My Ideal Notebook

For many years I have thought about how convenient it would be to have a laptop.

However, I've never really been in a position to either afford one, or need one desperately enough to justify the cost.

Moreover, the design was never quite right. you know how it is. There's always one blindingly obvious feature missing, or somethign you know you'll want to do with your device that won't be possible.

When Microsoft introduced the Tablet PC to widespread use back in 2002, I was excited. It seemed like laptops were finally turning into what I really needed: a notebook. A computer that could go anywhere, and be a computer when I needed it (ie: full keyboard) and a digital notebook (flexbility of shape and size, ability to take notes and sketch concepts) the rest of the time.

However, the tablets never quite provided everything I was searching for. The flexible necks of the hybrids made me nervous and the keyboardless slates seemed limited for me since I write slow and type fast. Now a professor at MIT has suggested something new.

The hardware and software specs here are strictly low-end. A 500mhz processor, flash-only memory and Linux. But the concept and the style of the device are what intrigue me more than the computing ability.

If I travel with a laptop, I need it to be flexible, lightweight, small, and good at recording text, sketches, and images. I don't need 3D rendering or awesome sound. This feature set is almost perfect. Sure, I wouldn't mind being able to watch full-screen video because it looks like this would make a perfect in-flight DVD player, but I can do without that if I must.

As my regular readers know, this spring I took a 46 day vacation across Europe with just a backpack for luggage. This is the first design for a notebook I've ever seen that I would really consider traveling with under those sorts of conditions.

So knowing that this sort of device could be on the market within the next two years is a seriously bright point in my day.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


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