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US Businesses Shun Chromebooks

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May 232015
 

Chromebooks

Who buys the majority of Chromebooks?

Suckers in America (since US accounts for 84% of Chromebook sales)!

Yes, suckers in the US (mostly schools and consumers) fall prey to media drivel by third rate hacks about the miraculous capabilities of Chromebooks and buy these devices.

American businesses are smart and have long realized that Chromebooks are junk with little value. So they have shunned Chromebooks.

According to a recent report from market researcher Gartner, businesses account for a piffling 1.1% of Chromebook sales in the US.

Chromebook Market by Segments and Region

Acer was the top Chromebook vendor worldwide in 2014 (2 million units) followed by Samsung (1.7 million units) and HP (1 million units).

Chromebooks – Junk

Now I have thought long and hard about Chromebooks and still can’t figure why people would want to squander money on this junk.

Running on Google’s Chrome OS, the Linux kernel based Chromebook’s distinguishing traits are anemic memory, pitiful amount of storage, effete processors, a reliance on an unreliable and insecure ‘cloud’ to perform a lot of tasks and a sealed box (occasionally) that prevents users from upgrading the weak components.

For optimal utilization, Chromebooks need to be connected to the Internet since applications and bulk of the storage largely reside in the ‘cloud.’

Chromebooks are not new and have been around for four years now. Chromebooks were announced in May 2011 and started shipping on June 15, 2011

A gaggle of vendors including Acer, Asus, Samsung, HiSense and HP make Chromebooks that are sold in retail stores like Best Buy or online at Amazon or NewEgg.

Chromebooks are really not that cheap although media reports frequently mention their so called low price as a plus point.

Chromebook Market by Geography

If Chromebooks were really cheap and offered good value for money, first time computer buyers in Asia-Pacific would be buying them in the tens of millions.

But computer buyers in the Asia-Pacific have largely shown their collective middle finger at Chromebooks. They too have realized these devices are worth zilch.

Chromebook sales in Asia-Pacific are pitiful and account for less than 3% of total Chromebook sales (and much of the little sales in Asia-Pacific come from developed/richer nations like Australia, New Zealand and Japan).

The cheapest Chromebook with 32GB of storage costs $279 at US retailer Best Buy.

For an extra $25, I can get a Dell Inspiron 15.6-inch Laptop (AMD A6-Series) with 4GB Memory and 500GB Hard Drive. The Dell laptop is a far superior alternative to a Chromebook.

Now why would anyone with an iota of sense anywhere buy a Chromebook given its pitiful specs and capabilities?

Chromebook & PC Sales

Global sales of 5.73 million Chromebooks in 2014 accounted for less than 2% of PC sales (Source: Gartner Research, May 21, 2015 and Gartner Research, January 12, 2015).

Gartner predicts Chromebook sales in 2015 will be 7.2 million units. Only shows that there are still millions of clueless dolts in North America and Europe.

 Posted by at 9:04 pm

Light Phone – Less is More

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May 202015
 

$100 Light Phone - No Texting, No Camera, No Music
I don’t want to text from my phone.

I don’t want to hear music on my phone.

I don’t want my phone to tell me it’s sunny in Beijing, cloudy in Bangalore or snowing in Fairbanks.

I don’t want to watch a Korean movie from Netflix on my phone.

I don’t want to shoot pictures or videos with my phone.

I don’t want driving directions to Chicago or Tbilisi on my phone.

I don’t want a phablet that refuses to fit into my pocket.

Oh God Almighty, please return me to to those good ol’ days when all that a phone did was allow me to jabber with my friends and family.

Not for me these 32GB/128GB, 16MP rear camera, 5MP front camera, $800 smartphones monstrosities with a gazillion features and a million apps that promise a false utopia.

Specs for the Light Phone

Promise of Simplicity

Thanks to Light Phone, my prayers for simplicity, a cheap working phone and freedom from two-year bondage to the carrier may be answered.

A credit-card sized device still in development, the $100 Light Phone is scheduled to debut in May 2016.

All you can do with the Light Phone is talk. Nothing more!

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 7:04 pm

Are Ubuntu Phones Doomed?

 Linux, Products, Smartphones  Comments Off on Are Ubuntu Phones Doomed?
May 202015
 

If not everything, timing is at least almost everything in the smartphones world.

Every day brings fresh excitement over snazzy new smartphones like LG4, YotaPhone 2, ZenFone 2, Galaxy S6 and Xiaomi Mi4i .

But there’s barely a pipsqueak about Ubuntu phones.

Even the little news that trickles out turns out to be all bones and no meat.

Are Ubuntu Smartphones Doomed?

Tough Challenges

Given the severe competition Ubuntu phone faces from both iPhone and the gaggle of Android phones, the odds of the Ubuntu Linux phone making a dent in the market are slim

A lot of us are familiar with the Ubuntu Linux distribution that powers desktops and servers but what exactly is an Ubuntu Phone?

Smartphones running on an optimized version Ubuntu Linux are popularly referred to as Ubuntu phones.

Right now, only two vendors are selling the Ubuntu phone – BQ and Meizu, both in a limited way.

BQ, a Spanish electronics retailer, is peddling the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition (4.5 inch screen, 1GB RAM, 8GB usable storage, 8MP rear camera and dual SIM) in Europe. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 12:00 pm

8 Cute Linux Mini PCs for Fanboys

 Linux, Products  Comments Off on 8 Cute Linux Mini PCs for Fanboys
May 182015
 

Every day, Linux attracts hordes of new fans in China, India, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, Ukraine, Brazil, U.S., Iran and every corner of the world.

