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chiark
Wow, this has really captured my imagination biggrin.gif !

For me, the zaurus is too small for comfortable use, both in terms of screen and in terms of the keyboard.

Perhaps I'm too old, but for me the sweet spot of form factor usability vs portability is in the shape of the Psion Series 5, and the Sigmarion 3.

The psion's keyboard is great, the screen is adequate if a weird shape...

The sig3 runs an 800x480 screen with a very, very capable keyboard. If it ran Linux, well, it'd be *awesome*.

I'd love the screen real estate and keyboard size of the old devices with modern hardware. Am I alone in thinking that that is about the right form factor for such a device? We're not going for PDA replacement after all, but general purpose pervasive computing platform biggrin.gif
speculatrix
I thought there was a port of linux (or netbsd?) to sig3, although I can't remember whether it's fully featured or only command line?
bluedevils
But wouldn't that put it in the same size as the umpc? I'm sure some manufacturer is going to make a keyboard version or sony's next version will have a better keyboard.

The zaurus is so much easier to lug around without a napsack.

QUOTE(chiark @ Sep 26 2006, 04:26 PM)
For me, the zaurus is too small for comfortable use, both in terms of screen and in terms of the keyboard.

Perhaps I'm too old, but for me the sweet spot of form factor usability vs portability is in the shape of the Psion Series 5, and the Sigmarion 3.

The psion's keyboard is great, the screen is adequate if a weird shape...

The sig3 runs an 800x480 screen with a very, very capable keyboard.  If it ran Linux, well, it'd be *awesome*.

I'd love the screen real estate and keyboard size of the old devices with modern hardware.  Am I alone in thinking that that is about the right form factor for such a device?  We're not going for PDA replacement after all, but general purpose pervasive computing platform biggrin.gif
*
lardman
I'm with chiark, the Psion series 5 was the ideal size, large enough to be able to get plenty on the screen without needing to squint plus a decent keyboard size, yet small enough to be portable.


Si
BarryW
QUOTE(lardman @ Sep 27 2006, 06:56 AM)
I'm with chiark, the Psion series 5 was the ideal size, large enough to be able to get plenty on the screen without needing to squint plus a decent keyboard size, yet small enough to be portable.


Si
*



I like the current SL-3XXX size. The eye doctor says that some day my eyes will start to go bad and go down to 20/20! Though if it was the Psion size it would be easier to get all the ports we want on it to fit.
maxg
I must agree. I have tried for a few days two UMPC (Q1 and the sony "UX180"(US) UX-90) and quite frankly, it isn't worth it when compared to some ultra portable laptops. There isn't any benefit given its size for most purposes, which isn't the case for smaller handleds like our much beloved zaurus. The right form factor really shouldn't be much bigger than a Cxx00, IMHO.
Da_Blitz
i have seen that many people regard the c3000 as the largest that they will accept, i dont really care what size it is however as alot more can be done with a bit more extra space than most people relise

on the topic of eyesight, i have a small defect in my right eye leaving my left eye to over compinsate, so a small Z screen is no problem for me at all smile.gif

even thogh i dont like to admit it, the new x86 chips arent bad in terms of power consumption and there is a nice thing or two you can do with xen when your laptop uses the same processor as you laptop.

basically you run 3 extra domains in addition to dom0
1. one to serve your HD over iSCSI
2. to interface to your video card and display things
3. one to do the processing

note 1 and 2 can be rolled into one.

basically you run X on 2 and tell 3 to display all your X windows on 2. 3 uses the harddrive exported by 1 to boot and is your normal / dir

when you get home you migrate 3 to your home machine porviding a nice speedup without any hassle and tarnsfer it back when you are done.

with a bit more hackery you could even make it so you can rsync 1 to the server so that you can hibernate the laptop but have your linux session still running on the server (or have its state saved with xen, wihch i belive is the futre of software suspend)
chiark
QUOTE(speculatrix)
I thought there was a port of linux (or netbsd?) to sig3, although I can't remember whether it's fully featured or only command line?

Not that I've found - there's one for the Sig2 tho.

The sig3 only has 64MB of memory anyhow, and the ROM isn't flashable so it's a tad crippled for serious Linux work... What I think is almost unbeatable is the Sig3's form factor. There's room to shave a fair bit off the sig3 and still keep the screen and keyboard... Let me see if I can explain why it's near perfect.

QUOTE(bluedevils)
But wouldn't that put it in the same size as the umpc? I'm sure some manufacturer is going to make a keyboard version or sony's next version will have a better keyboard.


The UMPC is a technical product looking for a marketplace. They don't know what people are going to do with it. What I wanted, and still want, is the Libretto u100 with a decent keyboard in that form factor.

