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pculliton
I recently (end of September) purchased a C1000 through Conics.net. (I'd owned an SL-5500 for several years and had been shopping for a Cxx00 for a while.) I installed pdaXii13 Akita and zgcc on my C1000 and, with just one keyboard hiccup, I was on my way, happily coding for an extra 1.5 hours a day on my city's standing-room-only trains.

I love the ability to thumb-type. I love the small size. The battery life is amazing (I go several sessions of heavy use -- recompiling VERY often -- without recharging). The screen is beautiful.

Unfortunately, I could really use more power. A heftier CPU and more RAM would increase my productivity quite a bit -- I spend more time staring out the window waiting for a recompile than I do writing code at times, and while writing games on the Z certainly adds to the design / code challenge and forces me to optimize early and often (not a bad thing when you're a one-man shop), I'd like my unoptimized code to at least RUN on the thing. It's a PITA to need to optimize before I can see results. I have already bumped the CPU to 624Mhz.

In short: I'd like to find a thumb-typeable PC with a decent screen, low weight, better CPU and more RAM. I'd be willing to go about 3x what I paid for the Z (about $400). I've shopped around but most stuff is expensive and / or rare. Figured I'd see if anyone had gone the same route already. Any suggestions? Ideas? Experiences?

Also, if there's anything I can do to speed up the Zaurus that would be great to hear as well.

Thanks, and cheers.

Phil
adf
QUOTE(pculliton @ Oct 18 2007, 08:56 PM) *
I recently (end of September) purchased a C1000 through Conics.net. (I'd owned an SL-5500 for several years and had been shopping for a Cxx00 for a while.) I installed pdaXii13 Akita and zgcc on my C1000 and, with just one keyboard hiccup, I was on my way, happily coding for an extra 1.5 hours a day on my city's standing-room-only trains.

I love the ability to thumb-type. I love the small size. The battery life is amazing (I go several sessions of heavy use -- recompiling VERY often -- without recharging). The screen is beautiful.

Unfortunately, I could really use more power. A heftier CPU and more RAM would increase my productivity quite a bit -- I spend more time staring out the window waiting for a recompile than I do writing code at times, and while writing games on the Z certainly adds to the design / code challenge and forces me to optimize early and often (not a bad thing when you're a one-man shop), I'd like my unoptimized code to at least RUN on the thing. It's a PITA to need to optimize before I can see results. I have already bumped the CPU to 624Mhz.

In short: I'd like to find a thumb-typeable PC with a decent screen, low weight, better CPU and more RAM. I'd be willing to go about 3x what I paid for the Z (about $400). I've shopped around but most stuff is expensive and / or rare. Figured I'd see if anyone had gone the same route already. Any suggestions? Ideas? Experiences?

Also, if there's anything I can do to speed up the Zaurus that would be great to hear as well.

Thanks, and cheers.

Phil

Does it need to be pocketable, or just small? if the latter, then maybe the eeepc (7" screen) at nearly the same price would suit. If you need something closer to Z sized (but really still not pocketable) and are willing to pay @1500usd you might have a look at oqo (doesn't have a good rep in these parts) or a flipstart, or some other x86 umpc

otoh, if you have a decent wireless (gprs?) connection, you might consider secure shell to a more robust box elsewhere?
pculliton
Thanks for the quick and helpful reply. :-)

Nope, it doesn't need to be pocketable. I've always got a messenger bag so that I can carry my Fujitsu P2110 (although I guess I wouldn't need that with a proper C1000 replacement).

I've been looking at the EEE-PC for a while. The price is attractive, but I don't know if it'll be thumb-typeable and its CPU is a bit underpowered as well by all accounts. I have a number of subnotebooks, but the ability to *always* be able to work while standing and buy myself an extra 7-8 hours of coding per week is priceless. I can type one-handed, but it's slower than a good thumb board like the C1000's, and awkward when the train is crowded.

I'd heard the OQO was weak. I have a friend who's worked there from well before the initial release and the specs have sounded anemic (for the price) for as long as I've known of it. I've considered the Sony UX series but have heard its keyboard is a weak point and it's also fairly expensive. Anybody have any experience with these?

