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Acer Rethinks the "Tablet Bubble," Launching $99 Tablet

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the 3-2-1-*pop* dept.

China 243

retroworks writes "In August 2011, Acer Chairman JT Wang declared that the consumer affection for tablets had already begun to cool, basically labeling it a fad. What a difference a year (and a half) makes. Acer now plans to introduce a 'category killer' $99 tablet. 'In the past few months, we've made project roadmap changes in response to big changes in the tablet market,' according to a source at the Wall Street Journal. 'The launch of the Nexus 10 has changed the outlook for what makes competitive pricing.' Acer is aiming the new tablet at emerging markets, competing with Chinese 'white box' tablets (already available in Shenzhen at $45 each)."

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SHELDON COOPER loves PENNY'S POOPER! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386327)

TEMPEST Attacks! LCD Monitor leaks system noise to FRS
=
I don't operate any wireless equipment at my living location. This includes computers, computer equipment, routers, non-computer equipment, etc.

I'm having a problem with one of my LCD monitors.

It works without problems. That was until I picked up some heavy static noises from a hand held radio. I eliminated all sources of generating this type of noise until I came towards an LCD monitor. When the monitor is on and there is content on the screen the radio makes several types of garbage(static) sounds. As I manipulate contents on the screen, maximize and minimize windows, open different applications, the radio responds with scratchy(static) noises to match the activity on the screen. This includes typing and mouse movement.

When I switched the desktop background to a solid black color without wallpaper, the radio noise went down to almost nothing. But when I loaded any program with a white background, the noise from the radio exploded in volume.

When I passed the radio across different computer and non-computer electronic devices other than the LCD monitor, the wired mouse made a high pitched squeal sound within the static. None of the other computing devices such as the tower generated any noise.

I tried CRT monitors and separate computers attached to the CRT monitors but they did not generate any noise in the radio. On the computer connected to the net, I unplugged the cable leading to the router to rule this out but it made no difference, the LCD monitor is at fault.

While monitoring the radio noise, there were several instances where the noise on the channel being monitored stopped, and I switched to another channel and the same noise appeared. Why would the noise from the LCD switch channels during normal use of the LCD? Back and forth throughout the day the noise generated by the LCD would switch from one channel to the next and back to the first channel again.

The noise extends several steps within my living location. I'll test this another day to determine if it extends outside my living location and if so by how many feet.

The computer/monitor are grounded and attached to a surge protector. I'm not sure what I need to do to stop this, or if I should ignore it.

I assumed LCDs would be quieter than CRTs when it came to noise.

Unless I have a radio tuned to a specific channel, the LCD does not generate any noise which I can detect, unless it's above my hearing capacity.

The LCD monitor also functions as speakers, and while the sound cable is connected to the tower, I have disabled the onboard sound in my BIOS. The only other connection is the DVI cable to the tower.

How may I decrease this noise or eliminate it? It seems like the LCD is a mini radio station. When I turn it off the noise in the radio stops, if I blacken the screen the noise lessens. When I switch to a colorful background or load white screened applications like a web browser the noise jumps up loudly. I've tried grabbing and moving a browser window around the screen and the movement matches the noises in the radio.

Would any of this be considered normal?
=
This certainly isn't unheard of, it's because some part of the monitor is unshielded. The more fix-it stuff is at the top of the following, with the technical backdrop that just might be good to know is at the bottom.

Unfortunately, the issue is most likely the panel charging the LCs. The only thing you can do is see if the manufacturer will replace it or upgrade you. Complain to the manufacturer, be sure to come up with some important thing it's interfering with(if I recall some medical devices use some sort of radio).

If the issue is actually internal wiring which is highly unlikely as detailed below, and it isn't in warranty, attempt to shield it yourself. To shield it yourself, you'll need thin foil(not kitchen foil) and electrical tape.

So, in any given monitor, there's 3 main parts. Input, logic, and output. Output, as previously mentioned, can't really be shielded. To shield both of the other sections, all you really need to do is manipulate the wiring to reduce the number of holes in the foil wrap needed to put it all back together. Obviously this will take some trial and error, and time.

USEFUL INFO THAT ISN'T REQUIRED:

Shielding wires can best be thought of as a encasing a wire in a Faraday cage, made of foil. If you want to see an example, Apple's iPod charging cords are all shielded, strip the insulation and see for yourself. This shielding acts doubly, keeping EM noise from messing with the signal, and keeps the signal's own noise from leaving.

WHY IT IS THE CHARGING PANEL AND NOT WIRING:
Because of the specific details you provided( bravo to you, the amount of data provided helped ), I can conclude that the charging panel(the array of electrodes responsible for producing the image) is putting out the interference. Three of your observations prove this.

First, you state the noise ceases completely when the monitor is turned off, which is consistent with it being EM noise.
Second, the noise's perceived pitch changes when the display is manipulated, which is to be expected, as the electrode charges would change as the display changes.
Third, a black screen is "quieter" than a white screen. Black is the lowest charge state, with the only power in use going to the backlight.

As for your questions:
Noise hopping channels isn't unheard of, though I don't know the science behind it. My best guess is that because the noise isn't an intended result of the electricity, small changes in voltage/amperage result in those hops.
(indirect question-ish) The mouse was likely the only other emitter because it has a fairly high density of wires + it emits light.
=
@W00t:

What 1s the d1fference between - and where may 1 obta1n the non-k1tchen "foil" you ment1oned?

The d1sturbances sound l1ke a bugged env1ronment. The squeal com1ng from one area and/or dev1ce could mean the locat1on of the bug has been found - and 1 know adding a small dev1ce and/or mod1f1cation to a keyboard and/or mouse 1s s1mple enough - espec1ally for a quick 1n and out the door type bugging.

1s there an affordable method of sh1elding the equ1pment while not violating FCC/TEMPEST laws? Would a simple screen d1mmer attached to the monitor bring the no1se down? Or would 1t be best to put out the extra money requ1red by purchas1ng spec1al paint or wallpaper wh1ch blocks RF signals?

Whether or not 1t's a bug, at this point you are broadcast1ng your computer mon1tor and 1ts activ1t1es, down to the keyboard and mouse movements. What 1s the use of using Tor or any other l1ke serv1ce 1f you are pwned over the a1r waves?
=
You could use kitchen foil, it's just more unwieldy to work with.

Yes, it could be a bug, I was running under the assumption you had no reason to believe you were bugged, and if you did you ran bug sweeps. If you believe you are bugged, you should definitely dismantle things to make sure a bug isn't simply piggybacking on the same power source.

Dimming the screen would reduce noise, but not completely eliminate it.
=
Thanks, W00t.

"Dimming the screen would reduce noise, but not completely eliminate it."

I have modified my browser to function with a black background and my choice of text colors and unchecked the option for all pages to use their own colors, so every page I visit is black with my choice of font/links colors. I'll rescan to determine if this lessens the noise. It's ugly, but tolerable. Coupled with a black theme for the desktop, including the background and system wide applications should also help - including disabling images in the browser.

You mentioned foil. I'm not an electrician, but wouldn't wrapping cords with foil and finishing the job off with a layer of strong black tape possibly conduct electricity? Are you suggesting I cover all wires leading to the computer(s) using this method? Wouldn't they each require special grounding? How many repeating layers of this and/or other material is needed? Have you tried "conductive tubing?"

While I want to shield enough to block noisy RF, I don't want to create a microwave type scenario where RF is contained but it still remains and is possibly amplified so as to add to the degeneration of my health, if that's possible.

1. Ferrite beads
2. Split beads
3. Toroids

CONDUCTIVE TUBING & FERRITE SNAP BEAD
http://www.lessemf.com/wiring.html [lessemf.com]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_interference [wikipedia.org]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_radiation_and_health [wikipedia.org]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_shielding [wikipedia.org]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMF_measurement [wikipedia.org]

I could try some or all of the three options above in addition to your advice? TY
==
Anyways this reminding me of Van Eck phreaking look it up, some pretty interesting stuff.

Yep, had the same thought.

Countermeasures are detailed in the article on TEMPEST, the NSA's standard on spy-proofing digital equipment. One countermeasure involves shielding the equipment to minimize electromagnetic emissions. Another method, specifically for video information, scrambles the signals such that the image is perceptually undisturbed, but the emissions are harder to reverse engineer into images. Examples of this include low pass filtering fonts and randomizing the least significant bit of the video data information.
=
can someone please point me to techie LCD monitor internal guides? If I'm going to take it apart I'd like to know what to expect. I've read more about Van Eck and Tempest than anyone can teach me here. Now I'm looking for LCD guides of what's inside.
=
To be honest, its not the whats inside the LCD monitor you should be worrying about if you want to phreak LCD's . You should be worry more about the RF side of things, and figuring out the spread spectrum clock signal so you can pick up the signal. Top if off background noise is going to be bitch when it comes to LCD. Old CRT monitors are way easier to phreak those thing throw off EM radiation like nobody business.
=
The noise coming from the LCD monitor is appearing on FRS channels:

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Radio_Service [wikipedia.org]

It continues for several minutes before it jumps to another channel then after a few minutes jumps back to the original channel. One of my concerns is the ability for others to pluck this noise from the air (Van Eck/TEMPEST) and monitor my activity, or possibly use an attack against the computer somehow. A recent UN report mentioned a high tech method(s):

* U.N. report reveals secret law enforcement techniques

"Point 201: Mentions a new covert communications technique using software defined high frequency radio receivers routed through the computer creating no logs, using no central server and extremely difficult for law enforcement to intercept."

- http://www.unodc.org/documents/frontpage/Use_of_Internet_for_Terrorist_Purposes.pdf [unodc.org]
- http://www.hacker10.com/other-computing/u-n-report-reveals-secret-law-enforcement-techniques/ [hacker10.com]

In addition, I don't want my LCD monitor constantly sending monitor and/or system activity to a FRS channel(s) for others to hear. I choose wired over wireless for a reason, and there shouldn't be any noise coming from my LCD monitor and appearing over FRS, unless there is a bug or problem with the monitor. All of my
CRT systems are silent on FRS.