It’s safe to say that Linux is a bigger hit than the iPhone with the below 21 age group outside the U.S. But the majority of Linux newbies are not fanboys a la Apple fanboys.

Meerkat Linux Mini PC

Most youngsters new to Linux are learning the nuts and bolts of the open source operating system either for a job or to hack for profit or thrill. They do not have the resources to invest on a $1,800 iMac or a closed MacMini. These folks salvage an old PC and install Linux on it or use the Live CD option.

However, there’s a tiny group of open source adopters who I will describe as Linux fanboys. For this group, getting hold of a slick, pre-built Linux system is still not easy. There’s no BestBuy or Staples selling slick Linux PCs.

But things are starting to change. A bunch of vendors have started peddling Linux minis that seem in many respects  as slick as any of the MacMinis or Chromebooks.

Let’s consider a few slick Linux mini PCs that are available today.

1. MintBox Mini

Running the popular Linux Mint distribution, the MintBox Mini is a neat looking device from Compulab costing $295.

MintBox Mini comes preinstalled with Linux Mint 17.1 (supported until 2019).

MintBox Mini from Compulab
MintBox Mini Configuration
Linux Mint Mate 64-bit
AMD A4 Micro-6400T (Quad core 1.0-1.6 GHz + Radeon R3) processor
4 GB DDR3 RAM
64 GB mSATA
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n via dongle
5 USB

Since there’s no bluetooth support, you can’t use a wireless keyboard and mouse. That is a big disappontment.

The Compulab web site says the “MintBox Mini is temporarily out of stock.”

Could that be a sign of good demand for the MintBox Mini?

2. Meerkat

Meerkat is an Ubuntu 15.04 based mini Linux system from System 76.
Meerkat’s pricing starts at $499, which I must say is on the higher side.

Meerkat Linux Mini PC
Meerkat Base Configuration

* Ubuntu 15.04
* Intel i3 dual core processor
* 4GB RAM
* 32GB SSD
* 4 USB ports
* Mini HDMI 1.4a, Mini DisplayPort 1.2
* Gigabit Ethernet
* microSD card
* Wireless-AC
* Bluetooth 4

System76 also offers an Ubuntu-based laptop called Lemur for $599 (i3 processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD). Continue reading »

 Posted by at 2:39 pm

A $9 Computer is Hogwash

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May 102015
 

Here Comes the $9 PCIf this is a computer, I’m Alexander the Great

Every few years, the tech media whips itself into a frenzy over some purportedly insanely cheap ‘computer’ that promises a utopia of capabilities – Play games, surf the web, watch videos, check e-mail, learn coding and do a gazillion other things.

In the early years of this century, the $200 Simputer was heralded as a miracle that would bring cheap PCs to every village and town in India.

Even the usually sober hacks at the New York Times fell hook, line and sinker for the Simputer yarn.

The most significant innovation in computer technology in 2001 was not Apple’s gleaming titanium PowerBook G4 or Microsoft’s Windows XP. It was the Simputer, a Net-linked, radically simple portable computer, intended to bring the computer revolution to the third world. The Simputer, officially unveiled last April and intended for mass production in India next March, is a small hand-held device designed for the rough conditions of rural India….. No training is required; there are no upgrades, no broadband and no planned obsolescence. It runs on batteries. This is computing as it would have looked if Gandhi had invented it, then used Steve Jobs for his ad campaign.

Then it was the turn of the $25 Raspberry Pi to hog the limelight.

Not too long ago, the $20 Aakash stole the thunder of the tablet world.

Despite all the publicity and low price, none of them went anywhere in terms of mass appeal.

But do we ever learn from our mistakes? Continue reading »

 Posted by at 4:44 pm

Tasks on Command Line – Simple as Pie

 Command Line, Products  Comments Off on Tasks on Command Line – Simple as Pie
Apr 242015
 

Newton, Galileo, Dante and Shakespeare never used todo lists or notes apps to accomplish great feats.

Stalin and Hitler killed tens of millions without a single todo or notes app.

But lesser mortals, these days, it seems can’t function or get through the day without a collection of notes apps or todo lists on their PCs and mobile devices.

And if these apps are not cloud-powered to enable synchronization of the notes and todo lists across devices, the collective wrath of users descends on the hapless developer.

Such are the unusual times we live in!

Although I’m as guilty as the next Joe in hoarding notes and todo apps on my PC, tablet and smartphone, I’ve never been an intensive user of any of these apps. On the Mac, I use the free versions of Evernote and Eisenpower and on my Linux desktop my preferences are Task Coach and CherryTree.

If you ask me, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish by jotting down tasks on an index card. Nabokov famously wrote his masterpieces on index cards.

But lately I’ve been drawn to a todo utility called Taskwarrior.

A big plus of Taskwarrior for Linux administrators who live and breathe on the command line is that it’s convenient since you don’t have to go outside the command line and open an application to get to your todo list.

You see, Taskwarrior works essentially on the command line.

Installing Taskwarrior

Taskwarrior is available for both CentOS 7 (RedHat and Fedora) and Ubuntu (LinuxMint 17) distributions.

The latest version of task for Ubuntu is 2.2.0-3 and for CentOS it’s 2.4.2.

If you’re running Fedora, CentOS or RedHat, use yum to install task.

$ sudo yum install task

If you’re on an Ubuntu system, go with the below command.

$ sudo apt-get install task

How Task Works

The beauty of task lies in its simplicity. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 8:27 pm