The Droid

Verizon has finally gotten what could a be a viable iPhone replacement.  A phone running the latest version of Google’s Andorid OS and a growing supply of applitions.

I haven’t got my hands on one yet, but I’ve read a few reviews that state it stands up quite well in head to head comparisons with the iPhone.  The biggest complaint I’ve heard is that the iPhone has a much deeper pool of applications available.  Not suprising, but I expect the number of Android apps to grow quickly.

Verizon is also pushing its much wider 3G coverage heavily, but it’s still not a GSM network.  That topic has been discussed here, and I’m sure it will again, but I’m still a fan of GSM networks.  It is my opinion that Verizon is going to have to bite that bullet sooner or later.

The Droid phone and its OS have another advantage, open source.  The iPhone is locked down tight by Apple.  It controls your apps, what they can do, and how much data you can transfer over the cell phone network.  An Android based phone, with a SIM slot, is much more flexible.

New toys

I recently got my nerdy paws a pair of Asus Eee PC netbooks. (Thanks John!)  These are the ones running LINUX off solid state drives.

I’ve got one updating, but the 4 Gig system drive on the other is full, and I’m going to have to find a way to clean that up.

Cleaning up after the “pros”

The PC the dojo I train/teach at caught a nasty virus.  I cleaned it up, but the owner “knew this guy” who would “clean up” the system fairly cheap.   “This guy” logged in remotely, and “cleaned up” the system until it would only boot to the “Blue Screen of Death.”

I’m talking serious “BSoD” here. That is what you got if you tried to boot in safe mode, even command mode safe mode.  The Windows recovery mode won’t even recognize the Windows XP install after this guy got through with his “professional” cleanup.

So, I had to clean up after the “professional.” I managed to recover all the data off the drive, in addition to get the data they had backed up on Carbonite.

Once the apps & data are back and running on another system, I’ll rebuild the system the “professiona” trashed.

I called the Chrome OS back in October

Google announced an OS based on Chrome, this is supposed be a seperate OS than Android, which is already shipping on smartphones and has been ported to netbooks.

The Chrome OS is based on open source LINUX code, and Google plans on freely distributing the OS. This can’t make Microsoft very happy.

Back in October 2008, I noticed that Chrome had the potential to be a thin layer OS.

One of the exisiting theories is that Chrome is the first componet of a Google OS.  Chrome is supposed to be the interface to the applications.  If you look under the hood of Chrome, it is built more like an OS than a browser.

All it will need is a thin layer to access the hardware (boot, and then interface with video/storage/audio/periferal I/O(USB for a start)/network interfaces)  and it’s pretty much good to go.

This would a thin client model with most of the applications out in the cloud, and as much of the data. as well.

Upgrading from Windows7 Beta to the RC

I upgraded from Windows7 Beta to the RC today.  Microsoft wants a clean install, but I decided to try this hack I found at Life Rocks 2.0.

It’s really pretty straight forward.

1 Download the ISO and burn the ISO to a DVD.
2 Copy the whole image to a storage location you wish to run the upgrade from (a bootable flash drive or a directory on any partition on the machine running the pre-release build).
3 Browse to the sources directory.
4 Open the file cversion.ini in a text editor like Notepad.
5 Modify the MinClient build number to a value lower than the down-level build. You need to change the value to 7000 as it is the beta version build number.
6 Save the file in place with the same name.
7 Run setup like you would normally from this modified copy of the image and the version check will be bypassed.

1 Download the ISO and burn the ISO to a DVD.

2 Copy the whole image to a storage location you wish to run the upgrade from (a bootable flash drive or a directory on any partition on the machine running the pre-release build).

3 Browse to the sources directory.

4 Open the file cversion.ini in a text editor like Notepad.

5 Modify the MinClient build number to a value lower than the down-level build. You need to change the value to 7000 as it is the beta version build number.

6 Save the file in place with the same name.

7 Run setup like you would normally from this modified copy of the image and the version check will be bypassed.

I had already burned a boot DVD from the RC ISO, so I just copied that on a 8 gig thumb drive, and modifed the file in question.  I then plugged that drive in my Windows7 Beta system and ran setup.exe from the thumb drive.

The only hitch was that RC didn’t like the $25 sound card I had installed to work with the BETA release.  I’ll check for updated drivers later.

Another entry into the Netbook OS market

Intel has their own custom blend of Linux for netbook computers, called Moblin.

Release 2.0 was just announced.  It’s got a slick UI and takes advange of special features of Intel’s Atom chip, which is found in a lot of netbook.

I don’t think it will sell as well as Windows 7 or Android, but it is interesting to see the competition in this market.

Android marches on

Andy Rubin, Google’s senior director for mobile platforms claims that Android will be on 18-20 mobile phones from over a half dozen manufactures by the end of the year.

It will be interesting to see how much of the iPhone/Blackberry Smart Phone market all the G-Phones manages to get.

Google’s Android on more platforms than WINCE (or Window Mobile, which is what they changed the name to after somebody in Microsoft marketing figured out what WIN CE spelled) and Android starting to crop up on netbooks.  If this isn’t causing people at Microsoft to chug Maalox ™ by now, it should soon.

The netbook market

I hear that netbook sales have flattened. The pundits blame it on market saturation. I blame it on manufacturers missing the whole point.

I was at a large compute store the other day and all the “netbooks” they had were running full versions of XP and 120 Gig or larger spinning hard drives.  

The netbooks that sold like hotcakes were lean and fast running.  They booted LINUX of flash ROM and had Solid State drives.  Small, but then it’s a flipping netbook! If you need extra space it’s got SD and USB slots.

To summerize, the sale of small laptops is flat.  The netbook market may pick up again when units running Android hit the street.

Dell jumping on the Android Netbook bandwagon?

Microsoft is rushing to get Windows7 out the door. One reason is so they can push it into the netbook market.

Netbook manufacturers have been looking at alternate OS solutions, including Google’s Android (it’s not just for Cell Phones anymore).

The latest rumor is that Dell is working on an Android based netbook

If a major retailer like Dell starts shipping Android on systems, I’m betting that somebody in Microsoft OS sales is going to buying a lot of Malox ™.

The end of the Vista Era

The Vista OS has not been good for Microsoft.  Pushed out quickly into the supply chain, new Vista users found a very different GUI, old reliable programs that would no longer run, digital music they had purchased would no longer play due to DRM issues, and a new version of Office that required a fair amount of effort to find old familiar tasks. 

Then there was the brutal ad campaign from Apple, including the one with my old High School classmate, Mary Chris Wall

Microsoft has been working hard on a replacement OS, called Windows 7.  The Windows 7 team learned from the mistakes of Vista, and trimmed a lot of useless code, making it much more efficent. In addition, they have worked to expand their driver coverage, which was severly lacking when Vista was released.

Now the rumor is that Microsoft will stop selling Vista once Windows 7 is released.  It seems that Microsoft would like to forget about Vista, and hide in the same hole that they dropped the Windows Millennium OS in.