-only. Win2k is a great operating system and in many ways I believe it is far superior to linux. However, it has a fatal flaw: It only works with 100% microsoft environment. Networking is not OS sensitive, and my personal belief is that in the long term the dominant players in networking enabled devices (appliances, pcs, servers, pdas, whatever) will be those that support the broadest number of industry protocols and cross-platform standards.
  • Terminal Server is stuck at 256 colors. Useless junkware.

    Not entirely true. I'm working on a terminal server with 24 bit color right now... Of course, it's running Citrix On top of NT4 Terminal Server Edition... It works with Win2K too.

    But that's OK. No sense in letting a little fact get in the way of bashing my paranoia.

    Whoever said taking over the world was going to be cheap?

    -Joe


  • Have you forgotten that Paul Allen has money invested in Transmeta?
  • The the GPL finally gets it's day in court, and is defeated

    Or at the very least the programmer who does it gets fired. There probably aren't criminal penalties, but perhaps a civil suit. Picture forfeiting assets and having your wages garnished for a very, very long time.

    OTOH, you could just as easily blame the management for not having some kind of policy in place for the use of 3rd party code. If I were in charge of the team you could be d#%@ sure that any programmer working under me is going to run 3rd party code by legal before we use it.

  • by Linus Thorvalds ( 412091 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @11:45AM (#339597)
    In reply to this and some other messages in this thread, I can assure you that Linux development will in no way be harmed by the Transmeta/Microsoft project.

    First of all, my superiors and I have agreed that if possible, I will not be working on this project. If unexpectedly it should be necessary that I work on the project, there will first be checked thoroughly what private knowledge about any Microsoft software I will get by working on it. If this information is or might be taken in any way as being competative with Linux, I will not be put on the job.

    In practice, I think -- but IANAL :) -- any knowledge about XP is competative with Linux, therefore chances that I will personally work on the project are small.

    Hoping to have assured you all, I will continue coding on my Crusoe powered Vaio.. :)

    -- Linus

  • we were once talking about the possibility of implanting your information in your body so it is w/you always (sorry I am not looking up the link)...

    what if step #1 contains something that automatically reads who you are and starts doing whatever... I am scared they are really going to take over the world...

    Control us through our video game console! Ha, preposterous.. Maybe not...

    You will be assimilated..
  • There's already pen-based software available for linux (including, in-progress, some grafitti-like stuff), and anyhow -- being that these things will have keyboards, existing software should do just fine. Booting really is a question, though -- projects like this are more than slightly liable to use cheap components which sacrifice compatibility.
  • I actually like David Brin's idea of sub-vocalizations, in his book "Earth". But hey, for the moment thought input and such are still science fiction, for the most part (yes, I know about the brainwave experiments being conducted).

    What would actually be pretty fast would be some sort of dataglove (or maybe a video digitization system) and use a form of signing. ASL would be a pretty neat way to do input on a computer, if the computer could be taught and it could recognize the patterns fast enough. This would be easiest with the dataglove system, rather than the video capture system.

    I am not sure if it would be faster than typing, though. Perhaps a new kind of keyboard needs to be developed - think of a chorded keyboard system, but using all of the keys on the keyboard, and both hands - perhaps that would be quicker (though I wonder if increased RSI would result as well). We already know the chord for "reboot" - who says other chords couldn't be devised as well (in other words, more complex than other familiar multi key inputs that are already allowed)?

    Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!
  • The TabletPC is not trying to imply that using a pen is more natural. It's just more convenient. You can write a lot of stuff with one hand -- one hand holding the tablet, and one hand holding the pen, while walking around.

    I'm sure down the road you will see these tablets using voice recognition, freeing one hand (at least).

    And eventually, you won't hold the tablet at all, you'll wear it, and the interface will appear as though it's floating in, translucently, before you, but only when you want to see it.

    Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • Oooooh. What a lot of tantrums. And they call Linux zealots obsessive. My PC is a Compaq 5511 with a a PIII-500, ATI Rage 128, Ne2K, EMU10K, 256MB of RAM and various other extremely standard hardware. No doubt though it's Compaq's fault because Microsoft have never produced a shit OS have they?
  • This is how Microsoft will get complete control of the home computer arena. They don't tell you to bend all the way over all at once. First, you lean a little, then a little more. Pretty soon you are completely bent over and you don't even know it.

    Don't forget:

    Step 5 - Interactive Wallpaper. Sold by the square yard, the resolution is just good enough that you have to get close to see the pixelization. You run Active Wallpaper for a month, watching the 3-D clock bounce around, then convert to a simple tiled pattern for half a year, then a solid color again after a year - but hey, no repainting, ever!!! It even house-trains the puppy with little electro-shocks when it does wrong!

    Of course, it's a real power hog. It now makes sense why Microsoft bought up all those generating plants on the west coast in 2003. Real hackers leave it black all the time or display tty1, and Wil Wright is a billionare, now that people use the Sims 4 to pick wallpaper patterns.

  • I think the secret to living with the C1 is to appreciate it for its strengths. Sure, its keyboard sucks, but it's a lot better than no keyboard at all. That's going to be the new MS tablet's biggest weakness... answering email by handwriting is not my idea of a good time.