Besides, the sig3 is nowhere near the size of a UMPC. When folded, it's depth (4" 5/8, or 117mm) is the same as the Z's width (4" 7/8, 122mm) IYSWIM. It's a few mm thinner, so fits better in a jacket pocket than the z. Widthwise, it's 188mm - about 7 1/2"... I find it easier to carry the Sig3 than the Z, but then again I use the Z in a Pdair case biggrin.gif . It also looks a hell of a lot more serious than the Z. Dunno why.

I tend to take contemporaneous notes with the Sig3, and the keyboard and screen on the Z means that that is decidedly uncomfortable if i try the Z. If you've never tried a sig3 keyboard, see if you can - my bet is you'll be impressed bordering on amazed. It's better than any other small device I've found, from the Psion 5 to the Jornada 720 to the libretto 100ct or u100 to the g138 to the foldable USB offerings or Pocketop . It's travel is damn near perfect, it's responsive, and it's big enough whilst not being too big.

I also have a Smartbook G138 which is slightly bigger than the Libretto 100CT and runs WinCE .net 4.2. That is too big for the intended use.

Form factor and ergonomics are to me number one priority, with battery life second. The Z is a brilliant device but doesn't get as much use as it might because of the cramped keyboard and small screen. The sweet spot for me would probably be a width of 15cm (6"), depth of 8cm (under 3") and a height of 2cm (under 1").

That'd be big enough to fit a 5" 800x480 screen into, a good size 5 row keyboard with a travel that feels great, give enough space for ports (please can we have integrated video out - I can ditch my laptop then!) and still be small enough to take everywhere I want to take it.

I wonder if it's worth mentioning your plans to the good folk at hpcfactor.com (I moderate on their boards and write reviews for them)? It's a WinCE site dedicated to handheld pcs, but there's people on there who might have valuable experience or input when it comes to ergonomics?

The tech sounds great, and it sounds like having a slightly bigger form factor could give you some real advantages... 6x3x1... hmm... biggrin.gif
speculatrix
hmm. Is there any way we could buy Nokia 770 tablet motherboards, hack them to add the hardware we want, and fit them into a clamshell case with a keyboard?
zmiq2
Da Blitz,

I totally agree with your view. I think xen is the next big thing, even today is too much of a hasle to setup. Another twist would be to have all info on an sd/usb storage, so you can migrate to whichever computer/system you plug your sd to.

I looked at mojo (windows only, sniff) and it seems great to me: www.mojopac.com

On the other hand, I have read in some other places that: 1) nokia is developing th 770 platform further, 2) intel may stop pxa270 production, so if we want a new zaurus, sharp would have to do a gret r&d investement in anothr chip, which could stop the zaurus line as we know it?

Take those two notes with care: unconfirmed and totally personal feelings.
chiark
Speculatrix:
Not quite what we're thinking of, but...
http://www.netscape.com/viewstory/2006/09/...html&frame=true

Dismantling:
http://www.uselessinfo.pwp.blueyonder.co.u...smantlen770.htm

I'd be happier with more memory, but hacking that screen and motherboard into something else ain't a bad idea at all smile.gif
Da_Blitz
that gives me an idea or two
speculatrix
QUOTE(chiark @ Sep 29 2006, 01:30 PM)
http://www.netscape.com/viewstory/2006/09/...html&frame=true
I'd be happier with more memory, but hacking that screen and motherboard into something else ain't a bad idea at all smile.gif
*


that's not exactly a handheld any more, is it? in fact it's pretty huge really, as big or bigger than a flybook, maybe not far short of a Sony TX!

but, I'm glad you agree with me that there's mileage in the idea. There are a number of PDA keyboards which are pretty small - expansys have a range of them as do brando. the hard part is the re-packaging into a neat case, not the components.
MONVMENTVM
While a friend of mine had a black Nintendo DS Lite, I thought about PocketPenguin. And yeah... it would be the perfekt shape for the PocketPenguin. The DS fits the pocket very well, as it is a bit longer than the zaurus but thinner and not so broad. Of course a longer shape makes it perfect for larger keys than the Zaurus ones and a widescreen display.

You can have a look here:
http://www.nettavisen.no/spillmagasinet/ds/article603034.ece
http://www.funponsel.com/blog/archives/200...-black-edition/

And here a pic made with gimp (it doesnt look very pretty but it gives an idea of how I think it could look):


In this pic you can see that it looks like an traditional handheld pc (like the hp jornada or the nec ones) but in a smaller dimension.


Size Comparison:

Zaurus Cxx00:
124 x 87 x 25mm

Nintendo DS Lite:
133 x 73.9 x 21.5mm

So the Nintendo DS Lite fits the pocket better as it is thinner (3.5mm is a lot in those dimensions) and not that broad.