When I position the radio near different components, the power supply doesn't emit any noise on FRS, but it could be a problem, I don't know, I'll move to that once I resolve the LCD monitor problem, unless the PSU is the problem and not the monitor.

I may take apart the LCD monitor, I'm looking for a good list of what I'll find if I do.

I peered inside the vents on the top/back left hand side with a strong flashlight and came across a strange piece of silver tape inside, here's how I describe it:

OOGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG__

OO = a small thin black material coming out from underneath the silver piece of tape
GG = the strip of silver tape
__ = the bottom right hand portion of the silver tape is raised enough to allow a pinky finger entry

The silver tape/material/opening under tape is on the top left corner inside the monitor. The rest of the length and area inside that I can see contain no tape or black material. I've seen photos of planted bugs in people's living spaces and most if not all of the invasive ones are wrapped/covered in silver foil. I've found no other reason for that strip and material to be there, but what do I know.
=
In addition, my CDROM drive light blinks once every second, sometimes with a second or 1/2 second in between, and I found this:

http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/19.60.html#subj9 [ncl.ac.uk]

"I'd worry about a Tempest virus that polled a personal computer's
CD-ROM drive to pulse the motor as a signalling method:

* Modern high-speed CD-ROM drive motors are both acoustically and
electrically noisy, giving you two attack methods for the price of one;

* Laptop computer users without CRTs, and the PC users that can afford
large LCD screens instead of CRTs, often have CD-ROM drives;

* Users are getting quite used to sitting patiently while their
CD-ROM drives grind away for no visibly obvious reason (but
that's quite enough about the widespread installs of software from
Microsoft CD-ROMs that prompted Kuhn's investigation in the first place.)"
==
"I'd worry about a Tempest virus that polled a personal computer' personal computer' CD-ROM drive"

Yes and the hard drive and in some PC's the cooling fans as well are under CPU control.

You can also do it with PC's where the CPU does not control the fan, but the hardware has a simple thermal sensor to control it's speed. You do this by simply having a process that uses power expensive instructions in tight loops, thus raising the CPU temprature (it's one of the side channels I was considering a long time ago when thinking about how the temp inside the case changed various things including the CPU clock XTAL frequency).

The change in sound side channel is one of the first identified problems with Quantum Key Distribution. Basicaly the bod who came up with the idea whilst first testing the idea could tell the state of "Alice's polarizer" simply by the amount of noise it made...

The CD-ROM motor idea I'd heard befor but could not remember where till I followed your link.

Dr Lloyd Wood has worked with the UK's Surrey Uni, the European Space Agency and Americas NASA and one or two other places as part of his work for Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. He has been involved with CLEO (Cisco router in Low Earth Orbit) and other work on what's being called "The Space Internet".

Of interest is his work on Delay and Disruption Tolerant Networks (DTN). It's not been said "publicaly" as far as I'm aware but the work has aspects that are important to anonymity networks such as TOR.

You can read more on Dr Wood's DTN work etc at,

http://personal.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Personal/L.Wood/dtn/ [surrey.ac.uk]

The UK occupies an odd position in the "Space Race" it is the only nation who having put a satellite into space then stopped further space rocket development (the Black Knight launch platform was considerably safer and more economic than the then US and CCCP systems). The UK has however continued in the Space Game and is perhaps the leading designers of payloads for scientific and industrial satellites (it probably is on military sats as well but nobody who knows for sure is telling ;-)

Clive Robinson
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2012/12/interesting_win.html#c1049823 [schneier.com]
=
I don't think there should be anymore blinking if you remove the CD/DVD inside.
If it keeps blinking, find out which process uses it.
Anyway, you can disable it when you're not using it, if it's bothering you.

And shield your monitor.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_shielding [wikipedia.org]
==
"I don't think there should be anymore blinking if you remove the CD/DVD inside."

Does Tails support this at boot?

If not, is there a Linux LiveCD which allows this and does not give you root access at boot?

I've looked at several different distributions which allow you to boot into RAM and remove the CD, but they all give you root and that's a very insecure environment to run TBB in!

"If it keeps blinking, find out which process uses it."

It doesn't blink on the several distros which boot into RAM, but I don't want to run Tor as root or reconfigure the permissions/PAM/etc. just to use TBB. As above, with Tails and many LiveCDs which don't boot into RAM, 99% of them have this blinking light issue. The actual INSTALLS I've done to HDD experience constant light activity too, even more so, without anything to explain them.

For Linux, I've ran rkhunter, chkrootkit, tiger, and other tools and nothing malicious is found. Without a deep binary analysis I don't know what else I could do.

For Windows, I use a few programs in the SysInternals Suite and they display strange usage on the system and reference programs which cannot be found with a search on the system, references to impersonation, spoofing, and more. I've ran almost every N.American scanner on the Windows systems, including command line only rootkit detectors and I've seen some strange 'strings' of binaries mentioned, but have no idea on how to clean the system.

I prefer to run LiveCDs because all installations, Windows and Linux, contain unexplainable frenzies of blinking lights, far worse than the blink every second on most LiveCDs. I'm wondering if this is firmware malware on my NIC or the CDROM itself. This has existed for years and never goes away, no matter what system I use, this strange baggage seems to re-infect everything.

"Anyway, you can disable it when you're not using it, if it's bothering you."

Disable what?

"And shield your monitor."

Thanks. I'm investigating and most of the guides require specific addons to the computer's cabling system. Most of the guides appear incomplete, or are in another language other than English.

Any comments on the Tempest/blinking light possibility?

Any comments on why it's spewing out noise to FRS stations and freq hopping?
==
More comments from elsewhere:

@kb2vxa:

"You're making a mountain out of a mole hill."

I respect your opinion and I don't wish to argue against it, but please look at it from the way I and some others have. I want to eliminate the noise created by the LCD monitor. If this was such a common experience, I would expect at least one of the dozens of other electronic equipment to generate some noise, however faint, on FRS - but they do not.

"You are under the wrong impression that somehow RF hash from the back light can somehow carry data. A liquid crystal display (LCD) does not generate its own light like a CRT or plasma screen and requires a light source to make the display visible. Even those that do cannot transmit computer data being none reaches the monitor."

The LCD is connected to a tower, which other devices connect to. Under testing I've heard the CDROM drive accessing data noises within the FRS channels, along with mouse movements and keyboard activity, along with other noises. When I disable the LCD monitor, all of these disturbances vanish. This means the weakness is in the monitor, and my tower is well shielded or shielded enough so as not to generate any noise in radios I can notice. The reference I made to the strange tape and material within the back side of the LCD monitor at the top could be a sign of some type of antenna or device for amping.

"Their FRS radios will only hear what yours does, RF hash, no data whatsoever THAT IS if one is standing outside your house tapping the radio and scratching his head wondering what's the matter with his radio. You and only you know what it is and where it's coming from."

And what of experienced and curious sysadmins? Rogue crackers? Bored HAMs?
Are there any remote radio injection attacks against systems? This is something I'll research later, as I do believe it was mentioned in at least one whitepaper on side channel attacks.

"Thanks for the chuckles, if the report reveals secrets it would not be published but sent by secret courier to the KGB in Moscow."

I'm not aware of any secrets revealed within the document. But it did raise an interesting point without exposing the method(s) delivered to us from an interesting party. This wasn't just some random article written by some anonymous, disturbed fellow and posted to a pastebin or conspiracy minded blog or forum. And one cannot deny the dozens of TEMPEST attacks available today.

"So... all this and no word on moving the radio farther from the monitor. Why don't you try talking somewhere besides in front of the computer if it bothers you so much?"

Thank you for considering conversation as my reason for posting this, but it is not. I would not choose a noisy channel to talk on. Clear conversation is not the point of this thread. I desire the elimination of this garbage coming from the LCD monitor. I don't care if no one in the world can pick up on it and hear it, I would like to properly resolve it and not ignore it.

One can also dredge up the subject of EMF on health, too, but I have not experienced any disturbance of health from exposure to this noise and most people would argue any possible EMF effects on health to be one of one's over active imagination and not real world application.

[-]

A continued discussion was posted elsewhere, this may be useful in the voyage to remove this "noise":

[-]

In addition, my CDROM drive light blinks once every second, sometimes with a second or 1/2 second in between, and I found this:

[-]

http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/19.60.html#subj9 [ncl.ac.uk]

"I'd worry about a Tempest virus that polled a personal computer's
CD-ROM drive to pulse the motor as a signalling method:

* Modern high-speed CD-ROM drive motors are both acoustically and
electrically noisy, giving you two attack methods for the price of one;

* Laptop computer users without CRTs, and the PC users that can afford
large LCD screens instead of CRTs, often have CD-ROM drives;

* Users are getting quite used to sitting patiently while their
CD-ROM drives grind away for no visibly obvious reason (but
that's quite enough about the widespread installs of software from
Microsoft CD-ROMs that prompted Kuhn's investigation in the first place.)"

[-]

Any comments on the silver tape and material inside the back of the LCD? ...Disconnection of the LED CDROM and HDD lights could be something I should do to relieve one possible issue.

[-]

Some articles with examples:

"If everything is just right, you can pick up signals from some distance. "I was able to eavesdrop certain laptops through three walls," says Kuhn. "At the CEBIT conference, in 2006, I was able to see the Powerpoint presentation from a stand 25 metres away."

uhn also mentioned that one laptop was vulnerable because it had metal hinges that carried the signal of the display cable. I asked if you could alter a device to make it easier to spy on. "There are a lot of innocuous modifications you can make to maximise the chance of getting a good signal," he told me. For example, adding small pieces of wire or cable to a display could make a big difference.

