Thursday Jan 10, 2008

Gobi7: End of the trail

Today I ship the Gobi7 back. I has been a great trial run but I don't think in it's current state it would be a long term option for me. Here is a link to my trial posts. Some bullet points I shared with the team that let me demo the unit:

  • the slow booting did not bother me like I had heard other complain about
  • the lack of the ability to change resolution settings locally or on an external monitor was a big one for me
  • the form factor is great, it could even go up to 15" and it would be better
  • next rev for the hardware/firmware needs to be able to present to the user the battery status, something like percent or estimated time remaining
  • external keyboard and mouse work great for addons, this even includes a bluetooth dongle for a bt keyboard
  • the power adapter is very kludgy to lug around

Thanks for the trial folks, it was a great time playing on the unit.

For what it's worth

Friday Nov 09, 2007

Gobi7: Day 29: Highlight / Paste

So one of the features that I love and can't live without in X is the ability to highlight some text and then with the click of the center (third) mouse button paste it. That is all well and good until one only has two mouse buttons. On the Gobi I can \*not\* get it figured out if there is an extra key combo that will emulate the third mouse button or something. So I have resorted to using an external three button mouse so I don't lack the love to highlight/paste.

For what it's worth.

Friday Nov 02, 2007

Gobi7: Day 22: Desktop Manager Battle

22 days on th Gobi7 and still going. Not much new to report. The main issue that I have run into is around which window manager is running. I lost my session due to a scheduled power outage at the campus I am connected to and had to log into a new session. When I logged in I was not paying attention and JDS pulled up instead of what I generally use. I found that the antialiasing of fonts where driving me nuts on the 12" screen so logged back out and then back in with my FVWM session. Ah, back to my comfort zone windows manager. So I don't know if I was just seeing things or if I just needed to spend some time tweaking up the JDS settings. I found that way back in the day when I was beta testing SR@H (sun ray at home) that FVWM worked tons better than gnome, there were some screen refresh issues in the gnome code base back then that have since been resolved. FVWM is nice and lightweight, highly customizable and quick to configure as needed. I keep thinking that I should really out enlightenment but just have not found the time.

For what it's worth.

Friday Oct 26, 2007

Gobi7: Day 15

Not much to report on as far as changes. I have been using this for all my work access now for 13 days and counting. The WIFI setup and the wired are great, I am able to move through the config menus to load the settings needed based on location, love it with an external three button mouse (can't figure out the key combo for highlight/paste (middle mouse button)), used both card and non card sessions, battery life is fair but wish there was more of an indicator of life (heard this requires a hardware change that may be out on the next version), and wished it was a high resolution and more crisp display.

For what it's worth.

Tuesday Oct 23, 2007

Gobi7: Day 12

Quickly, I have been loving the extra mobility of the Gobi. Tonight I turned wifi security back on at home and was able to get the right config changes made for the wifi to connect with a password.

In SR related news but not specific to the Gobi7 90 day trial, someone dropped me a note the other day and had me utswitch over to a different box that was on the Sun corporate network... what did I see before my eyes but a login prompt for a couple of windows sessions running under win4solaris (I am guessing). I was able to login to an XP instance and poke around for a bit, after that I headed back into my $SHELL and cleansed myself. The technology totally rocks.

I mentioned to Craig that I am just geeked on thin clients and their use. I drew out a scenario for him that just excited me to think about. Say there is an area hospital that is planning an EMR roll out and now they are going to have to place either laptops in all the docs hands or lots more terminals (currently fat clients) around the place. Now what if they could hand out smart cards, install sun rays all around the hospital, in the rooms in the docs offices... you get the point and let the doc, nurses... move their session from place to place. No fat client nodes to backup all over the campus, no laptops with data walking all over the state, less power being consumed, lower total cost of ownership and increased security. Makes my heart skip a beat. Now if I could just find some folks in Southfield to talk to.

For what it's worth.

Friday Oct 19, 2007

Gobi7: Day 8

Minor update for today, the panning was getting to me so I switched back to a session that was 1024x786 which is the resolution of the Gobi7.

For what it's worth.

Thursday Oct 18, 2007

Gobi7: Day 7

All right one week in and doing well. Last night / todays test was to pull the card out of the SR2 and slide into the Gobi7. First, note that the side of the smart card with the chip on it needs to face down. The card is snug in there so that is nice to see so it won't just slip out an get lost. My session that I was using on the SR2 popped right up to the password screen and I was in. This did bring up my session that has a resolution set to 1600x1200 and the native resolution of the Gobi7 is 1024x768. I have full access to the 1600x1200 via panning which is all right for maintaining a single session and switching devices, I don't think I would use the higher res if I switched to it for my primary SR device.

Now since I covered this when I switched from the SR1g to the SR2 I thought I would recap the resolution settings that I have been using:

  • SR1g: 1920x1200
  • SR2: 1600x1200
  • Gobi7: 1024x768

As I noted in the switch from the 1g to the 2, I dropped 384000 pixels. So if one would move from a SR2 to the Gobi7 without the use of panning that is a drop of 1133568 pixels and if the change was from a SR1g it would be a drop of 1517568 pixels. Just food for thought.

The only item that I currently have left to figure out is how to get my center click (highlight/paste) when I don't have an external three button mouse connected.

For what it's worth.

Wednesday Oct 17, 2007

Gobi7: Day 6 (part three)

So this is the day of trial I guess. I just plugged in my Kensington bluetooth dongle to the Gobi7 and then flipped on my bt keyboard... and it works likes a dream. So right now I have the bt keyboard going along with the external mouse.

