Monday, August 3, 2009

3 Notebooks for Less Than $150 Here

They are at the following address:

Asus Eee PC 4G 701 Celeron M 900MHz 512MB 4GB SSD 7" Netbook Linux (White)
4GB SSD 7" Netbook Linux (White)
Part # EEEPC4G-701-WHT-R
Almost Gone

Asus Eee PC 900 Celeron M 900MHz 512MB 4GB SSD 8.9" Netbook Linux (Black)
4GB SSD 8.9" Netbook Linux (Black)
Part # EEEPC900-BK072-R
Almost Gone

Asus Eee PC 900 Celeron M 900MHz 512MB 4GB SSD 8.9" Netbook Linux (White)
4GB SSD 8.9" Netbook Linux (White)
Part # EEEPC900-W073-R
Almost Gone

Where to Get the Alpha 400 for $169.99

The Alpha 400 has sold out again at, but we can always order the Alpha 400 directly from its source, BestLink. No need too wait on Geeks.

You can order the Alpha 400 for $169.99 at the above address. This is most common price that has used anyway.

For a full description of the mini-laptop click on the link below.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

STEVE BALLMER SHOWS MICROSOFT'S TRUE COLORS: "Raise the Price of Netbooks" Here's an open letter: "Fat chance, fat man!"

Open Letter to Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corporation:

Dear Mr. Ballmer:

In a recent presentation to stock-market analysts at Microsoft headquarters, you admitted that Microsoft wants to raise the price of netbooks.

You are admitting what I have accused your partner in crime (Intel) of, numerous times in posts here: bait and switch. When Asus came out with its revolutionary Model EEE, which is to computing what the Model T is to cars, you used the monopoly power of Microsoft to drive Linux off the Asus mini-laptops and later almost completely off "netbooks" (a term established by Intel) by practically giving away a Windows product, XP, that you had discarded. Now Microsoft's profits are down 29 percent for the last three months, based on cheaper XP dragging down Windows revenue ; and you hope to "upgrade" everyone with Windows 7, which means extracting much more money from home and enterprise users, especially, those who use small, cheap computers.

You have said you hope to use Windows 7 to bring up the price of netbooks. Actually, that would be the tail wagging the dog: Netbooks are bigger than Microsoft, and your latest OS introduction will be a flop, just like Vista.

I have news for you: The basic law of microelectronics is not the well known Moore's Law (named after the cofounder of your partner in Wintel, for those who still don't know), which says maximum transistors on a CPU will double regularly. The basic law of microelectronics is not Moore's Law and it's not "More is better," meaning use the more complex chips for more performance (speed) and "featurism" -- 1001 features that almost no one needs on an operating system or application program and that just slow down the computer and get in the way of the user.

The Basic Law of Microelectronics Is ...

It is Van der Rohe's Law (not Moore's): "Less is more." I wrote one of the early books with "microelectronics" in the title, and I have been interested in this since long before the PC came out.

Electronic components like microprocessors get smaller because people want cheaper and more portable end products. At first it was radios, TVs, tape players, and other consumer electronics. Of course it's the same with computers -- of course.

People can find 15-inch laptops for $300 in the Sunday advertising supplements, and any day of the week in Walmart or electronics stores. These cheap laptops use your operating systems. Do you think you are going to get people who have been exposed to these to go back to notebooks or laptops selling for 3-10 times as much just because you are introducing a new Windows 7 OS with new bells and whistles and eye-candy?

Mr. Ballmer, with all *due* respect, you are not going to be able to turn back the clock. You have baited people with $35 XP, but you won't be able to switch them to Windows 7 on computers costing $500, $1000, or multiples thereof. Maybe you were foolish for staying in the cheap-computer fray as long as you did. You have let the horses out of the barn.

Less is more. You and all in the computing game will soon see. I eagerly await the introduction of Windows 7 on Times Square in New York and seeing it on the famous electronic billboard. I eagerly await crowds of yahoos standing in the cold outside the doors of the Best Buy in Brooklyn (Ohio) at one in the morning (just as they did for Vista) to get the first copies of Windows 7. I will be watching on my $100+ mini-laptop from

Yours truly,

Clayton L. Hallmark

Friday, July 31, 2009

Sold Out Already

The near-$100 computer deal at has sold out again, much sooner than I expected, less than a day after I posted it.

This shows the revolutionary demand at a level near $100, even for a 7-inch computer.

When will someone break that barrier on a more or less permanent basis? This year or next?

The results will be amazing, as most people don't know you can get a brand-new computer anywhere near that cheap.

Get Alpha 400 + FREE SHIPPING for $129.99

I said a few posts ago that had reached the "sweet spot of computer pricing" at $129 for the 9-inch Asus EEE PC. They ran out of that and similar deals in a few days.

Well, the deals are back, with one on our beloved Skytone Alpha-400.

Please click here to get the Alpha-400 for $129.99 with no shipping charge. Be sure to use the code FREESHIP during checkout at

I wouldn't wait too long if you want the world's cheapest price for a computer that is brand new and not refurbished or subsidized.

We are very close to the $100 computer now, which is not the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) and never will be.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

$100 PC Era Brought by Asus EEE PC, Not OLPC, After All: $129, 9" LCD, at Geeks (Also Alpha 400 at $134+)


The sweet spot of computer pricing apparently is not $99 as many of us thought, but $129. Geeks now offers a 7-inch Everex CloudBook for $129.99 (refurbished). They sold out of the refurbished Asus 900 at $129.99, which was supposed to be available through July 31. Sold out Saturday night, July 11. In the bargain they also sold out of the ALPHA-400 at $149.99, which they have been selling brand-new for a long time (presumably it will be restocked).

They also offer the newer Asus EEE PC 900A (note "A") for $179.99 again refurbished, details below.

Rounding out the best deals online, is the Alpha-400 (brand new) at $130-$150 when and if it is in stock.


Also, you can usually find a standard laptop, around 15-inch LCD, in the Sunday advertising flyers in your local paper for a few bucks over $300.

$129.99 Refurbished

* Everex CloudBook CE1200V VIA C7-M 1.2 GHz 7-inch Netbook

* General Features:
* Color: Black
* gOS Rocket Operating System pre-installed
* VIA C7-M 1.2 GHz Ultra Low Voltage Processor
* VIA VX700 Northbridge / Southbridge chipset
* 512 MB DDR2 533 MHz SDRAM (1 GB maximum supported)
* 30 GB hard drive
* No Optical Drive
* VIA UniChrome Pro IGP graphics
* Built-in Webcam
* VIA VT1708A Vinyl High-Definition Audio Codec with built-in speakers
* Realtek 8100C 10/100 Base-TX Ethernet
* Realtek 802.11b/g Wireless Network Adapter
* 80-key US keyboard with TouchPad
* 7-inch WVGA Widescreen Display (800 x 480 native resolution)
* Built-in 4-in-1 Card Reader
$179.99 Refurbished

* Asus Eee PC 900A Atom N270 1.60 GHz 8.9-inch Netbook

* General Features:
* Pearl white color
* Asus customized Linux operating system
* Intel Atom N270 1.60 GHz processor
* 4 GB SSD (Solid-State Disk) internal storage capacity
* No optical drive
* No floppy drive
* Intel UMA integrated video
* Integrated high definition audio with built-in speakers
* Integrated 10/100 Ethernet
* 802.11b/g Wireless LAN
* Keyboard with touchpad
* Built-in memory card reader
* 8.9-inch Wide LCD display with 1024 x 600 resolution (WSVGA)



One of the things that capitalists fear the most, believe it or not, is the concept of a $100 PC. That's why ever since the Asus EEE came out in October 2007 there has been constant pressure to up the performance -- and of course the price -- from every kind of news and PR source and of course from Microsoft, who have practically been willing to give away their once-discarded XP OS to get it on so-called "netbooks" (as their partner in crime, Intel, promptly dubbed them).

The $100 PC originally was promised by the nonprofit OLPC (One Laptop Per Child project), and they failed to deliver, even switched from Linux to that "vast capitalist conspiracy," Windows. Even Asus failed to attain $100 exactly and switched to Windows also.