As for defending against this kind of attack, Kuhn says using well-shielded cables, certain combinations of colours and making everything a little fuzzy all work."

http://www.newscientist.com/blog/technology/2007/04/seeing-through-walls.html [newscientist.com]

=!==!=
TO EASILY VIEW THE PDF files below:
=!==!=

Online viewer for PDF, PostScript and Word:

"This is an online viewer, with which you can view PDF and PostScript files as browsable images and Word documents as web pages. Given a URL on the net or a file on your computer, the viewer will try to retrieve the document, convert it and show it to you. No plugin software is required."

http://view.samurajdata.se/ [samurajdata.se]

The viewer software is open source, licensed under the GNU Public License.
=!==!=

Electromagnetic eavesdropping risks of flat-panel displays
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/pet2004-fpd.pdf [cam.ac.uk]

=

Eavesdropping attacks on computer displays
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/iss2006-tempest.pdf [cam.ac.uk]

=

Compromising emanations: eavesdropping risks of computer displays
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/techreports/UCAM-CL-TR-577.html [cam.ac.uk]
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/techreports/UCAM-CL-TR-577.pdf [cam.ac.uk]

=

Compromising emanations of LCD TV sets
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/emc2011-tv.pdf [cam.ac.uk]

=

"Q: Can I use filtered fonts also on flat-panel displays

My experience so far has been that with LCDs, the video cable is the most significant source of radiated information leakage. Where an analogue video cable (with 15-pin VGA connector) is used, low-pass filtered fonts have the same benefits as with CRTs. Where a purely digital video cable is used (DVI-D, laptop-internal displays with FPD/LVDS links, etc.) only the last step, namely randomizing the least-significant bits, should be implemented.

Where the video signal is entirely encoded in digital form, the low-pass filtered step will not have the desired effect. In fact, it can actually increase the differences between the signal generated by individual characters, and thereby make automatic radio character recognition more reliable."

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/emsec/softtempest-faq.html [cam.ac.uk]

=

Remotely Eavesdropping on Keyboards (and read the comments!)

"The researchers from the Security and Cryptography Laboratory at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne are able to capture keystrokes by monitoring the electromagnetic radiation of PS/2, universal serial bus, or laptop keyboards. They've outline four separate attack methods, some that work at a distance of as much as 65 feet from the target.

In one video demonstration, researchers Martin Vuagnoux and Sylvain Pasini sniff out the the keystrokes typed into a standard keyboard using a large antenna that's about 20 to 30 feet away in an adjacent room."

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2008/10/remotely_eavesd.html [schneier.com]

=

Video eavesdropping demo at CeBIT 2006
http://www.lightbluetouchpaper.org/2006/03/09/video-eavesdropping-demo-at-cebit-2006/ [lightbluetouchpaper.org]

=

Optical Emission Security â" Frequently Asked Questions

"Q: What about LEDs?

For devices with RS-232 serial ports, it is customary to provide a status indicator LED for some of the signal lines (in particular transmit data and receive data). Often, these LEDs are directly connected to the line via just a resistor. As a result, anyone with a line of sight to the LED, some optics and a simple photosensor can see the data stream. Joe Loughry and David A. Umphress have recently announced a detailed study (submitted to ACM Transactions on Information and System Security) in which they tested 39 communications devices with 164 LED indicators, and on 14 of the tested devices they found serial port data in the LED light. Based on their findings, it seems reasonable to conclude that LEDs for RS-232 ports are most likely carrying the data signal today, whereas LEDs on high-speed data links (LANs, harddisk) do not. Even these LEDs are still available as a covert channel for malicious software that actively tries to transmit data optically.

I expect that this paper will cause a number of modem manufacturers to add a little pulse stretcher (monostable multivibrator) to the LEDs in the next chip set revision, and that at some facilities with particular security concerns, the relevant LEDs will be removed or covered with black tape.

The data traffic on LEDs is not a periodic signal, and therefore, unlike with video signals, periodic averaging cannot be used to improve the signal-to-noise ratio. The shot-noise limit estimation technique that I used to estimate the CRT eavesdropping risk can even more easily (because no deconvolution is needed) also be applied to serial port indicators and allows us to estimate a lower bound for the bit-error rate at a given distance. I have performed a few example calculations and concluded that with a direct line of sight, and a 100 kbit/s signal (typical for an external telephone modem), at 500 m distance it should be no problem to acquire a reliable signal (one wrong bit every 10 megabit), whereas for indirect reflection from the wall of a dark room, a somewhat more noisy signal (at least one wrong bit per 10 kilobit) can be expected to be receivable in a few tens of meters distance.

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/emsec/optical-faq.html [cam.ac.uk]

=

Ancient Story on Slashdot: Coming to a Desktop near you: Tempest Capabilities

"New Scientist has an interesting article about a new toy we will all want. It's a card that plugs in one of your PCI slots and allows you to scan the EMF spectrum and read your neighbours terminal. In about 5 years you might be able to get one for just under £1000. (Modern Tempest Hardware costs about £30000) "

http://www.yro.slashdot.org/story/99/11/08/093250/coming-to-a-desktop-near-you-tempest-capabilities [slashdot.org]

=

"Any unshielded electrical device with a variable current (including LCDs) will give out EMF radiation. It's the nature of the beast.

For that matter, light is EMF radiation, so unless you have your LCD in a coal-mine, it's reflecting EMF all the time it's switched on.

Then, there's the fact that screen monitoring isn't the only monitoring you can do. I used to use a radio, tuned into the bus for the PET, as a sound card. Worked surprisingly well, for all that very clunky metal shielding. What's to stop a much higher-quality receiver from seeing the data, in an unshielded box, being sent TO the LCD, or to any other device on the machine?

It's a mistake to assume that Tempest technology is single-function and that that single-function only works in a single situation."

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2333&cid=1553178 [slashdot.org]

=

800Mbps Wireless Network Made With LED Light Bulbs
http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/08/02/1322201/800Mbps-Wireless-Network-Made-With-LED-Light-Bulbs [slashdot.org]

=

There are a lot of other files, many in PPT format, which can be found easily on this subject of LCD monitor (and other computing devices) TEMPEST sniffing.

=

Sources for this discussion:

- http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r27848275-TEMPEST-Attacks-LCD-Monitor-leaks-system-noise-to-FRS [dslreports.com]
- http://clsvtzwzdgzkjda7.onion/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10919 [clsvtzwzdgzkjda7.onion]

    The following link will probably be deleted in the near future:
- http://forums.radioreference.com/computer/255488-lcd-monitor-broadcasts-noise-radio-why.html [radioreference.com] .onion link above requires a running Tor client session in order to view. (https://www.torproject.org)

This on-going discussion backed up to Pastebin(s) in order to retain it as an artifact. Many of these
types of discussions are REMOVED from the net because of the nature of the discussion (TEMPEST).

Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (3, Insightful)

guises (2423402) | about a year ago | (#42386353)

I don't see how tablets are any different from netbooks. They're semi-useful devices that have a limited place but are outclassed by more capable machines which have been around for a long time. Acer may now be willing to get on the bandwagon for the sake of some short-term profits, but that doesn't make Mr. Wang's declaration any less correct.

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (5, Interesting)

chithanh (1921670) | about a year ago | (#42386411)

I would rather claim the reverse. Tablet sales are displacing sales of "more capable machines" at an astonishing rate. A $45 tablet already fulfills the computing needs of a whole lot of people, why should they spend more on a PC? Those high-priced PCs will be relegated to the niche of users who require functions that a tablet or smartphone cannot provide.

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (5, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#42386443)

They are not trowing away their PC, they are just buying a second or third or fourth one.
Typing a letter? Big PC. Browsing in front of the TV? Tablet. When on the road? Their phone. On a holiday? Portable.
Or mom and dad on the PC and the kids on the portable for homework and tablet for entertainment.

We do not live in an OR/OR world. Always think AND/AND. So these people have the cake AND eat it too AND the cake is a lie.

Ya no kidding (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year ago | (#42386619)

I have yet to meet anyone who has gotten a tablet for any kinds of real reason other than a toy. Now that's fine, nothing wrong with toys, but everyone I know who has gotten a tablet already has a laptop and smartphone, and they've kept the laptop and smartphone after getting it, and kept using them.

Those would be what tablets would replace. The argument seems to be that you don't need a laptop, a tablet will do fine, so you get one instead of your laptop. Another argument could be that a laptop isn't portable enough but a tablet is, so you can take it with you and thus don't need a smart phone, just a regular one.

However in actual practice, nobody seems to do that. They have a laptop and a tablet, and a smartphone.

I'm still not convinced tablets are here to stay. They seem to be fancy toys and status symbols right now (really there's an iPad market, not a tablet market) and little in the way of actual use. I could well see them dying off and people continuing to use laptops and smartphones.

That's why I don't have one: I asked myself where I would use a tablet that I wouldn't rather use my laptop or smartphone and I can't come up with an answer. I don't want it enough just as a toy.

Re:Ya no kidding (4, Interesting)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#42386695)

I have yet to meet anyone who has gotten a tablet for any kinds of real reason other than a toy. Now that's fine, nothing wrong with toys, but everyone I know who has gotten a tablet already has a laptop and smartphone, and they've kept the laptop and smartphone after getting it, and kept using them.

Those would be what tablets would replace. The argument seems to be that you don't need a laptop, a tablet will do fine, so you get one instead of your laptop. Another argument could be that a laptop isn't portable enough but a tablet is, so you can take it with you and thus don't need a smart phone, just a regular one.

However in actual practice, nobody seems to do that. They have a laptop and a tablet, and a smartphone.

I'm still not convinced tablets are here to stay. They seem to be fancy toys and status symbols right now (really there's an iPad market, not a tablet market) and little in the way of actual use. I could well see them dying off and people continuing to use laptops and smartphones.

That's why I don't have one: I asked myself where I would use a tablet that I wouldn't rather use my laptop or smartphone and I can't come up with an answer. I don't want it enough just as a toy.

Well, if it's a toy, it has to be just about my favorite toy. I'd rather have a tablet than a laptop myself - for "real" mouse/typing work I want a desktop with a keyboard that isn't little mushed things that I have to reach over a fat "sand bar" to get at while broadcasting false mouse events as my hands pass over the touchpad.

The advantage of the tablet is that it can wander around with me easily (I have a 7-inch unit). It's what I use when I want computer resources without the rituals. I don't have to wander into the computer room, wake up a machine, sit down and assume the position. I can just pick up the tablet, unlock it and go. Literally go, since you can wander around with it in one hand - a bit of a challenge with a laptop.