I think this dimensions/look would be nice for the PocketPenguin.

Cheers
speculatrix
you can run linux on the DS, but it's not particularly useful!
raduga
QUOTE(chiark @ Sep 26 2006, 01:26 PM)
Wow, this has really captured my imagination biggrin.gif !

For me, the zaurus is too small for comfortable use, both in terms of screen and in terms of the keyboard.

Perhaps I'm too old, but for me the sweet spot of form factor usability vs portability is in the shape of the Psion Series 5, and the Sigmarion 3.

The psion's keyboard is great, the screen is adequate if a weird shape...

*


Having used both a Zaurus and a Psion S5, I'd have to say I'm still struggling
to find a "sweet spot". The Zaurus is a little too small to type on comfortably,
but is close to the maximum size for a device that comfortably fits in ones' pocket, or atop one's palm. The Psion has fantastic keys, but is a little too bulky for comfort.
That its very light makes up for its bulk, but I can attest that a Psion-sized handheld with "modern" hardware is probably going to be unwieldy for most users; the Jornada 7xx is just slightly larger, but much heavier (and more Zaurus-like in its specs).

A very slightly larger Zaurus, or a very slightly smaller Psion, might just do it,
but would have to be done *right*. A Zaurus made bulkier with a slot for AA/AAA batteries (like the Psion) wouldn't hurt, either wink.gif
MONVMENTVM
yeah, besides that the ds has a small display, no keyboard...

I just would like the hardware of the pocketpenguin to be in a DS-like case, as you can see in the pic I've made.
Da_Blitz
nice pic. i wish i had a ds to play with now to get a feel for it.

the ds has one thing goiung for it and that is the screen and body are the same thinckness which in my other postare fully explored.

we will see but i am aiming to make the design no bigger than the screen i use so that there is no boarder so it all comes down to the screen (looks like 800x480 5" screen at the moment)
Snappy
I second the 5" screen on the calmshells. I would so fork out $$ for a second C#00 zaurus if SHARP release one with a 5" screen. I don't need any higher specs than that of a C1000. (I have a C1000 as it is).

Oh just one thing ... if the 5" screen is transflective ... I'll so get it right away! 8)

Keyboard wise ... I still have a Jornada 720 ... with a dead keyboard, but functioning unit. And I do miss the typing on the 720 compared to the thumbing on my C1000. But given that the C1000 is smaller and handier ... (and lighter?) ... I'm fine with the thumbing. 8)
kahm
QUOTE
The UMPC is a technical product looking for a marketplace. They don't know what people are going to do with it. What I wanted, and still want, is the Libretto u100 with a decent keyboard in that form factor.


I've got a Libretto U100, and I absolutely love it! It is astonishing, however, just how BAD the keyboard on it is. I have the smaller 110 CT and the keyboard is far and away easier to type on, and I'm not sure why. sad.gif

That being said, I'd have to chime in for the DS-sized option. Any bigger than that would make it too hard to thumb type on it. (And how else do you expect to use it on the go - find a flat surface and set it down to type anything?)
futaris
Around the DS lite size seems good. The mock up picture looks a lot like a more modern 200LX.
chiark
yes, the 200lx would IMHO be a great design ethos to follow for this, but with a slightly more user friendly keyboard.

BTW, I've given up on the U100 for the moment and have bought a Sony PCG-U3 which is surprisingly useful... (end off topic wink.gif )
speculatrix
QUOTE(chiark @ Nov 20 2006, 12:48 PM)
bought a Sony PCG-U3 which is surprisingly useful... (end off topic wink.gif )
*


sorry to try and have the last word, but I felt the weakness with the U3 was that you'd end up carrying too many dongles and adaptors round with you. That's also the failing of the Zaurus line, without built in wifi or usb, you also have a (admittedly small) pocket full of adaptors. With the Sony TX2, the only things you "must" carry are cat5 and modem cables, if at all.

I think if I could swap the internal CF microdrive in the 3{1,2}00 for a wifi/bluetooth combo card and lose the mass storage, I would - especially now that 4GB sd cards have been tested and shown to work with the new kernel.
Da_Blitz
i use to buy pants based on how large the pockets were. now i have too use a backpack

the more i can chuck on board the better. i agree with you carying around adaptors is a PITA

anyway ill be "off th grid" for 2 weeks so feel free to discuss amoungst yourselfs wink.gif
BarryW
QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Nov 20 2006, 02:39 PM)
i use to buy pants based on how large the pockets were. now i have too use a backpack

the more i can chuck on board the better. i agree with you carying around adaptors is a PITA

anyway ill be "off th grid" for 2 weeks so feel free to discuss amoungst yourselfs wink.gif
*



So the new handheld will have a hand crank?? blink.gif
Da_Blitz
actually no net accsess for 2 weeks, its tempting me to chuck wibro in there. also thats 2 weeks without accsess to a laptop and nothing for me too do so i cant veven prototype the board (this would be the perfect opptunity to do so)
kahm
QUOTE(chiark @ Nov 20 2006, 05:48 AM)
yes, the 200lx would IMHO be a great design ethos to follow for this, but with a slightly more user friendly keyboard.

