"The only way to be truly satisfied, is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do." Steve Jobs
Once "inking" gets into your veins you will never be able to live without it. Frank J. Garcia

My Surface PRO 3 'Must Have' Accessories List

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Amtek U560 UMPC review at UMPCPortal.com

For some reason my RSS feed from UMPCPortal is not working any more and as result I missed this wonderful review shot and written by Steve "Chippy"

This is the first time I've used XP on a Stealey CPU for any length of time and I have to say that, in combination with the GMA950 it's a great performer. Not as fast as my Q1P but faster than the 1.2Ghz WiBrain I'm also testing at the moment. In terms of video playback performance I was incredibly impressed...and then I noticed that the device was in 600Mhz battery saving mode. When I switched it into full-power mode, increasing the cpu speed by 30%, it was really impressive and handled about every video I threw at it. Right up to a 7Mbps WMV HD video. Even games were running well. Call of Duty (see video) a demo installed on the test device, worked impressively smoothly. Take a look at the videos below which were done with the device locked at 600Mhz.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Accessories for Wibrain B1

Wibrain will be launching in February two new accessories for its B1 series: A Docking Station and a Car Mount with Integrated GPS



Monday, January 28, 2008

Wibrain B1 Review


The Wibrain B1 (Affiliated Link) is the 5th small UMPC that I have been lucky enough to test, I have tested the Vega from Raon, the Everun from the same company, the OQO 02 and the Fujitsu U1010. And even after I have seen all these devices I still surprised to see how a full side PC is shrunk into that small space.

The Wibrain B1 has a retro design that could give a not so good impression when it's seen in pictures but once you have the unit in your hands and you use it for a while that changes for a better overall opinion. 

What differentiates the Wibrain B1 from all these other devices?

  1. The split keyboard, something only seen so far within the UMPCs in the Samsung Q1U device.
    P1200022 P1200025
  2. A mouse pad. Only the Everun has something close but smaller and it's not exactly a touch pad.
  3. Web Cam, something only present in the Fujitsu U810.

The split keyboard is in my opinion well designed. The letters F and J are marked to help the finding by touch the other letters like a real QWERTY keyboard. The addition of 8 more keys for Page UP, Page Down, Arrows keys and Left and Right Mouse keys is something that helps a lot the usability of this device. On top of that you have a vertical and horizontal scroll strips in the bottom side and right side of the Mouse pad. Another interesting features.

P1210003During my tests I gave the B1 to one of my coworkers and after opening a game on it and holding the device like a PSP he asked me: is this the future for PSPs?

Performance & Usability

The unit that I tested was the model B1H:

  • 4.8-inch WSVGA (1024 x 600) touchscreen
  • 1.2 GHz VIA C7-M processor
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home
  • 60 GB PATA hard drive running at 4200 RPM
  • 1 GB of DDR2 RAM
  • Integrated Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, 802.11b/g WiFi, webcam, 2 speakers
  • 1 USB port, mic & headphone jack, hold button, wireless on/off switch, VGA-out port with included dongle
  • 50 key, split-QWERTY keypad,
  • 4 directional keys, left & right mouse buttons, page up & page down buttons, volume control
  • Touchpad with horizontal and vertical scrolling
  • 4-cell battery rated at 4,000 mAh
  • Soft case, hand strap, telescoping stylus, AC adapter

Running on XP Home Edition I was not expecting to see a bad performance on this device. But I think that installing XP Home is a huge mistake. This device is perfect for XP Tablet PC 2005 Edition without this OS, you are cutting the capabilities of this device in 25% at least.

I ran a few tests and took a few pictures of the results and I was surprised to see that these results were a little bit higher than what I have seen in other devices using the same processor.

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I think that probably this higher results are due to the fact that beside a trial version of McAfee Antivirus, Wibrain has not installed any other crapware on this UMPC. Something that we all appreciate.

This device from the point of view of performance can be put between the Everun and the OQO 02. Probably around the same performance or a little bit higher than the Fujitsu U1010 would have had if it was using Windows XP instead of Vista. It runs warm and Wibrain is providing on it a little tool where you can set the processor fan speed. Keep in mind that if you set the fan to cool the processor the most it can then it becomes noisy.

I did not run any special test to find the battery life on this device but from my own experience on it, browsing the web via WiFi, I would say that it was close to 3 hours. Playing a video expect something close to 2:30 hours.

The screen on this device is very sensitive, very good when you are using programs like a GPS Navigator but not so good when you are handwriting on it though with this screen size you can avoid easily to touch the screen accidentally while writing. The default resolution is 1024x600, a resolution that most of the users ask for but that I really find for my old eyes to difficult to work with in this display size.

P1200011The Wibrain B1 comes with a VGA Cable that connects to the bottom port on the unit.