I primarily use the tablet to access data, not to input it. So I use it as an e-reader (much easier on the eyes than a desk/laptop display), email reader, RSS reader, Wikipedia/google/recipe database lookup-and-display, stuff like that where I can tap in at a whim. I CAN do short email replies and so forth, but like I said, the operative word here is "reader". It does do streaming multi-media pretty well in take-along form also.

There's still a place in my life for the desktop (heavy-duty input) and my phone (fits-in-the-pocket), but an awful lot of what I do is a good match for the tablet. Add the current low prices and the ability to store it in a small convenient space like shelving a book, and it's hard to resist.

Re:Ya no kidding (2)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#42386757)

Butthead: Hey Beavis!
Beavis: What?
Butthead: He said '7-inch unit! Huh huh ...

Re:Ya no kidding (-1, Flamebait)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#42386911)

Well, if it's a toy, it has to be just about my favorite toy. I'd rather have a tablet than a laptop myself

Then quite clearly you do not really belong on slashdot. Don't take this as an insult, but you are not a normal slashdot user if a tablet can replace a laptop in your universe. Its my grandmothers universe where a tablet can replace a laptop, because she isnt a nerd. She is just a technology consumer, and apparently you are just a technology consumer too.

Re:Ya no kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42387011)

Well, if it's a toy, it has to be just about my favorite toy. I'd rather have a tablet than a laptop myself

Then quite clearly you do not really belong on slashdot. Don't take this as an insult, but you are not a normal slashdot user if a tablet can replace a laptop in your universe. Its my grandmothers universe where a tablet can replace a laptop, because she isnt a nerd. She is just a technology consumer, and apparently you are just a technology consumer too.

More likely, (s)he is just better at using their computing tools/resources than you.

Re:Ya no kidding (-1, Troll)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#42387625)

More likely, (s)he is just better at using their computing tools/resources than you.

No, this person is claiming that a single tool works for them... this single tool replaces a laptop.. but yet it doesnt have all the features or capabilities of a laptop..

Therefore this person does not use a laptop to its potential, so is quite clearly not a nerd, and is just using their existing laptop to consume media.

Re:Ya no kidding (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386927)

I also use a tablet to read stuff, since the absence of hardware keyboard + mouse prevents it to be a good tool to write data.

As for being an alternative to e-readers: Tablets have the advantage of being to read any type of files (PDFs aren't always properly displayed on e-readers) and running other apps, but they have the the inconvenience of using a lot more power.

Re:Ya no kidding (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about a year ago | (#42387203)

Well, if it's a toy, it has to be just about my favorite toy. I'd rather have a tablet than a laptop myself - for "real" mouse/typing work I want a desktop with a keyboard that isn't little mushed things that I have to reach over a fat "sand bar" to get at while broadcasting false mouse events as my hands pass over the touchpad.

I hate touchpads/trackpads with a passion. It's why for me only laptops with trackpoints ("nipple") will do. And exactly for the reason you cite: it's hard to type while trying to hover the thumbs over the trackpad. If you do touch it, the cursor will jump somewhere random, and your text will continue to be typed there :( Fuck that.

I type on public transit (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42387549)

I'd rather have a tablet than a laptop myself - for "real" mouse/typing work I want a desktop with a keyboard that isn't little mushed things

Let me guess: you don't do any "real" typing work while riding public transit. My habits appear to differ from yours, and I would be disappointed if small laptops went away even more than they already have.

Re:Ya no kidding (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42386697)

I'm still not convinced tablets are here to stay. They seem to be fancy toys and status symbols right now (really there's an iPad market, not a tablet market) and little in the way of actual use. I could well see them dying off and people continuing to use laptops and smartphones.

Tablets are here to stay. People have wanted this form factor as long as there have been computers, and then some. That's why we make both books of paper and tablets of paper. Tablets aren't going away, laptops are. They're turning into tablets. You can already buy a tablet PC.

Re:Ya no kidding (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year ago | (#42386701)

You don't get out much then, do you? I'll see your anecdote with my own. I know many people who use tablets for productive work when a portable device makes sense. That doesn't mean PC's are going to go away. It means that tablets can be more than mere toys. I am sure quite a few people here use them for email, looking (work related) things up on the Web, and other tasks that fall into the 'other than toy' category. That is without going into all the real productivity apps that exist for iOS and Android, and probably even for Windows 8 (I haven't bothered to look).

Re:Ya no kidding (5, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#42386705)

I have yet to meet anyone who has gotten a tablet for any kinds of real reason other than a toy.

Thereby demonstrating the fallacy of generalizing from your experience to the rest of the world. You can't possibly know more than an invisibly small fraction (one in millions or tens of millions) of all tablet owners well enough to know for absolute certainty they don't use them as anything but toys.
 

However in actual practice, nobody seems to do that. They have a laptop and a tablet, and a smartphone.

That's the grandparent's point - rather than one big desktop computer, people now own a range of computing devices the same way they own a range of screwdrivers or a range of kitchen/chef's knifes. Different tools for different uses.

Re:Ya no kidding (2)

Jaysyn (203771) | about a year ago | (#42386919)

I have yet to meet anyone who has gotten a tablet for any kinds of real reason other than a toy.

My girlfriend is an occupational therapy assistant & uses her iPad during fine motor therapy sessions. The kids & most seniors she works with love it. She bought her iPad after getting to evaluate all the OTA apps available for it at a convention (they weren't on Android at the time, but are now). She keeps her notes & schedules on it as well.

Re:Ya no kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42387471)

So are you going to introduce your girlfriend to him so they can have a few fine motor therapy sessions? ;)

Catpcha: bunkmate

Re:Ya no kidding (1)

Pastis (145655) | about a year ago | (#42387109)

I am part of the team that developers a multiplatform algebra teaching game for kids (DragonBox [dragonboxapp.com] ). The touch interface is very intuitive and practical for this type of applications. It allows very rapid & natural interaction, harder to emulate using keyboard&mouse for young users.

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year ago | (#42386625)

Exactly. It is like buying clothing. Some people can get by without a jacket, but most people will own a shirt and a jacket. Many will own multiples of both in various styles.

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386663)

This. I am sick of one-device mentality, it is as bad as those one-website community groups, use whatever the hell works for you in whatever the circumstances call for.

I could have built a new PC for gaming this christmas. I had been saving up to buy all the stuff. Instead I done a complete 180 and bought a tablet because:
1) can be jailbroken
2) can be used to remote view desktop
3) can be used as a graphics tablet
4) can be used for quick planning of characters, worlds, levels, architecture, electronics and other such things (stuff I am personally working in and interested in)
5) can be used to write down some notes, programming stuff.
6) Maybe even after writing a few scripts for touchscreen controls, play a good bunch of games that don't require much precision or speed with the mouse.
7) most importantly, I can crap on the toilet and still talk to people on skype!

This is partially replacing my netbook for when I travel, as well. But the netbook is still coming because the tablet simply cannot do what the netbook can.
And the reason I no longer use laptops is because they are way too much for my needs when travelling.
Considering how the main reason I travel would be a holiday, I wouldn't be spending that time playing games, I would be out and about.
I can watch stuff, I can talk with people, I can code and browse the web too. That is all I would need.

A better gaming machine will have to wait, this is far more useful to me right now.
A new desktop wouldn't have helped me in this way at all. Especially because I can't sit down for long or am not at the desktop for long in general. Now I can do my crap while walking around and being almost hit by planes.

Jailbreak vs. sideload; offline; precision (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42387655)

can be jailbroken

Your use of the "jailbroken" term rather than "sideloading" implies that you use iOS, where "jailbreak" is the more common term, rather than Android, where "sideloading" is the more common term. Did I guess correctly? And if I did, since when was a jailbreak for the iPad 4 released that isn't fake?

can be used to remote view desktop

Provided you're within Wi-Fi range. Otherwise, such as if you try to use it while riding public transit or in an establishment where the wireless password is for employees only, you're limited to applications that have been ported to the tablet.

can be used as a graphics tablet

I thought the finger-operated capacitive multitouch screens in popular tablets didn't have near the precision that the user of even a cheap Wacom tablet expects. What am I missing?

can be used for quick planning of characters, worlds, levels, architecture, electronics and other such things

Which applications do you recommend for that?

can be used to write down some notes, programming stuff

I choose to carry a 10" laptop instead of a tablet because I can actually test the programming stuff while I ride the bus to and from work. You seem to have recognized this, as you too carry one.

Maybe even after writing a few scripts for touchscreen controls, play a good bunch of games that don't require much precision or speed with the mouse.

Provided that they're ported to the tablet. And if you wanted to play a game like Mega Man, how would you map its controls?

"more capable machines" do you mean Less portable (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42386455)

I would rather claim the reverse. Tablet sales are displacing sales of "more capable machines" at an astonishing rate. A $45 tablet already fulfills the computing needs of a whole lot of people, why should they spend more on a PC?

Those high-priced PCs will be relegated to the niche of users who require functions that a tablet or smartphone cannot provide.

I am sure that a $5 keyboard is not an expensive addition to a $45 device. Hell we have seen mainstream devices like the pi that use a TV for a monitor, that are in every way as functional as a hi-priced pc, and cheaper than $45. The form factor for tablets is different, and the interface is designed for fat fingers...but price is not so different don't kid yourself. As for Capable, seriously one simply sacrifices [trades] input for portability.

Re:"more capable machines" do you mean Less portab (2)

ewertz (1191025) | about a year ago | (#42386501)

"we have seen mainstream devices like the pi that use a TV for a monitor, that are in every way as functional as a hi-priced pc" ... of six years ago.

Re:"more capable machines" do you mean Less portab (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#42386771)

Even older than that. I'd weigh that the Raspberry Pi probably equals a high-end PC from 10 years ago, in terms of performance and specs.

Re:"more capable machines" do you mean Less portab (1)

ewertz (1191025) | about a year ago | (#42386809)

The graphics performance isn't that shabby. I was willing to give it some points based on that and cost, and split the difference. But we're basically on the same page.

