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Instant On Mini PCs May Change the Computer Industry
"The results could be devastating for Microsoft."
martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3703774 posted 7:47 pm on Jul 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

If what you use your portable is mostly on the net, then you won't need to load Windows at all. An article by John Dvorak [pcmag.com] brings to light a litle known development that is poised to change the way we compute, with major implications for the future of Windows and for cloud computing.

Asus announced it will have a ROM boot chip for their ultar portable line of eeePC computer that instantly boots to Linux, bypassing the need to wait for Windows to load. You simply press the on button and you're instantly ready to browse the Internet, no waiting.

This development is important, since 90 percent of the time all a user wants to do is surf the Web... It's an extremely subversive ploy for a number of reasons. First of all, it gets people used to Linux, gives them a pain-free experience, and provides quick rewards. Second, it shows users thatómost of the timeóthis is all they need. And finally, it makes Windows look like a subsystem not much different from a program that you run under Windows. The psychological effect of this is profound, and the results could be devastating for Microsoft.

The instant on Internet ability can be added to any motherboard, subverting the need for Windows and making cloud computing more viable. This is a major shift in the computer hardware industry that could affect the need for Microsoft Windows OS and has implications for the advancement of cloud computing and a surge in popularity of linux software.

 

bcolflesh

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3703774 posted 8:01 pm on Jul 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

Unless you have older hardware that doesn't support power management, does anyone wait for Windows to boot? I don't - I flip the lid on the laptop and it's on.

eelixduppy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member eelixduppy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3703774 posted 8:10 pm on Jul 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

>> power management

Standby, hibernate, and off are three different options. The latter two surely have some boot time. To eliminate this time for all three options would eliminate the options altogether. Currently only Standby "boots" instantly but there is the disadvantage to it using battery power still.

>> ultra portable line

This is where I see the market being for this, also. Fits right into where the trend seems to be going, too: [webmasterworld.com...]

[edited by: eelixduppy at 10:37 pm (utc) on July 21, 2008]

signor_john



 
Msg#: 3703774 posted 10:36 pm on Jul 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

"Instant on" is good, but I think that--as usual--Dvorak is making a mountain range out of a molehill. (For one thing, ultraportable PCs are a tiny segment of the market. They're great for carrying to class or to the coffee shop, but they're likely to be second or third computers, not desktop replacements.)

kaled

WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3703774 posted 10:37 pm on Jul 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

This is ideal for internet banking since it is (virtually) spyware-proof.

Kaled.

vincevincevince

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3703774 posted 12:49 am on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Problems:
  • New linux kernel out - you're going to have to buy a new ROM chip (regularly)
  • It'll never be instantly usable - it takes time to turn on the wireless and connect

    That being said, I have now delayed my planned eeepc purchase until this new model comes out ;)

  • eelixduppy

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member eelixduppy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 1:00 am on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    >> ultraportable PCs are a tiny segment of the market

    But growing. People are becoming more portable, the reason being they don't want to have to wait (or can't) to get back to the office to check emails or browse the internet. Getting rid of wait time makes the portable device that much better.

    >> It'll never be instantly usable

    "Instant" is a relative term here :)

    aleksl



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 1:35 am on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    what use is "instant" connection of AJAX will stop your device dead? There's so much Javascript out there, laptops with 750MB RAM or less are now obsolete for internet browsing - allthough they are happily churning spreadsheets and databases.

    jcoronella

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 2:27 am on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    I have an Asus EEE linux machine that I bought 'just for surfing'. It collects dust. A near-useless hobbled machine. Impossible to update, I can't imagine surfing the web on it, let alone if it were a mainstream machine more vulnerable to hacks.

    Someone should change the title of this thread to "another short-sighted Microsoft bashing"

    IanKelley

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 2:41 am on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    --as usual--Dvorak is making a mountain range out of a molehill.

    Agreed. And besides, various companies are already marketing ultra portable PCs using small solid state hard drives which are so fast that it's virtually instant on even if you use Windows.

    And as solid state prices continue to drop the same will become true of full fledged PCs.

    vincevincevince

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 2:42 am on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    I remember using Acorn Archimedes machines which booted to a lovely GUI using ROM. Not bad at all, and way ahead of windows at the time.

    skibum

    WebmasterWorld Administrator skibum us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 4:52 am on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    Seems like the iPhone would have a better chance to make Windows obsolete. People would have to get used to the interface, the form factor and it would have to be really intuitive like the iPhone. No matter how good something new is, it is going to take a lot to displace the laptops people are used to. Technology changes like wildfire, people and their habits don't change anywhere near as fast.

    piatkow

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 8:14 am on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    I have an Asus and it is seriously limited but when my PC died I plugged in the screen, keyboard and mouse and kept going with webmail and Open Office. The reclaiming of a huge chunk of space under the desk was nice and the fast boot was impressive after XP but it is very limited. I might have stuck with it if I could have installed the drivers for my mobile connection and printer.

