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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Xo Don’t think that you’ll be seeing Intel MPUs inside any OLPC XO laptops anytime soon. In a nutshell, the turbulent marriage between the AMD-driven world educational organization and Intel-driven world chip dominator is over. Intel has lost its seat on the OLPC board and won’t be lending a helping hand towards designing an Intel XO, either. In a statement issued by OLPC founder, Nicholas Negroponte, there are claims of competitive sales of the Intel Classmate PC distracting world buyers and general “trash talking” generated by the Intel sales force at undermining XO leverage in PC-purchasing nations, like Peru.

On a more positive note, OLPC claimed that the “Give One, Get One” sales program had generated over $35 million in sales. That’s a pretty good way to rebound from a failed relationship.—Dave Prochnow

(Image: OLPC)

Update: The (Former $250) NOW $120 DOS Tablet PC

Hp_usb_disk In May 2007, we published a project on Instructables that showed how to assemble a potentially useful tablet PC. Why was this project only a potential success? We couldn’t get the Fujitsu Stylistic 1000 to boot. All of that has changed and now we can boot the Tablet PC in DOS, Windows 95, and DSL Linux. The secret element that made this doorstop into a viable Tablet PC was a Windows tool called HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool V. 2.1.8. At the link, a Texan named Nox will supply all of the needed know-how for using this utility, as well as downloads for both HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool and a collection of boot files. Now don’t get too excited, these dated tablet PCs only worked really well when they were booted into DOS. So we converted ours into a dedicated DOS game machine. Skip the stylus and use an old salvaged PS/2 keyboard. Also, drop the battery and pick up a power supply. These two mods to our original project will shave about $135 off the project’s price tag. Not bad for around $120.—Dave Prochnow

Briefly Noted: Add 3G to an Eee PC


JKKMobile is expanding his bag of Eee PC tricks. The newest addition to his repertoire is grafting a 3G modem complete with SIM card inside his ASUS Eee PC. Both video and a set of sorta step-by-step images will help guide you through the process. Have you hacked your Eee PC, yet? If so, please post your project in our comments section.—Dave Prochnow

(Image: jkkmobile.blogspot.com)

Peruvian Children Get Wired

Xo After six months of operation, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) “XO” laptop has logged its first major success story: Peru. Kids love ‘em, administrators love ‘em, parents love ‘em and Nicholas Negroponte is ecstatic. Loaded with approximately 100 copyright-free books (are you listening Amazon.com?), the XO has become exactly the empowering tool that Negroponte predicted. This success story is not without its minor hiccups, however. Although targeted for 9,000 Peruvian elementary, only about 4,000 of these schools have Internet access. Nonetheless, OLPC is working with Peru to surmount this obstacle.—Dave Prochnow

(Image: laptopgiving.org)

Color Me, ASUS

41ibqdk0twl That’s right, the hot-selling ASUS Eee PC is now available in colors. Granted, this isn’t the flagship, Eee PC 4G model, it’s the 2G-Surf flavor, but at least you now have the luxury of selecting from three odd color choices: blush pink, sky blue, and lush green. Each color is served up at a tasty $299.99 from J&R Music and Computer World via the venerable Amazon.com. At first blush, that price and color might look tempting, but beware that there are more differences between the 4G and the 2G-Surf than just a 50% smaller flash drive. Missing is the built-in webcam and the 2G model also sports lighter weight 4400 mAh batteries.—Dave Prochnow

(Image: Amazon.com)

They're Here, err, There

41ziuv0hezl For you last minute shoppers, Amazon.com is now showing the ASUS Eee PC 4G-Galaxy Black as “in stock.” The list price is, well, list price: $399.99. You will have to hustle, though and select One-Day Shipping to have it delivered by December 24.—Dave Prochnow

(Image: Amazon.com)

One ASUS Per Child Initiative


OK, by now you’re probably well aware of Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) foundation and it’s $100 (sic) XO laptop. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Yes, that one hundred dollar laptop has swelled to a manufacturing cost of approximately $175 per unit. Likewise, the XO laptop that was once chided by Bill Gates for its modest screen, crank-up power supply, and lack of Windows support has now been fully embraced by Gates, with a special version of Windows XP for the XO apparently in the works.

What’s all of this got to do with the rest of us? Well, the recent release of ASUS's similarly-sleek and low-cost Eee PC has many analysts predicting big things for the low-cost, low-power laptop product range. Aside from the Village of the Damned marketing photos and its somewhat politically incorrect PR copy (“designed for…young students, children, housewives, the elderly…”), the Eee PC shares many of the same specs as the XO laptop: a solid-state design with 7-inch LCD, Linux OS, 512 Mb RAM, 4 Gb MMC/SD storage, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, USB ports, and audio/video support. Furthermore, there are reports that the Eee PC contains the open-source Open Office suite.

These specs are all very well and fine, but the question on every DIYer’s mind is what else can I do with it? Well, for one, would you believe Windows XP? ASUS claims its little notebook will support the full-fledged version, but better performance will probably gleamed from the diminutive bugger known as Tiny XP—a stripped-down, barebones version of Microsoft's OS that has been circulating on peer-to-peer networks for a while (download at your own risk!). In addition to this, ahem, ill-gotten OS, you will also need FSUM for building the Tiny XP ISO.

Now how about Skype Video for Linux on the Eee PC?

Once we get our hands on a $400 Eee PC, we’ll test this and other hacks and publish a complete project report on this blog. Hopefully in time for purchasing a stocking stuffer for your fave DIYer who has everything.

Speaking of Christmas, don’t forget the charitable Give 1, Get 1 program by OLPC. Starting November 12, you can contribute $399 to OLPC and one of the XO laptops will be sent to a child in a developing nation, while another XO laptop will be sent to you for use with your own child. —Dave Prochnow

(Image: ASUSTek Computer, Inc.)

Remote Access Made Easy

Picture_4_1 Even though I'm a pretty serious nerd, I've never really gotten into the whole "automate your PC and control it from everywhere" thing. I always assumed it was far more trouble to get working than it was worth. But today, a couple blog posts opened my eyes and made me realize that remotely controlling a Mac or PC can be quite simple. As easy as sending an e-mail, to be exact. Hey, I do that all the time!

If you're an OS X user, you're in luck, for hiding within your Applications folder is a powerful program called Automator. This oft-overlooked gem is able to string together a drag-and-drop, step-by-step list of actions for your computer to take (called a "workflow") and save them as a double-clickable application for running at any time. So, for instance, you could generate a simple Automator application that simply puts your computer to sleep. When teamed with a one-line AppleScript that surprisingly resembles actual English ("tell application "whateveryounamedyourapplication" to run"), Apple's Mail application can, in the process of filtering your messages, launch the Applescript when a message meeting certain criteria is received (i.e., one sent from my address with the subject line "go to sleep"). You're not just limited to putting your machine to sleep, though—Automator comes with a bevy of actions spanning most of OS X's core applications, and you can download even more (including the "Sleep" action) from Apple's Automator site.

On the PC side, Outlook is also capable of launching a program based on attributes from incoming messages, but creating custom apps from a list of automated tasks requires getting your hands a bit dirtier than on the Mac. A helpful guide can be found here. —John Mahoney

Link - Sleep Your Mac Via Email
[via Lifehacker]

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