Screen Rotation on HP Mini 1000

I finally got some time to play with the settings on my Mini 1000.  The rotate display function can be found in the graphics/display user interface.  I did rotate the screen 90-degrees and, indeed, what was on the screen the rotated (in the most literal sense).  However, the rotate function is not integrated.  The touch pad does not rotate to match and Windows and the Firefox do not display in a user friendly fashion.  The side window frame slider bar doesn’t move, so in the 90-deg state, the slider bar is at the bottom of the screen.  Also, the programs do not resize to match the screen ratio.  So, I had to slide the screen left and right to see the whole window and the window did not span the entire height of the display.  I was quite disappointed, because it seems to me it would be easy to rotate the screen and then apply the screen ratio, like you would when choosing a different a screen resolution.  As for the touch pad, rescale that translation.  Haha, well, these situations could remedied with graphics and touch pad driver updates.  I look forward to them, I hope …

Consumers Want More Home Networking

Here’s a little article from InformationWeek about consumers’ desire for more interoperability and networking options for their various personal gadgets.  Hahaha!!!  Well … in terms of networking, WiFi, Bluetooth, TCP/IP are just that.   All of the devices I have that use these protocols I can see on their respective networks.  When I remove DRM and other barriers I can push and pull data between these devices over their respective networks, too.  However, I would imagine for those that are not inclined to explore or are technically challenged, all of this networking stuff is daunting.

Because the electronics manufacturers want to lock consumers into their product ecosystems, the manufacturers are not inclined to make their products open to consumers.  Of course this never really works.  Successful products like the iPod work with a great many accessories and other non-Apple products and crafty people have come up with ways to “crack” the iPod so users can get around  DRM and reclaim the music they have purchased.  These products also tend to have a bunch of third party companies that make accessories and software for the devices.   Of, course it takes market dominance to begin with to have cottage industries pop up around a product.  iPod can thank the mp3 format, USB, and great product design for their success.  The glue, though, for interoperability are the mp3 file format and the USB hardware interface.  iPod took advantage of protocols that were already well established as universal.

So it seems to me that the foundation for device interoperability already exists.  It’s simply a matter of making it such that ordinary people can communicate with their devices over the common networks.  Centralized network devices like home servers and the third generation consoles like the xBox360 come close, now, to knitting everything together.  The problem is that these devices are not accessible to the lowest common denominator of consumers.  The wii comes closest to a device that is very accessible, but its hardware and software are not capable.  Continue reading Consumers Want More Home Networking

Goodbye and Good Riddance 2008 — Green Rant

It’s the end of the year and it’s mighty slow for those of us looking for a job.  Things started drying up dramatically around Thanksgiving and then it trickled to next to nothing on Christmas Eve.  I guess it’s to be expected.  I hope things will pick up shortly after New Years.

Sigh … I wonder how the latest financial problem involving that Madoff guy will affect everything.   How many more are out there like him?  And how many companies will soon find out that the money they’ve “lent” out evaporated?  I hope this doesn’t erode the little bit of confidence that could have been built up in the past few weeks.  I realize that it’s going to take a while to unwind everything and figure out how much money there really is in the system.  I imagine a lot of money is being double counted now.  My feeling, though, is that it’s time for a return to sanity and for the world economy to be based on actual trade again rather than debt swapping.  We’ll see if that actually happens.  The US isn’t in the best position to actually manufacture much of anything anymore.  Plus, there aren’t enough creative business people and managers who can envision cost effective manufacturing in the US that pays a good wage, is safe for the environment, and provides cost competitive products for consumers.  It takes a strong will to change things and it takes courage to act.  Right now, though, I see a bunch of flimsy spined folks running around who only know how to cut costs with a chainsaw or beg the government for corporate well-fare.

( Hahaha … irony of ironies … spreading personal wealth to corporations.  There are so many out there who don’t have a pot to pee in blinded by the thought of  the stereotypical “Well-fare Queen,”  who have been fooled into thinking that they are middle class or even rich.  Hahaha!!!  It blows my mind!  I guess this explains the state we are in.  Everyone was  living beyond their means because so many people deluded themselves into thinking that they had means.  Welcome to reality and enjoy the global “three finger salute.”  Not everyone can and should own a house and a car … that’s why there are apartments and public transportation.  The rest of the world seems to understand this.  Anyhow, there are some nice stats on Wikipedia about household incomes in the US — link.  I wonder how many people have actually looked at their finances to understand their true situation.)

So what comes next?  It’s clear that the rate at which people are accumulating stuff is not sustainable because there’s only so much matter on the planet.  Which leads me to some “Duh!” moments I’ve had in the last few days:

Duh! #1:  My husband says to me after thinking really hard about it,” What if there were some way like plants and trees to convert the CO2 to oxygen and water, then we wouldn’t have to worry about carbon so much anymore.”  My deadpan response, “Uh, why not just plant enough trees and plants to cover your carbon usage …Duh …”  Continue reading Goodbye and Good Riddance 2008 — Green Rant

CNET Pictures of the HP Touch Laptop

Here’s a link.

I’m not quite sure what the remote is about … it is a touch device …  With the MTV tie-in I’m not really sure who the intended audience is.  I thought it was for business people — especially with the 12-in screen.  But with the remote, is it meant to plug into a TV?  and if so, why make the laptop touch?  Too many notes perhaps?  Feature bloat … hahaha.  Oh well… Perhaps they’ll figure it out sooner or later.

Santa Delivered — HP Mini 1000

I guess I was nice this year because Santa delivered :). I didn’t get the Vivienne Tam Edition, but I did get the HP Mini 1000 Mini-notebook with the 60GB harddrive and bluetooth connectivity. So far I’m surprised by the power of this little notebook. I am able to play standard definition avi files on it.

