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back to article Samsung NB30 touchscreen durable netbook

Samsung's range of first generation netbooks consisted of such a bewildering array of similar spec machines that a year on its difficult to remember what the difference was between the N110, N120 and N310. So I had a slight sinking feeling when the NB30 turned up because the basic specification is identical to the N220. Samsung …

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OH SNAP !!!

the 250GB hard drive has a free-fall sensor that can detect the sort of sudden downward acceleration – recently associated with the BP's share price

Nice very nice !!!

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Recently bought one

For the mother-in-law for working abroad, nice little unit.

Recently impressed with Atom's performance when I built a home server so thought this would be ideal for her, it has enough power to run office application, browse the web and run msn/skype for her to keep in touch, the built in webcam aids the latter.

Hers came with XP over Win7 as mentioned in the article and ticked along nicely. I was also impressed with the battery life and annoyed at the lack of a wifi switch, but that's a small niggle.

Quite tempted to get one myself :D

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FAIL

WiFi Chicken & Egg

> Installing drivers for the errant Wi-Fi card is a five minute job.

Assuming you have an alternative method for internet access available.

I was installing Ubuntu on an old laptop which had PCMCIA slot that let you have EITHER WLAN or ethernet available. When the WLAN card was used, Ubuntu complained that it couldn't use it but I couldn't fetch the driver to fix it. When the ethernet card was used, Ubuntu could use it, but wouldn't let me fix the WLAN driver because, since the card wasn't there, Ubuntu didn't think it needed fixing. It took a few hours to escape this Catch-22 scenario.

A Samsung NB30 user who ONLY had WLAN access at home would have a real problem getting a running Linux system.

This sort of nonsense really needs sorting out.

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how many

routers (and laptops, with the exception of your one) do you know of with no RJ45 ports?

besides, ubuntu can be run as a live os straight from the CD, allowing you to check hardware compatibillity. Doing that first would probably have highlighted the wifi issue, allowing you to boot up the laptop's original OS to download drivers for it before you wipe the drive.

if not, you could always borrow / beg / steal someone elses machine.

i'm all in favour of this nonsense being sorted out, but tbh it's the hardware manufacturer that is, more often than not, the reason that it isn't sorted out.

there are many companies that don't make the information required to support their hardware freely available, especially not to us linux-types.

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FAIL

re. how many

This problem was nothing to do with any shortcomings of hardware manufacturers. It was caused by Ubuntu refusing to install a hardware driver that it decided was not needed. The operating system made an 'executive decision' that put the user at a disadvantage.

Over the past two years, I have made 4 attempts to install Ubuntu or Debian on my desktop or my laptop computer. Each time, something has gone wrong. The first time, it refused to load because it could not find the wireless card driver (it said); I wasn't even using WiFi at the time. The second time, it identified both my hard drives and asked where to install. I told it which one, then it formatted both of them and refused to install. When I tried Debian, it went through the installation process then stopped with an error message claiming that the CPU temperature was some ridiculous value then it shutdown. The last time I tried to install Ubuntu, it fouled up again and I couldn't be bothered to figure it out.

My conclusion:- I'm not touching that pile of rubbish again.

When I downloaded the Win-7 beta last year, it installed smoothly and quietly with no fuss at all, on my six year old laptop, then found all my other devices on the network.

I'd love to use Linux, I really would, but it won't let me and as far as I'm concerned it's not good enough yet. Maybe they will have fixed it in another two years.

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@frank ly

Although I agree with you that it is Ubuntu sometimes making decisions not to do things quite right with regards wireless installs - works under live CD, doesn't work when installed etc. - I find it very hard to believe that after being told to use one disk explicitly by the user it iced both of them then refused to install. I've done a lot of installs of Ubuntu since way back at 6.04 and I've never witnessed it doing anything like that.

One thing I'd add is that windows 7 does not run without issue, especially on a 6 year old machine, as it requires many drivers which have not been updated by the manufacturer for older hardware and so that could equally well be labelled a pile of rubbish. Also does not allow for a minimalist install that will run on as under-powered hardware as Ubuntu. Try 10.04LTS, it's well worth the effort - had to download a wireless firmware file (which was easy) for my machine and it works like a dream.

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Grenade

@frank ly

I'm not trolling, but if it formatted both your disks then you must have told it to.

Or you had them in a mirrored RAID.

There is not an option in any ubuntu (non CLI) install I've seen (the earliest version i've used is 7.04) that will format more than one disk, although I could be wrong.

As for the wireless driver issue, it was an unfortunate situation for the original poster. Some hardware manufacturers not being as open as they could be with their drivers might not have been the actual problem for the original poster, but I am not wrong in mentioning it. For reference, look at ATI. Granted they have become alot better at supporting linux, but not so long ago they didn't really bother much. The result was if you had an ATI card and wanted to use 3d graphics in linux, you could pretty much forget it unless you like tinkering with driver source code.

However your problems don't seem to have much to do with Ubuntu not installing a driver that it thought it didn't need.

Fair enough, you have had problems with Debian, but disagreeing with me is not the same thing as me being wrong.

