A day at CeBIT. Again.

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I am starting this very subjective write up sitting on a chair in the Webciety’s Bloggers Lounge and I feel pretty tired and exhausted – it‘s just as it has been the years before. You walk around all day and spend time out there, go hands on with the few devices you are interested here, talk to booth people… There are great moments and less great – this time there were few less great ones, even the sun was shining all the time, which I never experienced in CeBIT seasons Hannover.

After having strolled around many booths in many halls,  I visited a place that is a must for a guy writing about Linux, the Open Source park, which is a rather small area full of people that show off their more or less popular projects. Among many business related projects (including some I´ ve never heard of, as I am a little bit ashamed to admit) and more popular ones like Firefox 4 and LibreOffice I stumbled on a small Enlightenment corner and there on Carsten „raster“ Haitzler, who, as some of you may remember, was once involved into the Openmoko project. I talked to him for quite some time, first in german (as his father´s german) then in english about Linux, Android, toolkits on mobile devices. As you can read on his website as well, he´s with Samsung now, who are investing heavily into Enlightenment to build a platform on – which will actually be LiMo r4 compliant (there is EFL in LiMo r4, not only GTK+, cairo, clutter and so on). He showed me some EFL demos on an obviously Samsung built device on par with Galaxy S (using Hummingbird and an (approx.) 3.7“ WVGA screen) – most likely a developer model of the never released Samsung H2 / GT-i8330 hardware, which was supposed to be released during last summer, but didn´t make it (at least on Vodafone in Europe). I think I will write a dedicated article about what we talked about as soon as possible, because it really was great to talk about the downfall of MeeGo (back to Moblin, mostly – a fact he wasn´t too unhappy about, working on LiMo, which is certainly a rival to MeeGo on handsets.

Besides that, I didn´t hang out for too long in CeBIT´s OpenSource paradise (it was so crowded!) and headed on to webciety to get a little rest while listening to some panels I didn´t plan to listen too (at the one I had on my schedule, one about tablets with the MeetMobility guys + 2 others (a Qualcomm representive + @petweetpetweet) I arrived late, just to get a rest after all these tablet hands ons (in fact I used my partly broken (headset jack) Palm Pre to capture a hands on with the Hanvon A116 tablet, but I will have to edit it before uploading, so don´t expect that before saturday) and walking (I liked both ASUS Android tablets I wrote about recently (the MeMO and the Transformer, of which the latter really features amazing build quality and a really great finish), and then went on to have a look at some more devices before coming back late to the panel I just mentioned. After that, I managed to talk to @sascha_p for a few minutes, exchange business cards and head on to Huawei, were I had a look at their Android devices, entry level and up before „winning“ a Vodafone 246 dumb phone at the stand of a popular german PC magazine, which was about the last thing I did before heading out to catch my train.

If you want to, have a look at the photos I took.

Instant Noodles

Sorry, no further impressions in the Palm Pre I learned to use and love before WebOS 2.0 which will make a good thing even better – just a few lines on a new Google service.

I`ve been using Google services for years, and I am not planning to stop doing that, even though I never found Google Wave particulary helpful and prefer twitter over Google Buzz. My aging Android handset will be replaced by a newer one when I think it has to be replaced, and, yeah, Google Mail is the best free mail service I ever used.

Now Google is coming up with something new that might will change the world of searching the web and thus SEO, and as I am involved in some projects, that focus on SEO, I almost have to watch this new thing very carefully. Google Instant maybe what I always waited for but was afraid of at the same time. It might make SEO that doesn´t deliver the best content (not only cheap, keyword heavy content mixed page ranking enhancing linkbuilding) totally useless and help us all to find what we are really looking for, while killing some simple business models, that were based on leading people somewhere they don´t want to go.

Panic might be wrong though, even though business models have to be rethought properly – the diffusion of innovations always takes its time.

