Friday, September 28, 2012

640kb, right?

The tagline of this blog is "For People Who Think 640kb is Enough." so here' I present a portable computer from 1988; one year after my birth, with just that much memory. On top of 640kb memory, there's dual 720kb floppies, a CGA resolution LCD (which has a proper aspect ratio; most portables from the time didn't), a full size desktop style keyboard, an NEC V30 cpu and, to tie it all together, the ability to run from 10 D-Cell batteries or from an ac adapter. Aside from the rather unconventional form-factor, it's hardware makes it a pretty typical XT clone of the day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DEC PDP-1 Space War Demo

DEC PDP-1 Space War Demo Video I found on YouTube.

I'm amazed at the quality of the game on a 1960 computer.

New laptop

Back in mid-August, I scored an iPhone 3GS in trade for spending a day helping a person move. The antenna inside was messed up so no cell phone functionality; I used it to play music and to use internet over wifi. However, I needed a new computer at the time and decided to see if I could trade it for a laptop on Craigslist. Sure enough, September 1st, I met up with someone who gave me a Dell Latitude D520 for it. While not as pretty of a device, it's more useful to me. It has Windows 7, 2ghz Core 2 Duo, 250gb hard drive, 2gb RAM. According to some datestamps in inside plastics, it was made in late 2007; a surprise to me considering the styling and fact it has a standard aspect 15" 1024x768 lcd. This must be one of the newest laptops made with a 4:3 screen.

New Calculator Today

Today I got a 1990s vintage calculator for practically free. I found a dollar on the ground and then minutes later, I go inside a thrift store and buy a TI 83 for a dollar. Supposedly this model was the high end for TI at the time of it's release in 1997. It shares in common with other models such as the Ti82, 83 and 85 a 6mhz Zilog Z80 cpu. The screen has the same horizontal resolution as a Ti83 but is wider and has higher vertical resolution. You can also type in lowercase letters on this thing. Overall a pretty nice calculator and it has a high end feel to it but compared to models you can buy today, it feels a little past it's prime.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

My newest toy!

This new toy will really help with my reviews for sure!

Touched iPhone 5 Today

Touched iPhone 5 today for the first time. (Well, today is the release date) It was pretty exciting to touch a new iPhone after a year. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Touched Xperia Tablet S

I touched Xperia Tablet S today at a local electronics store.

It was very smooth, and I liked it better than the Sony Tablet S.

The new iPad

I bought The new iPad last week, and I love it!

The reason I bought The new iPad is because my 1st generation iPad's app always crashed on iOS 5.1. Seems like there was too less RAM to do decent web browsing on the new iOS. It was working fine 2 years ago, but I guess either the websites got heavier or the iOS got heavier, I'm sure it was lack of RAM space available.

I'm using a case by Logic3, and it has rubber grip, which I am pretty fond of. I'm planning to get another case soon, but finding a really good case is pretty hard, and there are a LOT of choices and it can be pretty expensive so I'm going to carefully choose it.

What changed the most for me is the Evernote experience. I use Evernote a lot, (I've even talked to Evernote CEO, Phil Livin personally in the past) and writing new  notes fast is a really good thing for me.

The fast dual core processors are really a plus as it makes web browsing ultra snappy, and I'm glad I bought The new iPad.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

iPhone 5 to be Announced soon

iPhone 5 to be Announced soon, and I received an email from Amazon Japan (I sell stuff online there) to prepare for the next generation iPhone (iPhone 5?).
I'm excited for this, especially the rumored new iPod touch.
So I'm gonna wake up at midnight and see the thing live if I can find some live video feed.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Random Thoughts - Kato Version #3 - Microwave Communication

I was reading WIRED magazine Mikey sent me last week, and I found a surprising thing. Microwave communication is faster than optic fiber.

Check this article

But due to microwaves sending signals through air, weather conditions affect the communication, so don't bother if you want 100% uptime.