Update on the built in minibrowser. Word is that that is coming in some new firmware and should be out in beta soon. I was informed that when it is ready I would be able to get a copy and give it a whirl so that testing will be on hold until then.

Tomorrows testing is going to be with the smart card, tonight I am going to log out of my current non-card session.

For what it's worth.

Gobi7: Day 6 (part duex)

Oh success finally, I was able to connect to our east vpn server... I have no idea what I change, I did retype in all the values so I can only venture that I had some value fat fingered. Thanks also to the three guys on the inside that are letting me bounce my questions off.

For what it's worth.

Gobi7: Day 6

So today was a chance to try out an external monitor connected to the Gobi7. In plugging in th monitor while hot (ie up and running session) the external monitor is a mirror of the laptop screen. So I wondered what happened if connected on a cold boot and the same mirroring happens. I was thinking that this is what would happen other than changing up the X session that is running. So I would venture to guess this is the behavior and not be able to create xinerama.

I also took the first pass at switching back to the vpn east server... no joy. I need to find someone in house now that can tell me

  1. if I have the correct ip for the server
  2. what is different in the config of east and sfbay

For what it's worth.

Tuesday Oct 16, 2007

Gobi7: Day 5

Not much change today on the Gobi front. I have been cranking away on it today and have only tested out one of the items that I wanted to work on. Today was testing out an external mouse, the Sun three button laser mouse specifically. Just works, plug it in and keep on moving just like always. Also, I have two profiles for the two wireless networks that I frequent, so multi wireless network configs is done as well. Ttwo down and more to come. The list has grown a little so let me recap.

  • external display
  • external wired keyboard
  • external bluetooth keyboard (works on the SR2)
  • how to connect on a wireless network that requires web page authentication first
  • testing vpn east again to see if there is a config issue between east and sfaby or if it was just being nasty the first time I was trying
  • how to get third button (center click) when the external mouse is not connected... I use highlight and click more than I thought, work around is the copy/paste keys

It would be great if there was a method of getting battery level status even if from a cli so that would have an idea of how much time I have.

Thanks to Peter for checking in on my progress. I am digging the device so far... it could be a hard item to give up after the 90 days.

For what it's worth.

Sunday Oct 14, 2007

Gobi7: Day 4

The week starts out right when I can blog from the Gobi7 and on wireless as well. I fired up the unit this morning, selected the wireless config and waited. The dialog came up asking for my vpn password / token, after entering the value and pressing ok... boom... it shows that it is connected to the SRSS and then the login dialog popped up. Now I have the vpn set to connect to a vpn server on west coast so I was hoping that all the infrastructure was going to work out to connect me to an east coast server. After entering my login it did just that, kicked over to an east coast server for the login. Well there we have it, success on wireless and the blog entry from it. Now to take the next 86 days to work from the laptop to see how it works out. I am use to working with a larger screen when on a laptop and a much larger screen when using my current SR@H based on a SR2 and a 24" LCD. So things to try moving foward:

  • external display
  • external keyboard / mouse
  • different wireless setttings

For what it's worth.

Friday Oct 12, 2007

Gobi7: Day 1

Well day 1 started out where day 0 left off with not being connected. After a couple of emails to some experts there are some successes. With a test configuration from Intelicis I was able to get connected to their SRSS. So that turns us back to Sun's vpn servers. I switched up the config to a wired connection to ensure the wireless was not the issue. That did not solve it. After then switching to a different vpn server I was able to get connected. I logged out of my SR session and then attempted to reconnect with my smartcard in so that I would get my existing session... now the vpn connection out of my house appears to be hosed. On my mac I can not get a vpn connection now so who knows what is going on now, the interesting part is that my SR@H (SR2) is still working like a dream. So, end of day 1, appears that the config issues are worked out, need to try it on wireless once the vpn issue clears up.

For what it's worth.

Thursday Oct 11, 2007

Gobi7: Day 0

I decided not to take unboxing pictures but it was fun to cut into the box and see what was inside. So initial impressions that it is really light, keyboard is tight but does not seem unreasonable. After plugging in the batter the configuration screen was easy to walk through, the hardest part was typing the wifi key in while only looking at \* and hoping I had them all right.

All right, I had all the config data in based on the details I was given... no joy. Okay, so I figure keyboard driver error. Double check everything, no joy. Okay, try wired connection instead of wireless, no joy. Time to ask the experts, after a couple of emails I find that I do have everything set correctly so more investigation is needed.

So the Gobi does take longer to boot than a SR2 but I did not think it was to long. The machine does appear to slow down and take a long time when saving config files and starting to use them. I can't speak on performance yet since I am not connected.

End of day 0, no joy, sad Gobi7.

For what it's worth.

The wait is killing me

I am totally waiting for the FedEx truck to get there and the wait is killing me. I mentioned that I will be testing out a Gobi7 for the next 90 days. It is on the FedEx trunk for delivery... don't they know they should have came here first today? If interested keep subscribed for my reactions, usage, likes, dislikes... honest feelings about the Gobi7 over the next 90 days.

For what it's worth.

Thursday Oct 04, 2007

SR@H goes wireless

After talking to enough people or maybe the right people I am going to be testing out a Gobi7 here at home and where I roam as my thin client remote connectivity solution. Since the Gobi7 can be configured to work with Sun's Sun Ray @ Home program I will be all set up. The unit should get here in the next few days and then I have 90 days to put it though it's paces. I mentioned to the folks sending my out the loaner that I would blog about my experiences in using it so stay tuned for updates. Who knows, I might start being as "thin" as someone else we all know.

For what it's worth.




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