But can we finally agree that the day of "the computer you need is always $5000" -- gross exploitation of computer consumers by corporate capitalism -- is over and the day of $100 PCs (laptops, notebooks, MIDs, smartphone computers, etc.) is finally here? I mean, if can sell a 9-inch version for $129.95, that's close enough for me to declare victory. Even if it is only for July 2009. And even if the unit is a refurb (3-month warranty, which American Express should extend to 1-year if you use them). (Buyer Beware: When you order on a special deal online, don't forget to apply the "secret savings code," 900M here, at checkout to get the near $100 price . Write the code down as soon as you see it.) If you insist on brand new, and if a 7-inch screen will suffice, the same outfit offers our beloved ALPHA-400, always, day in and day out, for $149.99 (sometimes near $130) .

As I said in October 2007, the Asus EEE PC will be remembered as the Model T of computers -- the computer for the masses that put the world on the Web (and not just the core developed nations). In a sense, there is a chance to get your piece of history -- and as Henry Ford might say today, "In any color you want, as long as it's black or white."


On a recent trip to the Microcenter store out in Mayfield Heights, I was shocked to find not one Linux notebook. And this was one of the first retailers to carry the Asus EEE PC in bricks-and-mortar stores. More recently, news reports say that Microsoft XP has about a 99-percent share in mini-laptops (netbooks) being sold now.

Do you feel baited and switched? It's a technique as old as retailing, mercantilism, and probably trade itself; and it works best under capitalism: "Underpowered." "Unfamiliar." "For kids." "Not for intensive gaming, video editing [or whatever]." "Needs a larger screen for real work" [as large as that mural-sized LCD on your wall, or is a 2" cellphone screen enough sometimes?]. Or as Bill Gates famously said, "Geez, get yourself a decent computer."


Ultimately the Wintel netbook version of bait and switch will fail. People will try the various versions of Linux and find that Windows is not easier, just more familiar. But HERE IS WHY MICROSOFT ALWAYS SEEMS TO WIN: The Wizard hides behind an iron curtain of PC magazine and Engadget propaganda -- incorporating PC users themselves and foolish word-of-mouth on forums, in comments, etc. -- convincing people that he is all-wise and that they need him to boss them, and especially to provide all of their software needs. Anything else, he will tell them, is difficult and unreliable. I would venture that everyone reading this knows that that is of course a lie.

The average person who tries a Linux laptop or notebook or other device and overcomes the simple-minded snare of familiarity will agree with me as well. Remember, Linux is the computer language of the people. It is there to help. Commercial software is something that has been fenced in (like land in the Range Wars of the Old West), copyrighted, and patented and is out there to make a profit for the richest man in the world.

So to doubters, quit being a computer wimp and a baby: Give up the security blanket of boxed, store-bought software and try open-source, the software of the people.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Världens billigaste netbook: The world's cheapest netbook

By Niklas Andersson [Photo]

This is just in from the Swedish magazine Tech World via the Swedish version of the IDG website The translation is by Google:

"Nicolas Negroponte's dream of a computer for a hundred U.S. dollars looks to soon come true, but it is not his own creation that crosses the finishing line.

The Belco Alpha 400 has been sold for as little as 1070 kronor for a sales campaign.

A computer should not cost more than a hundred U.S. dollars, thought MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte, and he started the project One Laptop Per Child (OLPC).

The project launched what Sony called a "race to the bottom" with constantly falling prices and reduced margins.

OLPC developed around Linux for cutting off what became the single largest cost component - the operating system.

OLPC and Linux became the catalyst for the entire netbook industry, where ASUS was the first out with its Eee PC-700, which took the world by storm and where the sales target was up to five million units. Since then, the majority of PC manufacturers had to jump on the netbook train with continued depressed prices as a result.

OLPC project since its inception has had several difficult periods. Negroponte's controversial move that the device could also ship with Windows has outraged the open-source community, which endorsed the product mainly for it to ship with free software. OLPC has also seen itself forced to fire much of the staff, and sales success has failed to materialize.

The last public price information for an OLPC was at $188, or $88 off target.

The price has now, however, been approached by a number of manufacturers with models like the Asus Eee PC-900 which sells for $194.99. [Note: Andersson, like journalist Caitlyn Martin in the US, does not distinguish between new and REFURBISHED. The PC-900 at Geeks is a refurb. The Alpha is brand new, never tampered with.]

If processor architecture is a minor consideration, there are even cheaper computers. Belco Alpha 400 is a netbook with a MIPS processor, and the computer approached during a campaign a price of $139.

Most point to the trend of falling prices continuing. The company behind the processor ARM say they have several models ready for the autumn, which in addition to lower price will offer significantly longer battery times.

The cheapest netbooks we see today go for $139, or around 1070 SEK. So for the mini size, we have 70 kronor left until our dream limit is reached - a thousand kronor - which may take place as soon as autumn.

Nicolas Negroponte should probably wait until next year.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Coby to Buy NBPC1020, Other 10-Inch Netbooks from Kophee Technologies Co., Ltd.


KOPHEE Technologies Co., Ltd., of Shenzhen China apparently is the maker of the Coby notebooks or netbooks.

The relationship with Coby Electronics could be more than manufacturer-destributor. This could be one of what Coby refers to as "sister companies." Also note the similarity in the names, depending on how you pronounce Coby and Kophee.

News reports have stated that Coby has supplied notebooks to S. America, Asia, and Korea. Kophee does have Korean ties. Also, the Coby/Kophee model numbers already are being marketed by Eltech in the United Arab Emirates, which says its IT hardware is "designed in the USA" and "manufactured in Korea and China" and which all fits in with Coby Electronics. The UAE is in southwest Asia.

So apparently the first seller of the Coby notebooks like the NBPC1022 is Eltech in Asia, or the Middle East.

You can get an Alpha-400 mini-laptop like we are promoting here for $134.99 here from GEEKS.COM, the best buy around for a NEW computer (some journalists like Caitlin Martin have unfairly compared this to even better "bargains" in refurbished, used computers). Or you might someday be able to get a 10-inch Coby for $240 as explained below.

The long-awaited "netbook" PCs of the American Champ of Cheap, Coby Electronics, apparently will be manufactured by Kophee Technologies Co., Ltd., of Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. This could be coming to discount stores (and other outlets) everywhere.

Two colorful examples are in the photograph (click to enlarge). Be sure to go to the Kophee page here for details of the NBPC-1022, which supposedly will soon be sold by Coby in South America as well as in Korea and other Asian countries for the equivalent of $240.

The other three 10-inch mini-laptops listed on the site of Shenzhen Coby Communications Co., Ltd., are at this link:

The Kophee Technologies Co. page shows that the company will sell in lots of 100 units minimum and can provide up to 200,000 a year.

If anyone can offer a 10-inch mini-laptop -- brand new, not refurbished as many tricksters in the press try to use to confuse the issue -- for $240 in the United States, Kophee and Coby will need to gear up production. And, as for Michael Dell and Bill Gates, in the words of long-ago president Harry Truman, "When that happens [they'll] need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!"

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

World's Cheapest PC Computer -- Alpha 400 at Near $100


Can we say the day of the $100 computer has arrived?

" is a place to find way under priced tech gadgets. We offer one product daily that is available until sold out or until the next product is available. New products are posted every day at 10:10 AM CST." is based out of a suburb in Memphis, TN. Also, note that there are two "g's" in "Snagg."

Here's their URL.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

COBY Electronics Netbook CONFIRMED HERE: NBPC-1022 -- 10", $240

You can replace your heavy old PC for $240. The graphic shows that a 10-inch screen is big enough for general work.

The SECOND graphic shows the Coby Electronics page displaying the Coby netbook NBPC 1022 and 7 other mini-laptops. (Click on graphic to enlarge.)

See the actual page at the following link:

The THIRD graphic shows the Coby Electronics page with the specifications of the NBPC-1022 netbook (Click on it to enlarge.)

See the specs page here:


The FOURTH graphic shows this. (Click to enlarge.)

You can see the whole "COBY proof" page by clicking on the ABOUT US link in the Shenzhen page: ..

The FIFTH graphic shows the specifications of the Coby NBPC 1022.



If you can read a page off a printer or typewriter, then you can use a 10-inch screen full time with no problem. A 10-inch mini-laptop or netbook should be able to replace your regular or current PC at a greatly reduced price -- a depression-era computer.


