Friday, December 19, 2008

Small PC Specs .

Small PC Specs .

Andre Willers

16 Dec 2008

Discussion :

The eeePC (NetPC) evolved out of the $100 PC project , aimed at providing low-cost computers to especially the developing world .

It suffered from Spec Creep , the bane of any developer's world . The end-users kept on changing the goal-posts , adding on features until we ended up back with a small notebook .

Why ?

It is a well-known evolutionary principle .

Things sell according to how fashionable they are . And sexy features sells .

No use crying afterwards : "But mother , she doesn't know how to cook!"

(An intriguing speculation : will self-aware appliances have divorce attorneys ?

If you need an ante-nuptial contract to buy a toaster , you might consider an earlier , gentler alternative .)

What is really happening ?

Virtual PC's
The unitary PC is being broken up into components .

The components are being made portable and compatible . Then assembled into a virtual PC using communication protocols .

In other words , the Microsoft model of an unitary PC and operating system is dead , but still kicking .

The new virtual PC :

Memory (Gbytes) here in a stick , screen and keyboard (foldable or scrollable ) there , Ethernet card and minor CPU with power supply here . These items are small and easily portable .

The major CPU and software is at your ISP . You could be your own ISP with your own home PC . Communicating either by wireless link or cable . Or just by transferring memory via USB ports .

Or you can rent CPU space and software from the Internet .

This is fine while connectivity is up , but what if power or linkage goes down ?

Use standalone PC's as ISP's .

Viruses :

Notice that all the minor CPU's can have different operating systems .

Your Internet access can use Linux , acting as a cut-out for most viruses .

Multiple-operating systems using partitions on a hard-disk (or better yet , two hard drives) can do the same thing at a fraction of the cost .


Ok , now you have your input (keyboard,mouse) , screen and wireless connection with a minor CPU to handle them . This was the original eeePC , with a cost well below $100 , as most of the expensive thingies would be done somewhere else by the ISP .

But this was so sexy that marketing could not help but start adding features .

A stripped down word-processor and spreadsheet could be handled by the stand-alone minorCPU as part of the OS . But they kept on adding things , until they ended up with the Atom Intel processor needed running MS OS . Intel and Microsoft essentially morphed it into a small notebook .(With a price to match)

Then will be disappointed by smaller sales .

(Something similar happened to US automotive manufacturers.)


A cellphone can be substituted for the wireless connection and minorCPU . Some cellphones can handle stripped-down spreadsheets and word processors .

All we need to add are more user-friendly keyboards and screens (Bluetooth) .

The communication infrastructure is well-established .

This means that the eeePC is dead .

A developing world person can have a cellphone , then upgrade it into any type of computer he wants (even a super-computer , using commercially available parallel-processing networks available (like with Seti) ).

The hierarchy :

Cell phone + peripherals = stripped down spreadsheets and wordprocessors .

Cell phone + peripherals + PC = local computing at a higher level .

Cell phone + peripherals + ISP = computing at any level .


Cellphones are at the moment more secure than PC's as far as viruses are concerned , because their Operating Systems are different .

This will not last .

Hardware firewalls .

Most OS's are less than 300 MB . Cheap solidstate memory is about $10 per GB .

A filter firewall translating any message through various OS's should squeeze out most non-semiotic viruses .

(Semiotic is meaning . A fancy word used by people who have a vague idea of what they are talking about , but run around and scream and shout if asked to program something specific .)

Even semiotic ones can be screened out by running it through an analogue of a biological tumour : a virtual machine that fast forwards it and changes certain parameters at Beth(1) random , especially at decision points . (This is done routinely in programmatic checking of large programs . Or more correctly , should be done routinely .)

This would be the size of a memory stick and sit between the input devices and the CPU .

The Inverse Turing Test .

Can your keyboard input pass as human , dude ?

Better not include a Neural Network . Actual human users will end up being frozen out as overgrown viruses .

Smart Matter .

You will gave noticed the usage of the terms MinorCPU's and major CPU's . This has some meaning if the CPU's are not connected . But if they are the distance between them does not matter much .

The size of Electromagnetic (EM) antenna used to be a limiting factor . But not any more . Antannae smaller than the EM wavelengths have been evolved used genetic algorithms . Metamaterials have made it easy to design or evolve them . This means that EM communicators can be made on the molecular scale .

CPU's with antennae interspersed in materials at the molecular scale can be built or grown (self-assembled) .

This is Smart matter .

(How smart it is can be calculated from "New Tools" "Artificial Intelligences" and the "Smallest AI(0) " )

Can you see how humans and their components are converging towards the singularity ?

All well and good . But what do I buy next year (2009) ?

I thought of building my own eeePC , but after considering the matter as above , I cannot see how I can do it cheaper or better than the Cellphone-peripherals route .

But I need large input(keyboard) and output(screen) devices , preferable virtual , but flapping open will do .

All interfacing wirelessly to my PC . The beauty of this is that I do not need a new PC. Ever .

See specs in Appendix A . Any helpful comments would be appreciated .



Appendix A .

Specs for eeePC equivalent .

1.The user must be able to do some simple things in stand-alone mode .(Spreadsheet and wordprocessing in compatible file formats)

2.But surf the Net and transfer results to his PC .

3.Or access the net from his PC via the cellphone .

4 Broadband connection on cellphone .

5.Expandible peripherals (keyboard and screen) for cellphone.

6.Data storage on cellphone(like memory stick)

7.Data transfer to PC or ISP from cellphone via network on demand .

8. Security on wireless data transfers .


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