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Re: [CQ-Contest] Asus Eee PC or OLPC XO For Contesting?

To: "Eric Rosenberg" <wd3q@starpower.net>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Asus Eee PC or OLPC XO For Contesting?
From: "David Kozinn, K2DBK" <dkozinn@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2007 12:24:52 -0500
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Bear in mind the the OLPC machine isn't really something you can go to a
store and buy. It's a purpose-built machine intended to provide technology
in areas where they might not otherwise have access. (OLPC, for those of you
who aren't familiar, stands for One Laptop Per

The only way that I'm aware of that you can buy an OLPC machine is buy
paying $400 which buys two machines; you get one, you're funding the
purchase of another to be donated somewhere. (The $100 per machine goal
couldn't be met, the actual price was closer to $200 per unit.) Here's a
link to the site that explains more about this: http://laptopgiving.com .

As the wikipedia article explains, those machines are intentionally pretty
stripped down, so there's no hard drive (though you could use a USB drive if
you wanted), it's got a fairly low-end processor, and some of the other
bells and whistles that you'd expect on even a low-end commercial machine
probably aren't there. (I'll bet there are no serial or parallel ports, for

The OLPC runs a stripped-down version of Linux, and there is certainly a lot
of ham software that will run under Linux, but as a guess, I'll bet that
trying to use WINE to provide an emulation environment for Windows-based
applications i s probably going to be a challenge.

As for the ASUS machine, I'm not that familiar with it, but I took a quick
look at the specs. It appears that they have exchanged power for price, so
again, you're getting a fairly low-end, though small, machine. Looking at
some of the links that show a price, it seems to go for around $400.

My 2 cents would be that if you assume that you're going to have to spend
around $400, you might want to look into a refurb or surplus machine. A lot
of companies will lease computers, and when the lease ends, a company comes
in, cleans them up a bit, and offers them for sale. They won't be the
current model, but they aren't that far behind in many cases either. (Some
companies have lease terms as short as 18 months, I'd guess most aren't more
than 36 months.). There a ton of companies available that resell this stuff
(I'm reading this message in Gmail, and the ads to the right actually are
showing a bunch of them), or if you want to live a bit more dangerously, I'm
sure you can find thousands of them up for sale on ebay.

On Dec 2, 2007 9:09 AM, Eric Rosenberg <wd3q@starpower.net> wrote:

> The notion of using one of these small but seemingly powerful enough
> laptops for contesting seems intriguing.
> Has anyone tried either one?  Thoughts? Comments?
> Some links:
> http://usa.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=24&l2=0&l3=0&l4=0&model=1907&modelmenu=2
>   and
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OLPC_XO-1
> 73,
> Eric W3DQ
> Washington, DC
> _______________________________________________
> CQ-Contest mailing list
> CQ-Contest@contesting.com
> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest

    David, K2DBK
CQ-Contest mailing list

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