# Monday, 02 November 2009

Spotted in the Windows 7 Malaysia launch, a live Twitter hashtag display. Powered by Silverlight.

Monday, 02 November 2009 14:15:52 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 01 November 2009

Let me tell you the story of a man, who after seeing the Toshiba Libretto a long long time ago. Had his mind set that one day he'll get a computer which can fit into his pocket AND STILL be a capable machine. Through out the years since then, his adventures in finding the ultimate portable went on a wild trip from a 10" Acer C110 Tablet PC to an 11" Fujitsu P1610 to what is most commonly known as the smallest Convertible Tablet PC, the Fujitsu U1010. And the man was satisfied with the petit little machine.

But technology moves along. And a lot of things have happened in the 2 years since the U1010, processors got faster, more efficient. More features could be crammed into smaller systems. And then this comes a knocking..


This is the ViliV S5. This is currently the SMALLEST PC. Let me just drive the point in. This thing has a 4.8" screen, it's running off an Intel Atom processor, it can run Windows 7 and it's DAMN SMALL


This thing is almost pocketable, if you have deep pockets. And how were they able to make it this small?  The S5 has NO KEYBOARD.


I placed a battery on top of the S5 so you can see how thick it is compared to a AA battery.

If I had a video playing on it, and someone saw it. They'd think it's a portable media player instead of an actual Windows PC. Heck.. it's about the same size as my first media player, the Zen PMC.


Now that sure brings back some memories.

The ViliV S5 build quality makes it feel like a solid brick, when you hold it in your hands it feels like a well built device. And as mentioned, the design echos a PMP, so on the top of the S5 are the volume controls, and an earphone jack.


The little indention you see on the left is for the TV Antennae.


Before you get overly excited, this is not for analog TV, this is for DMB TV. And.. I *think* only the antennae is included, not really sure if I can get it working here. Interesting thing to note though, when I was buying the device, the salesman kept insisting that this was the GPS antennae. Yes, the S5 has a SIRF Star III GPS chip in it.

On the right side of the S5 is the power switch, which also act as a hold switch to prevent input from the touch screen and buttons. That's a useful feature for a notebook trying to be a media player. You can also find the battery latch here.


Removing the battery and there's another surpise awaiting.


Yes, there's a SIM card slot underneath the battery. The ViliV S5 has a built in 3G modem that you can use for data communications.

Underneath a rubber cover on the left of the S5 is where you'll find all the connection ports.


From the top, you'll find a reset button, a multi IO port (where all the video connections live... cable not included in the package though), ONE USB port, and one USB client port. The USB client port is to allow a folder in the S5 to be accessed like a thumb drive when connected to another computer. The fact that there was only ONE USB port made installing Windows 7 a very interesting experience for me.


Didn't help that I crushed the USB hub when trying to bring it back home from the office. And the bare innards were exposed during the installation process.

Then we come to the side where the action is. The front.


First on the left you have the directional pad, and a menu button.


The DPad maps to the arrow keys, and when you press it, it's equivalent to pressing the TAB key. Below that is a menu button which maps to the Windows key. Pressing and holding the menu button for a few seconds switches the DPad to act as a mouse instead. And the little sticker below the button is still protecting the IR port for the OPTIONAL remote control.


On the other side of the 4.8" 1024x600 screen you'll find this trio of buttons.


The OK button works as the ENTER key in keyboard mode, and the LEFT click in mouse mode. The C button acts as a RIGHT click in either mode. And the last button with the funky graphic? It invokes the S5's software keyboard.

Oh.. and the grill openings on the top of both sides are the speakers. I don't know how to grade a speaker but I'll say, this thing is loud.. but I feel it's not loud enough to pass the Chinese Wedding Dinner scenario.

A carrying case came with the S5 when I bought it. It's a simple clip on cover that snaps onto the indentions on the S5.


It doesn't WORK PROPERLY! the main reason being that the only thing keeping the clip in place in the groove on the S5 is FRICTION.


And the clip isn't made from hard plastic, this means it can just flex when you're holding it and out comes the S5. And that would be a very very bad day indeed!

So I decided to look for a replacement, and I found this.


This is a RM5 water bottle holder which I found in the Daiso RM5 shop at the Curve. It fits PERFECTLY as a slip cover for the S5.