BTW, I've given up on the U100 for the moment and have bought a Sony PCG-U3 which is surprisingly useful... (end off topic wink.gif )
*


The U's (U1/U3/U101) look like a beautiful form factor - almost a full inch narrower than the Libby. Can you thumb type on it? I think it'd be *just* small enough for it.

(For an on topic comment, maybe splitting the difference between the U3 (184mm) and the Z (124mm) would find a good size for the wide of the Pocket Penguin. Thumbtype-able, but with a little extra room for a better keyboard.)

The unfortunate thing about the U's is the price - they're still pretty expensive for what you get. The PCG-U101 from Conics is exactly the same price as what I paid for the Libretto, and the Libby has better specs and more modern hardware. The U3 is worse - much older hardware, no wireless, and a weaker CPU, for only a couple of hundred less. I'd love one of the Sonys, but it'd have to be for a pretty good deal...

We're going to be ordering a Kojinsha SA1 (the new tablet-like thing with the AMD Geode LX800 processor) for a friend of mine. That will be an interesting device to play with...
Ragnorok
- The Psion 5mx is actually approximately the same size as a 6000 ... before the Cxx0 line came out I was looking to get a 6000, and I made a cardboard mockup based on the dimensions to see how well it fit in my butt bag (fanny pack, belt pouch, whatever). Any PDA I buy has a certain volume available in my butt bag along with the phone, wallet, checkbook, etc, etc, and that volume is actually defined by my old Psion 5.
- The SL5000 fit there with room to spare, and so does Hiro, but I'd be more than happy if the PocketPenguin were the size of the Psion. I'd be ecstatic if it also had that keyboard. Hiro has an okay keyboard, but it's too "chiclet-like" for my taste. The Psion 5 series (I have two ... 5 and 5mx, both fully functional) were simply the cat's meow for typing. I bet I could do 30wpm one including typo corrections. I'd send the 5 to Da_Blitz if he'd use it for the form factor.
- I'd not be nearly as happy with this unit if it had a thumb board. They're far too slow to use ... I only have two thumbs, but I could use five fingers (index & middle on each hand, and one thumb) with the Psion 5 series. I rarely get more than four in use on Hiro, and often only three. Hiro's key spacing isn't too bad, but there's just not much real estate there for the keyboard.
- Whatever gets used, it must never fail to register a keypress. When typing quickly on Hiro, keystrokes are often missed even though I know for certain they are all pressed past the "detent", which should ensure they are engaged and registered. That's downright annoying.
kahm
QUOTE(Ragnorok @ Nov 23 2006, 11:42 PM)
- I'd not be nearly as happy with this unit if it had a thumb board.  They're far too slow to use ... I only have two thumbs, but I could use five fingers (index & middle on each hand, and one thumb) with the Psion 5 series.  I rarely get more than four in use on Hiro, and often only three.  Hiro's key spacing isn't too bad, but there's just not much real estate there for the keyboard.


I consider the Cx000's keyboard thumb typable, and it's a far cry from a thumb board. A little wider would be nice, but I'd still want the ability to thumb type on it. Thumb typing allows for decent typing speed in a very secure and stable grip for computing "on the go" - without a level surface to sit the device on. Make the keyboard too big and you're stuck holding the machine in one hand and typing on it with the other which is neither secure nor comfortable. (And if I've got space and time to set the thing down, I'll probably be using my desktop or my Libretto...)

OTOH, I have both a 5500 and a 6000, and can't stand the keyboards on either of them.

