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.