Saturday, 14 February 2009

Love is in the Air

We in the Tech Dungeon at Rodborough; to be fair that does glamorise the situation a little, perhaps cupboard is more accurate, but dungeon seems more romantic, especially at this time of year. Anyway back to February 2009 and love is very much in the air.

For a while we have been seeing a petite, low maintenance and perfectly proportioned beauty called the Asus Eee around the place. The four devices we have had on site have been very popular with a number of staff and pupils alike. For those of you unfamiliar with what have become known as Web or Net books, they are best described as mini laptops. This description does not, however, do them justice, because by being so small they are so much more. The price is the first thing to notice – below £200 for most. Many of them ship with Linux rather than Windows and have a limited capacity in terms of RAM and storage that makes running the slightly cumbersome Windows a bit tricky. To some that might be a problem, to others a positive bonus, to us it means that we have to re-think how we use our network a little if we are going to integrate their use fully into school (more on this in a later edition when we consider how we intend to make the most of opportunities afforded by 'cloud hopping'). But, and perhaps here I should be saying BUT, once again our hearts have been stolen by something new on the block. We continue to like the Asus Eee, and Asus must be credited with finally delivering a device that can genuinely revolutionise the use of ICT within schools and enable truly mobile computing for the masses, BUT then the HP 2133 Mini Notebook came into our lives.

From the moment we held that quality chassis we knew we had found something special. The high resolution screen is something to behold (despite being just 8.9 inches across). The keyboard, given the size of the device, is almost astonishing; no problem to use even for our large, manly hands. Inside the chassis there is 1gb of RAM a 120gb hard drive, SD card slots, 2 x USB and and an external monitor connection. All this and it is less than £200.
Given the specification of this device we are, even as we speak, working to fully integrate its use into our school system. As soon as we have worked out exactly what we can do with this device we intend to use them widely for a range of tasks, including standard desktop functions, mobile data-logging and, I hope in the not too distant future, working from home as well.

The HP 2133 ships with Suse Linux or Windows (when the price goes up). We are intending to try a couple of flavours of Windows with it as we feel there are benefits from fully networking it.