Saturday, August 12, 2017

The PineBook, a Wonder(?) Laptop at $99 plus $35 Shipping

The PineBook with Linux is potentially the best (or worst) of computers and operating systems for a senior.

Now, don't underestimate seniors. We invented computers.

This $99 slim featherweight laptop is a great bargain if it meets your needs.   Otherwise not.   If all you do is office applications away from internet,  it is a steal.  but it also does the same applications online, a bit slowly.

Neither Windows nor Apple nor Android,  it runs the Linux operating system, the backbone of Internet.   It can be made to appear as if it were any of them.

That does not mean that it is a knockoff.      It simply works in its own way according to the very same screen images of the other operating systems.

Linux is best in the sense that I can do very difficult things while mastery of it requires comfort in  using command line commands.

Where something doesn't run right,  it can be the devil to fix it.    Fortunately nowadays most things run well.     And for really heavy duty work such as video editing,  Linux is the choice of major studios.

In this particular instance, surfing the web tends to run slow while most things can be done without being connected at all,  as with traditional Windows.   Also,  sound volume is low.

Older printers are better recognized automatically than in most other operating systems.

Linux is also by far the safest operating system to use by a wide margin.
If you want to take a chance on it,  here is some help.

First,  know that this device is made on order by a company which manufactures the internal parts for other computers.      It is really an advertisement for the components.    You should place your order well in advance of expected delivery.     There is nothing more than a 30-day guarantee and very little help if any,  except a few pieces of excellent help online.

When my time finally came up it was shipped on a Monday from Shenzhen China and received Wednesday.    Wow!!

Like Apple’s logo is an apple,  the Pinebook logo is a pineapple.   As for the pine,  the  pi for the name of a mini motherboard of great popularity.

The Pinebook just shows what such a small motherboard can do.  The keyboard and screen are quite nice and the touchpad will do.

Second, once you get it,  the first thing you must do is to upgrade the image.     

Help is available at two websites but it's kind of confusing if you don't know a few things ahead of time.  Although the device will work right out of the box,  mine had a few problems and needed to be updated.

The image replaces the intelligence of the hardware.      That image needs to be downloaded to a PC and onto  a SD card.     That happens automatically with a downloaded app from Pinebook.

What is not explained is that you have a few choices of which image to download.      There are two options you should consider.    One  downloads onto the SD card which then runs this system from that card when inserted in the Pinebook.     The other loads the system into the Pinebook memory upon insertion and following instructions on screen.

Two links below will show you how to do this easily.

Then,  don't surprised that it might  to 12 hours to download the image. In my case the download would stop with a red box stating that download it stopped and asking if I wanted to continue.     Clicking on “continue” picked up where it left off.

With these  cautions,  the process is nonetheless seamless.

Then enjoy some of the finest software out there,  such as Calibre,  the best software for readers at whatever level.     

The last works also on Windows and Mac.

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