Re:"more capable machines" do you mean Less portab (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386553)

Hell we have seen mainstream devices like the pi that use a TV for a monitor, that are in every way as functional as a hi-priced pc, and cheaper than $45.

That statement proves you haven't touched one of these "mainstream devices".

Ah, the insanity plea (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year ago | (#42386623)

Mainstream devices like the Pi? You talking about the Raspberry Pi? Mainstream?

Good advice for general people is to watch more then Fox, lest their brains rot away. In the same vein, read something else but Slashdot. If you think the Pi is a mainstream device you got three options:

  • Your insane.
  • You are unfamiliar with the meaning of the word "mainstream"
  • Your reality consists of your mothers basement and a guy you met on IRC and thought was a girl.

In extreme cases, all three might apply.

The Raspberry Pi is hard to get hold of, even harder to use and comes with barely enough resources to run even the most basic OS. But SOMEHOW this device will magically make it into the homes of the average person who can't afford a cheap desktop BUT does have a HDMI capable TV with a spare port to hook it up to...

The INSANITY of all this is astounding, it shows tupe666 has lost all touch with reality, he lives in a fantasy world were a device that takes anywhere from several weeks to several months to be delivered, can only be ordered online and requires advanced linux skill to even be outfitted with a serviceable user friendly OS is installed in millions of homes world-wide. And that this extremely underpowered device is the same as a "hi-priced" PC, god even knows what that might be. If you think a Raspberry Pi is as functional as even a cheap PC, you just don't have a clue. I love Linux as much as the next guy but WIndows IS the mainstream OS and the Raspberry Pi can't run that so it loses out right there.

There is room in the world for PC alternatives but the simple fact remains that the PC setup, large keyboard, monitor at eye height, flat large desk, office chair, mouse is the most comfortable way to CREATE content. For consuming content, the TV is most comfortable. A tablet is a high awkward device for either. When sitting at a desk creating content it is a usability nightmare, the only people who think it is good are those who work on laptops and 20 years from now will complain about their backs non-stop.

If you really want to see what mainstream is, go to youtube and see what people use who put up cat videos. A 5 year old dell they got from someone cheap and a CRT monitor that they can't see any point in replacing with a 100 dollar LCD screen. That is what is mainstream NOT a geek gadget.

Tablets like the iPad sell millions it is true but that is a planet with 7 billion people and many a iPad 3 is owned by a person with an iPad2 etc lying in the closet. You can easily see this with google statistics, what percentage visits a site with iOS? A small amount and it gets smaller the more mainstream a site is. And web browsing is ONE thing tablets are actually good at.

But hey, I am willing to eat my words. tuppe666 only has to publish his address so someone can go and take his PC and give him a Raspberry Pi, 5 dollar keyboard and a TV and THAT IS IT! Wanna bet he won't take that deal? Wanna bet NOBODY on Slashdot will?

Happily insane. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42386777)

Raspberry Pi, 5 dollar keyboard and a TV and THAT IS IT! Wanna bet he won't take that deal? Wanna bet NOBODY on Slashdot will?

LOL I have been hooking my 2nd PC upto my TV, for the past 10 years. Actually I currently using a Fujitsu siemens Scaleo E running Ubuntu which uses a Celeron CPU and an i915 graphics, and replaced its earlier incantation that was a pentium PC that only really ran Windows 98.

Would you like photos :)

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386521)

A $45 tablet already fulfills the computing needs of a whole lot of people

I hear this bullshit a lot and it almost always comes from Linux zealots. First, you don't really know a lot of people nor do you understand them at all. Second, as a lying Linux zealot you're going to absorb whatever lies other zealots are spreading and repeat them. "Tablets are taking over the desktop", in this case. Third, since Linux was a flop on the desktop, you have a deep, personal desire desktop machines to lose their dominance. That's why your "claim" can't be trusted.

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (1)

umghhh (965931) | about a year ago | (#42386861)

From market share etc perspective it is all as you say or it looks like if you do not look too close at corporate world. I guess Still I do not see the point to pay for application that are free on desktop, I do not see the point of struggling when typing shit in and I am also fed up with the "corroded" micro-usb problems which some of these devices have. You really have a dichotomy here: for professional purposes you usually need something more or some serious tuning at least. For general public that struggled with common purpose PC anyway the deficits are not visible really but benefits like mobility are. I think that explains this. What this means for me and GP is I suppose we will wait for m$ to clean this shitty market and then I'd consider buying a tablet again (maybe). Please not that that the last sentence comes from a unix guy - I worked almost whole professional life on unix machines using windows only as terminals if at all. Bitter is it not?

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (3, Insightful)

narcc (412956) | about a year ago | (#42386417)

I don't see how tablets are any different from netbooks.

Netbooks, at least with a proper OS, were actually useful. Like an inexpensive and somewhat tiny version of the computer you had a couple years ago. They were great until they started to dramatically increase in both price and size.

Tablets are toys. Okay for playing games and light web browsing, but useless for doing much else.

Cue the guy who thinks his tablet has greatly improved his life/productivity/etc. and actually thinks you can use a tablet efficiently for meaningful work.

Or the other guy... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386447)

Who looks at them as a glorified smartphone. They'll do more than you think, but less than you want. Storing data and carrying it from place to place? Great for that. Creating data? Not so much. Displaying data? Well, it *is* a media device.

Its not a hammer, stop using it to bash down nails.

Its a screwdriver. You can bash nails but it sucks at it. You can stab things and pry stuff open with it but its not really meant for that. But if you got a screw needs screwin...this is the tool for it.

These things as extension of your work environment are great. These things as your primary work environment will probably suck forever. Because they aren't meant for that.

Re:Or the other guy... (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about a year ago | (#42387509)

They're not really great at storing data.

No standard USB interfaces. Fewer and fewer devices with SD slots (and nothing I've seen with a useful size for specific things like CF). No gigabit LAN (so forget getting data on and off quickly).

Hell, most tablets lack a network-capable file manager (android is far better at this then Windows thanks to ES File Manager, but still not great).

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (1, Insightful)

mlk (18543) | about a year ago | (#42386461)

Cue the guy who thinks his tablet has greatly improved his life/productivity/etc. and actually thinks you can use a tablet efficiently for meaningful work.

Not quite. Smartphones killed a precursor - PDAs, but some tablets (and bigger smartphones) are bringing them back (Yeay Galaxy Note).

You don't do the same work with PDA as you do with a PC (Laptop or desktop), but you do do productive, efficient work with one.

Microsoft killed the netbook (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42386573)

Netbooks, at least with a proper OS, were actually useful

No Netbooks were intentionally crippled by intel and microsoft ladened with a starter edition OS [expensive], no touchscreen, no HDMI out, and expensive. for the sake of its more expensive laptop market, and to kill Linux. Then the iPad happened...and the strategy looks kind of stupid. I bought a Nexus 7...I never bought a netbook, and desperately wanted one.

Re:Microsoft killed the netbook (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386855)

While Intel and Microsoft may have crippled what is a great portable form factor, I personally loved my netbook. Granted, I doubled the RAM and installed LinuxMint (thus making the unit useable.) My little cheap gateway lived under the seat of my truck, used to access the interwebs from the road, and as a tool, typing up invoices, ordering parts, and as a high quality vehicle diagnostic tool. I personally liked that setup better than a more capable and higher speced 14 inch lenovo laptop. The netbook had a better battery life, and didnt take up as much room in an already cramped cab. And really, not everyone needs a system with HDMI, touchscreen, or the latest and greatest battery draining processor. Sometimes just enough is more than enough. (BTW, you can still get the same, slightly updated Gateway LT netbook at walmart for about $200. for what i was using it for, one hell of a steal)

Missed my point (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42386947)

one hell of a steal

I'm not arguing against netbooks. I personally would prefer an "evolved" netbook over tablet...but it never happened, because of Microsoft. Early netbooks were cheaper, came with linux, and haven't evolved from its second generation of crippled starter edition/atom 32-bit [Microsoft insisted on single processer]/Low res screens/analogue/increased. Tablets are simply better value devices that do more for less.

Limits for XP:

Display: Max of 12.1 inch screen
Storage: 160GB HDD or 32GB SSD
Graphics: Up to DirectX 9 Graphics
CPU: Single core processors like the Atom N or Z series and VIA Nano.

Windows 7 (Starter):

Display: Max of 10.1 inch screen
Storage: 250GB or 64GB SSD
Graphics: No Graphic limit and for the CPU
CPU: Single core processors up to 2GHz

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42386581)

Cue the guy who thinks his tablet has greatly improved his life/productivity/etc. and actually thinks you can use a tablet efficiently for meaningful work.

Most people don't do "meaningful" work on their computers therefore a tablet suits them much better than a machine which is ten times more complex to use and needs constant care/updates/reformatting.

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (3, Interesting)

bazorg (911295) | about a year ago | (#42386479)

I don't see how tablets are any different from netbooks.

I see tablets as sufficiently different from PCs to be worthwhile for people who dislike and/or are not interested in having a PC. Netbooks were an attempt to have the usual applications available in a small and cheap machine with the usual x86 standards components.

Since tablets and smartphones are seen as sufficiently separate and different from PCs, different sales strategies and products were tried and have been very successful. By uncovering a brand new market space, made up of people who accept subscription pricing and pay as you go for "apps" and related services, many companies are selling stuff that just was not practical to sell to PC users.

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (4, Interesting)

Kergan (780543) | about a year ago | (#42386491)

I don't see how tablets are any different from netbooks. They're semi-useful devices that have a limited place but are outclassed by more capable machines which have been around for a long time.

I think you don't get it. I'm admittedly no typical user, but I've the honest impression that I wouldn't need my laptop at all if I weren't programming. For the past two years, I've been doing everything else from a tablet, with the added bonus of being able to do so from a comfortable couch, a hammock, a beach club, wherever -- and without the need for a surface to sit the device on.

Do I periodically wish there were massive games like Civ 5? Sure, but they'll get there eventually. In the meanwhile, I can no longer be bothered to sit at a desk (and develop carpal tunnel) to play a video game.