    It still gets used for causual surfing but the new laptop does the real work.

    jbinbpt

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 8:41 am on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    How many mini PC's will be at PubCon? I suspect more than the responses suggest.

    ronin

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 9:05 am on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    People [...] don't want to have to wait (or can't) to get back to the office

    Or have done away with "the office".

    XtendScott

    10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 2:04 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    Is it "Instant On" or is it really "Hardly Ever Off"? My cell phone, when I flip it open its instantly on. But if I have to power down, it still takes 30sec or so to boot up.

    sgietz

    5+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 2:23 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    As much as I browse the Internet, I still want to be able to open actual programs. Is this possible with this "instant on" concept?

    Seb7

    5+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 5:31 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    I think most apps will soon disappear and replaced with web apps - All we need is a web browser.

    kapow

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 6:57 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    I use an ultraportable PC every day! Its a Dell Latitude D430 (I'm writing this post on it). I really like portability (going to meetings, airports, holidays...). However its glacially slow to boot. I would REALLY like an ultraportable PC that boots fast (and does all the standard important office stuff).

    fearlessrick

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 7:02 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    Answer to everything is in some Apple device, either the iPhone or one of their laptops, or both.

    sun818

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 7:17 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    Flash SSD is expensive now, but once pricing is mass-market, you can update the OS like you do with firmware.

    > laptops with 750MB RAM or less are
    > now obsolete for internet browsing

    Some modified versions of XP (via nLite) can run Windows XP with as little as 48MB of RAM without affecting every day functionality. That leaves you over 640MB of RAM for applications. Try MicroXP and see for yourself.

    sgietz

    5+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 7:21 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    Riddle me this: Why does it take so long for an OS to boot? Is it loading files? Can't we put some ROM chip in our puters and flash it with the necessary boot up files?

    I don't know if what I just said makes any sense :)

    If it does, would it be possible?

    IanKelley

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 7:40 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    Yes it makes sense but ROM isn't the way to go.

    People have been putting OS files on solid state drives to increase boot speed for ages... and solid state prices are finally starting to drop.

    vincevincevince

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 11:38 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

    Yes it makes sense but ROM isn't the way to go.

    I've always felt that the OS should be stored as an image of the contents of memory for a perfectly completed boot, and that image pushed into live memory exactly by the BIOS. This differs from most ROM boots in that they still go through a step-by-step load/setup/detect process to build up the contents of memory; just they do it very fast.

    newwebster

    10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 1:42 am on Jul 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

    The MEM RESISTOR developed by HP will make every electronic component capable of "instant on" without requiring any power to hold the state.

    the_nerd

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 8:45 am on Jul 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

    I think most apps will soon disappear and replaced with web apps - All we need is a web browser.

    yes that's great. And in 2012 all local data will be illegal due to security reasons.

    Am I the only one to be scared by this cloud computing stuff?

    kaled

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 9:25 am on Jul 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

    Some technologies have nothing like the potential that some people claim of them. For instance, whilst nano-materials have a future, nanobots will never achieve what there proponents claim is their potential because some things are mathematically impossible.

    So this raises the question, why do such ludicrous claims get made? Answer : To get research money to achieve that which is possible. Unfortunately, people who lack sufficient knowledge of Maths and Physics believe and repeat these claims and predictions, often without even asking the question "would this be better?".

    The idea that people will opt for "dumb-terminals" and centralized data storage and use wireless links (cloud-computing) to access both data and programs is just absurd. In addition to difficulties with respect to bandwidth if everyone worked this way (i.e. response times would be poor) there is no significant advantage to this system over current computers but there are many disadvantages.

    Incidentally, the main cause of slow bootups is bloatware. I can compile around 100,000 lines of code in 2 seconds (in memory). As problems go, that is probably bigger than any bootup process should be i.e. computers should be able to bootup using less than two seconds of CPU time - that just leaves file access.

    Kaled.

    sgietz

    5+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 2:35 pm on Jul 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

    No one knows where computer technology is headed. Remember what the almighty said: "640K ought to be enough for everyone." Or the less than prophetic prediction by Metcalfe that the Internet will "go spectacularly supernova and ... catastrophically collapse."

    Let's just ride the wave and let those dumb engineers with no knowledge of math pull more rabbits out of their (red) hats. :)

    IanKelley

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 5:44 pm on Jul 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

    there is no significant advantage to this system over current computers but there are many disadvantages.

    At least there is no advantage while average net connections are still slower than a hard drive. Even if they were faster the biggest disadvantage (to me) is far too big to get past... No internet connection = no data. And network congestion = data so slow you may as well not have it. Redefines the impact of DDOS.

    Cloud computing has a place and, for the most part, I think it has already achieved it.

    No one knows where computer technology is headed.

    Hehe... people have been confidently predicting the imminent death of PCs for what, 10 years now?

    timchuma

    10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3703774 posted 5:17 am on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

    Seems like the same fat client/thin client debate that has been going on for the last ten years.

    This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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