Is this my next UMPC?

, posted: 19-Jan-2007 08:50

Engadget have the scoop on a nice looking UMPC.  No one knows who the manufacturer is, but it looks interesting none the less.

Engadgets story is here, and Carrypad has more information here (Go Steve!)

I've got clearance to get a new UMPC (at some stage - not tomorrow), so maybe this is it?

UMPC's coming to NZ

, posted: 27-Nov-2006 21:39

I just got word from Hugo that he's signed a deal with an unnamed New Zealand distributor to resell UMPC's here in New Zealand.

He wouldn't tell me who it was, but very soon we will be able to buy TabletKiosks, Samsung Q1 UMPC's and Fujitsus Ultra portables.

Interesting.  It will be good to get all the accessories, etc here in NZ... not to mention the ability to buy them here.

Local coverage and a Vista TIP tip

, posted: 17-Oct-2006 22:05

We've had some local UMPC coverage here in NZ.

Rod did, as did Tim.

I agree with Tim.  This device is great for a secondary PC, I dont use mine for things like coding (painful with a pen), but its great for reading and surfing on.

In Vista there are new controls in the TIP (TIP = Tablet Input Panel) for getting webpages up.  You now have a button for the "http://" and another button for "www.".  If you set your local for NZ you also get ".co" and ".nz" buttons as well as the ".com" button, so to go to a webpage using the TIP you just hit the "http://" and the "www." buttons, write in the domain name and hit the appropriate TLD buttons and you are done.  Simple and nice.

Upgrading the EO to RC2

, posted: 16-Oct-2006 07:49

This weekend I upgraded the EO to RC2 of Windows Vista.

Rather than do a full reinstall I decided to see what the upgrade experience was like since Vista is able to upgrade from RC1 to RC2 and the full install cycle (what again!?) didn't thrill me.

Firstly if you dont know, upgrading Windows Vista is MUCH slower than installing from scratch.  A full install from scratch can be as little as 20-30 mins, where a upgrade may take three hours.  However, the time difference in theory should save the hours of reinstalling applications on the other side.

The upgrade itself went smoothly. No problems encountered at all. 

Once done I noticed that the display drivers had been updated, and that this was a bad thing (800x600 means screen panning on an EO).

I also noticed that the drivers for the buttons had been broken.

In both cases I just installed the drivers from the CD that came with the EO and everything worked as it should.

I was surprised to see that the digitiser didn't break at all.  The calibration seems better after the install than it was before the install.

I also installed RC2 on my home computer (blowing away the really old XP install).

Getting Vista going on the EO

, posted: 30-Sep-2006 12:22

Today I finally got Vista running on my Eo.

I had a crack at it last weekend and ran into some problems, but after some internal discussion and addition testing by the Origami team I've now got it going (thanks guys).

So here is my step by step....

I've used build 5728 (post RC1), but these should work fine on RC1 too.

Start by attaching a USB DVD Drive with the install CD and boot from the DVD to run the installer as per any normal install.

After the install you'll find that sound and bluetooth drivers are loaded.  Vista can support the VX700 chipset, but the final drivers are not yet in Vista.

The first thing I did after the install was complete is install the WiFi drivers.  I downloaded the updated drivers from TabletKiosks website and put them on a USB key.  To install the WiFi drivers you need to run the installer with the Windows XP compatibility flag on and run as administrator.  Plug the USB key into the EO and extract the setup.exe file somewhere.  Right click on the setup.exe file and select properties.  Select the compatibility tab and tick the box to run the program in compatibility mode, then click OK.  Next right click on the setup.exe file and select "Run as Administrator".  Follow the prompts as usual to install the drivers.

Once the WiFi drivers are installed reboot.

After the reboot, you can run windows update to install touch screen drivers and a few other updates that are available on Windows Update.

Once the touch screen is functioning you'll find that the calibration is way off.  When your finger is at the top of the screen the pointer will be about 1cm below it, likewise at the bottom of the screen the pointer will be 1cm above your finger.  You can try to calibrate the screen but you wont be able to touch the crosshairs, and will get feedback to let you know you are too far away from the crosshair.

To fix that, you'll need to run a command prompt as administrator.  Right click on the desktop and choose new -> shortcut.  Enter cmd.exe as the location and name it as CMD or something similar.  Close the wizard.  Then right click on the command prompt and choose "Run as Administrator". 

In the elevated command prompt type "tabcal novalidate", and run through the calibration as normal.  Once done your touch will be precise. 

I particularly like the little mouse that allows you to right click.

To get the buttons running I used the Amtek lifestyle button drivers that came on the CD.  These installed fine.

The display driver that comes from windows update doesn't work with the lifestyle button drivers, but installing the drivers that came with the unit sorted this out and work fine on Vista.

The only minor issue is that when I use the lifestyle button to change the screen brightness I get a UAC prompt, but given I dont use it much, its not much of a problem.  Obviously the touchpack isn't installed so the touchpack driver doesn't do anything either.