In light of how tablets are selling, I trust I'm not alone with this impression. Only future will tell, obviously, but methinks the hey days of laptops and desktops in households are behind us.

Where did you post this message from? (4, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year ago | (#42386627)

Where did you post this message from?

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a year ago | (#42386577)

I don't see how tablets are any different from netbooks. They're semi-useful devices that have a limited place but are outclassed by more capable machines which have been around for a long time. Acer may now be willing to get on the bandwagon for the sake of some short-term profits, but that doesn't make Mr. Wang's declaration any less correct.

It really depends on how you plan to use the device. As a laptop replacement tablets have many limitations that make then a less then viable alternative, for example despite the availability of word processors and presentation software they really don't work well for creating anything beyond basic content. However, if you view them as a viewing device they make a very compelling adjunct to a PC. It's easy to keep a significant amount of searchable documents on one, as well as video content for viewing while traveling. While I have found it difficult to take a significant amount of notes on one, they do work for light note taking and using teh camera to capture handwritten notes for filing.

Sure, some people find a tablet a viable laptop replacement, but they are not a significant percentage of the tablet using population. I'd hazard a guess many have a very specific need that really didn't require a laptop but until the tablet came along they had no alternative.

We tend to view things in the context of what we already have and use; which limits our ability to see the potential in things.

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about a year ago | (#42386609)

Netbooks are usable as computers for doing actual work on. I lived on my netbook for a couple of years, including for work from home. Trouble is that the whole point is to build them with the cheapest possible parts, so it basically fell apart. (Now using overpriced oversized company laptop. Faster, though.)

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386635)

They're different from netbooks in that people want and use tablets.

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#42386723)

It depends on what you plan on using the tablet for. I bought a cheap chinese knockoff tablet a few months ago, because I was going into hospital for an operation, and I wanted something I could watch Netflix on while recovering. The only deciding factors in my decision to buy that particular tablet were the screen size and the price. I literally bought the cheapest 10" tablet I could lay my hands on. That it runs ICS was a bonus, but not required. It's actually not *that* bad a tablet, in that it does have a a 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, but it was not bought for performance.

It is now sitting on a book stand in the living room, acting as a glorified picture frame and sometimes remote control for my stereo (there's an Android app that's better for navigating media server/internet radio than the remote control on a TV screen). I occasionally load up a game like Stupid Zombies or use it to check maps and such. If I could have gotten that tablet priced at $100, I would have. That's the same kind of money you spend on a good digital picture frame. I wouldn't consider doing serious computing on it, though it does have a USB port and does work with an external computer, because I already have a laptop that would work fine for it. But given the choice between buying a $500 laptop and buying a $100 tablet and an external keyboard, I would seriously consider the tablet if all I planned on doing was checking blogs.

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (1)

machine321 (458769) | about a year ago | (#42386891)

But... but tablets! If Netbooks were so great then Apple would have invented them.

Besides, tablets are way more expensive than Netbooks, in the enterprise. I haven't used a Windows tablet that doesn't suck; when the executives eventually get their toys and decide they want to do some useful work on them, IT has to buy 100 licenses of VMware View (the minimum purchase) and four back-end servers for the ten users who use it.

Macbook Air...you can fit it in an envelope. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42387319)

If Netbooks were so great then Apple would have invented them.

I think they call it the Macbook Air. Although personally I think these are going to look pretty shabby next to a touchscreen cromebook.

Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (2)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#42387075)

I was with my extended family this Christmas.
I am a software developer, and as always, family asks me about tech or how to do things.

This year in particular I could feel how much of a different world of computers my aunts and uncles lived in. Explaining to them why something doesn't work, what options they can look into, that they need to find software that does this or that and where to find information is useless. They just want to press a button and have it do what they need. Since I haven't used Microsoft Windows since Windows XP, I cannot even help them with that.
I'm realizing that even my mother that I consider computer illiterate is actually pretty good.

Computers are perfect for people that actually use them, but for "normal" people that just want to browse the web and share pictures, a tablet is perfect. Netbooks didn't really manage to make computers simpler for those people, but it looks like tablets really did.

My old grandmother who is still impressed by TVs believes I'm the only one in the family using a computer (despite everyone having laptops and smartphones). In retrospective, she may be right.

A tablet is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386359)

Just a slim netbook with the most useful things removed (touch pad, keyboard, USB host, non-locked down 'for dummies' OS)

Re:A tablet is (1)

OolimPhon (1120895) | about a year ago | (#42386381)

Just a slim netbook with the things that get in the way removed (touch pad, keyboard, USB host, non-locked down 'for dummies' OS)

There, FTFY. A tablet is an analog of a clipboard, not a typewriter. If I need to refer to stuff in a meeting, I sure don't need all those dangly bits getting in the way.

Re:A tablet is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386419)

Most tablets lack what an analog of a clipboard needs - a good digitizer instead of finger-oriented touchscreen. If I'm going to take notes in a meeting, I'd much prefer a keyboard, tyvm.

I can see tablets as useful in the workspace when they're in hands of a warehouse worker or automechanic or a doctor (given, again, a good digitizer or voice recognition) or a lot of other jobs with lots of walking and/or only needing a reference, but meeting or any other office job? That'd be just fashion statement.

Re:A tablet is (1)

mlk (18543) | about a year ago | (#42386473)

Stylus based input.

Re:A tablet is (2)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about a year ago | (#42386529)

Well, stylus input may be slower than a good keyboard, but at least it's prone to being either unreadable, or needing lots of error correction if converted into text.

Efficiency!

Meanwhile all websites are now getting the stupid, slow, flash-based limited Fisher-Price interfaces that we all used to complain about just a short time ago...
But now we're so enamored of them we want all to be like them. So more and more I face websites on my 24" screen that are simply navigation screens each with two buttons, eleventy-gazillion levels deep.

Tablets are making the web experience like the phone-hold experience.

"Press one if you have any of the following problems..."
"Press 2 to go to the preceding menu options."

Re:A tablet is (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#42386725)

Well, stylus input may be slower than a good keyboard, but at least it's prone to being either unreadable, or needing lots of error correction if converted into text.

I've never done stylus input on a tablet, so I can't say. On a PDA, I could input faster and more accurately with Grafitti than I can keyboard (on a real keyboard, that is). The downside to stylii was always that it's easy to lose them. Although a toothpick often does surprisingly well in a pinch.

Re:A tablet is (1)

mlk (18543) | about a year ago | (#42386923)

The downside to stylii was always that it's easy to lose them

So very very true. Hopefully the holder in the newer devices don't suck as badly as they did on WinMo HTCs. Don't think any of my stylii lasted more than 6 months on that.

Re:A tablet is (1)

mlk (18543) | about a year ago | (#42386901)

For notes in meetings I don't bother with handwriting-to-text, just scribble away. As quick and readable as writing on paper and I don't have to carry a paper pad or raid supply cupboards for pens.

I do sometimes use the handwriting-to-text for short emails and the like while on the move. Slightly faster than the on screen keyboard. I'd prefer a real keyboard, but alas the likes of the HTC Wizard seam to have vanished. :(
If the HTC Wizard and the Galaxy Note 2 mated I'd be one very happy bunny.

I'd not write code or a document with a stylus. But I'd use a PDA with a stylus over a laptop or pen & paper in a meeting any day.

Meanwhile all websites are now getting the stupid, slow, flash-based limited Fisher-Price

See, not enough phones/tablets going down the Galaxy Note route of including a stylus so web developers do not feel the need to make it finger friendly . ;)

Re:A tablet is (2)

Jamu (852752) | about a year ago | (#42386517)

It's a shame you can't get a keyboard to go on the back of these surface devices. Starting with V, C, X, Z, etc. down the back left, and a couple of space buttons each side, but on the front.

Re:A tablet is (3, Insightful)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#42386715)

Most tablets lack what an analog of a clipboard needs - a good digitizer instead of finger-oriented touchscreen. If I'm going to take notes in a meeting, I'd much prefer a keyboard, tyvm.

I can see tablets as useful in the workspace when they're in hands of a warehouse worker or automechanic or a doctor (given, again, a good digitizer or voice recognition) or a lot of other jobs with lots of walking and/or only needing a reference, but meeting or any other office job? That'd be just fashion statement.

In a meeting, a tablet is an opportunity to have all your important documents at your fingertips, plus a place to take quick notes. Done well, it can be tidy, convenient, and less distracting than folders and notebooks and stuff. Done poorly, of course, it's like anything else done poorly.

tablet is just a tablet (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42386541)

tablet is an analog of a clipboard, not a typewriter

No a Tablet is just that a tablet. I play games; read books; surf the internet; watch movies on mine...I have never used it for anything I would a clipboard for. Ironically exactly the same things I would have used a netbook for, if Wintel hadn't broken the market by putting a crippled OS; No touchscreen; Low resolution displays; HDMI out...ironically sone of these were solved by the suface, for 5x the cost!! I'd own one; I bought a Nexus 7. I'm tired of this swings an roundabouts argument, when the truth is Netbooks...including surface don't have a dog in the fight, look at the title $99.

Re:A tablet is (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#42386599)

A few months back I got a $99 Arnova tablet to replace a damaged $400 laptop, and since I'm not a super-user, I realize that I don't need anything larger. It has a sensitive multi-touch screen, and with a $20 powered USB hub I can plug in a $15 Logitech usb keyboard/mouse, $25 usb joystick, run a hdmi cable to my tv, plug in flawhdrives to swap files, and I'm set. The thing's powerful enough to run mame/PS1 game roms without blinking, cruise the internet, it streams netflix/YouTube, a 32gb sd card (looking at you, Google Nexus) supplements the internal 8gb memory , and I can be stick it in my pocket. I have all the apps like kindle, google maps on the go, mp3 and video player, games...

A friend uses his for his work to program in java, and even he says he doesn't 'need' his computer so much now. And these tablets will just get more capable and cheaper (and bendable?) in the coming years, until they one day (gasp!) completely replace todays standard computers.