Flipstart looks good, as do other UMPCs. I guess any first-hand accounts would be useful. I've been keeping an eye on Ebay to get a decent deal, but it'd be hard to get my hands on one to test any particular model out.

As for a remote box, that's a very good idea. Unfortunately half the ride is in tunnels where no reception is possible.

Thanks again!

Phil
adf
Z in hand, cheap laptop in satchel, same remote box concept? smile.gif
pculliton
QUOTE(adf @ Oct 18 2007, 11:29 PM) *
Z in hand, cheap laptop in satchel, same remote box concept? smile.gif


Hmmm. That always seemed a bit cumbersome, but given that I'm considering making a rather large purchase in lieu of that working I'd say that that idea definitely has some merit to it. :-) I'll give it a shot tomorrow. Then we'll see if I need to come back to the idea of dropping a grand on a replacement.

Thanks!

Phil
Meanie
QUOTE(pculliton @ Oct 19 2007, 05:04 PM) *
QUOTE(adf @ Oct 18 2007, 11:29 PM) *
Z in hand, cheap laptop in satchel, same remote box concept? smile.gif


Hmmm. That always seemed a bit cumbersome, but given that I'm considering making a rather large purchase in lieu of that working I'd say that that idea definitely has some merit to it. :-) I'll give it a shot tomorrow. Then we'll see if I need to come back to the idea of dropping a grand on a replacement.

Thanks!

Phil


avoid the oqo. its expensive and won't last long (poor production quality in 70% of their products)
did i mention that it's not very well designed either, i mean, its almost impossible to comfortably type on it and the stylus/touchscreen is a joke
Da_Blitz
dont know if its an option but cant you write a wrapper script to scp to your home pc, compile there and then rsync the data back?

there are days when my Z or kohjinsha are underpowered and i just use a 3G mobile with a data plan to connect to my home PC for heavy lifting

i might be able to whip somthing up for you using rsync and ssh if you want

*** EDIT ***

Noticed the low reception problem, ignore post, seems i came up with the same ideas everyone else did

unless you want a beowolf of 1000's wink.gif i mean who wouldnt

or baring that, a debian slug cluster and distcc, they chew a bit of power but with a bit of modification you can get the boot time down to where you only need to turn it on when you need to
tg
QUOTE(Meanie @ Oct 19 2007, 03:07 AM) *
QUOTE(pculliton @ Oct 19 2007, 05:04 PM) *
QUOTE(adf @ Oct 18 2007, 11:29 PM) *
Z in hand, cheap laptop in satchel, same remote box concept? smile.gif


Hmmm. That always seemed a bit cumbersome, but given that I'm considering making a rather large purchase in lieu of that working I'd say that that idea definitely has some merit to it. :-) I'll give it a shot tomorrow. Then we'll see if I need to come back to the idea of dropping a grand on a replacement.

Thanks!

Phil


avoid the oqo. its expensive and won't last long (poor production quality in 70% of their products)
did i mention that it's not very well designed either, i mean, its almost impossible to comfortably type on it and the stylus/touchscreen is a joke


I don't have oqo but have been hanging around this forum lately: http://www.oqotalk.com/
Reading posts there over the last couple of months it seems that oqo is getting their customer issues straightened
out - new CEO Dennis Moore is an active participant in the forum and seems to be personally involved in
addressing customer issues/complaints - it really is impressive to watch.
But it is also clear from those same forums that OQO has some serious issues - a lot of problems seem to
crop up all the time (although to be fair this is a windows vista device so what can you expect since
the software itself is probably as guilty as hardware). The most common complaints seem
to be about short battery life, loud fan, and heat (way too much discussion about what settings you
need to alleviate some of these issues etc which gives you an impression it is a big deal).
On the other hand, I did get a chance to handle one of these units in a NY store and was impressed
by the general feel of the device (keyboard is not as good as Zaurus clams but is not that bad
either - especially if compared to Sony UX which is truly catastrophic keyboard - probably worse
than even my blackberry 8700 which I hate but have to use for work).
I think next model OQO is something to really look forward too - new CEO is really listening and
polls are being run on the forums to provide ideas for improvements etc. Also, quite a few forum participants
who had complained about serious issues and had to have devices replaced etc are still raving how good
the device is when it is working and they seem committed to buy a new one when it comes out.

edit: Just to give an example of new CEO involment take a look at this new thread from the oqo forums:

http://www.oqotalk.com/index.php/topic,1193.0.html
pculliton
Awesome! Thanks guys for all the additional responses.

