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Messages - kopsis

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New products and alternatives / Will The Iphone Replace The Zaurus?
« on: January 10, 2007, 02:52:24 pm »
I find OSX hard to use, but that's probably just me not being used to it. I feel that they took perfectly good Unix and messed it up. The lack of a right mouse button is awkward too. I also don't like the bar at the top of the screen or the one at the bottom. I don't know what either one is called, but one seems to be a quick launch/taskbar and the other seems to be a standard launch bar.

I know I shouldn't feed trolls, but in what way is it messed up?! Open "Terminal" and there's a perfectly good Bash shell awaiting your command. Enter a common Unix command (note Unix != Linux) and it works pretty much as expected. In fact, Apple even provided command line tools that support administering many of the Mac's "custom" features. Sure it takes some time to learn. The same would be true if you were a BSD person using Linux for the first time or a Linux person using Solaris.

Install Apple's X11 server and you can install and run standard Unix X Windows apps (including a genuine Xterm if the Mac's Terminal prog isn't Unixy enough for you). For example, I use GnuCash on my Mac all the time.

As for the "bar" at the top, that's for your menus. The menus for your focused app show up there. Note how you can just throw your mouse cursor to the top of the screen and hit the menu bar -- much easier that having to aim for a 30 pixel thick strip of sceen real estate located at some random position on the display. Google for Fitt's Law to learn more about this aspect of GUI usability.

And the single button mouse argument? Please. You can use pretty much any mouse you want with Macs and they fully support the second button. Even Apple's own Mighty Mouse (though technically having no buttons) supports left and right clicks.

OS X is far from perfect (don't even get me started about the supposed "consistent look & feel"), but if you're going to bash it, at least pick on the "real" issues.

New products and alternatives / New Zaurus Successor?
« on: January 09, 2007, 06:51:21 pm »
1) Are the three keys with japanese labels on either side of the spacebar functional ?


2) On the top row, are the five keys between F8 and Ins all functional ?

The "|" isn't showing anything in Wordpad, but the others work.

3) In your Control Panel, System, Hardware, Device list, what is the name of the installed keyboard, and its driver files ?...

Standard 101/102-Key (i8042prt.sys, kbdclass.sys).

The problem isn't your keyboard driver, it's the langauage mapping. Under Control Panel, Regional and Language Options, Languages, Details... you can select a "Default input language". Mine came set up with "English (United States) - Sarutek Keyboard" ... an option you probably don't have.

I've since built my own input method that is exactly like the Sarutek except it swaps the "+" and ":" symbols. If you PM me your preferred email address, I can send you an installer for my custom input method.

New products and alternatives / New Zaurus Successor?
« on: January 04, 2007, 07:55:17 pm »
PS for Dave : on your blog you mention that some Firefox/TB dialogs don't fit in the screen, vertically, and you need to move them around with the keyboard shortcuts to get at the lower buttons. Have you tried Fn-F1 ? On my unit it switches to a 800x600 view. The picture is somewhat blurred because it is vertically compressed to 480px, but it's enough to let you click on OK or Cancel :-)
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Actually it's Fn-ESC  But yes, that's a good tip that I discovered that after I wrote my article. You're right that the 800x600 is a bit fuzzy for text, but the screen scaling modes are actually quite usable in Battle for Wesnoth  (and probably other games that don't need Direct3D). It works as a sort of poor-man's anti-aliasing

New products and alternatives / New Zaurus Successor?
« on: January 01, 2007, 07:45:25 am »
Synthetic benchmarks are just that ... synthetic. Most test components and not the whole system, so they may or may not reflect real-world performance. My experience has been that though the K is no speed demon, it's plenty fast enough for most application software.

Case in point, a couple weeks ago I needed to do final editing and format clean-up on a 100+ page MS Word document containing 11 sub documents, some of which contained a dozen or more graphics. Word on the Mac was doing things that broke the formatting when the doc went back to Windows, so I hooked my display and keyboard up to the K and spent the next day and a half using it to do all my final edits. Repagination was a little slow and paging through the graphics heavy sections sometimes required waiting a second or two for graphics to load, but in general it was perfectly usable.