I think the fail icon is a little much.

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Anonymous Coward

I really wish

they'd make these netbooks with more screen pixels -- 1024x600 just doesn't cut it. Why not 1280x768 or whatever? I'd even pay quite a ridiculous markup for them-- because then I wouldn't end up paying £1000+ for an ultraportable laptop.

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Re: I really wish

If the size and weight are okay for you, then I suggest you look at some of the 11.6 inch machines, such as the Acer Timeline 1810TZ. I have one. Its CULV processor is about 2 or 3 times faster than an Atom processor (according to benchmarks I read somewhere) and it has a 1366x768 resolution display. It costs about £450. The only thing I dislike about it is the keyboard. All the keys have completely flat tops, with very little space between adjacent keys. I prefer contoured keys with a bit of a gap between the keys; that way, my fingers don't accidentally mistype so often.

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SSD option?

While I realise that HDDs are actually pretty robust nowadays and the accelerometer-controlled head-parking will likely prevent disasters I can't help but think that a device like this is crying out of SSD. Only recently we've seen reports that just the vibration from other equipment in data centres is supposed to slow down HDD performance and I know from experience that HDDs in portable devices cause "stalls" -- but with SSD you have vibration-resistant storage meaning your hard drive doesn't have to stop when you drop it on the bed or the bus or car journey is particularly bumpy.

Surely this is _the_ application, outside of high-speed situations, where SSD comes into its own?

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Anonymous Coward

ssd

"I can't help but think that a device like this is crying out of SSD"

I would guess that price is the limiting factor at work here, If SSDs ever get to be comparable in price per gigabyte to your average sata drive you probably will see them in netbooks of this kind of spec/pricepoint.

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SSD not really a go with Win 7

A friend bought a Asus T91MT so as to get a touchscreen netbook with SSD. It was pretty expensive with its 32GB of flash. Windows 7 has a min disk requirement of 16GB and often people insist on putting their own stuff on the disk. I doubt that we will see many flash based netbooks as long as Win 7 is popular and flash is relatively expensive.

Either XP or Linux is a solution to the disk space issue. The person with the T91MT now has Linux Mint on it (3GB).

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Seems a reasonable netbook...

but I think it would be nicer with a swivel-tiltscreen like the T101mt of Asus. When will there be a review of that model?

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Dead Vulture

I don't understand...

What the hell for you're benchmarking the same processor and virtually the same memory, in a hardware based on the same reference design and with common chipset et al, to obtain and then present benchmark values with differences lower than the statistical error ?? Gosh, I mean, it's a netbook, it has to do the job of running some office software, browsing the net etc, not running the latest games at 100 fps, so it's the battery life that counts and bells and whistles like accelerometers.

Get a grip on yourself El Reg, publish data that's relevant for the product. This article amounts to comparing the thermal conductivity of hinge covers in various models of refridgerators - NOT RELEVANT FOR SOMEONE BUYING A FRIDGE!

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Stop

Touch screens...

When are people going to wake up and realize that "touch" and "gesture" based interfaces for all but hand held devices is STUPID? Wasn't the industrial revolution about replacing muscle power with machines?

Isn't waving your arms around to use a computer like, um, tiring? I'll twiddle my fingers on a four-inch screen or a touchpad, no problem, but on a laptop monitor you can't hand hold? An outrageous number of people have clearly started smoking some really good weezee and drinking Kool-Aid at the same time.

Imagine the scene in 20 years' time when the world is dominated by Wii-type controllers and multi-touch screens:

DR EVIL: "Riiiight... today we are going to introduce an IT revolution... I've invented this new device that I like to call a "mouse"... using this "mouse" which is a small hand-held controller that stays on a flat surface, the user can manipulate a "pointer" on the monitor and make it travel huge distances on screen with just a tiny movement of the hand on the "mouse"... no more large arm movements across the monitor or nasty fingerprints. Quite breathtaking I think."

NUMBER TWO: "Um, Dr Evil... That's already been done."

DR EVIL: "Riiight. How about this. We replace the virtual keyboard on computer monitors with something I'll call a "hardware" keyboard. This "hardware" keyboard will be a separate item with finger-sized, spring-loaded plastic keys that will keep the monitor clean, provide improved tactile feedback and allow the monitor surface and keyboard to be at separate angles to combine an optimal viewing AND typing experience."

NUMBER TWO: "That too, has already been done."

DR EVIL. "Shit. OK, let's just find an old CRT TV set, buy a Commodore 64 on eBay and hide in the bedroom."

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Happy

Do want...but...

I really like this one!

If Samsung ever makes one of these with an "nVidia" graphics chip-set I would have to buy it. The Intel graphics chipset is always the spoiler.

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Linux

Touchscreen working with Jolicloud (Ubuntu clone)

For anyone interested in running linux on this. The touchscreen on this laptop is working with Jolicloud Linux which is a modified version of Ubuntu so I'm sure it'll be easy to get working. It's available to view on the Jolicloud blog. The touchscreen is an eGalax and there's a few threads around on how to get them working with Ubuntu.

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