More 'valuable' tablets (2)

jkrise (535370) | about a year ago | (#42386363)

would be those that run Linux instead of Android. Archos tablets support Angstrom Linux, but it would be better if one of the bigger OEMs such as Acer were o offer Linux tablets. Many more use cases and usage senarios would be possible then.

Re:More 'valuable' tablets (3, Funny)

ewertz (1191025) | about a year ago | (#42386485)

I too welcome the next eight years being heralded as "the Year of the Linux Tablet", after all of the success of Linux on the desktop.

Irony (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42386595)

I too welcome the next eight years being heralded as "the Year of the Linux Tablet", after all of the success of Linux on the desktop.

Linux is already becoming the dominant platform on the tablet, as it did on the smart-phone. The truth is Andorid is becoming the next dominant platform. Your post dates back to a time when computing was about Microsoft and its monopoly due to inertia. Those days are gone...we now talk about the "pack of four", and well Microsoft is not in it. That is not to say I don't want more GNU on my tablet, but we are seeing signs of that everywhere from Tizen; KDE; Ubuntu etc etc.

Your out of date.

Re:Irony (1)

ewertz (1191025) | about a year ago | (#42386793)

First of all, my comment was based on Linux over Android on the tablet, the relevance of which you seemed to conveniently ignore. If you're going to gripe about a reply, read the f-ing post being replied to. And your contention that Linux==Android certainly isn't the case either, on the face of it -- which is the whole point.

"Your out of date"

At least I'm on point and can compose a grammatically correct sentence.

Bless you 90's Microsoft Boy (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42386903)

my comment was based on Linux over Android on the tablet.

And an irrelevant one [seriously semantics!?]. That's the point sweetness. Microsoft put an extraordinary amount of time and effort into ensuring that GPL did not get a hold on the Desktop, so lost control of the OS market, Android is set to eclipse Microsoft Market share as early as next year.

However you spin it, There is no Office, Direct X, Binary Compatibility, on a platform that shares a kernel [not exactly, but benefits from] with the Desktop [GNU/Liunux if you insist] I'm using...and is the dominant platform. The fact that is not all GNU :) is something I'm not going to lose sleep over, but will be keeping an eye on project like Tizen; KDE; Ubuntu to see what they are doing in the mobile space [I'm pretty much sold on the first of these that offers binary compatibility with Android].

Your desperate to paint the loser Microsoft into having any kind of relevance, in a topic where it is considered a joke, and has a business model that does not fit with a $99 tablet. [I've ignored Apple as they seem to want to occupy the same niche they did in the PC market, and that worked out really badly.]

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386917)

Android is Linux, just not X11/GNU/KDE/Gnome/Linux (it's abbreviated to "GNU/Linux", by convention; if there was ever a time to say it, now is it).

Re:More 'valuable' tablets (1)

allo (1728082) | about a year ago | (#42386511)

you can now have KDE Plasma Active on the Nexus 7. Next thing would be more touch-apps for KDE, or even some widget-concept, which can switch between desktop/touch widgets.

The big thing missing from android-device is the freedom of choice. yeah, you can have ROMs ... its like saying "okay, you can have vista business instead of home", its just a remix of the same distribution. Android, Android with cyanogen, android with foo, android with bar ... but nothing else. And most devices even support android up to version X, and then no more. I can try to install current ubuntu on a old pentium pc, when i have enough patience and use the alternate installer with a non-PAE-kernel.
There is not much more choice on android devices than on iOS ones ... which also takes a big part in preventing ROMs, which establish a more free ecosystem like many linux-distributions on the pc do. Almost every android-ROM is used with google market, which is a "why should i offer it for free, when i can get 1,50 Eur per download" ecosystem, where the idea of software freedom is not so much valued as in the "real" linux community, because you are tempted to NOT opensource something, when you know you get 1,50 per download.
Yeah i know, opensource and paying for the binary isn't exclusive, but go and ask some app developer of a paid app to opensource it ... he will tell you, that this will kill his sales.

Pyrrhic victory for Microsoft. (4, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42386559)

would be those that run Linux instead of Android. Archos tablets support Angstrom Linux, but it would be better if one of the bigger OEMs such as Acer were o offer Linux tablets. Many more use cases and usage senarios would be possible then.

Microsoft successfully derailed Linux on the netbooks, and killed meego by killing Nokia; costing them Billions. Microsoft have been incredibly successful in not letting GNU/Linux win. Its kind of sad as all that has happened is they have been made irrelevant by the "pack of four".

The reality is GNU/Linux [if I can call that today], will survive, due to its open nature. I'm personally looking forward to running Android applications on my new touchscreen Chromebook running Debian [one of its derivatives].

Re:More 'valuable' tablets (2)

blackest_k (761565) | about a year ago | (#42386593)

The problem with Linux on a tablet is not installing Linux but making it usable with a touchscreen. A mouse orientated ui is not so usable when the pointer device is a finger, keyboard input is not so easy either pop up your touchscreen keyboard and you are losing a good part of your display and typically the entry point for the text you are attempting to enter.

The Desktop mouse keyboard interface just doesn't work well, on the positive side KDE plasma touch interface is coming along, and touch aware apps are being written.

What is needed is alternative views for graphical applications. The user interface needs to adapt to the environment the application finds itself in. In theory a lot of software is written with MVC as a design principle. In Linux most of the UI is built using GTK or QT it seems QT is being developed to take touchscreens into account but i have seen no sign of this with GTK.

Tablets seem to be a convertible device in many cases. Supporting a bare touchscreen use case yet relatively easy conversion to a desktop / laptop configuration.
Archos as you mentioned typically have hdmi out and will easily take input from a physical keyboard and mouse.

It is reasonable to assume you could at some point have a tablet which can be used purely as a tablet, as a laptop with external keyboard mouse and as a workstation core with a larger screen and keyboard. With the tablet itself perhaps being used as a secondary display or digital input , handwriting , drawings diagrams formula ect.

With the creation of profiles for each configuration and a user interface which responds to each situation we would have an extremely powerful and useful tool. Currently I have a dualboot tablet running ics and ubuntu 12.04 ics is great at android type things ubuntu makes it easy to type a report (i tend to use a keyboard case and mouse with ubuntu) with a shared storage space i can use data under both systems.

There is also the annoyance that there is no good driver for the gpu,under ubuntu so ui things such as composite desktops are slow buggy or non existent. Also Video is laggy and jerky. More ram would also be nice. Hardware designs are not quite there with Archos I'd like a separate psu port and a fullsize usb port which isn't crippled and my g9 has a touchscreen which is a swine for generating ghost finger presses particularly in the corners. There are a good number of tablets with superior hardware to the archos.

I think we might find Linux ready for tablets next year / 2014 and hopefully Hardware with good drivers and more Ram in the same sort of time frame. Android itself is good at what it does, Linux needs to be as usable as Android along with the applications and uses Android does not cater for.

You need to reread my post (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42387029)

The problem with Linux on a tablet is not installing Linux but making it usable with a touchscreen.

Gnome/KDE/Unity are moving towards a more touch-screen friendly approach [whatever you think of that], as well as Linux Os's designed for it https://www.tizen.org/ [tizen.org] and my personal favourite sailfish http://jolla.com/ [jolla.com] you need to keep your eyes open.

ATTENTION KMART SHOPPERS !! BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386369)

Get your china-cheap tablet today, for $99.99, and tomorrow, get anotehr for $99.99 !!. Why so cheap ?? Because tomorrow you WILL need to buy another !!

Clean up in aisle four - it's another after birth Geeves, so bring the extra bucket and mop !!

Lets call it good value. (3, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42386509)

Get your china-cheap tablet today, for $99.99, and tomorrow, get anotehr for $99.99 !!. Why so cheap ?? Because tomorrow you WILL need to buy another !!

Interesting the reverse is true. the iPad the most expensive device on the market six times more expensive than a better value tablet elsewhere, yet comes with proprietary software, hardware, with a shrinking market share...and no expandable storage. I object to that built in obsolescence, but ironically it only happens on overpriced electronics. Its [one of the many] why I think Apple is unhealthy right now, and Android is doing so incredibly well.

Re:Lets call it good value. (0)

beltsbear (2489652) | about a year ago | (#42386637)

Apples market share is not shrinking when you consider real tablet usage. Apple is only shrinking when you take the number of manufactured crap tabs vs Apple with no regard for the fact that most are stuck in drawers, thrown out or turned into photo frames. The $99 tabs do not compete or even take real Apple market share away, the only thing that really competes with Apple is the Galaxy Tab.

Real tablet usage (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42386727)

Apples market share is not shrinking when you consider real tablet usage.

That does not even make sense. We have Apple launching a last generation device like the iPad mini [low resolution; low memory; old CPU] at twice the than of established competitors like the Nexus 7 [High resolution, new CPU] with standard connectors....yadda yadda yadda, and we are expected to believe they are not being used [rolls eyes].

The reality of Apple is they needed to to compete with both cost and innovation, they failed on both accounts [across all their product lines] and their stocks are taking a battering as a result, bullshit on forum discussions is not going to change that.

Make $en$e? I Will Tell You What Doe$ Not Make $en (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386761)

Apple u$er$ are meat eater$! Now that doe$ not make $en$e!

Will it blend? (1)

Kergan (780543) | about a year ago | (#42386427)

Cool. Will it blend [youtube.com] too?

Re:Will it blend? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#42386869)

Visual Studio 2012 will [imgur.com] ...

Nice! (3, Interesting)

lennier1 (264730) | about a year ago | (#42386469)

These could actually make food testing devices for developers who want to ensure decent performance on cheaper devices (e.g., the no-name stuff that's sold at supermarkets).

Re:Nice! (1)

lennier1 (264730) | about a year ago | (#42386481)

s/food/good/

Re:Nice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42387161)

I enjoy eating tablets too!

Atom or ARM? (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42386505)

Is this the Acer Iconia based on the Atom running Windows 8, or is it an Android/ARM based tablet?

Re:Atom or ARM? (1)

Narishma (822073) | about a year ago | (#42386597)

If the price really is $99, it'll most definitely be ARM.