Another example, as part of my holiday R&R I've been playing Battle for Wesnoth on the K over the course of the last few days. Map scrolling isn't quite as smooth as it is on my dual-G5 PowerMac, but I certainly don't see the 10x to 20x slowdown that CPU benchmarks alone would suggest. The game is perfectly playable, and the fact that I can plop down in the La-Z-Boy and play for hours without scorching my lap or having to drag out an AC adapter is mighty appealing

New products and alternatives / New Zaurus Successor?
« on: December 11, 2006, 08:32:48 pm »
My non-stop stream of Kohjinsha propoganda continues ...  

My review now has photos (and a few edits since I originally posted the link).

I've also posted a page of Z vs. Kohjinsha pics.

New products and alternatives / New Zaurus Successor?
« on: December 09, 2006, 07:26:03 pm »
So Dave :

On your blog you mentioned being on the road with your new toy this week... how did that go ? :-)
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I haven't had time to get the photos in, but the text of my SA1F mini-review is [a href=\"]now online[/url].

This is a sneak preview of the review exclusively for OESF members. Please don't post it elsewhere or link to it yet. I'll get photos in sometime next week and link a blog post to it and then it's fair game

New products and alternatives / New Zaurus Successor?
« on: December 08, 2006, 06:04:42 pm »
Kopsis (and anyone esle who already has it in their hands), how does the Kohjinsha feel ruggedness wise in the hands and on the road ? Does it have that built-strong feeling or is it flimsy and breakable kind of construction (cheap usually means some cut-backs in the build department) ?
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For it's size and weight, the Kohjinsha feels like a pretty solid machine. No creaking or flexing when you handle it. The hinge feels smooth and strong with no play or "slop". The LCD is behind a solid piece of clear plastic that extends all the way to the edges of the lid, so the LCD itself is not exposed. Obviously there's no fragile touch-screen to worry about. Supposedly Kohjinsha has tested it to withstand 100 kg load with the lid closed -- but I don't think I'm brave enought to try to verify their results

A Panasonic Toughbook it's not , but in general I'd say the Kohjinsha feels much more solid than most of the Sony and Dell laptops I've used. I think it's safe to say that the cost savings came from strategic component selection (800x480 screen with no touch panel, AMD Geode 800LX CPU, etc.) and not from cutting corners on mechanical design and construction.

New products and alternatives / New Zaurus Successor?
« on: December 05, 2006, 09:49:58 pm »
Have you tried any video on it? Will it boot from a USB DVD/CD-rom drive?
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Just tried a little XVID video encoded at 720x480 at about 1400 kbps (w/ full DVD AC3 audio) using MPlayer for Windows and it worked great. Nice and smooth, no apparent dropped frames. Obviously a lot depends on the material and the encoding, but its definitely possible to get good results on the Kohjinsha.

As for USB booting, the BIOS has support for it (both optical and HD/flash drive) so it should work but I haven't had a chance to try it.

New products and alternatives / New Zaurus Successor?
« on: December 05, 2006, 12:19:23 pm »
My SA1F00B from Conics arrived yesterday (thanks Brett!). Some of my first thoughts:

* Most people can't believe how small it is (though after using the C760 for years, it seems quite roomy to me)
* 800x480 is much more usable than I expected
* Display size and quality is quite good
* Keyboard is going to take some getting used to (and possibly a bit of remapping)
* The CPU seems plenty fast for surfing and office apps

And yes, CF is Type 1 only ... though a Type 2 would fit if it weren't for a couple ribs molded into the case that look like they're there specifically to block a Type 2 card. I suspect that Kohjinsha may have originally designed it for Type 2 and then found problems in testing. Perhaps heat related issues? Microdrives get pretty toasty and the CF slot is right next to the CPU's heat sink.

I'll blog some more detailed initial thoughts this weekend and a long-term review in a few weeks. If anyone has specific questions, feel free to PM me and I'll try to make sure I get them answered.