So - having done all this, I now have a fully functional EO running Vista build 5728.  The device is pretty snappy - certainly no worse than XP - possibly better, but I haven't loaded any apps yet (apart from Anti-virus).

I hope this helps those of you wanting to setup Vista on your EO.  I think its well worth while :-)

On fingerprint readers and raw grunt

, posted: 27-Aug-2006 07:45

I noticed on the Geekzone page that announces the R2H that Kevin said he'd rather not have the Fingerprint reader, but instead he'd rather have a better CPU and RAM.

On one hand I agree that more RAM and a quicker CPU would be great, but also think that the fingerprint reader is more valuable than it may first appear.

Having now owned a UMPC for over a month, logging on is often quite painful if you want to protect your login with a user name and password.  This is a slate tablet thing in my opinion.  Its great to have the little keyboard that you can tap away at, but if you tend to use larger passwords (which I do) entering a password at every power on by tapping keyboard is quite frustrating.  A fingerprint reader would be a great addition and IMHO should be a must for all UMPC designers.

Having said that - I do agree that more memory in particular is a must.  I've got 512 Mb in mine and its not enough.  I need more.

I have other things I'd like to see improved too many of which will be better in the Vista timeframe, but for now, I'm happy that I've got a form factor that works well for my needs.

My Secret is out - here are my thoughts

, posted: 26-Jul-2006 20:24

Mauricio "leaked" my secret a few days ago - I got an Eo.

So far I love it!

When I cancelled my initial Eo order I had a think about what I wanted to do with it and came up with two primarly scenarios.

Firstly, I've taken to taking lots of notes when I go to meetings, and as wonderful as paper is, I really love OneNote - so much so that it's my favourite Microsoft Application.  Here's why (in a nutshell):
  • Handwrite your notes on a Tablet PC or type them on any PC
  • You can search your handwritten notes
  • You can convert you handwriting to text
  • You can take screen captures without having to load new software
  • You can record audio while taking notes and then playback the audio from the point where you took any particular note (very cool).
  • You can store pretty much anything in it
  • Its file based and works well with Foldershare

So - the Eo for taking notes is great.  My only complaint in this area is that the battery doesn't last all day, and in a device with this form factor I would use it all day if I could.  I do get 2.5 hours out of it under normal use (with the screen backlight turned down a bit), and the extended battery will help too, but going from a Pocket PC you just get used to long batteries - and the scenarios for a UMPC are different than a Laptop or Tablet due to their size.

The other key scenario for me is e-books.  I spend lots of time preparing to lead a Bible Study, and Logos on a UMPC is awesome.  Now I have over 300 books available with me wherever I go.  Very cool and a great time saver.

Also, I got a nice little geek bag for it which means it doesn't even look like I'm carrying a tech toy - which is great - and even drew comments from one of the managers in the Mobile and Embedded Division (nice swag...).

Why I cancelled my Eo order

, posted: 21-May-2006 16:30

I made a decision a week or two ago to cancel my order for an EO. Heres why...

1. Production delays. Part of the idea of being an early adopter is to be an early adopter - when this doesn't happen (and it didnt for me due to the engineering problems), the value is lost somewhat.
2. Power issues. The EO has been badly affected by extremely poor battery life. I can handle a 2.5 hour battery life, but 1.5 hour is just not good enough - particularly when you've been promised 3 hours.
3. Crazy disk partitioning schemes out of the box.  I dont want to have to rebuild my Eo the moment I get it because some idiot has decided that multiple partitions is what I want (I hate multiple partitions by the way).

Those are the two primary reason - and the fact that number 1 happened means that I could figure out number 2 and take precautions against getting hit by it - so its a mixed blessing really.

So - where to now? I'm currently contemplating what I'm going to do now. My current thinking is to get the slightly more expensive Samsung Q1. My thinking is

1. It actually delivers the battery life promised
2. External VGA output
3. Well known brand name with a reasonable reputation

The problems with this of course is that they are not available in New Zealand, so I'll have to get one delivered in the US and sent to me here.  This also means I'll have to get a NZ/Australian power adapter for it, which will take a little bit of research.

Anyway, I've got my money still, so I'm in the market :-).  In the mean time I'll have to make do with the M400.

UMPC's are still coming in...

, posted: 12-May-2006 08:28

I'm still waiting... sigh...

The EO is plagued with a nasty battery consumption problem which is not good.  Chippy has some good detailed findings here.  Here's hoping VIA get a fix going for it quickly.

The Q1 has started arriving and people are reporting good things about it.

Hmmm... I might be going to the US in July.... maybe I should pull my order and wait...

If only I had my UMPC

, posted: 1-May-2006 18:49

I had a wee incident in my car on SundayEmbarassed, so I'm taking the train this week.  Ideal time to work on a UMPC, but dag nab it, I just dont have it yet.

I'm told that I might have some news tomorrow (thanks Hugo), so maybe next week (assuming I'm still in the train) I'll be able to spend some time with it...

Here's hoping Wink

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Darryl Burling
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