On the Road, Again

Chuck Horowitz

How about a flash-memory card the size of a penny? Lexar has come out with a Flash Card just about that size that fits into a USB Type A socket.

The cards will come in 16MB, 32MB, and 64MB, as well as high-speed cards in 64MB, 128MB, 512MB and 1 Gigabyte. Samsung has also come up with the MMCmicro Card, which is a quarter of the size of a standard MultiMediaCard. Samsung’s cards will initially be issued in 32MB, 64MB and 128MB.

The Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) Alliance has a goal of hundreds of movies on an optical disc. Six companies have formed a consortium for the promotion of HVD technology. The concept is to put a terabyte (TTB) of data on one optical disc. There’s no specific mention of this being pure data (as opposed to movie or music) on these discs, however, if they can store movies, I’m assuming that they can store straight data. Now that’s truly mobile. With a couple of these discs you can carry all the data that you would need for a trip. Not to mention, that that’s more space than is normally contained on your entire computer. You could always carry a disc that would backup your entire system (programs and all) besides carrying your data. The part that bothers me at this point is the thought that a 1 Gigabyte sized Jump Drive is priced at about $100.00, as are the other portable mini drives. What will they price a Terabyte drive at?

Google (you know, the Internet Search Engine) now has the Google Desktop Search (good for notebooks too) that indexes your hard drive the way that Google’s own servers index the Web. It searches the important documents and locations, including Microsoft Office files, Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail messages. Search results are returned very fast, in a Web page format that looks like a Google online search.

Well, here comes Linux to a portable phone near you. Montavista Software will shortly begin shipping a Linux operating system for mobile phones that the company says will increase flexibility and cut costs for handset manufacturers. Mobilinux 4.0, based on the Linux 26 kernel, is scalable from lower-end handsets to higher-end smart phones according to a company spokesperson. The company also says that the new operating system includes performance improvements, such as faster boot-up times and power management enhancements.

Check out the May issue of Computer Shopper. Specifically, an article by Joshua Goldman entitled “Laptop Lowdown.” He’s assembled a buying guide of 25 things you need to consider when choosing a notebook (or any computer). I agree with him in most of the information he gives, except for one point. He says that “a spacious 17-inch wide-screen laptop is a nice luxury if you’re not planning to travel with it.” Well, I bought one to travel with. I have no intention of backpacking my computer. I don’t intend to carry the notebook any further than to and from my car, a hotel, a meeting, or other similar events and this is not a big deal, nor is it any bother. If I need to be highly mobile at my destination I will have my Palm (you can bring your Pocket PC if you want to) which carries all of the files that I need, along with games, calendar, addresses and a note pad. The article does cover all of the areas of concern in choosing a notebook (or as I said before, any other computer), such as weight (form factor), CPU, screens, memory, slots, power, sound, docking stations, drives (fixed and swappable) and what the case is made of. All in all a good article for the potential notebook (computer) buyer.

The MCC Computer Company, LLC (www.modular-pc.com) in Houston, TX has the Modular PC. With a 1 Gigahertz processor, 512MB of RAM and 20 Gigabyte hard drive this unit weighs only 931 ounces and is not much bigger than a deck of cards. The idea is to use different modules to access the capabilities of multiple computers. There’s a Micro Tablet Module, a Vehicle Module, a Wearable Module, a Notebook Module and a Desktop Module. The unit is rugged and weatherized for outdoor applications. Check their web site for more information.

Chuck Horowitz, a HAL-PC member, can be reached at chuckh@hal-pc.org for questions or comments.