1. Product Number: NBPC722
7” Net Book * 7" TFT LCD (800x480) * CPU with Marvell PXA303 624GHz * Support SD, MMC, MS / MS Pro * 1GB to 16GB Storage * LAN 10/100M * 0.3M Pixels Camera(optional) * Wireless LAN(802.11 b/g) * Support Linux/Windows CE * Rechargeable Li-ion battery (3 Cells/7.4V/2200mAH) * 215mm X 146mm X 28mm

2. Product Number: NBPC800
8” Net Book * 8" TFT LCD (800x480) * CPU with Marvell PXA303 624GHz * Support SD, MMC, MS / MS Pro * 1GB to 16GB Storage * LAN 10/100M * 1.3M Pixels Camera(optional) * Wireless LAN(802.11 b/g) * Support Linux/Windows CE * Rechargeable Li-ion battery (2 Cells/7.4V/2200mAH) * 215mm X 146mm X 28mm

3. Product Number: NBPC822
8” Net Book * 8" TFT LCD (800x480) * CPU with Intel Atom processor N270 * 160GB(Up to 500GB)2.5" HDD * Support SD, MMC, MS / MS Pro(up to 32GB) * 1GB DDR2 667/533/400MHz(up to 2GB) * LAN 10/100M * 0.3M Pixels Camera * Built-in high-speed wireless LAN(802.11 b/g) * Support Linux/Windows XP/Windows Vista * Rechargeable Polymer battery (3 Cells/11.1V/2200 * 252mm X 190mm X 34mm

4. Product Number: NBPC892
NBPC892 8.9” Net Book * 8.9" TFT LCD (1024x600) * CPU with Intel Atom processor N270 * 160GB(Up to 500GB)2.5" HDD * Support SD, MMC, MS / MS Pro(up to 32GB) * 1GB DDR2 667/533/400MHz(up to 2GB) * LAN 10/100M * 0.3M Pixels Camera * Built-in high-speed wireless LAN(802.11 b/g) * Support Linux/Windows XP/Windows Vista * Rechargeable Polymer battery (3 Cells/11.1V/2200mAH) * 252mm X 190mm X 32.5mm

5. Product Number: NBPC1022
10” Net Book * 10" TFT LCD (1024x600) * CPU with Intel Atom Processor N270 * 160GB(Up to 500GB)2.5" HDD * Support SD, MMC, MS / MS Pro(up to 32GB) * 1GB DDR2 667/533/400MHz(up to 2GB) * LAN 10/100M * 0.3M Pixels Camera * Built-in high-speed wireless LAN(802.11 b/g) * Support Linux/Windows XP/Windows Vista * Rechargeable Li-ion battery (3 Cells/11.1V/2200mAH) * 256mm x 183mm x 34mm

6. Product Number: NBPC1028
10” Net Book * 10" TFT LCD (1024x600) * CPU with Intel Atom processor N270 * 160GB(Up to 500GB)2.5" HDD * Support SD, MMC, MS / MS Pro(up to 32GB) * 1GB DDR2 667/533/400MHz(up to 2GB) * LAN 10/100M * 1.3M Pixels Camera * Built-in high-speed wireless LAN(802.11 b/g) * Support Linux/Windows XP/Windows Vista * Rechargeable Li-ion battery (3 Cells/11.1V/2200mAH) * 258mm X 197mm X 25.5mm

7. Product Number: NBPC1030
10” Net Book * 10" TFT LCD (1024x600) * CPU with Intel Atom processor N270 * 160GB(Up to 500GB)2.5" HDD * Support SD, MMC, MS / MS Pro(up to 32GB) * 1GB DDR2 667/533/400MHz(up to 2GB) * LAN 10/100M * 0.3M Pixels Camera * Built-in high-speed wireless LAN(802.11 b/g) * Support Linux/Windows XP/Windows Vista * Rechargeable Li-ion battery (3 Cells/11.1V/2200mAH) * 258mm X 197mm X 25.5mm

8. Product Number: NBPC1220
12” Net Book * 12" TFT LCD (1280x800) * CPU with AMD K8 * 160GB(Up to 500GB)2.5" HDD * Support SD, MMC, MS / MS Pro(up to 32GB) * 1GB DDR2 667/533/400MHz(up to 2GB) * LAN 10/100M * 0.3M Pixels Camera * Built-in high-speed wireless LAN(802.11 b/g) * Support Linux/Windows XP/Windows Vista * Rechargeable Polymer battery (4 Cells/7.4V/4400mAH) * 296mm X 223mm X 28mm

Friday, June 26, 2009

COBY Has a Netbook: NB PC1022 -- World's Cheapest 10-Inch?

Coby NB PC1022: The Cheapest 10-inch Netbook at $240 -- Coming to Big Lots, CVS, etc.?

This is an appealing product, a screen that size for that price. To get an idea of the screen size, fold a sheet of typing paper in half. If you measure diagonally, that is 10 inches -- not quite the right aspect ratio, but you get the idea.

What would be the cheapest 10-inch laptop was displayed at the Comptex computer show early this month in Taiwan. The display (photo) was in a section reserved for mainland Chinese companies.

FOR MORE PHOTOS OF COBY NETBOOK 1022, CLICK HERE. One photo shows Windows 7 malware (ugh), but I would not expect that (or buy it).

The company is Coby Electronics, based in Shenzhen (Guangdong province). The logo on the machines (see photo) is the same as that of the famous US supplier of consumer packaged electronics (bubblepacks, etc.) to discount stores, which is based in the New York City area. Coby Electronics in New York denied last December that they were producing a mini-laptop computer, then showed about 10 of them at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. See here:

However, the company displaying at the Computex show claims to be selling the PC1022 in Korea, S. America, and parts of Asia. As you can see, its logo appears to be the same as the one we are all familiar with from seeing it at Big Lots and other cheap outlets. The relationship between the American Coby and the Chinese Coby is unclear. The American company does have a factory in Foshan China.

So I would be on the outlook for this:

The Coby NB PC1022 is a 10-inch netbook with an Atom N270 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 160 GB of storage. A webcam is included so that you’ll get the fullest netbook experience. The price for large orders is $220.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Steve Jobs Probably Dying From Cancer

All of the hullabaloo about Steve Jobs's illness and the way Apple Computer has handled -- or rather, obfuscated it -- are small potatoes compared to the fact that he probably is dying of cancer.

Jobs had pancreatic cancer -- always a grim diagnosis -- and it metastasized. He was operated on for this and became sick again, and was visibly ailing in many public appearances. Eventually, he announced a 6-month leave of absence on false pretenses, hiding the fact that the cancer had returned, having spread to his liver. During this time he had his recent liver transplant and announced plans to return to work by the end of June.

For once I hope I am wrong about what I am blogging, but the chances of the cancer not having spread to other sites besides the liver at the same time it spread to the pancreas seem remote. Also, the chances that "they got all of it" when they removed the liver recently are even more remote.

Cancer surgeons will tell you that the word "cure" is not in their vocabulary. Jobs's case is especially bad. He had cancer in one of the worst sites, the pancreas, and it metastasized to another bad spot. All of the time this was happening, a few mutated cells could have spread anywhere in the body.

Apple investors need to face facts and consider what the untimely loss of Mr. Jobs will mean to a company that relies on spectacular innovations that are basically a one-man show. Mr. Jobs and Apple need to start being honest about his illness with those to whom they have a fiduciary responsibility. He does not have a right to mislead his shareholders about the state of his health. It is not just "his business and nobody else's except his family's." Apple is a definite sell, based on Steve Jobs's prospects for continuing to lead it.

I really hope I am wrong about his outcome.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Pirate Party Gets Seats in European and German Parliaments

In the Swedish election of June 7, the Swedish Pirate Party won one of Sweden's 18 seats in the European Parliament headquartered in Brussels Belgium.

It is now Sweden's third biggest party by membership. Its ranks swelled when four men were sentenced to prison in the high-profile Pirate Bay case in April. People use Web sites like The Pirate Bay to transfer movies and music, a practice that has drawn the ire--and the lawyers--of Hollywood studios and the recording industry.

The Pirate Party is not formally connected with The Pirate Bay, but has officially expressed support for the Web site.

The party wants all noncommercial copying to be free and file sharing to be encouraged. The copyright system, it argues, is out of whack--rather than encouraging the spread of culture, the system now imposes severe restrictions.

Member of German Social Democrat Party Jumps Ship -- Hops on the Pirate Party Ship

The German Pirate Party has a new reason to celebrate. Not only do they have a member, soon to be two members, in the European parliament, but now they have a member in the German Bundestag (German Parliament). The Pirate Party website posted about this development on their blog.

