I’m writing this in a train. On a Zaurus. Of course. Actually, I have had my notebook with me (a 17″ Dell Vostro) and I used it for some work-related stuff (word processing and a spreadsheet work). It made sense this time as the travel time was quite comfortable (in the normal working hours) and the rest of my moving was done by public transport. There were no longer walks with a heavy laptop.
Anyway, when the work was finished then I moved the notebook to the bag and opened the Zaurus as it occupies much less space. Then I was able to put a cup of tea and a snack on the small table in the train. And the Zaurus is enough for some writing and hobby programming, you know.
I also have had a Ben NanoNote with me. I wanted to test its WiFi card… and it still works. But it’s keyboard is much less ergonomic than the keyboard of the Zaurus so I used the Ben mostly as music player this time. As I forgot to get a CF WiFi card for the Zaurus, I had to use the NanoNote to sync the stuff with the Git (I don’t know it the Zaurus WiFi can work at all – it’s the old “b” standard and event if it will do then the Zaurus, of course, cannot run the Git). Then I pulled the microSD card from the Zaurus and inserted it to the NanoNote to copy the data. It’s a bit stupid solution but it works (the microSD card is a 1 GB one which can be accepted by the Zaurus: bigger cards don’t work).
In theory it should be possible to replace both machines with a smart phone. For example with the Ubuntu one. In practice, this doesn’t work. The phone has no comfortable keyboard and it’s screen is uncomfortably tall. Also the approach of isolated applications (which has been adopted by all phone OS vendors) only makes desktop-style use of phones more complicated. In a contrast with this, both the Zaurus and the NanoNote are actually pocket-sized unix workstations (the Zaurus is more close to that), albeit with strange user interfaces (there is no viable X11 suppport). The TeX and the gcc works well were, and many other traditional tools work (the Gnuplot, for example), too. There are no problems with isolated applications directories – a normal system of unix access rights is applied here.
More on this topic after the next train journey…