Around the web: August 25th to August 30th

Some links that have caught my eye of late:


Vintage Mobile Phones

Vintage Mobile Phones

For sale in the UK: Vintage mobile phones. What more is there to say? Simply awesome.

The Motorola DynaTac 8000, pictured above, is reminiscent of the model that Michael Douglas (aka Gordon Gekko) barks into while walking along the beach in 1987’s Wall Street*.

*How come no one told me there’s a sequel in the works?


Asus eee pc: 10 observations

If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger. — Frank Lloyd Wright

A gave me a supremely cool gadget for Christmas: The Asus Eee PC. I’ve been using this most compelling toy subnotebook productivity tool for over three months now.

Here are 10 things you need to know about the Asus Eee PC:

  1. The Eee PC is small. Very small. The display is just seven inches wide.
  2. The machine is extremely lightweight. Mine weighs just two pounds. If I lived in a cool enough climate to wear a jacket, I could put the Eee in my jacket pocket. And take it places. Like to parties. And be a total dork.

  3. Combine these two points with the fact that it has a solid-state, 4 gigabyte flash drive — meaning that it has no moving internal parts — and you’ve got yourself the perfect device for staying connected on the road. I’ve used my Eee throughout Thailand and on the road in Vietnam.

  4. The Eee has some great built-in features:

— The 4 gig drive is big enough for documents, photos, and some music. With a 1 or 2 GB thumb drive, you’ll have all the space you need.
— It has a built-in Webcam and comes pre-loaded with Skype, so it makes a great portable videophone.
— The battery lasts three hours or so, and the charger (pictured below) is slightly larger than a mobile phone charger.
— It lacks, however, an internal optical drive, but I haven’t missed that.

  1. The Eee PC won’t break the bank: the 4 gig version retails for about $400 in the US, though it costs a bit less here.
  • My Eee is black, but the device also comes in…pink.

  • The machine, which Internerds the world over have been lusting over for quite some time, has got an interesting history and some serious geek cred. The Eee was developed by Asustek, a Taiwanese manufacturer that decided to get into the small, inexpensive laptop game after witnessing the attention lavished upon the One Laptop Per Child project.

  • The Eee is powered by Linux. To keep costs low, Asus developed the Eee to run on the open-source Linux operating system, instead of Windows. (If you think PCs are the true computers of the working man, then the Eee PC must be considered equally utilitarian.)

  • One drawback: the touchpad is a bit finicky, so it really pays to buy a mouse.

  • Oddly, the wireless connection doesn’t connect to a preferred network by default, so you should change it to connect to your home wifi signal on boot. Here’s how to make that tweak.

  • Other sites that contain more Eee-related info include and

    Question Box

    Question Box: Connecting People in Rural India to the Web

    Question Box is a simple means for allowing people living in rural India to access the Web:

    Question box is a simple telephone intercom. Its purpose is to connect people to the Internet. It requires no literacy or computer skills.

    Users place a free call by pushing the green button. They connect to an operator sitting in front of an Internet-enabled computer.

    Users ask the operator questions. The operator goes online and finds their answers, translating them into the local language. The operator also sends & receives emails on the caller’s behalf.

    In the near future, users will be able to call the operator directly from their telephones.

    Big Think

    Big Think is a sort of YouTube for intelligent debate, with public intellectuals weighing in on a variety of topics. The New York Times has the back story.

    Related deep-thinking site (but with more text and fewer videos):, a longtime favorite of mine.

    (Thanks to BA for the link.)