Piratpartiet now in the German Reichstag

Pressmeddelande 20 juni kl 20:20 Press Release June 20 at 20:20

Jörg Tauss, socialdemokrat i tyska riksdagen, har hoppat av sitt parti SPD till förmån för Piratpartiet. Jörg Taussig, a Social Democrat in the German Reichstag, has dropped out of his party SPD in favor of Piratpartiet. Det tyska Piratenpartei har därmed fått sin första ledamot i riksdagen. The German Piratenpartei therefore has its first member of the Riksdag.

– Vi välkomnar att fler ser att kampen för fri kommunikation i ett öppet samhälle är rätt väg att gå, och inte censur, blockeringar och övervakning, säger Rick Falkvinge, partiledare för det svenska Piratpartiet. - We welcome the fact that more can see that the fight for free communication in an open society is the way forward, and not censorship, blocking and monitoring, "says Rick Falk Vinge, party leader for the Swedish Piratpartiet. Det är särskilt glädjande att en befintlig riksdagsledamot ser detta. It is particularly gratifying to an existing MP sees this.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Just In: $139.99 -- Are they outta their mind? WORLD'S CHEAPEST COMPUTER

Unbelievably cheap: Click for details ....

I want to comment on the comments made by Raindog469 in reply to my previous post today (the "$149" post below). Raindog made some good comments, and I want to encourage more of the same.

raindog469 said...

While you've drawn a distinction between primary (new) and secondary (used) markets in the past, I think there's a third market in between those, namely the overstock/liquidation market served by, and others (throw in refurbs as well to further complicate the picture.) I think that for the next decade or so, the only way to get a $16 blisterpack PC like the one in the mockup will be to buy about 10,000 pieces of someone's liquidated inventory, sold at a loss to recoup part of their investment. Even 5" portable DVD players haven't gotten that cheap, except used. does a lot of overstock business and I strongly suspect that they're doing that with these little laptops, though I haven't the faintest idea what Belco's original distribution channels would have been. Products sold this way might not be used (except for refurbs), but they're not really "new", either. Someone has given up on selling them for full price and is now just trying to lose as little as possible.

That said, I think there'll be some seriously cheap PCs available through that channel in a few years. I paid $500 for my first 1-megapixel digital camera in 1999, and now you can get 3-megapixel digital cameras with preview screens in blisterpacks for about $20 when last year's models go on clearance. It looks like the $149 ARM netbook will be fairly common this xmas, and if it follows digital cameras and DVD players, next year everyone will have them as $99 doorbusters. A few more iterations of that, and you might start seeing the previous year's stuff on the Wal-mart clearance racks in May or June for around $50, which by that time will be pretty close to their material cost. But by the time we see a blister pack PC for $16, I think the functionality of a PC will either be irrelevant or incorporated into some other device that doesn't cost much more than that (as low-end cameras were absorbed into phones.)

There's one other possibility that could result in PCs with prices in the low two-digit range. I was at one of the big box stores recently, can't remember which one, and in their clearance section they had something that looked like a mini-laptop for $39 whose entire purpose was to check your email, and nothing else. No idea what it was running under the hood, but it was useless without a $10/month subscription to the manufacturer's email service, which had been shut down. I think we haven't seen the last of the "PeoplePC" style business models (a variation has already turned up with phone carriers distributing netbooks cheaply or for free with 2-year data contracts, but structured as a discount or rebate rather than actual cheap hardware), and it may be that the first sub-$50 laptop is the result of someone subsidizing the hardware that way and then going belly-up. But unless there were a strong support community with easy ways for non-technical users to get rid of the software tying the laptops to services that had gone out of business, that wouldn't be good for either consumers or the cheap-PC movement. So I'm betting on the "last year's model on clearance" phenomenon.

My reply (not a rebuttal, just some additional thoughts) ...

These are good comments that offer hope on several fronts. I would certainly settle for your "last year's model on clearance" scenario -- if that's what it takes to finally get the ball rolling on really cheap laptops.

I have had the same impression, that is somewhat a closeout operation. But as far as the Alpha 400 is concerned, really has't been doing much beyond offering it at a fair everyday price. The company that branded the Alpha 400 -- Belco (aka Bestlink) -- has been offering it at the everyday low price of $149 for some time. Please refer to this site.

I don't see much reason why ARM computers should beat the MIPS machines on price.

I think we shall see mini-laptops on bubblepacks for less than $20 on a standalone basis in a few years, rather than just embedded in something else. Smartphones, laptops, DVD players, and everything else electronic can be made much cheaper if made in very large volumes, as you know.

Certainly laptops are not going away, and I think the cheapest ones should get below $20 in a few years now that the focus of at least some manufacturers is on low price above everything else. These might have less demanding specifications and more flimsy construction than the Alpha 400, however. They might have smaller screens than 7 inches as well.

Finally Moore's Law is working the other way he predicted it would, other than just for higher performance at the higher end. It is at last working for lower price at the bottom end as well. Please see the illustration (click to enlarge it) from Moore's famous 1965 article in "Electronics".

If cellphone service providers decide to subsidize the cheapest PCs, that could achieve the economy of scale to cut the prices drastically in 2010 for MIPS as well as ARM devices.

If Coby Electronics jumped into the price war, that would be a tipping point.

If Walmart is still interested in offering a $100 laptop as Skytone says they were, and if someone can supply one at an appropriate discount to Walmart, that would be a game changer. And if closeout brick-and-mortar stores like Odd Lots and drugstores like CVS jumped in, there could at last be a general awareness of the Alpha 400 and other cheap mini-laptops.

Right now most people aren't even aware that you can get a laptop that's brand new and at an everyday low price of way below $200. I want to make sure that they become aware, whatever it takes. I just visited the local Microcenter store, and they now have no Linux laptops or "netbooks". Apparently people just aren't aware how useful and easy these computers are.

Thanks again, and please let us know what you think. I hope we can convince people they need much cheaper computers than $200.

Now Back at $149.95 -- Won't last at this price. might have 4 only. is offering the Alpha-400 for $149.95 again through Amazon at the above address, but there might be only 4 in stock (according to the above).

For more, please click here.

As we hoped for, clones of these mini-laptops are offered in more than 20 brands. A multiplicity of brands is key to success for an ultracheap platform. They are very popular in Europe in Asia and should be in the USA, esp., with the state of the economy (California at 11.5-percent unemployment, for instance).

Still needed:

Offbeat Outlets:
Drugstores, hardware stores, department stores, toy stores, discount stores, etc. This is the best exposure ultracheapies can get, trust me.

Lower Prices: The Alpha 400s are quite cheap compared to "netbooks"; but apparently, to compete with Microsoft, they need to be cheaper still.

And they will be. Eventually some will be made to sell for a few bucks on a bubblecard (see illustration).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Elonex ONE (Alpha-400 Clone) Available Free in Cellphone Package

The Carphone Warehouse, a cellphone retailer in the UK, offers a version of the Alpha 400 for free, bundled with cellphone service.

This news comes from Mobility Today, which says, "LG’s Chocolate has been bundled with Carphone’s Elonex Webbook for £30 per month, with unlimited texts and 700 minutes on T-Mobile."

Elonex "webbooks" (as Elonex calls them) are big sellers in the UK. They sold over 100,000 last year.

There is hope of the ALPHA-400 and similar machines going mainstream after all. Who cares if it's on a subsidized basis? And who even cares if it runs Windows XP? Seriously: The main thing is to get this mainstreaming going because a really cheap computer is the only way to break the Intel-Microsoft trust.

See article here.


Well, Mr. Medvedev, how would you like to shake hands with Mr. Obama now?

Have we no sense of dignity in America anymore? At any level?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Watch Bill Gates' Old Man on Father's Day -- WILL HE AND HIS PARTNER BILL NEUKOM tell how they are the real "Father of Microsoft"?

The photo is Bill Neukom, the real power behind Microsoft, "doing" Bill Clinton.

Just got a great story idea from Bill Gates's dad. Our Truth Squad is going to check out his interview this weekend on NBC and then tell "the rest of the story" about Microsoft and the BGs, Senior and Junior, and how Bill Neukom made their company for them. Hint: Microsoft is a law firm that sells software.