The sound on this device is not too good probably because of the speaker size.


Would I recommend this device? Yes, I would recommend the devices to those that do not want to pay the price for a OQO 02 but want something with that size and about the same performance.

You can find more pictures of the Wibrain B1 here.

OQO will not add Touchscreen

I'm trying to disconnect myself during the weekend from the web, at least from posting news. I have enough with keeping updated the video section of todoUMPC (Spanish), something that I do every Sunday. So I missed the news of OQO planning to add a touch screen to their UMPC this year. And I glad that I did miss it because soon after the news was posted in some of the most important websites about this topic OQO released a statement  saying that:

OQO would never disclose future product information in other than broad terms, but I can disclose that statements in the video are not true about when certain features will ship (if ever).

I know that many users were asking for this feature to be added to the OQO 02 but that's not something that will happen... at least soon.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

jkOnTheRun reviews WiBrain B1-H UMPC

P1200004I have been a little busy lately without much time to finish my review of the Wibrain B1H UMPC. So, while you are waiting for me here is a review that I would recommend.

I think the WiBrain meets the intended use of a companion handheld computer. I'd recommend the device to anyone on a budget who can deal with the high resolution on the small screen and is looking for a portable device mainly for visual Internet usage. As mentioned, you can use the device for full desktop apps, but you'll see a hit in the battery life and you'll need an external keyboard for serious text entry. The touchscreen won't help you much here because the device isn't running the Tablet Edition of XP and based on the high res, I'm not sure it would be a positive experience in the end even if you were running it. Audio quality is lacking and the the web-cam not working with Skype takes away one of my primary functions, but if you don't use Skype or other apps that use a web-cam, this should be a non issue.

I completely agree with Kevin, a device with a touch screen and Windows Home edition uses 25% of the capabilities of that touch screen. Why Wibrain and other install Windows XP Home Edition instead of Tablet PC 2005 Edition? My guess is that they do that to have a more appealing price. But that's a mistake. A huge mistake. The OS for this machine is XP Tablet PC Edition without any doubt. Of course would be better if we could run Vista "properly" in all UMPCs but in the Wibrain, you better stay with XP.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pro Photographer Uses OQO Model 2 to Edit, File High Res Images Remotely

Here is an interesting article published at Notebook.com:

I was chatting with some pro photographers at CES today and one of them busted out a OQO model 2 and showed me how he edits and uploads his photos with the device. Andrew runs Photoshop 7.0 on the OQO since it requires less resources and he only needs to adjust levels, sharpen and crop. Once the images are presentable, he sends them off to his HQ over the built-in EVDO card.

Very interesting, I do not use Photoshop for these tasks, I found that the image viewer tool included in Vista does all that. I just open the folder were I have all pictures that I just have taken for that specific topic, double click in the first one, that opens the Image viewer tool from Vista, that tool has a button to open the next or previous picture on that folder and there you have also a button to edit. The Edit button gives you the option to crop, change the brightness and contrast and other few things. Basically, all I need for my articles. Once I have done that, it's a matter of connecting my UMPC to my EDGE BT Phone or a WiFi network at home or at work and send them to Flicks. Once it's in Flicks, it's a matter of opening Windows Live Writer and post the news here. Do you know that 90% of all my posts here are posted from my Samsung Q1 UMPC? That has became my main PC since more than a year ago. DevilBy the way, the OQO 02 is also sold with Vista Installed in case you want to use my method.

Readius Ebook Phone Hybrid

readius1One of the features that I liked most of Amazon Kindle was the anytime connectivity to Amazon Kindle Store, where I can buy books from my own reader. Well, here is a new and interesting concept made by the Dutch company Polymer Vision that is set to launch mid 2008, according to news posted at wired.com

The Readius is essentially a cellphone with a roll out 5" e-ink display. According to Reuters, it "will go head-to-head with Apple's iPhone and Amazon's Kindle". The Readius certainly has a stupid enough name to compete with the Kindle, but an iPhone rival? Apple managed to get a full scale computing experience into a box with one button. The Readius has eight buttons, and you'll need to do all the setup on a computer: email, audio books, RSS feeds and podcasts. None of this is configurable on the go.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Unboxing my Kindle

I just got my Amazon Kindle and of course, I took a lot of pictures of the "unboxing" ceremony.







I wrote some comments in some of the pictures explaining what I was seeing on that moment.

The Wibrain B1 Photo Set by Ctitanic

I like to take pictures of every machine I get to check, a lot of pictures, I think that sometimes they are more useful to people thinking about buying these devices than 1000 of words. It happened to me that after posting them I receive emails with questions about things that people find in these pictures that I did not noticed having the device on front of me in my hands. So here is the Wibrain B1 Photo Set.