I left a little bit of it sticking out but it goes into the case fully and PERFECTLY, and once it's in the case it fits PERFECTLY into my Docker's side pocket! I just need to remember the warning about not using hot items in the case and make sure the S5 isn't piping hot when I put it in... think the thing will melt or something.

And that's the physical look on the S5, I guess I'll get to other things like performance and driver support in another post since this is quite huge a post already.

But I guess I can say this, if you're looking for a PC which can almost fall into the pocketable category. This IS IT! If you don't mind the comparatively lower spec'ed 1.3Ghz Atom processor. If you don't feel intimidated by how small words look under 1024x600 on a 4.8" screen. This IS IT! If you need full PC capability on the move in a small package. This IS IT! If you need to try out how well Windows 7's touch enhancements work on such a small device.


Cause Viliv dropped the ball on this one, the most important aspect of their touchscreen driver and they screwed it up. Basically the touchscreen driver doesn't tell Windows 7 or Vista that it is in fact, a touchscreen. And thus, Windows doesn't enable the touch features that would have helped A LOT with manipulating such a keyboardless PC. I'm hoping that since it's just a driver issue, this can be fixed by ViliV releasing a new driver.

But seeing how Viliv expected the users to install the Windows 7 driver, I'm kinda skeptical at their ability to deliver such a patch. :P

So, while this is a COOL device, the lack of proper support for Window's touch features stop me from labelling it as an AWESOME device and telling everyone to get it.

Sunday, 01 November 2009 16:12:19 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [2]  | 

That's a question that a lot of people are asking. And actually if you're a normal user there are only 3 real choices that you should choose from.

Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate.

You should get Windows 7 Home Premium if you are going to put it on a PC that's more for personal use. Basically if you have no idea what an Active Directory Domain is. This is the one you should get.

You should get Windows 7 Professional if you need the PC to join a Domain, as well as some other business related features like backing up to a network source instead of just an attached harddrive, the ability to use BitLocker to secure your hard drive, etc. etc. Windows 7 Professional also gives you access to Windows XP Mode if that's something that you need.

You should get Windows 7 ULTIMATE if you need access to some extra features that you can't find in the other editions such as Running Windows from a Virtual Hard Disk File or VHD (While this is a nifty feature which allows you to do nifty things like this, it's really a niche feature that not many users will benefit or have a use for), run the Windows UI in 35 other languages. (This is not the same as being able to input languages other than English as mentioned here, what's being refered to here is the ability to change the OPERATING LANGUAGE of Windows to the other languages, ie. You'd want to be able to see the Start button, Control Panel labels, etc. etc. in other languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean. Again... this is a nifty feature but I can't see a majority of users having a need for it)

There is one feature that I do believe would be quite useful to people but is only included in Windows 7 Ultimate is the ability to CREATE Bitlocker To Go devices. While any other edition of Windows 7 is able to read and write from a Bitlocker To Go encrypted drive, only Ultimate is able to create it. And I do feel that this was a bad decision on Microsoft's part.

Now you might be asking, what about the other editions you've been hearing from on the internet, namely the Starter, Home Basic and Enterprise editions.

I'll start off with the easy one. As an individual user, you will not and should not make a choice to get Windows 7 Enterprise, it's not meant for you. Enterprise edition has features that allows it to be tweaked and managed in an organization. If for some reason you obtain and install Enterprise edition, you might find it interesting how some things don't work the way they do in the other editions. So... as an individual user, DON'T BUY ENTERPRISE (you're not actually supposed to be able to buy it off the shelf anyway) BUY ULTIMATE instead.

You can't actually buy Starter edition off the shelf, and most likely if you were looking for it you'll be given so called OEM copies instead. Starter edition is meant to be preinstalled with low cost netbooks, it lacks a lot of the eye candy and advanced media features. And has what some would say the most errr... interesting feature of all... You can't change the desktop wallpaper... There's NO REASON NOT TO BUY A NETBOOK WITH STARTER EDITION installed, it's still Windows 7, you can still run all your PC applications, play all your games (If they can work on the specs of a netbook), and do all your work. IT BASICALLY WORKS. Just without a lot of eye candy. But.. you should NEVER BUY STARTER EDITION ON IT'S OWN. (Again... you're not supposed to be able to)

And as for Home Basic.... This is the complicated one. It definitely has more features than Starter (you can change the desktop wallpaper!) has more eye candy as well, but not as much as Home Premium. It's true that for most users, Home Basic will be sufficient for them. The complicated part is that... I have no idea wheter or not Home Basic will be available as a retail product here in Malaysia. Home Basic is marked as a product for emerging markets, and Malaysia is definitely on the list. But the last product to be labeled as such (Windows Vista Started Edition... don't worry about the name) Was not available for retail purchase, and only came preinstalled on systems. If you could find it on sale as a retail product, and you're just buying it for use on a PC that would be used by a casual user. Home Basic could work out for you.

