Cool new toy. :)

  • From: Neil Doane <caine@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: technocracy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 13:16:44 -0800

Thought folks on this list might get a kick out of this.  

HP runs a developer network called the "HP Embedded Software Developer's
Network", mainly for use by their internal developers to create software for
some of their appliance-like projects.   Anyway, long-story short, ESDN is a 
SourceForge portal site and they're one of our clients.  We were onsite
doing some server upgrade work for them last week and we're standing there 
in one of their developer labs next to a table _piled_ over with little 
tablet PCs.   We'd poked around in them a bit between working on server 
stuff, but hadn't wanted to seem too nosy.   Anyway, these guys come in and
start going through all the tablet PCs on the table and talking with us. 
Turns out that all these tablet PCs were prototype models that were a big
tablet-pc project that was dropped by HP last summer and that they were just
now getting rid of the remnants, the prototype models themselves, that they
all ran Linux and by the way, and would we like to have a couple to take
home ourselves?

Well hell yeah!   So each of us got one, here's pics of mine:

They're neat as shit.  10" passive matrix touch screen, built-in speakers
and internal mic.   They run a little Cyrix MediaGX CPU (which is pretty
goddam slow, the kernel reports 63.28 BogoMIPS) and have 32MB RAM
and a 32MB flash drive.   They have built-in 802.11b support (built-in, in
the sense that they have a PCMCIA slot inside the case with a wireless card
stuck in it.)   They have external USB, microphone, headphones and AC power
connectors and what appears to be an IR port on top, though I need to
dismantle the whole thing and verify what's inside.   They _may_ have serial
ports internally, I don't know yet, but they are reported by the kernel on
startup.   They run XFree86 and fvwm95 by default and have a little xawkeys
on-screen keyboard that pops on and off when you need it and a built-in
touch-pointer-pen thingy.   It even has a strap on the back for your hand to
fit into. :)  It isn't the fastest thing on the planet, but it will decode 
mp3s and runs Netscape, which is nice.   I've currently got it networked 
through my Linksys WAP 11 and have been running around my backyard surfing
the web and checking my email (mutt with a touch-screen is not what I'd call
easy).   It's got a stripped down GNU-based OS on it (I think it may be
stripped down Debian potato, but I'm not positive yet) and I can even NFS
mount my mp3 server with it... :)

So far, my plans for it include making some cool FvwmButtons to control my
home X10 devices and getting a touch-screen friendly mp3 player, so I can
set this thing atop my stereo and play mp3s over it (eventually, I'll
probably set up a smaller PC next to the stereo and just rig this little
tablet to be a _controller_ for what is played on that PC into the stereo,
that way I can take the controller roaming around the house with me. :)  

Anyway, I just thought I'd share. :)


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