This just in from the Facebook of Bill Gates -- BG Senior, that is. The father of The Bill will tell the corporate sycophant Maria Bartiromo, and us, on the corporate outlet, CNBC:

"Also, keep an eye out for CNBC's Maria Bartiromo and her special Father's Day interview with Bill Sr. She was lovely, and captured the "real Bill Gates" beautifully:-)"

The quote is from Senior's Facebook page: SEE IT HERE. Check out Maria's Web page for time and stations. CHECK MARIA HERE. She isn't advertising the interview, but Bill Sr. says it will be there.

And we will be here, with one of the stories of the year.

Clayton L. Hallmark

FLYING THE THE "JOLLY ROGER" PROUDLY: No One Should Have to Pay for Software

You don't have to pay for software for your HDTV and you shouldn't have to pay for software for your Alpha 400, or whatever, either (unless you want to). "Information wants to be free" (Stewart Brand). Until last week, no one had to pay for TV programming. I and millions of others ended up paying about ten bucks for a settop converter box.


I don't believe in stealing, but I don't believe it is stealing to use The Pirate Bay and its ID-avoidance system to get free software.

REPLACE - Margaret Thatcher said, "T.I.N.A.": There Is No Alternative to the Thatcher/Reagan "free market" policies. But there are alternatives -- to that and Microsoft. One way to avoid supporting Microsoft -- besides Linux, Android, Chinese CPUs, etc. -- is to buy only used computers.

REPUDIATE - This is something countries, like China, can do. Repudiate software patents. Refuse to enforce them. US patents are unconstitutional in their home country, so why should foreign countries, with their own infant industries to protect, enforce them?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

One forty-nine -- are you out of your mind?

Less than one hundred fifty bucks for a computer! If you have been holding off buying a rock-bottom mini-laptop to play around with, you no longer have an excuse. -- are they out of their minds? -- now have the Alpha 400 for $149.99.

I hope they stay at this price for good, because this is an important break in the price floor of computers.

As I have repeatedly said here, computers approaching $100 are a revolutionary development. Really low prices are revolutionary for the computer, semiconductor, software, and electronics-retailing industries -- for the whole IT field, actually.

Look at it this way: at $100 retail, how are you going to put Microsoft Windows on a computer?

So $150 is revolutionary if sticks with it.

Click here to check out the offer: CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

HERE IT IS: THE $169 POCKET COMPUTER -- a MIRACLE of Miniaturization


The above link is to the famous site (frequently featured on the DRUDGEREPORT site), which has been offering this nifty little computer for quite a while.

WHO WOULD HAVE BELIEVED, a few years ago, a complete full-fledged computer for $169?

There are many variations of this same computer all over the world -- a very good sign. To see the German version: Click here.


Work and play anytime, anywhere with this Ultralite and ultra portable Alpha 400 7-inch netbook!

The Alpha 400 netbook provides multimedia entertainment, Broadband Internet Access and Work on the Go! The Alpha 400 features the reliable Linux Operating System, BroadMIPS XBurst 400 MHz 32-bit CPU, 128 MB RAM, 1 GB NAND Flash storage, a 10/100 MB Ethernet interface and 802.11b wireless access.

The Alpha 400 netbook is equipped with various functions, such as Electronic-Book, MP3 Player, Game Player, enlarged PDA, and common business software such as Web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets and more.

This unique design FULL-FLASH desktop, is perfect for the light business traveler, student, and every kid wanting to enjoy the experience of exploring the world of broadband multi-media!
By law, California shipments of this product are subject to an $8.00
Electronic Waste Recycling Fee


* Alpha 400 MIPS 400 MHz Ultralite 7-inch Mini Netbook

* General Features:
* Ultralite
* Netbook form factor
* Linux 2.4 Operating System
* MIPS XBurst 400 MHz 32-bit CPU
* 128 MB RAM
* 1 GB NAND Flash Storage
* 10/100 MB Ethernet interface
* 802.11b wireless
* Supports External Hard Drive up to 160 GB
* Supports SD Card up to 32 GB
* Xiptech application software packages (Xip office, Flash player)
* 7-inch digital panel 800 x 480 true-color
* Keyboard with TouchPad
* Supports File Sizes up to 8 MB
* Built-in SD Card slot
* Battery Charging Time: 4.5 - 5 hours

* Uses:
* Internet surfing
* Instant online communication, chatting
* Music downloading and enjoying
* Flash movies and games
* Picture and image sharing
* Languages learning
* Personal diary

* Office Assistant:
* AbiWord, XipTable and PDF Viewer
* E-mail management
* Daily work plan and management
* E-book reader

* I/O ports:
* Three (3) USB ports
* RJ-45 Ethernet port
* Headphone in
* Microphone in

* Dimensions (closed):
* 1.1 x 8.25 x 5.6-inches

* Regulatory Approvals:
* C-Tick

Package Includes:

* Alpha 400 MIPS 400 MHz Ultralite 7-inch Mini Netbook
* Linux 2.4 Operating System
* Power Adapter (100 - 240V 50/60 Hz)

Friday, May 29, 2009

THE END IS NEAR! For Moore's Law and Our 25-Year-Old Cyber-Finance Economy

Our Cyber-Finance Economy -- Mathematically Doomed -- Moore's Law is Dead

From the Great - Father in the White House on down, commentators see "glimmers of hope," but the fact is the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) is just half finished. That's because just half of the economy we've had for over 25 years is finished, the finance part. Now, for the other part, the cyber or "tech" part, the end is near as well. The other shoe drops for the cyberfinance economy as the guiding light of the "cyber" (computer) part, Moore's Law, dies.

Notice the graph that shows Moore's Law. Basically, it's Intel Corporation's graph of the transistor count on its microprocessors (CPUs). In 2006 I predicted its end and its limit and added the red line.

Moore's law actually ended in the period 2006-2008 when the transistor count failed to double as Moore's Law requires. In fact, it failed to increase at all.

Let me tell you, when Moore's law catches a cold, the tech sector of the economy catches pneumonia. Even Gordon Moore, the originator of the law acknowledges this. It happened in 2000 when we had the Tech Wreck or the Dotcom Bust.

Another tech wreck couldn't have come at a worse time than right now. Computers and high-speed digital communications enabled the finance economy that arose in the 1980s and crashed in 2008. The tech industry enabled and was a leading beneficiary of the finance economy. Those campuses of glass towers that they built in the 1980s -- in places like Shaumburg, IL, and Independence, OH (south of Cleveland) -- got filled up with employees that might otherwise have been working in factories in Chicago and Cleveland, and got filled with computers based on Wintel products. Those campuses could soon look forlorn as ghost towns, like the miles of falling-down factories in those and other cities.


Everyone talks about it but few really understand it (and it is simple). Since everyone talks about it, it is important, right?

It is the prediction of Gordon Moore, the cofounder of Intel, going back in one form to the 1960s, that the maximum number of transistors on an integrated-circuit chip will double every 2 years because that will produce the lowest cost transistors. (In the beginning, Moore put the doubling period at 18 months.)

The 1980s office and finance boom coincided with the rise of the monopolies of Intel and Microsoft.

Here is how the world works: Software sells hardware.

Microsoft makes bloatware for a reason, not just incompetence. When Intel introduces a new processor, Microsoft comes out with a new Windows version that stretches its processing capability. In other words, what Intel giveth, Microsoft taketh away. So Intel introduces a higher performance processor and the beat goes on.


People thought that the limits of transistor miniaturization and cramming would be technical -- physical limits to the miniaturization of charge-based components (transistors) that could be built and reliably operated, or complexity limits to testing processors for reliability.

It turns out the limits are economic. Moore's Law always had an economic component: It was about reducing transistor size for lower cost as well as more performance, functions, and products. Furthermore, Moore's Law really wasn't a law in any standard sense of usage, it was a business plan of Intel and Microsoft working in collusion to gouge businesses and consumers.

Eventually it had to be done in by its own success. It has brought about commoditized computers, which Wintel began calling "netbooks" last year and which it then took over.

Unfortunately for all concerned, the commodified computers are so cheap it is hard for anyone to make much money on them. That is why Dell is reporting sales down by one fourth and profits down by two thirds. At that rate, Dell soon could be a money-losing proposition. It is no longer profitable for Intel and Microsoft to continue their bait-and-switch game (Intel baits with more power, Microsoft creates a demand for more power than that). It is no longer profitable for Intel to continue the Moore's Law game plan and hard to justify or generate the R&D and plant-investment dollars to do so. That's the answer to who killed Moore's Law.


