the $50 netbook

Tim Chase blinux.list at
Thu Oct 8 22:39:20 UTC 2009

> I have a laptop with 56 Mb of ram running debian squeeze and a speakup 

is that with a soft-synth or a hardware synth?  When I tried 
using a soft-synth on an old P133 laptop with 32mb of RAM running 
Debian, the lag was painfully noticeable.  External synth/braille 
hardware might ease this, as might running off a flash disk 
instead of slow spinning platters.  And I was running "yasr" 
instead of speakup.  But those extra 24mb or RAM may make a big 
difference in experience.  The ZipIt Z2 machine specs as best I 
could determine:

300Mhz Xscale processor
2.9 inch 320x240 QVGA display
QWERTY thumb keyboard
built-in 802.11 b/g support
32mb RAM
Mini SD (SDHC) slot
1000mAh battery

I suspect that's a bit underpowered for Ubuntu, but might run a 
stripped down version of Debian or Slackware pretty well. 
Especially if you run console-only without X.  It's certainly 
more powerful than some of the machines on which I've installed 

> Does anybody know what they mean when they say this zipit has a keyboard 
> with a "Full backlit QWERTY design"?

It has a "chiclet" thumb keyboard with the letters arranged in 
QWERTY fashion.  The main alphabet keys are also arranged in a 
rectangular grid instead of being slightly offset like a regular 
keyboard (like "R" being above, but between the "D" and "F" 
keys...on the Z2, it's directly above the "F").

As best I can tell the keyboard is arranged out as follows:

Top1: [Power] [Options] [Home]
Top2: [smile?] [prev] [next] [big logo button] [play] [stop]
(the prev/next keys can be [Alt] modified to be Rewind and Fast 
Forward multi-media keys)
Keys Top Normal: QWERTYUIOP
Keys Top Modified: numbers 0-9
Keys Mid Normal: ASDFGHJKL and backspace
Keys Mid Modified:  $#&@"'[]-
Keys Bot Normal: "...", ZXCVBNM, ";", [Enter]
Keys Bot Modified: [X] !/+*=_?:
(I'm not sure what the "[X]" does on the "..." key)
Bottom Normal:  [Alt] [Up/Shift?] [Space] [comma] [period]
Bottom Modified: the comma and period can be [Alt] modified to 
give "<" and "> respectively.

The [Alt] key gives access to the "modified" version of the row.

The Top1 and Top2 rows are "special" buttons (distinct from the 
rest of the keyboard's buttons in color/shape/size).  A larger 
directional pad with a center button spans both the Top1 and Top2 
rows on the right-hand side.

There are volume up/down buttons along the right-hand edge and 
the speaker is below the space-bar.  The memory-card slot is on 
the front edge towards the right.

I might have swapped the minus and the underscore as they're 
visually pretty indistinguishable.

The backlighting is just to make them more visible.

I would certainly not be adverse to playing with one of these if 
I got my hands on one [grins]


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