QUOTE
- Whatever gets used, it must never fail to register a keypress.  When typing quickly on Hiro, keystrokes are often missed even though I know for certain they are all pressed past the "detent", which should ensure they are engaged and registered.  That's downright annoying.
*


Odd. I've never had a problem with the keyboard on the Z, and I've typed for 4-6 hr periods straight. (Notably on the shinkansen between Kyoto and Tokyo, and the flight back). In fact, I've owned every generation of Z and I've never noticed a problem with missing keys.
Ragnorok
- Dunno. I just know when I really get flying on Hiro, keys are often missed. Some I know I haven't pressed them fully, which certainly isn't the Z's fault! (heh heh) Others I know equally well that I have pressed them fully. (shrug)
- I've never had this problem with any other PDA, but then the only other PDA that has had a keyboard I could even get any typing speed on is the Psion, so there isn't much comparison. (chuckle)

- I agree Hiro's keyboard is thumb-typable, and that can be an advantage in certain situation, like on public transportation. Living the hinterlands of the USofA, there is no public transportation here, so I basically never use Hiro for thumb typing.
- Not saying you're wrong, or I'm right. Just pointing out differences. A keyboard I can actually type on is significantly more desireable for me, and significantly less desirable for you. This whole deal will be a series of compromises.
kahm
QUOTE(Ragnorok @ Dec 1 2006, 08:52 AM)
- I agree Hiro's keyboard is thumb-typable, and that can be an advantage in certain situation, like on public transportation.  Living the hinterlands of the USofA, there is no public transportation here, so I basically never use Hiro for thumb typing.


Well, I do use the Z as my PDA, so for the majority of the time its a "whip it out, make a note or contact, etc" sort of thing for me.

QUOTE
- Not saying you're wrong, or I'm right.  Just pointing out differences.  A keyboard I can actually type on is significantly more desireable for me, and significantly less desirable for you.  This whole deal will be a series of compromises.
*


There is always going to be usability differences. Since you're a "set it down and tupe on it" sort, ave you ever consided a "Tiny Laptop" instead of a PDA? I pocket my Z, but for sitting down and doing stuff I usually use my Libretto - which I can touch type on. It's about 8 inches wide and ~980g vs 4 3/4 inches and 300g for the Z. THis "pocket penguin" is likely to be noticably heavier than the Z and somewhat larger (Extra features needing a bigger battery and larger keyboard needing a larger size).

The only downside to the Libretto is cost - I got mine open box at a steep discount, which made it a little easier to swallow. Something a little better might be one of the new Kohjinsha laptops - same size and weight as the Libretto, 7" 800x480 screen, fanless operation and good battery. It's like an 8", X86 Zaurus (The screen even rotates into tablet mode - no touchscreen though.) Costs ~ $820US.
Da_Blitz
i find if my hands are cold it gets hard to push the buttons on a cx000, i think i would prefer rubberized buttons personally but i have no problem thumb typing on the cx000 keyboard
Ragnorok
- I do often set Hiro down, but not always. Now, for instance, I'm sick in bed, and using the keyboard like a thumb board. I'm holding the unit with my left hand and typing with my left thumb and right middle finger, with the stylus between my first and second fingers ready for tapping. I can easily reach the G key with my left thumb, and I have small hands for a guy. If the F key were where the G key is now, the entire keyboard could be made slightly wider, with larger keys, and it would be equally usable in this manner. If I hold Hiro by each edge and use both thumbs I can very easily reach the J key with my left thumb and the S key with my right. I feel a much larger keyboard would not even slightly hamper its use as a thumb board, but it would dramatically improve its use on a table.
- I don't really want a 'tiny laptop' because I, too, often "whip it out" and take notes, phone numbers, acquire data in traffic, etc.. Size is a definite constraint for me. I've mentioned somewhere that the size of a SL-6000 is just about absolute maximum. Any larger and I won't carry it 24x7, and it will be a waste. (shrug) I'd just keep Hiro ... he's an excellent compromise on all fronts. (happy smile)
Da_Blitz
i have really been looking into the diffrent sizes we can make this thing and i do quite like the psion, it is a bit big however but as of late i am finding the Z to be a bit small

i think in a perfectt world i would carry multiple devices depending on my need:

* bluetooth watch, basically a small watch with a oled screen or equivelent, a tilt sensor (only turns on when yoou are looking at it) and bluetooth + buttons. the idea is that its used for messaging and status (as well as ttime) and basic acknowlagment. (ie sms incomming, caller ID, lithium ion battery exploading)

* Z sive or psion size (or both wink.gif) for basic "whip it out" for stuff that requires a hevier "terminal" can be used independently (notice i mentioned "terminal". utlises syncing hevilly. has bluetooth and phone and wifi and forms the ccore "long range communications block" ie phone networks (wifi = medium range and bluetooth = short range) ideally with VGA out, usb and stereo out so as to be capable of using a VGA monitor for thin client apps (more on that llatter) or for when you need more desktop real estate (and lets face it who dosent)