Meanie, yeah I've heard that the touchscreen on the OQOs are problematic. It's unfortunate, because I rather like the way they look. Also, they can be had cheaply on Ebay. Too bad.

Da_Blitz -- although I've love to have a big Beowulf on tap, honestly, I'd settle for a single decent CPU. :-) In my quest for on-the-go coding it's either been ancient Pentiums, PDA-level processors or Crusoe chips, none of which have the punch to knock through my code at a reasonable speed. I've had decent luck with Pentium Ms -- my Dell X300 is quite nice in particular -- but those devices tend to be too big to stand with easily.

I suppose I could also switch to non-compiled languages, but where's the fun in that? ;-)

tg, thanks. I've been wondering about the keyboards, obviously, since that's probably the most important part of the machine for my needs. The UX has a bad reputation (I'll try one out tonight, hopefully), while the OQOs seems a bit better. It's promising that the next-gen OQO will be even better, but I'm not out to pay next-gen prices. I'll keep my eyes open for more keyboard feedback.

Hmmm. I guess I'll see if I can get my hands on an EEE-PC and see if it's stand-able, but I doubt it.
nilch
Since you want power and not pocketability, how about a U10 ?

Heard its small enough to be thumb typeable - but maybe not light enough.
Capn_Fish
Another vote for a decent laptop in a bag, then use SSH over bluetooth (If that's possible, if not, Wi-Fi ad-hoc). It ought to be fast enough, and the laptop ought to be able to compile fast enough for you.

Just my $0.02.
pculliton
nilch -- you mean the U101? Decent machine. I'd have to find one to see if it was thumbable as hoped.

Hey Capn_Fish... yep, that's the cheapest option. I'm a bit squirrelly about having a lappie running in my backpack. I don't live in the safest part of town and I'd hate to scramble the damn thing's brains if I forgot to shut it down before doing the hundred-meter-dash. I haven't had a chance to give it a try yet; I'll see what I can get set up this week, try it out before the weekend.

Regardless, it's looking like there's not much in the way of an actual solution in currently-available UMPCs. OQO, too slow and crappy. UX, too expensive with a crappy keyboard. Everything else, only available at a 5000% premium on Dynamism, and generally not very thumb-typeable-looking.

Oh, and there's the EEE-PC, but that doesn't look very thumb-able either.

If the OQO has the UX's power... or the UX had the OQO's price and keyboard... mmmmm.

Oh, well. Thanks for all the further suggestions. I'll see about the laptop-in-a-bag solution.

Cheers.
Cyberdoc1971
Since size is not the issue, and I have not seen anything similar, what about the Pepperpad 3? It is more of a tablet, but looks to have some serious processing power.
pculliton
I'm not really a hardware guy (well, I don't keep current, anyway), but those specs don't sound that great. 256MB of RAM and a low-clocked Geode? The Geode is supposed to be a zippy chip, but is it *that* fast?

I can work with the 256MB I guess... I'm looking for something that's much faster than the C1000's CPU, though. Is it?

Otherwise, I like the low price and the positive talk about the thumb board. I'd be interested in hearing any comments or suggestions on this thing.
Da_Blitz
i have a kohjinsha thats the same as the peperpad v3. i would say its zippier than most people expect and i dont have to worry about turning it off for a 100M dash (all solid state now wink.gif)

if you have something i can compile to test how fast it is i can do that for you, note that i dont have an arm compiler for it atm so it may effect results.

bluetooth and wifi built in, get one with a broken screen and you are in buisness. keep it in the bag left on (its low heat) and just charge it when you get to work (i get 4 hrs minimum on one charge)
adf
QUOTE(pculliton @ Oct 22 2007, 04:58 PM) *
I'm not really a hardware guy (well, I don't keep current, anyway), but those specs don't sound that great. 256MB of RAM and a low-clocked Geode? The Geode is supposed to be a zippy chip, but is it *that* fast?

