Jono wrote about his new ZaReason Strata, and Rich wrote about his new ZaReason something-else, so I figured I'd let you all know about the ZaReason Terra HD I said I wanted to order, now that I've had it about a month.
Typing has turned out not to be a problem. This makes sense, if you compare the size of the keyboard to the one on my other ZaReason laptop, a 13" they sold in 2008 under the moniker "UltraLap," but which I call Betty. The only diffrence in width is the extra column of home/pgup/pgdn/end keys, which are Fn keys on this keyboard, and I got used to the gaps between keys.
What's confusing me the most is that this has the Ctrl on the far left of the bottom row and Fn to the right of it, while on my old Gateway (Ada) and Betty have Fn on the corner and Ctrl to the right of it. I use Marlyn (the Terra, named after Marlyn Meltzer, another ENIAC programmer) a lot when on the bus to/from work, though, so it's actually on the other laptops that I screw up a lot. Oh, can you guess which thumb I use to type space?
"Why do you use it on the bus to/from work?" you may ask. Well, it has a 3G modem built in! So, within an hour of taking it out of the box, I found myself at the T-Mobile store signing up for a SIM card. Some people say "eww, T-Mobile," but they're charging $40/mo for 5GB bandwidth that when exceeded just gets slower, while AT&T wants $35/mo for 2GB followed by overage fees or $60 for 5GB followed by overage fees. Easy choice there! Oh, and the other night when CopyNight was held at Teaism in Penn Quarter (yummy food, recommended!), I was the only one with reception in the basement. That's where I was when I posted the last blog post, actually. I like being able to IRC from the bus! This will be very handy when I'm at a family reunion next weekend with no wifi and Ohio LinuxFest (where I am speaking) the weekend after that, since the conference center always wants to gouge OLF for Internet access by charging thousands of dollars more than the con can afford to pay to provide access to attendees (resulting in wifi being unavailable).
The one little thing bugging me is the MacBook-like lid. That is, it can't be laid out all the way flat like my other laptops' lids can. MacBooks always make me worry that someone is going to throw a shmooball or other projectile, hit the screen, and either A) snap it off or B) knock the laptop over. I hope B is more likely than A.
I got it with Kubuntu Netbook Edition pre-installed, though I have since upgraded to Maverick which doesn't differentiate between plasma-netbook and plasma-desktop at install-time (meaning I have both interfaces available and can press a button to switch). As far as I know, ZaReason is the only company pre-installing Kubuntu or really any KDE-based distro. When I ordered it, I told Jonathan Riddell (Canonical's Kubuntu hacker), and his first question was "what OS is it coming with?" I said "Kubuntu Netbook," and he boggled and requested confirmation that I was serious.
Not sure what else there is to say about it. With Firefox running and so refusing to let my SSD sleep (for some reason, Firefox writes to disk every few seconds) or give my CPU a break (yeah, don't get that one either), I get about 5 hours of battery life. I really wish Firefox wasn't such a resource hog. I may have mentioned before that they had a suspend/resume bug to fix before release. I actually ordered a red one and told them to send it unfixed, but the timing on red parts being shipped to the ZaReason shop was perfect for Canonical to inform them that some BIOS tweaks needed to be made and for them to get the parts manufacturer to do it before shiipping! So, I can reliably resume from suspend when I click the suspend button in the battery applet. This uncovered a new bug though: the fact that I have to click that button. I don't care, it's how I usually suspend anyway, and the "suspend if left alone and unplugged for >15 minutes" setting still works so it doesn't end up causing problems anyway.
More pretty photos! I don't think my camera did a good job of showing how metallic the lid is or the fact that the wrist area is slightly rubberised you get a good grip when holding it. Oh, and I love that the power cord plugs in on the side instead of in the back. I like to be able to see where I'm plugging things.
Oh yeah, I always see people comment on blogs where Linux-laptop vendors are mentioned that they wish there was a company in their country selling these. Guess what? ZaReason ships internationally!