* laptop size: basically any thing with a 7" to 12/13" screen. dooes the heavy lifting has more ram and hard drive and is intended to be a storage repository and main work unit, same as above with no phone but perhaps a MAN wireless option such as WiBro or heavy use of mesh networking (ie perhaps 2 wifi cards, overkill i know but dont want them then dont buy them)

it all mainly revolves around the Z design with the watch and the laptop filling specific roles where the Z/psion form factor is under/overkill. allows you to have better tools for the job rather than one size fits all

on the laptop the ephisis would be on battery life. i have been looking at samsungs huge flash chips (8GB chips) i just wish i could get a price for them.

but i think my original question still stands, psion or ZZZ form factor (see the name of this thread after all) i llike the psion or to be more acurte i like a wider Z, it has its problems howevre in that it would no longer be pocketable (hence the watch to partially make up the "pull out" gap, coupled with voice recording i think it would work)

however a couple of points are touched on in diffrent thrreads as its more complex than "deciding" there are pros and cons for each. but i do like the psion keyboard, its just so sexy wink.gif

sorry about the repeating letters, knoppix dossent like my keyboard (linux dosent like it ethier its probblely the keyboards fault as its reseetting the usb bus 2 times a seccond, hence the key repeats)
freizugheit
Will the forthcoming ultra thin 12" Mac Book Pro fit for your desired form factor?

With virtualization software, like Parallels, you can install your desired OS, from Mac OSX, Linux to Windows Vista, etc... in this machine.
Da_Blitz
actually i saw a core 2 duo laptop with 1G of ram and 100G of hard drive space in the 12" form factor for AU$2000 on special. it waas almmost perfect (1.7KG)

i think for me its more about wieght and depthx width rather than thickness, everything seems to be getting to thin these days and it causes my hands to cramp quite badly as well as bieng dificult to hold, i dont mind smaller but reducing somthing in only one dimension can cause serious problems

also i boolive there are better was of solving the problem with phones, why would you want such aa ting phone when you can keep o long battery life one thats fairly powerful in your bag/pocket and just use a bluetooth headset?
Ragnorok
- I can't say I agree with the PDA-sized unit being a "terminal". I've owned PDAs for fifteen years now, and I have yet to sync one with anything. The reason I like Hiro so much is he's a full-blown computer. A teeny tiny one that's not very powerful by laptop standards, but stunningly powerful for something slightly larger than a pack of cards. I expect the Pocket Penguin to make Hiro look inferior as a teeny tiny computer, not as a slave to some other system. I'll get Winbloze Mobile if I want something that should be a computer that's barely functional without a desktop.
- What I've seen appears to be in line with with my desires. Sure, it *can* be used as a 'terminal', even an X terminal, and that's certainly a very nice thing to do. But it should stand alone just as well as anything.
- Naturally I want connectivity. That's to surf on the go! (grin)
- Perhaps I'm just off on a tangent. Apologies in that case...
Da_Blitz
no i agree with you on that. its just the way i said it

basically i expect that it will be used as a primary device but if you are someone that carries the laptop version in your bag and you leave it with wifi on in low power mode then you can use that as your main machine (because it has better specs) and use the Z with vnc to interface to it

however you can use it in its own right. actually i was hopeing that most people will leave it with the network on usb enabled and run a webserver with javavnc on it so that when you plug it into a machine you can then use that machine as a terminal for it smile.gif

i dont think that mobile computing and some other closely related areas has been fully explored. i think that having all your data moved from one machine to the next is the way to go

on a tangent there is a funny thing you can do under linux with usb flash disks, you know how everything is in a users "home" dir on linux. well with pam_mount and another module for doing ssl work for certs within pam you can set it up so that to login a user simply plugs in there usb drive, and types a password. at which point they are in there familiar enviroment

what goes on behind the scenes is, pam_mount mounts the usb drive as /mnt/usb then the ssl cert in /mnt/usb for the user is decrypted using the users pass if this pases then /home/<user> gets symlinked to /mnt/usb. login begins as normal

of corse if you have an ssl cert then you can check it against an ssl service to see if they can login or replace the ssl part with another certification method (AD for example) but the main part is that you can set it up to put the users files on the flashdisk

what i amtrying to do in the long run with this hardware is 4 steps beyond that smile.gif
Ragnorok
- Roit! Thanks for clarifying. I thought we were in sync, and we are. Darn that synchronization ... everyone wants it! (dr00l)
Da_Blitz
but what type of syncing?

for my "rig" i guess you would call it (ie the devices i mentioned) i was thinking that tehy mount /home off the one device to keep the data consistent, or look into a distributed filesystem (network bassed) with local caching support. or the good old rsync. that syncs when changes are avalible.