New products and alternatives / New Zaurus Successor?
« on: November 30, 2006, 06:35:26 pm »
I stumbled across another Japanese review of the SA1F00A ... and this one includes disassembly photos!    Links are on my blog entry at

I have an SA1F00B (80GB HDD) on order from Conics (just waiting for the eCheck to clear), so in a few weeks there will be at least one English review on the web

Zaurus - pdaXrom / Cf Bluetooth Make/model Recommendations
« on: November 21, 2006, 11:53:06 am »
I'll second the Socket BT card. Sits flush so you don't have to pop the card when tossing your Z into a pocket or a bag. It also seems to be pretty low power so I don't notice a big battery drain when using the BT like I do with WiFi.

New products and alternatives / New Zaurus Successor?
« on: November 16, 2006, 08:42:30 am »
How about a pepperpad then?

I like the PP3 hardware, though I do wish they included more RAM and a bigger HD. I know those components are theoretically upgradable, but then one has to factor in the upgrade costs.

On a side note, I really wish companies would quit integrating !@#$% webcams into devices. It's bad enough that when I get a new phone I have to void the warranty the first day by ripping the stupid camera out. I hate having to do the same on a considerably more expensive gadget. I'm sure I can't be the only person working for a company that doesn't permit cameras in the office.

I appreciate all the suggestions, but the bottom line is that the Kohjinsha is pretty close to the perfect device for my (admitedly peculiar) needs. I think I'll give it a shot and see how it works out. If I don't like it, there's always Ebay  If Conics can get me hooked up in early Dec, I should have time to write a pretty detailed review over the holidays. Stay tuned.

New products and alternatives / New Zaurus Successor?
« on: November 15, 2006, 02:01:14 pm »
I do like the Nokia 770. In fact I have one on order to use as part of a demo I'm working on. However, I don't see where the 770 does much that my C760 doesn't. Anything that's going to replace my Z (at least prior to the day when it eventually breaks) needs to offer something more such as a bigger screen, better software compatibility (i.e. x86 based), huge hard drive, etc. The 770's built-in WiFi is nice, but not enought to compell a switch.

I don't need pocketable ... I don't pocket my Z as it is (my smartphone covers all my PIM and "walking around" computing needs). I've tried the conventional laptop approach but even a 13" MacBook is a bit bigger/heavier/hotter than what I really want -- and it's definitely way overpowered for the apps I need. It just seems wrong to crank up a multi-GHz Core2 Duo just to take notes in a meeting.

I like the UMPCs but the prices just seem outrageous. And they too pack much more horsepower than what I really need. I guess I'm really just after a slightly larger form-factor (bigger KB and display) Zaurus with built in wireless.

New products and alternatives / New Zaurus Successor?
« on: November 14, 2006, 01:13:20 pm »
The TX2 looks like a sweet laptop, but at $2K+ we're talking about a whole different class of device. There are probably lots of Z alternatives if "money is no object". The more interesting question is: if you cap the price at around that of an SL-3200 ($600 - $700 including accessories), what are the alternatives?

I use my Z mainly as an ultra-portable thin client. Hardware wise I need WiFi, Bluetooth, and a keyboard. Software wise I need a full web browser, email, VNC, SSH, IM, a good text editor (Vim), a basic spreadsheet, and a bash shell. The Kohjinsha is the first gadget I've seen since Sharp introduced the clamshell series that seems to meet all those requirements at anything even close to the Z's price.

How about it? Are there other gadgets I should be considering that meet the above criteria and are a) still in production, B) under $900? Or are Sharp and Kohjinsha the only other games in town?

New products and alternatives / New Zaurus Successor?
« on: November 11, 2006, 04:14:56 pm »
I don't speak Japanese, but it's definitely not a touchscreen. I went through the spec page and machine translated all the "footnotes". Footnote #10 on the "Double pointing device" seems pretty clear (even in its machine translated form):

10. (1) touch pad (the substance front), (2) stick pointer (on LCD side side with scroll button and mouse button arrangement).

The lack of a touch screen is actually a pro in my book. No need for screen protectors, no XP Tablet edition nonsense, and one less custom hardware device standing in the way of a Linux port.

For me the only negative of this slick little micro notebook is what Engadget refers to as the "scrolleriffic 800 x 480" LCD. But that's still 25% more screen real estate than my C760, and in a much less eyestrain inducing size. I hate to say it, but I think my Z's days may be numbered.

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