Moore's Law follows the graph on the left in the other graphic, illustrating exponential growth. Moore once quipped that he was seeminly credited with inventing the exponential function, which the graph represents. What he really offered was a very astute business plan. Of course Moore always knew that the number of transistors on a chip had a limit and wasn't truly an exponential function. The limit is shown by the logistic growth curve (S-curve) on the right and its formula, which is not a pure exponential. This is the way things grow in nature -- children, bacteria colonies, etc. And it describes the life-cycles of businesses and business phenomena, including Moore's Law. Businesses use logistic regression in forecasting many kinds of growth.

The straight line that you see on the graphs Intel supplies and that I show above comes from using a scrunched up vertical scale (logarithmic) to represent the number of transistors.


Energy drives economic activity. When energy growth falls significantly below the historical trend of 2% a year, we have a recession or a depression.

A third graphic is adapted from Theordore Modis, a leading practitioner of logistic-growth-curve analysis. It shows the power of this kind of growth analysis. As coal was being replaced by oil and gas as the primary energy source, energy growth became chaotic as shown and we had the Great Depression. In the more recent period oil we see oil being replaced by gas and nuclear energy, and we are in another crisis.

Key growth trends in economics tend to coincide, as with the Moore's Law and energy curves shown.

Monday, April 27, 2009


AN ALL-NEW ALPHA -- IT'S Android! -- World's first. And it's under $250

One hopes this new Alpha will be picked up the by major wireless service providers like AT&T and Verizon as a giveaway to promote their services. It is certainly a coup for the Alpha's manufacturer to be the first to offer a cheap Android mini-laptop (some will call it a netbook) and gives them a good shot at the mass market via AT&T, etc. (All of this is while we wait for $100 laptops sold on pegboards at CVS and Walgreens -- the real goal.)

See it at manufacturer's website:

This is big, after about 3 months of slow news: The first computer based on the Android operating system will be an Alpha from Guangzhou Skytone Transmission Technologies Co., the actual maker of most if not all of the Alpha 400s we are blogging about. It will be called the Alpha 680. The meaning of "680" is unclear, since the speed is speced at 533 MHz rather than 680 MHz. The prototype will be out in June 2009 and the Alpha will be on the market in August.

Contact Ian Wu at Skytone.

The Android is an open-source OS developed by Google and later the Open Handset Alliance (cellphone manufacturers) based on the Linux kernal. Netbooks based on it have been eagerly and widely awaited -- so, again, this is important.

An Alpha apparently will be the first. And it is basically all-Chinese -- again a serious omen. Think about it: all-Chinese.

Like the Apple iPhone and many other smartphones, the Alpha 680 uses an ARM processor, which is much cheaper than the Intel Atom CPU used in so-called netbooks, which range mostly from $300-$600.

The processor will be Chinese made -- an important trend in the world of computers -- and an ARM 11 type probably from Ingenics. This is really an almost all-Chinese effort (except for the OS): the CPU (probably Ingenic), factory, and even the brand owner Skytone are all Chinese.

The mainstream computer publication Computer World says that some computer industry analysts think that the combination of an ARM processor and Android OS could open an era of sub-$200 netbooks.

These people routinely fail to mention the Alpha 400, which already sells for $169 or less. Also, the Razorbook Model 3K-RZ400-4GB-WIN model -- with an ARM Ingenic 400MHz processor, 7" 800x480 widescreen LCD, 128MB RAM, 4GB Solid-State Disk (SSD) drive, 802.11b/g -- already is available for $147.99. The press misses these things routinely.

The specs of the Alpha 680 Android mini-laptop are: 7-inches, 800 x 480 LCD. 128 MB RAM, 1 GB SSD storage, Wi-Fi, and full applications software (word processor, PDF viewer, etc. -- not just a "netbook" for the Internet). The system is about the same size and weight as the Alpha 400. Battery time: 4 hours.

See here:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

MINIMALIST / SHRINKAGE MOVEMENT IN COMPUTING, No. 6 of 8 ... Chinese Govt Targets Intel, Windows

This series of articles is based on the philosophy of the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as expressed in his motto "Less is more." This is not just an expediency to get through an economic depression, it is the way out of the current Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Sooner or later, all of us, from President Obama on down, are going to have to consider this. Computers are a good place to start.

Don't you wonder why the mainstream media (MSM) fail to report things like this and so you need guys like me?

According to a recent article at , the head of China's computing institute says he hopes that, by 2020, half the computer products sold in China will use Chinese-made chips similar to the ones in the Alpha 400, Razorbook, Elonex, and Hi-Vision minilaptops covered by this blog.

The engineer says China hopes to undercut Intel by making a 1-to-2-Gz Loongson/Godson processor for $20, or about half of what Intel and AMD charge for x86 of that speed. This of course would be about twice as fast as the Loongson 2f chips in the Alpha 400, etc.

The Loongson chips use a MIPS core rather than x86 and so do not run Microsoft Windows.

Last month the government of Jiangsu province bought 150,000 Loongson-based computers for schools. These would presumably be similar to, or identical with, the Alpha 400.

Below is an excerpt, but the article is well worth going to for a full reading.

Quoting ...

"Top Engineer Gives Vision for Chinese Chips"

"We should not continue to follow Intel's road of always pushing up, pushing and upgrading," he said. "I think a 2GHz Pentium 4 is already enough for most office and other purposes."

"Godson's government-backed development team will aim to cut the chips' energy costs rather than boosting their power and will eventually offer a chipset based on a 1 GHz to 2GHz processor for less than $20, said Hu Weiwu of China's Institute of Computing Technology in an interview."

"Godson will not compete with Intel and AMD for the x86 market since its chips have a MIPS core that does not support Windows. Its creators see the chip as an alternative that could be widely marketed on systems running Linux."

"Hu hopes Godson or other China-developed CPUs will power as many as half of the products sold in the country by 2020 and crack the markets in other developing countries as well."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pirate Bay Verdict: Why Americans Should Fight Sweden's Persecution of Its Citizens

Against the US Constitution (quoted below), which -- ask any lawyer -- is still the law of the land.

3 Points:

1. Why should Sweden or anyone enforce US patents and copyrights that are unconstitutional in the US itself?

2. Sweden and other countries do not have even the excuse of superior US power, as setbacks in the strength of the dollar and in the operations of the US military in Iraq and elsewhere make the US a less credible bully.

3. Self-interest in most countries would seem to motivate them to oppose the current form of world domination, which is the dispossession of other nations by the US relegating them to giving up their labor and material resources in exchange for dubious US dollars and the use of US "intellectual property" (IP). Countries like China have a right to nurture their own infant industries, including computer technology, without having to pay tribute to US companies like Microsoft whose power is based on old patents but not on any significant inventions.

Americans can ignore the court in Sweden that has just sentenced the four operators of the Pirate Bay search engine to "Download music, movies, games, software!" to 1 year each and to pay $900.000 each to Big Business/Nashville/Hollywood and related interests. The guys certainly intend to defy it. So do I. Watch their courageous stand made at today's news conference here , but be sure to come back here for an AMERICAN rallying cry.

The verdict means very little. For Americans it should be a rallying point -- like England's old Tea Act over which our American forefathers had their Boston Tea Party (in graphic).

As for obeying the verdict, FUH-GET IT! It doesn't apply to us. It is unconstitutional. Furthermore, we can use the IPREDator software at to get around it, to download whatever there is on The Pirate Bay without the Swedish thought police or anyone else being able to know anything about. Go to Pirate Bay .

Defy! Get your IPREDator software to conceal your ID while you use The Pirate Bay here .
Then HAVE THE GUTS TO USE IT, legally of course.

US Constitution -- Use It or Lose It: "To promote the Progress...for limited Times to Authors"

We almost did lose it under old Bush, who called it "just a blankety-blank piece of paper." Ask any lawyer, it is the supreme law of the land in the USA, the fountainhead of all other laws. Even old Bush had to obey it and leave office at the end of his regime.

Ask any lawyer, the Constitution applies to the issues in the Pirate Bay trial. It applies to downloading copyrighted material and patented software, which is what The Pirate Bay offers.

Ask any lawyer, that's what we all have to go by in America. And ask yourself, Who is closer to the Constitution, Pirate Bay or Hollywood? Our law says it is a protected activity "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts," and Anders Rydell, the Swede who has written a book about media piracy, says The Pirate Bay is about "the unlimited spreading of culture." That is exactly what the US Constitution intends when in Article I, Section 8, it says that "The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive rights to their respective Writings and Discoveries...."

