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[Discuss] EOMA68 Computer

Steve Litt <slitt at> writes:
>> consistent with his numbers in the white paper: "if the computer was
>> not connected to the Internet it could continue to be used for its
>> designated tasks until it suffered major component failure (possibly
>> in 8 to even 15 years time)," though I dislike the "if the computer
>> was not connected to the internet" part. At some point you could
>> imagine repair shops coming back because of modular design but it's a
>> distant point from where we are now.
> I'm guessing from the opinions expressed above, I'm guessing you're
> over 21. Once upon a time, before they grew up, I had college-age
> triplets, each with their own laptop. Between ages 18 thru 21, not one
> of those laptops lasted more than 1.5 years. Hard drives, power jacks,
> broken hinges, cracked screens, busted cases. Two have graduated
> college (they're 23 now), and both of those walk around with incredibly
> busted computers because I won't pay for another one, and neither will
> they.
> Also, the computers of 2000-2008 were much more robust than today's
> thin, light, cut glass ornaments that pass for laptops. I bought two
> laptops in 2006, and except for a bad wifi card caused by a bad
> replacement attempt by me, they work perfectly.

Yeah, I'm more than twice 21 and my son hasn't had his own computer
yet. I also am yet to experience this modern low quality phase. My spare
laptop is from 2006 and my new one, the one I use, from 2010. And then
before that I had a powermac that showed no signs of ever dying.  But
the slowness was too much even for me, it not being able to handle H.264
encoded mpegs. Even the group I gave it to could only really use it for
demonstrations of what's inside a computer rather than for someone to
actually use. But it was pretty cool for that the way it opens on a
hinge and all.

Good to know to avoid this era of laptops. Maybe I'll try desktops or
small form factor next time I need to get something. Part of me wants to
try to use a soekris card as a desktop. I splurged this winter, being
sick of the fan noise on my 2006 laptop when used as a router
(relatively large power consumption too, > 30W), and bought a Soekris
net4501 off ebay. It's pretty old and presumably had been in service
some of this time but it still chugs away only using a watt or two. A
net4501 couldn't be (much of) a desktop but when net6501-50's get below
$50 used... What do you think, a 1Gz Intel Atom E6xx should be able to
play dvds and youtube videos, right? Put a video card in one pci slot, a
sound card in the other or on USB (hey, what's not modular about this?)
and a medium size SSD on the SATA interface, should work (er, uh 30 W
limit -- have to watch for that):

Well, no doubt there's a better choice among small form factor devices,
but the soekris cards are supposed to be super reliable I hear, being
meant as networking equipment.

Hmmm, but I guess my prior argument should have me trying to use these
crappy laptops, getting by by making frequent backups, since there ought
to be little used market for them, while soekris boards are in demand
as long as they function.

Mike Small
smallm at

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