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.18.2007 @ 2:18 AM
Quote: Embedded Windows may suck, but it sucks less than _ANY_ Linux.

I'm going to assume this statement was made in reference to music applications. Otherwise --> are you serious? As a former tech who had to maintain installations of proprietary software on all different platforms - Windows, Linux, Unix, BSD flavors, Mac OS X and 9 - in my experience, linux may have needed more time to intially configure, but once up and running, rarely needed maintenance. The clusterfuck that was Windows installs were only a fart in the wind better than OS 9, which sucked worse than anything.


Apr.18.2007 @ 2:57 AM
Chris Randall
Blah, blah, Linux, blah, blah, server, blah, blah, blah, tech.

If I had a fucking dollar...

You can assume I made that statement in reference to all apps that aren't Apache or sendmail, basically. I'm a musician. Why on earth would I give a flying fuck and a half about some dumb-ass server admin program?



Apr.18.2007 @ 10:23 AM
Not linux again. I've set up and now manage two Mac servers and a Windows XP server. Both platforms are IME pretty easy to get running and they don't require a lot of care and feeding. At no point have I ever wished for a more complicated solution that might be more solid. I've got solid already.

Maybe if i were spending my own money, I'd consider a Linux server, but the price of XP server or OSX server software v. time and frustration would be a dead heat.

Anyway, i think the Asus is cool. 256MB is double the memory in a maxed out MPC2000 (IIRC), so I'm sure something cool can be done with it.


Apr.18.2007 @ 11:38 AM
... of course, the akai os probably fits in few megabytes max, and the standard windows xp eats memory for breakfast (less than osx though, based on my personal experience). wouldn't know about the embedded version.

Apr.18.2007 @ 2:07 PM
With talk turning toward Linux, I had to jump in on this one. I tried playing with Linux for several years, never to even get past the install phase. Then Ubuntu came out. link [www.ubuntu.com]">link [www.ubuntu.com]

Ubuntu is freakin incredible. Installation is as simple as Vista's "drop disc in, push GO". It runs beautifully on old hardware (Tried it out on a Celeron 1.1ghz with a whole 384MB ram). And it comes with just about every piece of software a normal end user could want. (OpenOffice, GIMP, some media player, some burning software, Firefox, etc).

Now, since I actually *like* Windows, I went back to XP (now Vista) pretty much cuz I like to play games occasionally. If Microsoft were to fall off the face of the planet tomorrow, I would have no qualms about shifting to Ubuntu for my everyday use. I have no idea what is available for it for musician type stuff, nor how the audio subsystem is structured, but for mom and pop, Linux is finally a viable, and extremely smooth, solution.


Apr.18.2007 @ 4:26 PM
I installed Xubuntu on an old old powerbook, and I agree with the dark lord. For a free OS, it does alright with most of the pedestrian things people use computers for. It's a simple install, and then when you try to get it to relate to the rest of the world through, say, a USB port or a network, one of the lesser hells cuts loose.

I've set it up to run Pure Data (why? Deep self-loathing; do you have to ask?) and after much gnashing of teeth got it to send sound through an Echo Indigo PCMCIA card. MIDI is proving to be a struggle.


Apr.18.2007 @ 9:14 PM
you guys are missing the point. now, I've been eagerly anticipating ubuntu's new release tomorrow for at least a month, and I love linux for for almost all my computing needs (read: I like doing things the hard way). but audio on linux is miserable. there are no less than four different systems, and they are mostly incompatible. want to use your firewire box? jackd plus the freebob backend (which was a pain in the ass to actually get working, yay for doing it again when I reinstall tomorrow). want to listen to sound coming out of firefox? then your stuck with your mobo integrated sound card because firefox will only use alsa or oss. etc, etc.
audio is the only reason I still use windows.

my point is, this is mainly a pro audio/vst development/music business site, and linux debates have come up, what, 3 times in recent memory?


Apr.19.2007 @ 12:54 AM
Point taken. Audio sux0rs on Linux.

As an aside, in this pro-audio world, does the new audio subsystem of Vista make things easier with the removal of kmixer (and it's associated mangling of sound)? Or are things essentially the same as far as latencies, quality and whatnot go since ASIO and KS were already around?

I'm coming from a background of home theater and gaming, and from what I have seen, Vista's audio is far superior for these purposes versus the old Windows' system that had been around for way too long.


Apr.19.2007 @ 2:47 AM
Chris Randall
Well, in a perfect world, you just use ASIO and everything is swell. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect.

But that said, shitty drivers are shitty drivers, no matter what the OS. For what it's worth, Lynx drivers are rock solid on both XP and Vista. So are RME and MOTU as far as I know.



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