The Pirate Bay is about "unlimited speading of culture" and the Constitution says "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." Ask yourself, Who is standing in the way of "Progress", Microsoft and its fossilized software, or The Pirate Bay? Who has the power to decide these things, Congress, or Big Business and its Federal Circuit court in Washington, its Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and Big Business's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)?

The whole IP "piracy" thing is lunacy, not piracy. Further down, Article I, Section 8 also gives the right "To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas and Offences against the Law of Nations." A few Somalians are pirates. The Pirate Bay, you, and I are not.

Piracy is something committed on the high seas. See? So if you object, contact me at

So, really, Why does Sweden prosecute its citizens?

Because it is being bullied by the United States and its business interests.

Here's how the world really works: The US and its business interests set the agenda for political and economic behavior everywhere.

For the past 30 years or so the agenda has been to produce almost nothing of material substance (see if you can find Made in the USA in Walmart). Instead the idea is to produce immaterial things -- ideas, information, writings, patents, movies, music, financial derivatives (credit default swaps, mortgage-backed securities, etc) --and get others to give their labor and ores and other material resources in exchange for dollars of dubious, or perhaps no, value. You valorize the ephemeral things you produce by "enclosing" them with patents and copyrights, hopefully creating an important monopoly from which you can extract a Gatesian fortune.

That regime has just failed in the Global Financial Crisis.

But US companies like Intel, Microsoft, recording companies, and Hollywood studios still hold monopolies or oligopolies. They wield their power through the copyrights and patents granted under Article 1, Section 8, theoretically. But how many people know that you couldn't copyright software in the US before 1981 (year of the Diamond v. Diehr ruling)? How many know that Bill Gates's old man, who helped him start Microsoft, is a lawyer? We need to get back to the Constitution in the United States.

Through "world organizations" like the WTO and IMF -- controlled by the United States -- US business interests like Hollywood and Microsoft extend their monopoly power to the world. The interests of US business -- different from those of US citizens, as many are learning -- are backed up by the soft financial power of the US based on the dollar being the world currency (not so soft when it can starve Iraqi children or Latin American workers). The US government has been able to cause financial hardship on nations who ignored the will of its government/businesses. Ultimately, the soft power is backed up by the US military machine.

In today's world, the US financial and military clout seem less formidable -- don't they, somehow?

So if Sweden, China, etc., can't be bullied anymore, why should they comply with the "intellectual property" regime by which the United States appropriates wealth from the rest of the world to maintain a profligate lifestyle that threatens life on Earth?

In a legal, logical, and ethical sense, if the United States is not obeying its own "Law of the Land" in matters of intellectual property, why should anyone else comply -- Sweden, China, you, or I -- with demands and rulings on IP from the US?

The principle opposed in the 1773 Boston Tea Party (dumping of British-owned tea into Boston Harbor as shown in the Currier lithograph) was "taxation without representation." Ever heard of the "Microsoft tax"? You pay it anyway, and your elected representitives in the US, Sweden, etc., did not levy it.

So get a cheap non-Microsoft mini-laptop from here .

Get some "intellectual property" from The Pirate Bay to fill'er up here , using IPREDator of course.

And get your defiant The Pirate Bay T-shirt here to support the TPB4:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

E-a-r-t-h-s-h-a-k-i-n-g N-e-w-s (Apr 15)

MINIMALIST / SHRINKAGE MOVEMENT IN COMPUTING, No. 5 of 8 ... Watch Pirate Bay Verdict on Fri. at 7 a.m. Eastern and Join In

This series of articles is based on the philosophy of the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as expressed in his motto "Less is more." This is not just an expediency to get through an economic depression, it is the way out of the current Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Sooner or later, all of us, from President Obama on down, are going to have to consider this. Computers are a good place to start.

News conference Friday, April 17) at 1 p.m. Stockholm Sweden time, click here or here.

Earthshaking if it actually goes off as scheduled is the verdict in Stockholm concerning the trial of the Pirate Bay Four, operators of the world's leading bit-streaming site for "liberating" software, music, etc. Believe me, this is of more lasting interest and import to the world than anything going on off the coast of Somalia. (After all, the foreign trade the Somalians are attacking already has dried up, which is the real story anyway.) The trial is getting considerable media attention, even attention from Fox News.

If Pirate Bay gets away with what it is doing -- an outcome devoutly to be wished -- then this is a game changer for people in tech as well as the entertainment industry. Remember, Pirate Bay offers software as well as music and video.

The news conference will (hopefully) reveal the long-awaited verdict on whether the Pirate Bay instance of "piracy" (which isn't stealing in the sense of open-seas piracy) is going to proceed or whether its leading lights are going to jail. You can watch them live at the Bambuser site (explained below). The actual complete URL will be posted on the Pirate Bay site before the actual news conference, which is at 7 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (GMT + 1 hour) Friday the 17th.

News media and others are welcome to "attend" via Bambuser and to message the defendants. They will appeal if the verdict goes against them.

For further details, surf into Pirate Bay's blog. Pick up the web address of the Defendants Conference just minutes before 7 a.m. Eastern Time (GMT-1 hour) on Friday, April 17.

Re Bambuser

The news conference in which the defendants will report on the trial will be broadcast live at The Pirate Bay website will give the URL ahead of time. The URL will be, where 123456 is replaced by a code identifying the particular broadcast. The exact URL will be on Pirate Bay just minutes before the broadcast.

Bambuser is a mobile video-streaming service based in Sweden at . It allows users to broadcast live from a cell phone or webcam, as the Pirate Bay defendants will do on Friday. The service allows you to interact with them -- congratulate them if you wish.

To see how Bambuser works, please check this example out.

Then go to Bambuser here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

MINIMALIST / SHRINKAGE MOVEMENT IN COMPUTING, No. 4 of 8 ... Razorbook NEW World's Cheapest ... "One Forty-five and Falling"

This series of articles is based on the philosophy of the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as expressed in his motto "Less is more." This is not just an expediency to get through an economic depression, it is the way out of the current Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Sooner or later, all of us, from President Obama on down, are going to have to consider this. Computers are a good place to start.

$145 For a Laptop!

World's Cheapest Computer title goes, for now, to the Razorbook, available for $145 from Before you buy this, make sure it does all you want it to. As far as I know, you cannot create documents on this with the included software. However, it is great for web surfing and many other uses. Note: In this blog, I am looking for rock-bottom prices on mini-laptops, period. Click here for details.

This Razorbook version uses an ARM chip (as is found in smart phones) and Microsoft's Windows CE operating system. (The Linux version costs more because it does more.) The speed is 400 MHz, memory is 128 MB in SDRAM (more can be added via SM SmartMedia card), solid-state drive storage is 4 GB, wireless (WiFi) is IEEE 802.11b/g, screen is 7 in. at 800 x 800 pixels, and width is 8.7 in. with a "full size" keyboard.

Soapbox Speech: Incidentally, this Minimalist Movement is, or should be, of interest not only to you and architects but to economists as well. Look up the term "wintelism" and you will see what I mean. Wintelism is one of the things that got us into the current global economic mess. Hint: This is about finance -- as opposed to manufacturing -- dominating the US and world economies, and about massive infusions of capital from pension funds, etc., going into activities that involve monopolies, for example, so-called "intellectual property," IP. Microsoft Windows and Intel chips together represent a key global oligopoly -- wintelism. If the computer- and finance-led approach fails -- and it recently has -- we have little or nothing left. However, we must get past the cyberfinance economy before we can have a new economic regime, and the $155 Razorbook is a sign we are getting past the Wintel bit at least. Economically, things must get much worse before they can get better: the old cyberfinance regime must fade before it can be replaced with something that works.

Anyway, the warranty on the Razorbook is for 1 year.

This awesome midget machine sold for $399 at intro, which shows you how things are going. We don't have long to wait for under-$100 laptops, and you don't have to wait at all for a great bargain on the Razorbook.

Friday, March 27, 2009

MINIMALIST / SHRINKAGE MOVEMENT IN COMPUTING, No. 3 of 8 ... FREE Pirate SOFTWARE to Go Along with Your Cheap Laptop?

This series of articles is based on the philosophy of the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as expressed in his motto "Less is more." This is not just an expediency to get through an economic depression, it is a way out of the current Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Sooner or later, all of us, from President Obama on down, are going to have to consider this. Computers are a good place to start.