    It's possible to get used to the C1's keyboard, but it's more of a user-attitude adjustment than a practice-makes-perfect routine. Just keep asking yourself if you'd rather be using a Palm Pilot. :)
  • I have one. OK, so it's my school's but I get to play with it. It runs a 486 33MHz, has a BW 640x480 (I think, don't remember) screen, Li ion battery, decently ok handwriting recog (similar to palm, but the glyphs are closer to normal and recognize somewhat worse. It runs DOS and windows for pen computing 1.0 (win3.11), has some networking stuff I never fixed, an 80MB 2.5" IDE disk, an external floppy, 4MB of memory (expandable to 12 if we knew where to get the card), a PCMCIA slot, and external kbd if desired, standard serial/parralel/ps2 ports, and a little thing to hold the pen. Pretty neat, never went to Linux because we didn't want to figure out the touch screen. They're several years old, we got them from Duke. Oh yeah, and they drop to 25MHz on battery power. Sound familiar? And battery life is at least the 1 1/2 hour class period.
  • First of all, what the hell are you referring to with "protocol"? What protocol? Kerberos? win32? What utter nonsense. Not only do you not say what you mean, but even if you did there's no way it could make sense. Having a closed protocol will not help your product be better for a specific task. It will in fact make it worse, less compatabile, less reliable, and less secure.

    I wasn't specific because it was a general point. It could be their Kerb5 extension. It could be Office2000 file formats (which I think of as protocols). Having their protocol closed makes their program no better at implementing it, but it makes all other programs worse because they have to work off of guesses and experiments. Their protocols are also (likely) to be worse then openly developed ones.

    Microsoft has a monopoly so they can use protocols to leverage their market share into other markets like servers and pdas. It's really a shame that people are starting to feel sorry for microsoft and (especially on slashdot) rooting for them as some sort of underdog.

    Where did you see me feeling sorry for them? Or rooting for them? I only said they might not fail. I didn't say if I wanted them to fail or not. I doubt this box makes a big difference, the Xbox is probably much more important to them. WindowsXP is way more important then either. I want all three to fail. However my desire for them to fail doesn't change their chances of failure.

    I can want the webpad to fail, but that doesn't mean it will. If the only reason someone else says it will fail is all others in the niche have failed, I think it is a damn good idea to point out the flaw in that argument, even if I want the same thing they do.

    I may want the Xbox to fail, but I have to admit that there seems to be a lot of people who are talking like they will buy it.

    I may want WindowsXP to fail, but I have to admit it doesn't sound like they have screwed it up badly enough to lose out (they would be screwed if someone else had a "decent" offering that could run all the Win98 crud).

    Maybe the youngin's growing up today don't care. Maybe they forgot what digital Freedom really means. Maybe their first OS experience was win95 (most likely if you're younger than 18).... sigh. I will still fight for personal liberty. Call me a myopic old-timer.. whatever. I still know what it's like to be free.

    Nice to be mistaken for a snot-nosed kid. I assure you, I remember pre-microsoft. Or at least before they had an OS (they were cranking out BASIC interpreters for 8biters when I started).

  • M$ will port to anything that runs the x86 instruction set. Anything else is, iffy...

    They have certainly never been able to port their OS to any other platform.

    To those who say that M$ has never implemented an OS on the x86 either, I say "yeah, ain' dat da troof!"
  • by cyber-vandal ( 148830 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @07:23PM (#339632) Homepage
    Why should I take it back when it works perfectly for Linux, QNX and even Win98? Why is it never Microsoft's fault when it's products crash? I am, by many definitions, a Linux zealot, but I still don't have any problem about admitting that it isn't perfect. But here I am daring to suggest that Windows 2000 has a few problems and I'm surrounded by the sort of rabid zealotry that you Microsoft lot have long insulted the likes of me about.
  • Let's see:

    Step 1 - The IceBox. This is a box that will sit in your house, connect up to the power company (AC) and also have the side benifit of allowing you to eat "frozen dinners" and other foods that didn't exist before. It Will act as the "Electricity furnace" for the rest of the devices (coming soon)

    Step 2 - The Radio.You have these speakers (Of various sizes and quality, just watch you'll see all sizes dorn to a cheap 3 inch model) that connect up wirelessly to an Electricity furnace (Step 1) and give you neat-o keen connectivity from anywhere within range.

    Step 3 - More Appliances. As the limitations of the radio become apparent, General Electric starts to roll out the ability to use your "Electricity Furnace" as a means of pitching other devices (such as hair dryers and blenders). You have all the devices on your home power grid powered at once. No fuss no muss. This is accepted because of:

    Step 4 - Electricity Bills. The cost for this will be ongoing because the power will be subscription based. You won't even need to administer your elecritity, because the subscription includes monthly maintenance of your furnace. Of course, with persistant electric connectivity, they will always have complete access over all the General Electric appliances on your home power grid.

    This is how General Electric will get complete control of the home power arena. They don't tell you to bend all the way over all at once. First, you lean a little, then a little more. Pretty soon you are completely bent over and you don't even know it.

    Of course, I could be wrong.

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