April 17, 2007

Classmate no longer vapor, it seems...

by Chris Randall

Apparently, the Classmate platform that Intel announced last year is actually going to come to fruition. This has interesting implications from a musical standpoint, so I thought it worth mentioning here. Here is a little article that followed the announcement, that talks a bit about what the Classmate is. But that's like "whatever." Here is the money shot from today. Long story short, Asus will roll out a range of Classmate-based 'puters in Q3 '07 that are priced from $199 to $549 (MSRP), have embedded Windows, 7" LCD, and a 1G to 40G flash drive.

Assuming it has a USB port (why wouldn't it?) this would probably be a perfect computer for all kinds of tasks, from being a dedicated MIDI sequencer to being a soft-synth for live performance, to getting integrated in to a modular system. I can come up with 20 ideas off the top of my head, so I'm sure there are dozens more, since the top of my head is full of other stuff.



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Apr.17.2007 @ 3:09 PM
Jeremy Cox
bet we could do some fat rails of coke off that screen

Apr.17.2007 @ 3:12 PM
embedded windows? yuck

Apr.17.2007 @ 3:27 PM
brandon daniel
Midi sequencer? yeah, maybe. Softsynth? Not any good ones on a machine with specs like that...

Apr.17.2007 @ 3:48 PM
What stands out there for me: flash drives. I want them in every computer, pronto.

Apr.17.2007 @ 3:55 PM
Adam Schabtach
Solid-state substitutes for hard drives are just about to hit the market, if they haven't already. See link [www.sandisk.com]">link [www.sandisk.com] for example.



Apr.17.2007 @ 4:13 PM
Chris Randall
There's lots of soft-synths that'll run on a computer like that. You just have to be creative. Pro-53, Wave, B4, Z3 (if that floats your boat), etc. I mean, Absynth and Reaktor 5 aren't gonna work too hot, but there's a lot of smaller synths that would work just fine.



Apr.17.2007 @ 7:35 PM
It's nothing more than a cheap laptop though. The One Laptop Per Child units have a revolutionary high resolution transmode LCD - black and white in low power mode that is visible even in direct sunlight, and supports lower resolution color in not so bright sunlight or when power isn't an issue. I attended a highly technical talk on the OLPC displays presented by Mary Lou Jepsen (coincidentally a former Intel employee). The contrast in bright light is amazing, and would be very benificial for musicians on stage or outside in bright light. That display technology coupled with a touch screen surface would make a killer UI for hardware synths or effects devices. Think low cost more intelligent version of the Lemur.

Apr.17.2007 @ 8:49 PM
TamTam on the OLPC is a fun little music program. If you get bored you can hack the Csound code to make it churn out alleatoric blip-hop and/or deathpolka.

Apr.17.2007 @ 10:07 PM
Chris Randall
The difference between a Classmate and an OLPC are quite extreme. The OLPC is nearly useless to us for three reasons. One, it runs a hacked up Linux, and using that for anything at all is like trying to eat peas with a knife. Two, it has half the CPU power. Three, it's like Jeremy said.

Really, the Classmate is a gussied up PDA, while the OLPC is a _really_ dumbed down PC. Embedded Windows may suck, but it sucks less than _ANY_ Linux.



Apr.17.2007 @ 11:00 PM
Man, if I had any cash to spare, I'd invest a bundle into Asus. Those things are going to sell like hotcakes. I swear it's going to be the next ipod. If it was Microsoft I'd be weary, but Asus has a fine reputation. I only buy Asus motherboards period.

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