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Jay's Technical blog

Averatec C3500 (TabletPC) review

31 December 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

It's been about 2 months since I recieved my TabletPC.  I've used it at 2 conferences and up until recently used it pretty heavily at work.  I don't feel like I have gotten everywhere on it, but I think I have used it enough to give it a decent review. 

Review Scale
I hate those # out of 5 stars things, because it's too hard to judge objectively.  Let's reduce the scale a bit. Thumbs up; no thumb; and thumbs down.  Thumbs up means that it is way cool and I love it; no thumb means it's OK, but I'm not wowed; thumbs down means that it really sucks don't bother. (I will probably use this system in the future).  Now that I have that out of the way here we go.

Summary  Rating: Thumbs Up
I love my TabletPC.  I'm every guy that Robert Scoble reports on who buys a tablet.  I like ink, but I also like being able to switch in and out (right now I'm typing on it).  I have 1 annoyances with this model:
sometimes when I type hard on my keyboard I either accidentlaly hit the mouse pad or something is not wired correctly in the keyboard (I'm not sure which)... If I'm not careful I start typing somewhere else.  (right now the mouse is on the window in VisualBlogger 2004, but not in the typing area).

Beyond this one point I love my Avartec.  It cost me about $1000 less than any other comparable tablet, has built in wireless 'g', has a 60gb hard drive with 1/2 gb of RAM, has an Athlon-m 2200+ (which seems to provide a decent amount of speed), has a video card from SiS that has 32mb of Ram (Ok, it's shared ram, but most games don't know that) and a built in (not external) DVD/CD Writer combo drive.  The only feature you (fellow programmer) might not like is that the screen is only 12.1 inches.  So my rating is Thumbs Up.

Performance
You may be wondering, but is it fast.  Well, the real speed is 1.7 Mhz.  I like to test performance with a playstation emulator (like ePSXe or PCSX).  If a machine is decently fast then you should be able to get a decent FPS out of the emulator with the resolution/graphics enhanced and no frame skipping (using Pete's DiectX plugin, of course).  I only ever measure whether the game is playable or not (is it near or at original speeds); I never think about what the FPS is (but usually 30 fps or better is decent).

Design
I admit I'm a klutz.  I drop stuff accidentally all the time.  So of course I have either dropped something on this unit or have dropped it.  I have only noticed one thing here.  I have a small crack right around the screen lock (behind the screen).  This doesn't thrill me, but it's not a bad crack and it doesn't appear to be growing.

Software
The software in this baby is very much budget.  You get a few months of Norton Antivirus (not that I care... I hate Norton), OneNote (of course), Roxio Easy CD/DVD Creator, and PowerDVD (version 5, I think).  So, it's not everything (but once again... price is about $1000 less than any other Tablet that I found). 

Final Conclusions
The Avaratec is a nice device.  In fact it has become my main machine.  I barely use my other machines (except to connect to to retrieve/store data).  So, that's why it gets a thumbs up; I can't live without this machine!


Coming soon... my review of my Axim X30 (I have had it about 2 weeks now, so the review may need to wait a little bit).


My next career...

30 December 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

I think I found what I want to do for my next career.  I was asked by a friend to try to break into his network.  I first of all told him that I'm probably best at telling you whether the perimeter is safe (there are some points along the hacking path that I'm not quite proficient in --yet; I can, however, do a fairly good job of attacking an application).  I also got the necessary stuff from him to try to break in (because hacking someone else's network without permission is illegal).

So 2 days ago I started trying to break in.  I found a bunch of problems with his web site (which I'm not about to share).  Yesterday morning I used this info to bypass logging in and could log in as a number of different regular users; mostly because I had some inside information.  Last night, I finally was able to break in as an administrator.  It was totally cool!  I won't give you the details on what I did except to say that an attack proxy was involved (what a totally cool hacking tool). 

What a rush!  I can see why people do this (both legally and illegally).  Now if I could only get someone to give me money to do this! <grin>


New PDA is on its way!

21 December 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

I think I mentioned awhile back that I had lost my PDA (an Axim x5) while returning from Seattle back in November.  I've been feeling fairly disconnected through all this (no PDA; no TabletPC at work; and minimal blog reading at work); hopefully that disconnted feeling is about to go away.

I bought a refurbished Dell Axim X30 Advanced (because I'm cheap).  This baby has the new 624Mhz PXA270 XScale processor.  I've read that these things fly! Since I'll be the ultimate test of that theory (with all my emulation crap), I'll let you know (My X5 was a 400 Mhz PXA255 and at times didn't feel very fast at all).

I guess I should write a up review of my TabletPC... time keeps slipping away from me (like right now... I gotta run) 


Busy...

16 December 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

So, in case you haven't noticed, I haven't been blogging a lot lately.  Mostly because I haven't had the time.  I used to blog at work during times when my main machine was tied up compiling or JIT'ing.  I have been trying to avoid using company resources for this (for fear that the smack down will happen and I will no longer be allowed to blog at all... if I do it solely on my time then everything is cool).  I had also been using my tablet to blog with (as well as to test stuff and read other blogs offline), but someone freaked out about my tablet and I'm no longer allowed to bring it to work (it really sucks).

Since I lost my PDA in the Seattle airport (when I was flying back), I can't even read blogs that way... I feel so disconnected <sigh>.  Once I get paid for the PocketPC project Dave and I did I'll run out and buy a new PDA.  I don't want to spend that much on a new PDA, but I'll probably end up calling Dell, giving them a sob story, and hopefully they'll cough up one of the 25% off discount coupons  (on a new Axim X50) which I'll use to buy an Axim X50 Advanced (the 520 Mhz one).  I'll write about it once that happens (I miss my PDA terribly... and using my TabletPC at work as well).

Stuff I'm toying with
So  I am using my other PC at work to play around with SharpTools.  I really like it.  It really seems to simplify add-in development.  I have played with CodeRush (because their API is also free to develop with...), but I really don't like how it takes over the environment; while the arrows and stuff are neat, sometimes I have stared at them wondering what they were supposed to be telling me... Sorry Mark Miller (you're a cool guy, but I like the simplicity of SharpTools is better for me -- for now).

I'm also planning on getting back to reviewing a product or two (once the smoke clears in my life a little)


Hiring blog versus real blog

10 December 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

My good friend and Co-worker -- D.code -- has just recently set up a spaces blog (I won't bore you with thelocation).  D. told me that he did this because if he ever goes on the job search (something I personally think may never happen) he wants to pointto his pristine non-ranting blog.

Personally I think his idea is crap.  I'd rather a future employer know that "yes, he gets angry about stuff at times, but he doesn't appear to be violent... in fact his rants are funny."  I guess, too, I try to make my blog interesting.  If I have nothing to say I try not to say it (except when I feel like I've been to silent which is the case for me lately).