We’ve place the little notebook in the kitchen next to the telephone. This turns out to be a perfect place for it. So far I set up e-mail, I used it today to look up recipes for Christmas dinner and I researched external laptop sound cards for our entertainment laptop. It was convenient to have the little notebook on the counter so I could browse while waiting on food to cook. The small footprint also it made it fit nicely on the little bit of corner space we have where our phone is.

A few things about the notebook that you may want to know before purchasing. It is strictly wireless. There is no Ethernet port for a wired connection. It comes with Windows XP installed so you don’t have to worry about the little laptop barfing on Vista. I went ahead and moved the windows bar to the left side and had it auto-hide. I found this to be a good use of the small screen. It also came installed with Microsoft Works, which has everything you need for home and student use — word processor, spreadsheets, presentations, e-mail, and a calendar. The keyboard takes a little getting used to. True the keyboard is about the same size of a standard keyboard, but some of the keys do double duty when combined with the function key.

I don’t recommend this little laptop as a main computer. I think you are far better getting a full-sized laptop if this is your first or only computer. It is a great secondary and travel laptop. It does basic computing and supports music and standard definition videos nicely. I also recommend getting the 10-in form factor. Web pages display nicely and are readable. It also passed the online manga test ;p. Now if only I could rotate the image on the screen like an iPod touch or the iPhone so I could get a full page of manga or a book on the screen. The screen is about the same size as a paperback book and the arrows keys are in the right place currently for page flipping ;). Hint, hint … it could be fudged with a software update … Though, the hinge doesn’t allow the device to open the full 180-degrees … maybe the next gen …???

Intel’s Widget Channel

Intel will debut its widget channel concept at CES 2009.  Unfortunately, since I’m unemployed, I will not be able to go to CES in January (no credentials — bloggers blew it last year — and no extra money) so I won’t get to see this first hand and ask the reps questions.  So… I’ll just have to follow the tech blogs from the media.  Anyhow, I’m not quite sure of what to make of this.  It sounds like it’s a toolkit to put extra advertising content into a TV broadcast, though, I’m not sure whether it’s an additional “frame” around the broasdcast content.

With regards to interactive TV … recently, we’ve noticed our Tivo asking for input and if we would like to view the additional ad content it’s downloaded.  After the third or so time this happened, I became numb to it and I now ignore it.  As for social activities like chatting during a show … well, I suppose that could be fun, though, I imagine it would be a distraction from viewing.   Therefore, it’s probably something to be done during a commercial break.

I think what I would like most of all is a bookmarking feature built into my viewer so I can tag scenes to get more information or to document my thoughts on the matter.  For instance if I like an actor’s outfit, then I would like to bookmark the frame with the actor and save the available metadata so I can query later.  The question is, what sort of information would people want to know about what they are watching and how would they access the additional information.  There’s the standard show documentation that is displayed in the credits.  These can be termed into tags that can searched on the internet.  There information on sponsorship, products in the scene, the location of the scene, time data, and so on and so forth.   I can see the bookmarked frame itself becoming a piece of metadata.  I recall Sling having something like this in which viewers could mark frames or small snippettes of content and microblog or chat about the content.  The last I heard though, is that they ran into copyright issues, which is sad because it goes to show that media companies still don’t understand that loyalty is built when the content becomes their viewer’s possession.   This is the nature of virality silly executives …  Sigh…may the old business models hurry up and die so we can get on with it …

Then there is the matter of viewing the additional content and doing the Internet search.  For many people the TV and the computer have not yet converged.  To be honest, for those people that aren’t hip to this, I don’t know if having the extra content would make a difference.  But to someone who watches most of their entertainment online already, the added functionality would be welcomed.  That said, people who already watch their entertainment online are primed for this type of service.  For those that are not converged, I think the articles author raises a good point about the TV experience.  Your TV doesn’t ask for updates.  This goes along with the thought that you don’t expect your TV to crash to the Windows “Blue Screen of Death.”  So, for those people, TV should look and feel like TV.  Understandably, that is where the set-top or cable box aspect comes in.  Still, I know many older consumers for whom even these devices are over their heads.  They just know how to and want to flip channels and newfangled remotes confuse and scare them.  It’s really sad that nobody has made the converged products drop dead easy to use.  On the other hand, though, is it worth the trouble to try to use new methods to advertise to them?  That would be an interesting study … Are legacy methods more affective for non-tech and technophobes?

Anyhow, I look forward to seeing what Intel has in mind.  Hopefully it’s something that can also be easily configured by consumers too, so they can pull what they want from content rather than having more advertisement pushed at them.

Here’s a link to the article about it.

I Love this: Jinsei Ginko

I want one of these in US currency and I want a child to give this to.  Heck, I want one for myself.  What is Jinsei Ginko (Life Bank)?  It sounds like it’s a piggy bank crossed with an RPG.  The amount and frequency of deposits determines the life your little bank avatar will live.

EEK!!!!  Can you imagine expanding upon this idea and incorporating it into a mobile device as a fun way to track saving and spending?  There could be versions for little kids, teenagers, and adults.    And the nice thing is, if you win, you actually win with a nice sum of your own money to purchase your ultimate real-life quest item.   If I were to implement a web application based on this, I’d sell it to credit card companies as a fun companion to a rewards program and the “loot” could be an advertising opportunity to sell.  It could be fun to get mobile alerts on the status of your little avatar.  I’d be nice way to get people to return multiple times a week to a website.   Oooh, I’ll keep further thoughts about this to myself ;p.

Anyhow, in this time of financial crisis, this type of product would be a big hit :).  Too bad there is not one in the US for this Christmas season.