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Sat, 10 Aug 2002 01:33:51 +0700
For more details, check out http://www.norh.com/norhtec/index.html.
For the past year, I have been working on ideas to improve computing. Most
computer companies continue to focus on making computers either less
expensive or more powerful. In the process, they tend to forget the user.
I have spent the past 20 years working in
the computer industry. Last year, I decided to take my experience and
build products that will change the way computers are used.
There are many applications for computers where the computer performs a
single task. This includes gateways, firewalls, routers, point of sale,
kiosks, facility management, reservation systems and so on. I continue to
see PCs used in stores as cash registers where
the computers still boot from a floppy. There are many applications where
a small, energy efficient, x86 (Pentium class) computer
could take the place of larger and more complicated systems. For
applications that are still MS DOS based, it would be easy to migrate
these solutions to solid state devices. These will boot faster and have
I recently received a call from a company that installs highway signs.
They told me that the signs are controlled by PCs that are attached to
modems. The systems boot off of floppies. The computers hang frequently
because they generate too much heat in the signs.
The floppies fail frequently and require frequent service calls. Such an
application would be ideal for our Microservers. NorhTec has developed
the ideal replacement for dedicated PCs. NorhTec Microservers are fully
integrated, inexpensive, energy efficient and
In addition to our Microservers, NorhTec has also developed what we
consider the ideal office and home desktop, the Panda PC. The Panda PC is
a small form factor computer that requires no fan for the CPU or the power
supply. The Panda PC is small, quiet and
energy efficient. The Panda PC is better integrated than virtually an
other PC available. While most computers use very inexpensive parts, the
Panda PC uses some of the finest components available. Instead of a
standard CD ROM that comes in most PCs, the
Panda PC includes a slimline DVD that can also record CDRs and CDRWs.
Because we can create CDROMs, we have taken out the useless floppy. Of
course slimline devices are more expensive. Of course the combination of a
DVD and CDRW is also more
expensive. We believe that the our choice makes the Panda PC a much better
desktop than. The Panda PC will offer a choice of Windows XP or a special
version of Linux. Both version will be preconfigured with useful open
source applications such as office
suites, browsers, viewers and multimedia players.
Our Linux offering will feature keystroke and mouse click compatibility to
Microsoft Windows. For example, you can share files by right clicking on
the file and selecting "share this file". You can adjust the screen
resolution the same way you do on a Microsoft
Windows desktops. The ICONs will look very familiar with MY COMPUTER and
MY NETWORK NEIGHBORHOOD making the environment very familar to Windows
For customers who already have licenses for or willing to purchase
licenses for Microsoft Office, we can host these applications and other
popular Microsoft Windows applications on Linux. For a slightly extra fee,
we will install to authorized customers, Winword,
Outlook, Excel, Internet Explorer 5.5, Microsoft Media Player 6.4, Access,
and Power Point. We can also install Lotus Notes and several other
Recently, I read about a large chain that was selling PCs for $299.95.
This is the lowest price for a standard PC in the United States. This
configuration included 128 MB RAM and 10 GB disk. To upgrade to 256 MB RAM
and 20 GB disk, the price was $595.95.
This price included a full size CD ROM. A DVD player would be extra as
would a CDRW. The Panda PC will sell for $495.95 with 256 MB RAM, 20 GB
disk, and our DVD/CDRW combination. The Panda PC uses less power,
generates less heat and takes less
space than virtually any other fully configured desktop.
Additionally, the Panda PC is one of the first computers to operate either
AC or DC. Some smaller computers cheat by using an external power supply
(ala laptop). Our power supply is built into the case. The power supply
will switch between 12 and 24 volts DC and
120 and 240 AC. This is one of the first computers that is ideal to be
powered in a vehicle, battery or solar power.
It can cost $1,000 per desktop just to buy the windowing system and the
office suite. We will deliver a computer that is fully configured with
Linux and a fully functional office suite for the price of the hardware.
This will not be a "hacker style" system. The system will
be expertly configured so that it is one of the easiest to use systems you
have ever used. The Panda PC does not need a fan for normal operation.
However, we have put an 82 mm fan inside just in case. The fan is attached
to a circuit that measure the temperature
and will go on only if the temperature reaches a preset temperature. An 82
mm fan is much quieter than the smaller fans used on processors, video
cards and power supplies. Additionally, we have positioned the fan so that
even if the fan is activated, it will create
very little turbulence.
Our goal is to create the friendliest computer possible. NorhTec will
offer a variety of components to make networking easier than ever before.
We have selected networking strategies that make networking computers as
easy as possible. In most cases, you simply
connect the networking cable and boot the computer. We have preconfigured
microservers and Pandas to perform specific tasks such as firewall,
gateway, printer server, and desktop. I personally think we have developed
the best networking strategies for the
home and office. Our strategies include wired and wireless LANs.
While we are a couple of months away from delivering products, we would
like to invite you to consult with us before you upgrade those power
hungry, energy inefficient, aging computers in your office. I can show you
how to replace these with systems that are far
friendlier and much less expensive to operate.
Michael C. Barnes