Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 9th Sep 2012 21:48 UTC, submitted by Boomshiki
Hardware, Embedded Systems "We've seen a profusion of relatively low-cost PCs and tablets over the last few years, but Taiwanese electronics company Via's APC is cheap even by these standards: it's a $49 low-power desktop computer running a modified version of Android 2.3. Announced today, the APC is meant as a simple way to connect to the internet, so you won't get a great deal of computing power. It contains an 800MHz processor, 512MB of DDR3 memory, 2GB of flash storage, and can connect to a monitor or TV to output a resolution of up to 720p. It also consumes a fraction of a standard desktop's power: 13.5 watts at maximum and only 4 watts when idle."
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Not really very fine, given the circumstances...

Linux doesn't (and didn't, back then) work out very well if your internet access is just via per-minute-metered (and expensive) 56k dial-up*, when virtually nobody around toys with it, and hardly any optical disc burners in sight. It's also hard to play with installing random OS in general, when you have only this one PC.
Plus with one smallish HDD, hence troublesome repartitioning (where to keep the data?), and the case even sealed... (over which I had no influence, or generally where the PC was bought; lucky just that it was) were strange times, weird things many people took for granted (another unrelated one: cooling fans - I remember how one shop salesman looked at me as if I were an alien, when I requested "as silent as possible" - and I still ended up with IMHO ridiculously loud one, I believe they just didn't have anything different; think how much collective productivity, human thought, was wasted by such whining CPU fans)

On top of it all, the distros I did try at some point (CDs included with magazines, like the Red Hat ~7 I still should have somewhere; I still like the ncurses style of installer much more BTW) didn't work well with my GFX card (which I couldn't just change - no spare around, no easy means to get another one; NVM the seal...)

*such 56k meant I hardly used mail and IRC back then in the first place, Usenet never. It all revolved more around sneakernets (probably greatly helping to strengthen the "dominant" platform; perhaps those factors - demonstrated not nearly only by my place - were more significant than the overall MS leniency towards piracy).
Even in my high school with a LAN of Macs, we kept our projects on FDDs... (stored in the classroom...)

Though Duron 600 wasn't exactly slow back then, just slowest on Socket A - still, luckily, I already seemed to have other priorities than "as high number next to the CPU as possible" (but again, tragically, tied to mere 64 MiB for a year, due to RAM price spike - IIRC I paid more in 2000 for 64 MiB than some did in 99 for 128 MiB...)

WRT old clunkers: some time later, in 2004, I got my hands on a surplus dual Pentium II 266 with 384 MiB - now that's a nice machine to toy around with, and has a decent amount of RAM. Even LXDE is quite decent, as is win2k - generally, with Opera 9.27 (no flash of course, and js disabled on most pages), it's even almost bearable as a "browsing and stuff" PC. In fact, I think that Opera 9.27 works better now than in its heyday - probably due to pages abandoning "works best in IE & FF" mentality, with Webkit around.

Edited 2012-09-15 10:50 UTC

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