I don't think I've ever used one, but I really liked the keyboard on the Sharp PC-3100 from 1992. It came with DOS 3.3 although it could boot 5.0
The CPU is an Intel 80C88A (Immune to Meltdown :P) clocked at 10 MHz and it had 2MB RAM with 1MB ROM for built-in software. The screen is 640 x 200 monochrome, which was typical for portables (called "palmtop" computers) at the time. It's a really neat little device
@cypnk I wish someone would make something useful in that form factor today, clamshell and all.
I used to use a DS Lite as my main portable computing device. DS Linux, DSOrganize and a few other homebrew apps made it surprisingly versatile.
@rook Good news, some of the engineers behind the Psion have made a new device called the Gemini. It's Android and Linux compatible with an attached keyboard
@RussSharek @rook Definitely some rough edges there. But I don't know much about mobile limitations so I hope that can be fixed. My fear is that it may be too "mobile friendly" to the detriment of desktop-like functionality
Would be a shame since devices are now powerful enough to match desktops from 10 years ago
@cypnk I wouldn't be able to tolerate Android (too much incidental latency) but I could see myself using it as a Linux box. (That keyboard layout is pretty janked tho.)
@rook It's an "acquired taste" ;)
Good news is that there's now enough tech around to build your own. That's what I'm doing now, but mine is a very low power writing computer (basically, a glorified typewriter), so I'm using an ESP32. No Linux for it since it lacks a working MMU
@cypnk Yeah, I suppose I technically have 90% of the tools and materials I need already.
There are a few sins that one commits that I just can't get around. The biggest being the awkwardness of the 'enter' key. It's gotta put its center of mass in the home row or I'll miss it every time. (To me, that is more important than having the keys in any recognizable order.)
@rook If they make the keyboard just a bit longer, they could have put in a bigger Enter key
This is the current design for my DIY computer. The Enter is a little smaller than standard ANSI (which is what I'm used to), but it's still on the home row so that should keep typos to a minimum
I haven't finished the overall layout of the system yet, but it will be 285-290mm long
it remains to be seen who will first provide what that market actually wants instead of stringing us along with placebos and nearly-there-but-not-really designs, but i think someone will eventually get there. (see also: open hardware laptops, things that run linux out of the box without being over-priced trash, ...)
@kelbot @ajroach42 @cypnk @rook fwiw, the one person i know who ordered a gpd pocket for linux use has found it potentially cool but unusable (like "the screen is rotated the wrong way out of the box and there's no obvious fix" unusable). probably better if you want a tiny windows system, i think?
(i don't want that, but somebody must.)
@cypnk Wow, looks like a awesome device! 😄 👍
Must be a great way of using DOS. It's small, portable ... and not much power consuming, I guess.
@toromino I think it ran on AA batteries like the Poqet PC, which is another one I like ;)
@cypnk I don't think I've ever seen one of those before?
I'm pretty familiar with most of the other palmtops (Atari Portfolio, HP 100(/200) LX, Poqet PC) but I don't think I've come across this one before.
TBH, DOS is pretty great. I miss having my HP LX in my pocket (but the hinge on it is going, and the battery doesn't work consistently enough for me to trust it.)
This is why so many palmtops look and feel similar. Tidalwave probably worked on them
Beware of water damage. I've seen a few sell cheap that turned out to have spills or other issues with the keyboard. Also, the ribbon cable connecting to the screen sometimes gets weak with use and has to be replaced
@cypnk Oh damn. Okay, I guess I need to do some more research.
The software I was referring to is a boot image for DOS palmtops with EPOC listed as compatible. Maybe it went under after all these years
You may be able to get Linux on it instead: http://ajwells.net
I haven’t tried anything like this so it’s definitely “Here be Dragons” territory
@ajroach42 It belongs to the same class as the Tidalwave PS-1000. It's probably "late palmtop" in someways. Tidalwave made the hardware for a lot of these systems so they share many features (some are outright clones) with just different brand names and a few styles altered
@cypnk From what I'm reading, this looks like this was another DIP product. An update to the Atari Portfolio which was made by DIP.
Looks like it's nearly as good as the HP LX line in terms of modern compatibility too (but still far enough off to make it a pain to use.)
@cypnk I drooled over those early palm tops... I remember seeing an ad for one in a magazine, and I could think of nothing else
@iks There's an inexplicable allure to them that I don't think I've felt with any new laptop
@cypnk yes! I have been thinking about that. It's a feeling I have, but I can't quite put my finger on it.
@cypnk I had a Cassio BOSS handheld at about that time. It had a basic weakness. The keyboard on the bottom was connected to the CPU/display on top with a ribbon cable. Every time I opened or closed it, which was often, I flexed that cable. One day, while I was away from home, it failed suddenly, with no warning. It was also hard to back up, but I managed to do a backup without the keyboard, so I could buy a replacement and import my data. I still have the SE no one. Don't think it will work.
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