Friday, September 7, 2012

SanDisk Cruzer Glide USB Flash Drive Review

I got SanDisk Cruzer Glide USB Flash Drive from Mikey all the way from USA (I live in Japan). I tested the READ/WRITE speed of the USB flash drive. The result was 21.68MB/s READ and 3.756 MB/s WRITE (Seq) tested with CrystalDiskBench 3 64bit on my trusty Vaio Z. I like the fact that the USB terminal's plastic is red.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Coming Soon: HTC TyTN II (EMONSTER S11HT) Review

Special thanks go out to our Japanese friend Tsubasa Kato, who sent me this HTC TyTN II. Technically, it is the eMobile eMonster S11H but it is just a rebranded device. This device goes under a few different names, such as the Kaiser, TyTN II, AT&T Tilt, and even a few others. I think that it is best to put the list of names here because it will come up on Google in the rare case anyone wants to search for this review.

As usual, I am typing this on the phone, even though I am not using it as a phone but only a PDA. There is a chance that I will get a card for it eventually, since I did try a SIM card in it and it worked. However, the review will be a bit personal since I am running a custom ROM and using it as a simple Windows Mobile PDA. The review is being started so as soon as I get it done I will post it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Random Thoughts 4

Yet again, it is time for our newest feature, random thoughts! I am using the Sharp Zaurus C700. This is a great PDA hardware wise but it lacks a good bit in the software department. Much like the Sig3, it is a lack of software really. I am on a car trip today, and I took a couple of devices with me. I have the iPaq HX2495B, the Treo 700P, and the Sig3, as well as my Vaio N320E since I need to take at least one laptop. You might have noticed this is also a longer post.

This Zaurus can use a few little tweaks though, but for me, a lot of the stuff that I have can use some tweaks in my opinion though. The Zaurus has a great keyboard but there are some things that I would change. Firstly, I wouldn't mind having an option for sticky keys, since it can be a pain if you forget to hold the shift key down for capital letters. Also, I would really like to see a backlight for the keyboard so you could use it at night easier.

The Zaurus runs on Linux, which is great but there isn't a whole lot of software for it since it wasn't sold in the United States, it doesn't have the user base like Palm or Windows Mobile. There were a few models sold here in the United Stated though. You would think that with Linux, it would have had more of a following, but I guess it was just released at the wrong time for it to catch on well.

That is one of the problems that I have. Finding a dream device is hard since what I want doesn't really exist. That is why I had gotten the Android tablet, since it fit my needs the best of what I could get for what I was willing to spend. Technically, what I do want does exist in some form, but not what I would ever be willing to spend.

So what do I want? Technically, I want a palmtop computer. This shouldn't be confused with something like a Palm handheld, or even something like my Sig3, but rather a full computer that I could fit in my pocket. There have been a few of these devices, such as the OQO, Sony Vaio UX, and even ones from the days of Windows 3.1 like the IBM PC110 which was a 486 palmtop released in Japan.

The problem for me is there was the whole UMPC, or "ultra-mobile PC" craze. This was what I originally wanted, but could never justify spending that much money on something that wasn't exactly the fastest thing ever. There have been some that have had the Intel Atom CPU, which were referred to as MID or "mobile internet devices", but even they had cost double what I spent on my tablet.

There have been some older ones like the Toshiba Libretto line and Vaio Picturebook line that were actually just very tiny laptops, since the UMPC devices had tended to be more of thick tablets than anything. The problem I have is what I want now is technically more of a combination of things, the best fitting retail product would be the Asus Transformer tablets, but I would like to make a bunch of changes.

So here is one of the things that if I had the money, I would develop and sell, providing that Apple wouldn't sue me. I would take the Asus Transformer as my base model, including the keyboard dock of course. I think that this would be a great starting point, since it has a good sized screen and a keyboard that you could remove when not needed, as well as having a second battery in the dock for when you need more power.

The processor and memory would be fine, but I would like to add a hard drive to the dock, which would be removable so you change the drive, or add one later to save money up front. The point of this would be for storing movies and music, without needing to worry about how much space you have. You could store a lot more on a 500GB hard drive than on a micro SD card.

I would also replace the touchpad with a pointer nub like a ThinkPad has, since I have always found them to be much easier to use while in a car or on the move, since you don't need to move your hands off the keyboard, it is ideal for cramped spaces. I supposed that leaving the touchpad would be alright, as long as it has a pointer nub, I know my one friend would be happy.

Now, the stylus is making a comeback it seems. My HTC Flyer has one, and so does the Samsung Galaxy Note line, which also comes in a 10" model now, as well as the one ThinkPad tablet from Lenovo. I want to stress that I mean a pen, not a typical Palm stylus or even these iPhone ones they sell now. I mean a pen like a tablet PC had, and as I said before, some tablets now have.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Random Thoughts - Kato Version #2: In-Memory Computing

Random Thoughts - Kato Version #2: In-Memory Computing

Here's my random thoughts.