I can work with the 256MB I guess... I'm looking for something that's much faster than the C1000's CPU, though. Is it?

Otherwise, I like the low price and the positive talk about the thumb board. I'd be interested in hearing any comments or suggestions on this thing.

That depends a lot on what you are doing--certainly it will be incredibly more powerful on floating point operations, and a noticeble bit faster on nonfp stuff. The memory should make a big difference, as well.
geode 800 benchmarks
For the price though, you could get a way more powerful laptop and keep it in a satchel during your commute. Depends how much weight you feel like toting.

Keep in mind:
Processor power (and ram, and hd)= electricity. As you increse your wattage, your battery gets bigger to support similar use times (and probably your housing and screen increase as well to help "balance" the battery aetshetically--a Z sized box with a car battery would cut no ice)
I infer from this that that cpu speed = weight, in a meaningful way.

So it seems to me that going past the geode (which maybe isn't as fast as you want?I have no idea) starts to get you into laptop sized things with batteries that match the big honkin CPU.

Certainly the price/performance on the pepper pad is appealing compared to othe umpcs, though.
pculliton
Da_Blitz -- thanks for the info and the kind offer. I'll see if I can come up with anything to usefully test-compile. The Kohjinsha seems like a nice piece of kit. I'd love to get my hands on one.

adf -- floating point all the way. I do a lot of natural language processing / AI work... if I can get a decent bump to FP operations, that makes my life a heck of a lot easier, definitely. Probably doesn't force me to write better code like having no serious FP support would, but what the hell. I dunno, the way-more-powerful route has its draws, but I like small sizes... I'm looking at a good 100% premium for way-more-powerful in my favored form factors. (Saw an 11.1" Vaio today, gorgeous with great KB, the 12.1" HP next to it was about $1300 cheaper for better specs. Dang.) A UMPC with a decent processor with good FP and graphics performance would do me just fine.

As for power vs. weight, that's a game I've been playing for over a decade, now. I'll gladly take an extra 0.5 pounds to grab a couple extra hours of battery life or balance out a more powerful processor. I'd just prefer not to. smile.gif

Really, the Pepper Pad 3 is looking quite awesome at the moment. I've got to try one out. I suppose I could probably grab one for a bit under market on Ebay. If the Geode is so powerful, I really don't see an issue with picking one up even at MSRP.

Edit: Great googly moogly! I can get a new Pepper Pad 3 for $399?

I'll definitely look into the "find one with a broken screen" option. Good suggestion.

Thanks!
speculatrix
QUOTE(pculliton @ Oct 23 2007, 08:00 AM) *
(Saw an 11.1" Vaio today, gorgeous with great KB, the 12.1" HP next to it was about $1300 cheaper for better specs. Dang.) A UMPC with a decent processor with good FP and graphics performance would do me just fine.


I bought my Sony TX2 as a remaindered item when the new model came out so wan't much more than a Kohji, but obviously much bigger.

The TX's are really very portable. However, you can't operate these babies in an enclosed space, they generate too much heat when the CPU is at all busy. They win out over smaller devices because they have built-in DVDRW, which for me is quite important as when I go visiting family abroad being able to make DVDs of my photos and movies is vital, as well as being able to make backup copies of photos I've taken.

adf
If you get your hands on a pepper pad3, tell us about it. I've been kinda curious for awhile
Cyberdoc1971
QUOTE(adf @ Oct 24 2007, 11:38 AM) *
If you get your hands on a pepper pad3, tell us about it. I've been kinda curious for awhile


I'm curious too, I've only read about them and kind of surprised that there aren't too many forums about them.
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