I miss my Classmate

I miss my Classmate

Summary: The SCOTTEVEST Essential Travel Jacket I got for my birthday arrived today. This is some pretty serious geek-wear with 19 pockets for various electronic gadgets.

TOPICS: Mobility, Hardware

The SCOTTEVEST Essential Travel Jacket I got for my birthday arrived today. This is some pretty serious geek-wear with 19 pockets for various electronic gadgets. One of the pockets is actually large enough to hold a netbook and all are designed to rest in such a way as to minimize bulges (so you don't look like you have 19 gadgets including a netbook in your coat).

So here I am, filling the pen and pencil pockets, the glasses pocket (complete with attached lens wipe), the MP3 player pocket, the cell phone pocket, the digital camera pocket (OK, you get the idea), and I came to the giant side pocket that could hold a netbook. Only I didn't have a netbook. One of my kids now has the Aspire One that I grew to love so much and one of the teachers at the high school has my convertible Classmate.

It's moved on from the 2-year old and is now in the hands of a new family with a 2- and a 4-year old, on a new set of adventures (I'll be reporting back on these adventures in early childhood computing soon).

The Travel Jacket, however, reminded me just how fond I was of the Classmate tablet. Really, what's not to like about it, unless you have Jason Perlow's Shrek hands? It's a sub-$500, sub-3 pound tablet with a bunch of cool software. It also happens to have a pretty usable keyboard and a handle to boot. Thinner than the previous-generation Classmate, it would also fit in my EVEST.

The Classmate is a netbook at heart, so it can't replace a full-blown PC. I put together a quick training video with the built-in camera and Windows Movie Maker, but actually editing real video would be utterly painful. However, it is precisely the kind of device that I could, well, toss in my EVEST and take anywhere.

In the same way, it's very much the kind of PC that a teacher could take between classes, between desks, or between work and home. Having lived with it for awhile (and now pining away for it), it's very clear that the Classmate can work well for a lot of adult needs and represents a great choice for many teachers as well as students.

Now if I can just clean off the peanut butter and jelly and get it back before our winter vacation...

Topics: Mobility, Hardware

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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  • Aspire One vs Classmate

    Hi Chris, I dont know much about the Classmate. I know it comes loaded with its own software. Can Windows be loaded on it? If yes then how do you think Classmate will stack up against Aspire One?
    • Just buy one, Chris!

      Actually, the Classmate currently ships with Windows XP from CTL (as the CTL 2go Convertible) for $500. They're not shipping it with Linux yet, but they plan to. It should be pretty comparable performance-wise with the Aspire One. The Classmate has the advantage of being more rugged and converting into a touchscreen tablet, with accelerometer. On the other hand, the Aspire is a little smaller and lighter, is cheaper, and has a bigger keyboard.

      Go ahead and just buy a Classmate, Chris! You know you want to! (I ordered mine last Friday, and it's set to arrive this Friday via UPS Ground. This despite their web site saying when I ordered it that it probably wouldn't ship until March.)
    • A week with Classmate tablet

      I've had two Classmates for a week. I installed Tablet XP on one and kept the original config (XP Home) on the other. Both were great, but I prefer the Tablet XP so I can install all the apps we use for my tablet and take advantage of inking in OneNote and other Office apps. Very responsive little machine. MovieMaker wasn't half bad, either.

      Here's my reaction to it:
  • RE: I miss my Classmate

    Can Windows 7 run under 256 Mb RAM?

    I just made this experience: created a virtual machine with just 256 Mb RAM and installed XUbuntu -- a lightweight desktop system.

    When I turned on the machine, the operating system would use just 130 Mb of memory. Here's a screenshot:


    Then I turned on Firefox, and memory was still below 180Mb.

    That's why Linux will dominate the low-end ($200) netbook market: not only because it is free, reducing the software cost by $30-$60, but also because it requires less hardware, reducing the overall cost by other $30-$60.

    If you consider software AND hardware, Linux is what will make it possible to sell netbooks for $200, while Windows netbooks will start at $300. (Windows at $200 will be a non-starter.)

    If you want to repeat this experiment, try XUbuntu:

    • I wouldn't want to run Windows with 256 MB RAM

      any more than I would want to run KDE with 256 MB RAM. Feature-laden environments need RAM, so if that's what you want, you need to pony up.
      Michael Kelly
  • And this relates HOW?

    Obvio.capitao, what does any of your reply have to do with the blog entry by Chris? The Classmate convertible is not a sub-$200 netbook, it's a $500 netbook/tablet with touchscreen. Besides, though it currently ships with XP, it'll soon be offered with Linux as well.
  • Re: Video Editing.

    I have KDEnLive on my Aspire one, and I use it for video editing. (1 gig of ram). You mentioned a while ago you were going to give it a try, just wondering if you ever did? Looking at the Classmate specs you have in the second gen, it should probably work OK. Any chance you can take Mandriva or Kubuntu for a live CD spin when you get it back and let us know how it work?