Anonymity for Users of Pirate Bay:
Anonymity soon will be possible for users of the site Pirate Bay, which has all kinds of software and other interesting content for free, for your cheap mini-laptop. The workaround is called IPREDator and should be available before April 1 (no fooling).

This is a way to get around recent legal initiatives of Sweden's (where they are located) government. Sweden is supposed to start implementing the European Union's IPRED directive on April 1, so IPREDator is Pirate's Bay's preemptive strike.

IPREDator from Pirate Bay is a VPN to cloak users. It will allow users to be identified under a different IP address than their own. Since the service won't store traffic data, the cloaking will make it difficult for Swedish courts and others to ID so-called pirates.

What this means is that now even free software has a slight cost, as IPREDator will cost 5 euros (about $6.77) per month.

Monday, March 16, 2009


This series of articles is based on the philosophy of the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as expressed in his motto "Less is more." This is not just an expediency to get through an economic depression, it is a way out of the current Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Sooner or later, all of us, from President Obama on down, are going to have to consider this. Computers are a good place to start.

Mass-produced computers can KILL Microsoft and free the world's computer users. They'll be too cheap to accommodate MS Windows -- MS's bread and butter. Computers will go the way of TVs and VCRs -- cheap offshore (non-USA) production. They'll be cheap, simple, general-purpose (FREE SOFTWARE), all-electronic (no disk drive) -- in other words, real electronic computers, finally.

This process already is under way. Note how Microsoft's stock price has declined over the past 5 years.

If you like this idea, remember, above all, avoid Microsoft traps like the "Windows XP Starter Edition." It's a $30 loss-leader for developing nations -- with price-gouging to begin soon after. If you are outside the USA, be like Munich, Germany -- declare your freedom by going open-source for your enterprise. Beware of the US spies at the USAID and beware Microsoft's so-called "Local Economic Development Program for Software," which is insurgent in Brazil and Jordan. Read a US judge's decision on how MS strangles the US market ( and avoid this for your country.

A respected US group, the Gartner Group, warns against the Windows "Starter Edition" at .

To read about Microsoft's designs on your country, see . The head of the USAID (US Agency for International Development) is Andrew Natsios, a nephew of famed CIA spy Nicholas Natsios.

For non-US persons looking for freedom from Microsoft for their enterprise, consider the Munich example at: and Germany's example at,1564,568696,00.html . Bergen, Norway's second city, is planning to switch its computers to Linux.

For balls, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballsmer has threatened Asian countries -- sovereign nations, mind you -- with lawsuits if they employ the Linux open-sourse operating system. He threatens them under the aegis of the World Trade Organization.

However, the hundred-dollar Linux computer will be the end of Microsoft's dominance and possibly the company itself. Do you care? Can the Indian MOBILIS beat Microsoft? Can Wal-Mart beat Microsoft in America? Since you are reading this on a computer, you are a slave to MS and you should care. Freeing us from MS and its robber baron could raise the US productivity by several points. It can free foreign governments from aggression by Microsoft. I'll show how. To have fun, usable, efficient computers, it is necessary. To finally realize the dream that Bill Gates aborted, we need a computer that is: Cheap----Instant-On----Simple----General Purpose.... India has one, for $200 ("good globalization"). We (the rest of the world) don't. This might not be the machine, but more are coming, and they will starve Microsoft.

At $100 or $200 there is no room for Windows, unless MS gives away its XP "Special Edition" or its CE -- as a trap.

If the computer becoming a commodity is a threat to MS, the company is only encouraging that trend with its foray into home entertainment. They are doing this for one reason: to keep game consoles from competing with PCs and Windows. That's why you won't see windows on game boxes. This will backfire. No American company can long make money in the manufacturing and marketing of home entertainment. It will be "deja vu all over again": When a new must-have Next Big Thing makes a market in the US, the Asians make it and take it. (The list is long and started with the transistor: portable radios, all radios, B&W TVs, color TVs, VCRs, CD players, digital clocks, watches, cameras -- and now, the computer.) Home entertainment systems are a booby trap for American companies and they will be for MS, too. Microsoft's participation in this will help ensure the commoditization of computing -- the opposite of what they planned.

At $100 or $200 there is no room for Windows and Microsoft, because the price charged manufacturers -- $70 to $83 for each computer using Windows -- precludes it. That is a tax that most of us have to pay when we buy a computer. Microsoft also has a $30 Windows XP version for what they call "entry computers" in developing countries ONLY -- but it is a trap -- much higher prices, like subscription charges, will follow. DON'T FALL FOR THE $30 WINDOWS "STARTER EDITION" TRAP!

... Today's "personal computer" is not even a true computer, in that it is not a general-purpose device but a proprietary Wintel (Windows and Intel, working in collusion) device. The PC is a corrupted version of the microcomputer vision that we had in the 1970s. I was there. That vision failed when Microsoft pirated away the microcomputer/small computer/home computer as we variously called it. I will show that we have the tools to take back the vision of the computer as a universally available intellectual tool -- take it back from Bill Gates, the Blue Beard of computing. I will show that globalization is not all bad. It will take more than Linux or free open-source software (FOSS), much more, as explained below.

Famous computer visionary Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab is developing and promoting a $100 laptop with proposed specifications including a 500-MHz processor, 1 GB of memory, an XVGA display, and free Linux. He envisions 200,000,000 million of them being distributed to countries like China in two years. However, the Indian company Encore Software already is marketing a small computer, the MOBILIS, with much more modest specs, for about $220. The Mobilis may not have the features many of you want, but it is a crack in the dam. As cheap computers flood the US, upgraded versions soon will appear -- much cheaper because of no MS tax -- and much better. Both of the above computers employ the open-source Linux operating system (OS). already sells a good, cheap OS-LESS computer -- you get to choose one. These machines might not change the world, and nonproprietary operating systems besides Linux might become more important, but all this shows what is coming.


The Indian Mobilis has some of them. They include:

1. Cheap (nearly free) nonproprietary operating system (Linux or other) and cheap nonproprietary basic applications -- word processor, browser, etc. --- This would make the small computer a general-purpose device, as a computer should be -- not tied to Microsoft, Apple, or Palm. Above all, the small computer must AVOID MICROSOFT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND BE ABLE TO PROVE THIS IN A COURT OF LAW. Microsoft basically is a publishing company full of lawyers. (Did you ever see a publishing company get this big or a publisher get as wealthy? Not even Hearst of "Citizen Kane." They exploit the law and technological ignorance.) Avoid Apple, Microsoft, and all proprietary software as much as possible. An operating system is one of those things you shouldn't have to pay for -- certainly not on the basis that the publisher (Microsoft) excludes other software companies from YOUR computer. You don't pay for an OS when you buy home entertainment devices (though some probably would like to put an OS in a kitchen toaster).

2. Instant-on operation --- no waiting for the OS to load from a hard drive. Keep the OS small enough to fit economically in nonvolatile solid-state memory (flash, etc.).

3. At last, an ELECTRONIC computer. --- What we have now, the PC, includes an electromechanical device, the motorized hard drive -- an electromagnetic device like the relays in the Harvard Mark I of 1943. With "general purposeness" and all-electronic operation (OS on chips, not a disk drive), we would finally have something that meets the traditional definition of a real electronic computer. Watch the price of flash memory go down and you will see the possibilities for taking the "D" out of "DOS."

4. Simplicity. --- Since the operating system would be on semiconductor chips, it would be much smaller than the monstrous "whatever the traffic will bear" Windows. A small operating system is a simple one. Remember DOS and the early computers? To start "computing" (limited, admittedly), one had only to know how to turn on the power switch and insert the boot disk. Computer simplicity alone could add several points to a nation's labor productivity.

5. Driver software for common hardware such as Epson printers and HP scanners.

6. Ability to view, print, edit, and exchange files in Microsoft formats (.doc, .xls, etc.) and to convert to and from standard file formats, including proprietary ones where legal.

7. Ports for expandability to include connectivity (modem, Ethernet, etc.), hardware devices (printer, scanner, etc.), and more storage (e.g., Lexar JumpDrives). The Mobilis uses UPS for expansion.

[THIS IS ONE OF THOSE "I TOLD YOU SO" ARTICLES. I published it 3 years ago at under the pseudonym Kurt Kress, and after 3 years I wonder, How did I do?]