As memory price is getting cheaper and cheaper, the "memory is the new disk" notion is becoming a reality. My server's at 16GB of memory, and this machine I'm writing has 4GB of memory.

Moving the database from disk to memory doesn't cost as much as it did 10 years ago.

Also, the technology is always advancing meaning you can get cheaper and faster memory as time passes.

This "disk" we hold on to may be the thing we won't be needing in the future, as we move on to cheaper SSDs.

The only problem with SSD is the mini freeze issue that comes up. I think there are several fixes to this such as Trim and Garbage Collection, but when that becomes fixed, the transition from hard drives to SSD will be really fast.

ioDrive is a really cool thing to put in your server if you have the money, but it is something most individuals can't afford yet.

When ioDrive gets cheaper and SSD gets better performance as in no mini freeze, I will be making whole new server machine using CentOS as the OS. But that will probably be at least a few years away. Until then I will be upgrading the memory to faster memory (over-clocked?) and changing the CPU to 6 core Phenom II.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Random Thoughts 3

Once again, there are some thoughts in my head that I need to get posted, and it involves something that was recently posted this time. One of the things Tsubasa mentioned is how we often think that some devices have so much potential but due to software, they are severely held back. There are some things I own that I wish I could change a lot of things on. Some changes are small, much like the Treo line using a 3.5MM headphone jack so I could listen to music, but some are much more major changes. This time, I want to discuss some changes to some hardware I have, yet was held back by software.

The first device is the one that Tsubasa mentioned yesterday in his post, the Sig3. Known officially as the NTT DoCoMo Sigmarion III, this is a Japanese only device as it was never sold here officially, although it has a bit if a following in the Windows CE user base. You may recall that I did a review of this device when I got it from Tsubasa last summer. Since getting the device, there has been one thing that made it less useful for me, the software, or the lack of software to be more to the point.

The Sig3 has a great set of features it brings to the table, but some of the big ones are missing, when I think they could have added them. For example, it has a 5" WVGA screen, which is 800x480 for those who need to know, but they could have easily added a 6 or even 7" screen I think. My tablet is the same size, and have a 7" screen. So in this modern take on the classic Sig3, I think the screen from the current Android tablets should be used. In other words, a 7" capacitive multitouch screen, running at least 1024x600 or higher.

Now, the thing is, for this device, the changes are major hardware changes, so it is more of a dream device then a simply tweak a few things, so while I am writing a nice wish list of things the Sig4 would need to have, let's go overboard if price was no problem.

The design should stay the rather the same, replacing the SD and CF slots with a full-size USB port and a micro SD slot. The device would also need to include both Bluetooth and WiFi, as well as optional prepaid 4G modem. Also included would be some small things like a pointer nub mouse, for when you need to use the device on the move, it would be a lot easier to use this instead of the touch screen. The device would also need to keep the keyboard, which although small, I find that once you get used to it, it can be extremely handy to have.

For the processor, we should go with a nice Tegra 3 quadcore, and of course a lot of RAM, starting with 2GB, and make it expandable. For software, Android Jelly Bean of course. This would be more of a work horse then a typical tablet which is used for games and Facebook.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Random Thoughts - The Kato Version #1

Since Mikey started the Random Thoughts, this is the Kato Version (My name's Tsubasa Kato by the way).

Well, there's always this talk between me and Mikey, how Sigmarion 3 should have a different OS. It should either have Android 4.1 or at least Windows Mobile 6.0 then it will be the best handheld EVER produced.

Too bad it was made in 2003...

Well, it has 400Mhz CPU so probably Windows Mobile 6.0 will be the most realistic.

Random Thoughts 2

Once again it is time for more random thoughts... As I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I grab the Treo 700P off my desk and get to work on the things that happen in my mind. This won't be posted until sometime tomorrow but the thoughts won't last that long. You really have to laugh at some of the trends we have today. We all know that thin is in... You see so many people today with smartphones of some sort. You know what the problem with this thin phone craze is? How many people have a naked phone? Companies brag about how thin the phone is, yet they are so fragile that you need a thick case to keep it safe.