Monday, June 18, 2007

I've been looking for something for a while now, and I think I've found it. I need a personal computing device, like a laptop or PDA, that can serve a number of functions. It also needs to be lightweight, and rugged, as I intend to carry it onboard a light plane and use it in flight. Preferably it should also be fairly inexpensive

The Eee PC. It has no moving parts, making it very resistant to shock damage - just the thing for handling turbulence. It weighs less than a kilo and is smaller than most conventional laptops - meaning it doesn't become a burden in a flight bag.

It really has become possible due to the maturation of several technologies, among them cheap flash memory (the The Eee PC has no hard drive,)the USB standard, LCD screen, longlife battery, wireless networking. That is, it doesn't bring anything revolutionary to the party, it brings a number of existing technologies together in an innovative way.

Calculate your weight and balance, connect to the internet and get up to date weather, conduct your navigation planning, lodge a flight plan, plug in a GPS unit and use it as a moving map GPS in-flight, arrive at your destination and cancel your flightwatch - all with the one, light and flexible unit. You can already do that with a PDA or Laptop, but I've always found PDAs too small to comfortably use on the ground, and Laptops to large to comfortably use in the air. Now there will be something that fits in between, and likely to be cheaper that either to boot.

Sadly it's not available until later this year. Maybe. In the meantime, I have some pencils to sharpen.


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