Hopefully this clears up the which edition to get question for the people out there. Oh.. and if you want to see a list of features, here's one.

Sunday, 01 November 2009 00:47:30 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 29 October 2009

Damn.. forgot about this old old post that I wrote a month ago.


This looks like a normal high performance Dell Percision M6400. Just how high performance is it?


16GB of RAM means never having to say "I need more memory" for a LOOOOOONG time! I can't remember how many CPUs appeared in the task manager, but it might have been 4 or more! This is a custom made to order model, so custom made that the base doesn't have any regulatory labels at all! How much power does it take to power such a beast?


The size of the adapter dwarfs my XPS one, and in terms of output. My XPS outputs 4.7A worth of power, The big slap? Outputs 12.3A power. 3 times the juice... phew..

Thursday, 29 October 2009 22:34:33 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

So I've been hearing all the nice things about Windows 7 on old Atom powered netbooks and how well they are running with Windows 7. That's great because I happen to have one.


Or two of these things.


But there's just one little problem... BOTH of my eeePCs have only a 4GB SSD as it's main storage device, the 901 has an additional 8GB secondary storage but that drive is SLOOOOOOWWW. So I figured my chances of running Windows 7 on my eeePCs were pretty slim.

Then I finally figured out how to boot Windows 7 from a VHD on a USB storage device. And now I can do things that shouldn't be possible.


Windows Media Center, running on an 800x480 screen resolution, on a machine with 1GB of RAM that's powered by an underclocked 600Mhz Celeron.

Yes, it's possible to do so. But there's not really any reason to. Cause the video card on the eeePC 701 doesn't even have Vista drivers so it's using the old Windows XP driver model, video performance while attempting video playback is pretty bad. Or it could just be the fact that there's an underclocked 900Mhz Celeron operating on 600Mhz. So.. this little piece of magic is possible due to the fact that the VHD containing the OS is actually running from a USB Hard Disk.


Performance when running from an external hard disk is pretty good considering a few things. First of all Windows 7 was never meant to run off external storage, yes yes I know all you Linux users have been doing that for a while now. But serving the relatively small number of people who want to boot from an external device doesn't seem to be high on Microsoft's list. But there's just one main thing to remember.

You can't unplug the device when the OS is running.

This is the first question you want to ask right? Like I said, Windows was never meant to be run off external storage, it doesn't expect the system drive to disappear into thin air. Oh.. and what happens when the drive goes missing? Weird things.. sometimes Windows will just sit there unable to do anything, sometimes it restarts.

But anyway, you don't want to lug a portable hard disk with your slim netbook! You probably want to know if you can run off something more portable... more slim... something like a USB thumbdrive.

Yes. It is possible to run Windows 7 off a USB thumb drive. But would you want to? Thumbdrives have relatively slow random access speeds, couple with the fact that Windows 7 was never designed to be run off such a slow medium the system stutters and halts when multiple applications demand disk access. At times you might be waiting an eternity for the system to bring up something. But once the system settles down and you're not asking it to do much, well.. it works.

The strangest thing that I can't figure out is why shutting down take an ETERNITY to process.

So if you had a choice, using a USB hard disk is definitely a much better option than a thumb drive. A thumb drive strapped to a netbook is of course much more easier to carry around than any 2.5" hard disk.

For me?  Well let's just say I call this THE DRIP.


It's like an IV drip that helps bring out the full potential of a netbook with a space deficiancy.


Should you do this yourself? Only if you have a really really REALLY GOOD REASON. And that you REALLY REALLY REALLY Want to run Windows 7 on your old netbook. While everything seems to be working for me right now, this is definitely not a supported operation method so don't complain to Microsoft when it doesn't work out for you.

Thursday, 29 October 2009 22:31:54 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |