On the Road, Again

The Personal Computer Memory Card Association (PCMCIA) has developed the ExpressCard. Two sizes of this standard have been defined. The L-shaped card is designed to handle applications like Compact Flash and 1.8 inch hard drives. The smaller version is designed for the next generation notebooks and is the same length. Products based on the ExpressCard standard are due out early next year. It’s possible that this standard might even find its way into desktops. Wouldn’t that be great? You would be able to expand the capability of your desktop without opening the box.

Olixir Technologies makes the DataVault 3DX mobile hard drive. This shock protected hard drive has an impact resistant case that can withstand the shock of a short drop (up to 18 inches). You can get the Mobile DataVault 3DX with either USB or FireWire connections in 80 Gigabyte to 250 Gigabytes. The cost for the DataVault is between $249 and $569. The drive comes bundled with Dantz Development’s Retrospect Express Backup software (for both PCs and Macs). Olixir can be contacted at www.olixir.com.

The latest entry into the market for all-in-one machines (desktop-notebook-tablet) is here. The Compaq Tablet PC TC 1000 comes with a Transmeta Crusoe TM5800 1 Gigahertz 3 processor, 256MB of 133 Megahertz SDRAM (to 768MB maximum), a 512MB Cache, a 9.5mm SMART hard drive (in 30, 40 and 60 Gigabytes), active pen input (with keyboard and point stick), an integrated Type III MiniPC 56Kbps modem and 10/100 NIC internal 802.11b wireless networking, a 10.4 inch TFT wide-angle viewing film with hard tempered glass covering, NVIDIA GeForce2 Go 100 graphics controller with 16MB of SDRAM, one CompactFlash slot and one Type II PC slot. A docking station is sold separately. Compaq can be reached at www.compaq.com.

Hewlett-Packard’s Ipaq H4155 is an ultra light PDA that may weigh in as the lightest handheld with wireless LAN support. It includes an 802.11b wireless LAN weighs 4.7 ounces and has a 65,000-color TFT screen. Powered by Intel’s 400 Megahertz Xscale processor and with 32MB of ROM the Ipaq runs Windows Mobile 2003 Operating System. The Ipaq has a slot for SD and MultiMediaCard media and SD10 hardware add-on devices. Along with all of this, the Ipaq has integrated Bluetooth wireless networking support. With the Ipaq you can also access a standard POP3 email account. It’s a little pricey though, selling for $449.99. H-P can be contacted at 888-999-4747 or www.hp.com for more info

Guess what! Wal-Mart is coming out with their own notebook computer brand. They say, “We’re always looking for products that we think our customers will enjoy at Wal-Mart.” This is very interesting information, if true. Wal-Mart selling their own notebook computer would probably bring down the prices of notebooks in general. That is something that I would like to see. My feeling is that notebooks are over-priced compared to desktops (of course, I also think that desktops are over-priced based on current technology and production techniques).

I haven’t said much about Apple lately, so here goes. The PowerBook G4 is Apple’s smallest notebook ever. With Mac OSX 10.3 (Panther) operating system, 1 Gigahertz PowerPC G4 processor, 256MB of DDR RAM, a 40 Gigabyte hard drive, Apple’s DVD-R/CD-RW Super Drive, a 12 inch screen (this is what makes the notebook small for the most part), a full-size keyboard, a touchpad, Mini-DVI output and Mini-DVI adapters for analog and digital displays, audio-in and audio-out, two USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 400 port, a 100Mbps Ethernet connection, a modem connection and built-in Bluetooth. The price for all of this is typically Apple at $1,799. This is one of the reasons that I don’t mention Apple frequently. They offer too little for too much for the average notebook user. However, Apple can be reached at 800-692-7753 or www.apple.com for more information.

Chuck Horowitz is a HAL-PC member and can be reached at chuckh@hal-pc.org