ideally we would have somthing that keeps a list of what files are changed and when the other hosts are in site it changes all copies at the same time however when the other hosts are offline it caches the changes, but i bet rsync can be hacked to do that

now to do it in a low power way
speculatrix
QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Jan 30 2007, 03:40 AM)
but what type of syncing?
...
ideally we would have somthing that keeps a list of what files are changed and when the other
*


do you think PVFS might be a bit overkill to keep the Z in sync with network file store?
http://www.parl.clemson.edu/pvfs/
Da_Blitz
i have been reseraching distributed filesystems

i dont think this will support disconnected opperation, or "pulling the plug" disconnection

the andrew fliesystem or coda are probbelly better examples, the andrew one has a caching feature where you tell it you are disconnecting in x mins and use this much space and it caches files that you use

i think rsync is a more workabel souliton at this point however it dosent fit 100% i see 2 distinct usage senarios that require slightly diffrent software. and several variants of course

pvfs is alright in a disconnected enviroment when ou are hauling everything with you and its on, andrew for laptops where you might be disconnected for a day or two but the scenario we are looking at is wierd because all users are peers, there is no server

basically there isnt a one size fits all at this point
zeigerpuppy
QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Jan 30 2007, 03:50 AM)
i have been reseraching distributed filesystems

i dont think this will support disconnected opperation, or "pulling the plug" disconnection

the andrew fliesystem or coda are probbelly better examples, the andrew one has a caching feature where you tell it you are disconnecting in x mins and use this much space and it caches files that you use

i think rsync is a more workabel souliton at this point however it dosent fit 100% i see 2 distinct usage senarios that require slightly diffrent software. and several variants of course

pvfs is alright in a disconnected enviroment when ou are hauling everything with you and its on, andrew for laptops where you might be disconnected for a day or two but the scenario we are looking at is wierd because all users are peers, there is no server

basically there isnt a one size fits all at this point
*


How about DRDB - this is probably going to be real overkill!
http://www.linux-ha.org/DRBD/FAQ#head-8999...10b29c853563d11
Da_Blitz
that support online faliure but not both devices running at the same time, if anything its underkill

it depends on what you need to sync as well, if its contacts and apointments and a few files then opensync will suffice. it can also resolve diffrences on both devices with and without human interaction (like activesync but it actually works and is stable as well as os independent)

its a more specilised version of rsync in many ways.

but what do we need to sync. i am assuming that it would be the users home dir. basically thier settings, notes and mail dirs.

mail can be handeled by setting up a mail server on one and telling all devices to talk to that one machine but this is inflexible and requires you to carry that machine at all times (alright if its you watch wink.gif) another way is imap and its support for the server to be the authoritve source. this seems ot work well but requires a server with imap accounts (not a problem see soulotieon latter) another way is opensync with the mail dir forders. there is the posibility of 2 mail messages on 2 devices bieng named the same thing however

needs thought is all, i am leaning towards the imap aproch. esecially if we can do the push mail thing as well (its a feature to help sell it wink.gif)

now for a question about how you handel media files, me personally i create a user called music, moives and anime and let home folders be set up for them. that way it makes sharing with samba easy as you set the perms to 777 and the ownership to the catagorey (ie music). then allow a samba login of music or mhatever or better yet anon guest accounts where guest is mapped to the dir owner (music) this means a comprimise can only accses the shares files smile.gif if samba changes to the guest UID like i think it does

the reason i mention it is if you have more than one pearson on the machine its easy to share music with eachother, it helps simplyfiy networked filesystems and makes backups alot easier. in our case these are all pluses for this device. when a new user is created i have a symlink pointing from thier /home dir to ../music or ../moives so that they automatically start using it.

thats my take on it. as i said it makes sharing ona network easier as i was thikning about a networked fs with disconnected support and union fs to combined all the barnches. the idea was to use nfs but it cant really support bieng disconnected, samba is better ubt i think andrewfs is probelly the best at this point in time but not by much. this is becauseit effectivly combinds unionfs into itself and merges all visible servers

i really need to look at andrewfs some more. one of the intresting things i have heard bieng done with it is using it to refer to docs on a local machine. ie if you /home is on andrew fs (via a symlink so /home/user is a symlink to /andrew/www.userdomain.com/home/user) then any any files you produce that refer to a local internat source will work regardless of the computer you are on. in somthing like what i hope to achive this feature is highly sort after

end bable smile.gif
Ragnorok
- Dat were a joke! Syncing means nothing to me personally, so in answer to your question, I'd want to sync nothing. Software simplified. (cheshire grin)
- This andrewfs thing looks interesting, but can it do ssh? I'd not be using any "url-style" mounts except back to my own server, and that won't happen without ssh. I'd rather do all that manually, if I'm jonesing for a file I don't have.
- But that's just me. I'll bow out of this sync stuff...
Da_Blitz
actually for someone who dosent want to sync anything yourve been very helpful on the syncing frount, if i can think of a program we need to do the syncincg or a framework ill dedicate it to you smile.gif

perhaps i should clarify the url mount, when i mean url i dont mean http url identifiers i mean url as in domain name system so we arent talking about
http://yourserver.com (note the http bit)
we are talking about /andrew/yourcomp.yourdomain.com/home/you/stuff.txt

however what you export is up to you.