Tablets are getting good enough (2)

iampiti (1059688) | about a year ago | (#42386525)

Tablets and smartphones are getting good enough. It's the same process the PC underwent but much faster: Hardware progresses to a point that 90% of applications run plenty fast so the average person doesn't need to change them very often unless it breaks. Together with the maturity of the OS these devices use I think the exponential growth phase is gonna end soon.
Moreover, it seems the cheap tablets are getting good enough too so it looks that making expensive tablets it's not gonna be a great business plan.
Anyway, it looks that it'll affect expensive android tablet manufacturers more since Apple looks comfortable in the different and pricier-but-better market niche. This also mirrors the PC history.

Netbooks (2)

SilenceBE (1439827) | about a year ago | (#42386551)

I find it funny that people - then again the inmates are still running the asylum in tech land - still make fad claims or make the comparisons with netbooks.

I found netbooks clumsy devices because of the small (lower res) screens and the small ficky keyboards. Even today I still don't see any good use for them.

Tablets on the other hand are mostly content consuming* devices and regarding their usefulness in that regards, they are miles away from more PC. Hell they are not even on the same planet. For surfing/reading/... from my coach, on the train,.. I would pick a tablet over a laptop on any day. Hell if I'm in the same room as my PC and I have the tablet at hand, I mostly will pick up the second one.

* I'm gonna let you into a little secret most of the population don't use computers to create content... .

Re:Netbooks (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42386603)

I found netbooks clumsy devices because of the small (lower res) screens and the small ficky keyboards. Even today I still don't see any good use for them.

...and there is no reason they couldn't include higher resolution screens...or better keyboards. You could use them exactly like you would a tablet or a keyboard

*I'm gonna let you into a secret people create content *all* the time from tweets to email to photos MORE than they ever have. What has lost importance is Office.

Re:Netbooks (2)

SilenceBE (1439827) | about a year ago | (#42386655)

...and there is no reason they couldn't include higher resolution screens...or better keyboards. You could use them exactly like you would a tablet or a keyboard

Then you still have the clumsiness of the form. A tablet is a thousand time easier to pick up and to handle in different situations.

I'm gonna let you into a secret people create content *all* the time from tweets to email to photos MORE than they ever have.What has lost importance is Office.

And for that kind of content (pictures, tweets) what is the added value of a computer ? Nothing. When I speak about "creating content" I'm talking about situations like office, photoshopping, etc. I surely wouldn't put office in the same range of sending a 140 character message, the average e-mail or taking a picture.

For me that is one THE biggest reasons that Microsoft will fail in mobile space. Office isn't that a big deal for the general (let me stress the general non techie group which is the biggest market) public so Office on tablet isn't that big USP like they make it to be. But then again the average nerd, developer, ... really doesn't understand the general public that much. They always tend to see their perspective and then they are baffled about the popularity of certain things or even brands like Apple.

How I used my netbook (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year ago | (#42386641)

There can be a need for portable computing in your life. This is NOT the same as on the move computing but rather where you wish to have the same enviroment at several static locations. The trick is here to remember that no sane person works on a laptop. Your screen got to be higher up to be comfortable and your keyboard lower, flatter and bigger. So... you instead plug it into your laptop stand, link it via say Synergy and use it as an extra screen with your own environment.

For others, a netbook is a very storable PC. A lot of people don't really want a computer taking up space constantly when they only use it for a short time. A netbook is easily taken out, read mail, browse then stored away again out of the way.

These aren't high tech needs, they could be done with anything but a netbook is just the right balance between being somewhat useful as a full PC and not taking up as much space/weighing/costing.

Oh and I am going to let you in on a little secret. Most of the population DOES use computers to create content. This message is content and is far faster to type on a normal keyboard then a touchscreen. Cat videos are content, facebook pages are content, diary entries are content.

Another little secret, when I want to passively consume content, the TV is far far far easier then any tablet. And I don't need to hold it in my hand the entire time.

I don't get tablets (2)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about a year ago | (#42386613)

I can't deny their popularity but I really don't understand it.

I've got a Nexus 7 sitting a few inches away. I play my tower defence game on it occasionally but it's not really any better than playing it on my phone. I don't read books on it - it's so much heavier and tougher on the eyes than my kindle. The one hope I had was comics - but I'm still working on that. The one that I've downloaded from Amazon is impossible to read in the kindle app. (When it 'zooms' panels it's not nearly enough to make the text legible.)

If I am going to be going on a long trip I can see where it would be handy there. It will be better for watching shows than my phone, a little more convenient than my laptop. Though the lack of storage space limits how much media I'll be able to put on it.

The reason I have it is for testing some software we'll be using down the road. People will basically 'sign up' for stuff in person, using the tablet to enter their data rather than filling out cards. When we've used cards - it's labor intensive and their are lots of errors getting the information entered into other systems.

But around the house, on the couch, in the kitchen - I just grab a laptop. Easier to hold, easier to surf, all that stuff.

Re:I don't get tablets (2)

transporter_ii (986545) | about a year ago | (#42386733)

I recently got a Nexus 7. My kids fight over it. A new one will be found under the tree this morning to alleviate some of that.

While I agree with you -- I'm typing this from a pc running Ubuntu -- here is one example where the Nexus 7 beats my pc. On this pc I have Kindle for PC (installed on a virtual XP). I think I have used it once. On the Nexus 7, I have the Kindle app on it. I read an entire book on it.

Still, I agree with you. If you have to input data, a PC is far superior. If you just consume information, a tablet is great.

Re:I don't get tablets (2)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about a year ago | (#42386847)

I think the PC is superior for consuming content as well, except for books. But I think the Kindle crushes tablets for book reading unless color is needed. I read comics on my pc (Fedora here).

My girls have 5 inch tablets and use them a lot for personal entertainment - games, music - but when they want to chat or do email they get on one of the family computers. They have read books on them while we waited to replace broken Kindles. My son is saving for a Nexus 7. His trouble is restraining from spending money long enough to save up for it. He always wants more legos and still hasn't learned how to be more patient.

A lot of people I work with have tablets now. I've seen guys give presentations with their laptop running the presentation and their notes on a tablet. So I guess that's another use case I can see. Airplanes and presentation notes. Other than that I haven't seen good use cases for them yet. But then again, I'm obviously not the typical electronics user. My phone is good (Galaxy S3) as a gap filler for what I do. I guess that's the other part I didn't mention.

Re:I don't get tablets (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | about a year ago | (#42386827)

I think part of it is the same as the success of game consoles. They are single purpose* devices which are simple to use and which just work. Looking up a website on a computer is in some way a complex task, requiring that you wait for the computer to boot, hoping windows don't fuck up things or show popup messages users don't understand. With a tablet they just click on the icon and access the internet.

*The purpose being consumption of content from the net, and simple games.

As somebody who works in support (4, Insightful)

dnaumov (453672) | about a year ago | (#42386659)

I can say with certainty that the tablet revolution is just beginning. The simple truth is that a huge amount of home users don't REALLY want a PC. They think they want a PC, but they really don't. They want a machine that is cheap, gets them on Facebook, has a video/audio player, a web browser, email and Skype and is as low maintainance as possible. It's true that tablets are spectacularly bad productivity devices, they are mostly consumption devices. The thing is, the vast majority of home users are pure consumers and couldn't give 2 shits about productivity applications.

Re:As somebody who works in support (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#42387071)

I can say with certainty that the tablet revolution is just beginning. The simple truth is that a huge amount of home users don't REALLY want a PC. They think they want a PC, but they really don't. They want a machine that is cheap, gets them on Facebook, has a video/audio player, a web browser, email and Skype and is as low maintainance as possible. It's true that tablets are spectacularly bad productivity devices, they are mostly consumption devices. The thing is, the vast majority of home users are pure consumers and couldn't give 2 shits about productivity applications.

Exactly. Before my Windows7 laptop died, when I'd want to check my email on it. I'd turn it on, wait a couple minutes for it to fully boot up, connect to the router and Windows informs me an imperative, 'end of the world' update is needed. Sure, I click ok, windows is downloading..., download interrupted! Okay, this needs to be done, so I re-download..., maybe it intalls correctly, maybe it doesn't. Windows needs to reboot (sigh)... Now by this time, I've wasted 10 or 20 minutes, still haven't been able to read my email, frustration level has increased....

Today when I want to read my email, my tablet powers up in 30 seconds, another 30 seconds later I'm reading my email.

For the casual user like myself, it's a 'no-brainer', cheap-o but capable wins, hands down.

Re:As somebody who works in support (1)

Alomex (148003) | about a year ago | (#42387701)

I'd turn it on, wait a couple minutes for it to fully boot up, connect to the router and Windows informs me an imperative, 'end of the world' update is needed.

Lessee, open laptop (also running Windows 7) press "Get Mail" in Thunderbird and start reading my email.

Time: 10 seconds from the moment I pressed the latch til the new email arrived (I just timed it).

For starters, why are turning your laptop/tablet off? haven't you heard of sleep mode?

But it's an Acer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42386679)

With their build quality, it will most likely take you three attempts to get one that works correctly, then it will fall apart within the week.

Re:But it's an Acer (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#42386929)

You have to cut some corners in build quality to get it down to the price point.

However you are right, especially Acer and Asus can make real junk if you let them to.

You must be living in an alternative universe. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42387261)

You have to cut some corners in build quality to get it down to the price point.However you are right, especially Acer and Asus can make real junk if you let them to.

Ironically in the context of this article. I own a Nexus 7; Made by Asus. It was launches 6 months ago. at US$159.25 per unit, [US$19 more per unit than the Kindle Fire.]. In that context a $99 tablet without sacrificing hardware quality [in fact it should be improved, and will have higher specifications], and is part of the Nexus line so will get untainted software updates. Oh Its a steller piece of hardware, and comes with features like a high definition display something its competitors lack.

Fuck Acer (1)

fitteschleiker (742917) | about a year ago | (#42386719)

So that's why they didn't bother to support properly the tablet I paid quite a sum for a year and a half a go....

For me Acer is a fad that is dead.

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