Rethinking my current computing line up (Part I)

Let´s skip the introduction, here´s what I currently have (heavy usage leads to bold fonts):

  • HP Compaq 6715b (15.4 inch WSXGA+ AMD Turion64 X2 notebook)
  • Asus Eee PC 1001p (10.1 inch WSVGA Pine Trail netbook)
  • One A120 (7 inch VIA C7 netbook)
  • T-Mobile G1 / HTC Dream (3.2 inch HVGA smartphone)
  • Openmoko FreeRunner (2.8 inch VGA open source smartphone)

So why am I writing this? Actually I ask myself whether I really need all these devices. During the last weeks, I just used the HP 6715b just as a video playing device, meaning I used it to watch TV or DVDs, as it has a great screen and better than average speakers. I didn´t really use it as a computer besides for short websurfing sessions – since I´ve got my new netbook, or better since I am used to my netbooks keyboard, I ´ve found myself using the netbook for websurfing and office work – I really love that thing, especially since I managed to make Linux work on it just perfectly.
Yeah, I have to admit it: I am set to sell the HP 6715b again, which I bought used in december. While it is a nice device, I do not like the keyboard that much (it is ok, but worse than the keyboard of my previous notebook (HP Compaq nx6325) – and Linux does not run that well. While I managed to silence the roaring fans (I cleaned them and replaced the heat paste), I have no idea how to fix the really bad USB performance of the device – I don´ t think this is a hardware issue, as USB performance is ok in Vista (which I find horrible, otherwise).
So it is very likely that I will sell this notebook pretty soon. But what will I do then? Living without a notebook, just with my Eee PC as only computing device? Actually though I really like my 1001P, I doubt that I will do that, just because of the screen size: 10.1 inch is not the screen resolution you want to work with for several hours. Besides: I am not really sure whether the Atoms performance is really enough for me. It might very well be, but I have my doubts.

Then I´ve got this old, 2008 VIA powered netbook, which is, as you might imagine, pretty slow – and 7 inch is really small. I don´t know what to do with that one. I most likely won´t make much money by selling it, and as I kind of like it (and still have parts I wanted to solder into it once), I might finally apply the touchscreen mod and use it as music player (or even to create music using software synthesizers) or WLan router / home server.

While I really love my HTC Dream (even though it could be slimmer, have a better camera and .. well, it could be a Milestone, you know ;-) ), I don´ t know what to do with that Openmoko FreeRunner. It is a nice device, and I got to be able to try out the various flavours of mobile linux distributions (like Hackable:1, QtMoko, and SHR), and back then the Openmoko world was different, as GTA03/3D7K, meant as a follow up to the FreeRunner was not cancelled yet. Buying a broken FreeRunner to fix it was a start into the world of Free Software telephony – on an open device. Today I have to admit that I barely use the Freerunner. It feels nice and solid when you hold in your hand, but as standby times are short and phone calls work, but still could work better and standby battery life is rather dissapointing (I didn´t apply the #1024 bug fix yet) I rather use my Motorola A910 for my secondary SIM, which runs Linux as well (though the rest of the software is rather proprietary). If I really wanted to use this phone, I would have to sell my HTC Dream (without getting a “milestony” replacement) – because right now I have no real use case for that one besides trying out some distributions every quarter.

Now that is what I´ve got. What to change? (Suggestions welcome!) Part 2 will be about options.

Being Concerned

Sometimes I feel quite weird, because I do not understand myself – this happens on various occasions, but I will just discuss one today. It´s about tech. I am almost obsessed about tiny, mobile devices that are said to be helpful, particulary those that run Linux (or are able to run Linux). To put it in other words: I like everything from smartphones to netbooks, and you can guess that I am pretty exited about all the stuff that will be presented at CES in Las Vegas the next days.
Now you might ask: Ok, you´ re a nerd (or geek or whatever), but what´ s the problem? Well, I find that there is some kind of contradiction in my behaviour, it is not all logic, and I worry about that. “Now, what the h*** are you talking about, weirdo?” you might ask. Well, I am concerned about ecology, waste, and climate change. That whole Greenpeace stuff, if you want so. I really am. I even try to avoid producing waste, and I do so every day, every time I go to the supermarket. I am so concerned I stopped using the heater while the window is open. But I don´ t care, as soon it is about mobile computing – if there is a device I want to have and can afford, I will buy it – even if I don´ t really need it.

Knowing what I worry about, you may think: That´ s normal, one is acting irrational sometimes – just relax. And the likelihood is pretty high that you are right. So I guess I just have to let go.