still think that keeping the machines in sync is a problem, you might not want to sync with the home PC but i can bet that you want the mail messages on your phone to also be avalible to your PC and the other way around

security wise you might need a vpn to secure the andrewfs transfer as the files are not encrypted, its assumed that you will be on a trusted wired lan (you know how rare those are these days) but does use kerebros to do login and password management so at least that part is secure
zeigerpuppy
Not sure if this is what you mean by syncing, but I have been trying to use my Zaurus as a net enabled "window" into a more powerful enviroment, based on a linux server and my OS X based client at home. The major bonus of the zaurus is the flexibilty of using web based apps, X based apps and common file formats (Lyx is a favourite!)

The most important things for me are:
- the size (pouchable/pocketable)
- network transparency (ie: being able to connect anywhere at max speed)
- good suspend/resume - pdaXrom is pretty good with this

How do I manage data? Well, I run an IMAP mail server, an iCal based calendar server (shich I sync with kopi) and VNC. I also run ftp over https. Oh, and I use Zwiki with WYSIWYG interface compatible with thunderbird.
This allows me to use the SAME DATA behind corporate firewalls etc.. So that if I have access to a fast client/network, I can leverage it's power but the syncing of data is simplified.
How do I connect? I use bluetooth and a 3G phone as a modem - $30 a month for 100MB, $50 month for 300MB. and it's fats enough for VOIP etc... At home I use wifi.

Personally, I hate laptops, anything that requires a separate bag, can't be pulled out on the fly and needs a power source after a couple of hours is NOT portable!
By portable, I mean something that you can take with you or a week anywhere (overseas, camping etc), doesn't weigh you down and can get connectivity in a variety of locations.

I quite like the watch idea, but even a bluetooth remote is probably enough, something that can resume the device and be used as a basic interface - (how about "read my new mail" - text to speech engine!)

Anyway, diverging here...
Da_Blitz
this is going to be painful, im typing this at 100% net, disk,cpu and mem (mostly cache) usage so spelling mistakes will be higher than normal. funny thing is the system is still running and apart from a tiny delay its usable smile.gif linux at its best

anyway. the terminal idea is great when you are near the server. problem is with the idea i envision each device needs to support a detached mode where it cannot acsess the others. how to do that is the key

doing it at an app level sounds like the way to go, and btw ftp over https? is that sftp or ftp over ssl?

i think the portability is addressed in several ways, hence the diffrent models. portable means diffrent things to diffrent people (talked to someone today about it, i said i was looking at getting a nice new portable pc, they said a laptop? to which i replied, think smaller than a tape)

imap seems to be the way to go for mail replecation. i think at this stage when it comes to files you dont need to be able to replicate large files smile.gif but instead have them avalible over nfs or simmilar when the laptop/server model is turned on

i have been thinking about this a bit and if you have a server with mail and other stuff set up then you can do some funky stuff. perhaps roll a distro (or modify) with some tweaks (ive been looking into sysfs performance hacks for small mem and battery powered devices again and found a gem or two) and then provide some hosted services to tie it all up

any way thinking way to far ahead, lets see what they say about the software first. should find out tomorrow
zeigerpuppy
I am actually quite interested in providing a mobile data suite for users of portable devices. It's one of the main reasons I have been using the Zaurus, to get to a practical understanding of the limits of mobile computing.
The main thing that I think is essential for this sort of thing to work is really good security and disconnected data access. It's a tough problem.
Have you seen http://www.lustre.org/ for an intersting file system...
Anyone for a grid network of PocketPenguins?

FTP over HTTPS? yeah it's ftp over ssl, just a response to the problem of getting FTP access behind corporate firewalls (blocking port 21) in a reasonably secure manner, I use net2ftp, see my installation at:
https://greenant.net/net2ftp/
Da_Blitz
yeah if i remeber luster was the comercial fork of the competitor to andrewfs

just implementaition details really, the tech is cool. its best descirbed as unionfs + nfs without having to mount each server

why not use sftp instead, if you have a lin box with ssh on it its pratcially free, but if yourve done it already then there is not much point and i suppose bieng able to use a webbrwser in a pinch is handy

must say i like your site smile.gif, very clean and lean
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