Progress Report 1

date:Feb 12, 2009 @ 12:49

I’ve been using the Mini9 now for just over a week and am even getting used to the keyboard so what are my overall impressions and where do I see the next steps?

Overall Impression

The Mini9, in common with other similar UMDs, is small and compact but remains usable for the majority of everyday tasks, and performs adequately unless, for example, you’re a heavy gamer and require a more powerful processor or better graphics capability.

I’ve mainly been using the Ubuntu installation, although I have also explored using Windows via a Virtual Machine. It is possible to install Windows as the native OS, but I have chosen to evaulate the machine with Ubuntu.

In some respects, the problem is in knowing whether Ubuntu is ready for the mainstream, and opinion is divided on this one - as long as you’re not doing anything unusual then the setup is fit-for-purpose in that you can edit, documents, email, video chat, listen to music, watch videos etc., probably fulfilling 95% of the task you want to do. Yes the UI is different, but also quickly starts to feel natural.

The only thing that appears to throw a spanner in the works is when you step out of the known world into the unknown by installing some new piece of software.

Did that error message really indicate it wanted to re-build the OS !!

This could be sufficient to cause consternation among the less astute user and can lead to all sorts of difficulties (e.g. tech support issues) when something goes wrong. Another related issue is in regard to the number of different flavours of Ubuntu, which one am I using again?

But while things remain normal the combination of Ubuntu and the Mini9 is a good match and could indeed raise an enthusiastic following, but I’m not sure whether it can break the Windows stranglehold.

Perhaps Windows 7 could force more users down this path.

Next Steps

I’ll outline some of my thoughts for possible applications in follow up articles. My basic thinking is that the device is good for handling thick-client applications with a possible connection to the internet.

Why do I say possible? Because the connection can be lost for a variety of reasons, from things like signal power/strength. I’ve just gone through a tunnel, or servers being down.

It’s interesting to note here that the recent release of Googles off-line Gmail mode has a flaky connection option..

So at best we should probably only rely on flaky connections to the internet and applications should work both with and without a connection, using the devices own local resources as required.

The combination of a thick-client application with server side support provides an overwhelming platform for development, the next question is what …