Friday, May 23, 2008

Mini laptop anyone?

Are you a part-time roadwarrior that has to give a presentation interstate at a conference, and would rather not have to bring your big-ass, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, weighs-a-freaking-tonne desktop replacement? Then the Asus EEE PC might just be what you need. And at the moment, Penta Computers, which has a brick and mortar shopfront at Ultimo, is selling the EEE 4G (900Mhz celeron processor, 512Mb RAM, 4Gb SSD, Xandros OS) for $371, which is a bargain considering that they originally cost $500 when they launched in Australia about 6 months ago, and are still being sold near the original price at the big box stores (like Officeworks, Myer and Harvey Norman). A version with XP pre-installed will cost $108 extra, unless you're ok with a green coloured one, which is bizarrely only $32 more.

At first blush, the EEE might seem too much like a kids computer, but when you look past the 'kid/n00b-friendly' interface of the reworked Xandros Linux OS, you'll see that you're actually getting quite a lot for something that costs just a bit more than a PDA/smartphone, but is much more capable. Its has an ethernet port for a start, which is very handy for the times when you only have cable access to a network, a VGA-out port for outputting to a bigger screen or onto a projector set-up, and three USB host ports, which at the very least, can power some peripherals.
Just add a monitor, a USB keyboard and mouse (the supplied keyboard and touchpad are a bit cramped), and an external USB HD and you've almost got yourself a basic, but capable desktop to work with. On the go, the Asus can perform adequately with wifi on for approximately 3 hours, which is enough to get some emails checked, get some surfing done, and maybe review and edit some office documents when you have some free time. And to think, a few years ago, an ultraportable laptop that is not too dissimilar from the EEE specs would have set you back a few thousand dollars...

PS: If you think the EEE prices are cheap now, you may be able to get an even cheaper price in a few months, when the second iteration of the Asus EEE PC arrives (I'd like to say in Q3 08, but I have nothing to back that up), which has more screen real estate (9 inches, 1024x600), more memory (1Gb) and more SSD space (12-20Gb)...of course it may be the case that the second gen (dubbed the EEE-900) might be more to your liking, so the choice is yours.

For all y'all who already have an iPhone...

...and where after a case, brick and mortar retailer Dick Smith Electronics are already selling iPhone cases (from leather flippy ones to reflective and clear hard cases) even before the iPhone has been launched officially here in Australia.

Not having an iPhone myself, I can't really make any recommendations with regards to cases for it, but as an iPod Touch user, I am a fan of the DLO JamJacket with 'cable management'. Basically, the cable management consists of some extra silicon jutting out of the back of the case where you can wind your headphones when you're not using them, and even has little holes that fit the headphone 'heads' and the jack...genius! Having said that, having all that junk jutting out the back of your otherwise wafer-thin (Monty Python reference) iPod does look a bit dodge at first, but the utility is worth it in my opinion.

I might post some piccies of the DLO jacket (which was a birthday present btw, and not a review product that was sent to me) if anyone cares.

Also, I haven't really done much research if the DLO case can be had for cheaper at another store, so it may well be cheaper elsewhere.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cheap external storage anyone?

Officeworks is offering a 1Tb external HD for $249...which would be awesome, except I had just previously purchased the exact same product for $299 less than a month ago!!! Anyhoo, my loss is your gain (if you were shopping around for some storage)...backup early and often people!

Trying something new

Having a chat to a professional blogger at STUB (shoutout to Nareev) got me thinking that maybe I should make my blog a bit more useful for people, and maybe eventually people will actually have a reason to read it.

Anyhoo, I was thinking of ways I can help people, and I came upon the idea of pointing out tech bargains that I spot here and there. I mean, I tend to window shop on the interwebs during my lunch breaks anyway, and this way my time-wasting exercise might be helpful. Let's see how we go, eh?

Searching online, errr, tomorrow (I am le tired)