Techcitement writes: The Universal Lapdock Is Coming:

Enter the ClamBook, the first Android-compatible product by iPad keyboard-case maker ClamCase. Using a single MHL cable…the ClamBook provides an Android-laptop experience delivered by your phone.

The problem I have with this idea is that it’s essentially a second device, but one that can’t be used without the first one. If I’m going to have a second device to begin with, I think I’d rather have an actual tablet or ultra-light laptop.

Originally posted on Google+

Update (3/2019): I’ve been looking around, but I’m not sure this was ever released. All the search results I’m finding are articles based on the announcement in June 2012, and ClamCase is now a couple of iPad keyboard cases made by Incipio. The laptop dock concept is still around, but it doesn’t seem to have caught on nearly as well as tablet keyboards and convertible tablet/laptop 2-in-1 devices.

I briefly considered doing a fresh install on the old PowerBook to see if it could be used as a second laptop, instead of just wiping it to recycle, but quickly remembered that the reason we replaced it was a hardware problem.

Still, it would be nice to have two portable computers for when we travel. I have a horrible tendency to hog the laptop when we get back to the hotel.

The thing is, we don’t need a second laptop for normal use. So getting another MacBook, or even a full-size Windows laptop, is overkill. Would a netbook do the trick? What do I use a computer for when traveling?

  • Reading/writing email.
  • Managing & uploading photos.
  • Blogging & managing blog comments.
  • Twitter (and more recently Facebook).
  • Web access.

Yeah, I could easily get by on a netbook, freeing up the MacBook for Katie to use.

But do I even need the netbook?

Almost everything on that list is something I can do with my Android phone, assuming WiFi or a decent 3G signal. Not as quickly, perhaps. I type a lot more slowly on the G1 than a full-sized keyboard, and even at 3G speeds web browsing can be slow, especially on sites that don’t optimize for mobile use. And websites that require Flash still won’t work.

The real deal-breaker is (still) photo management. I can upload photos I’ve taken with the phone, but only one at a time — and I can’t transfer photos from the regular camera. The small screen size also makes it harder to look through a set of several similar photos and pick out the best one.

So I could manage with just my phone if I had:

  • A way to transfer photos from my camera to my phone. (The hard part. Android issue 738 is an enhancement request to be able to connect USB devices. It’s not clear whether the G1 hardware supports USB On-The-Go or not, but the drivers and Android OS don’t — at least not yet.)
  • An app to mass-upload photos to Flickr. (They exist, I just need to research and try a few out.)

I guess for now the best way to handle it is for me to just upload photos on the laptop, without taking the time to label them, then hand it over and move to the smartphone. Though if the network connection is particularly slow, like it was at Comic-Con International this year, that would still be problematic.

Of course, we don’t have any travel plans at the moment until next spring. Who knows? By then a netbook (or a newer phone) may be more practical.

Subject: An old G4 PowerBook laptop which locks up after several hours of use.

  • Test the memory so that, if it’s good, we can resell it instead of recycling it.
  • Wipe the hard disk so that we can recycle the computer.


  • Tech Tool Pro 4 disc
  • Tech Tool Pro 5 disc
  • Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard install disc
  • Mac OS X 10.3 install disc (came with laptop)

You’d think this would be easy… Continue reading

I have to confess: I’ve started seriously thinking about a netbook.

Not that I actually need a netbook. I’d only really end up using it for conventions that I’d want to post live (which would probably boil down to Comic-Con International), and I have the ability to do that using either my G1 or the laptop.

Long-time readers (all five of you 🙂 ) may remember that last year I agonized over upgrading my phone to something with real web capability until they announced wifi, and I just lugged the laptop around. Which worked fine, but it was heavy, especially the day I was also carrying around Comic Book Tattoo.

Of course, now I can use the G1 to post to my blog, or Twitter, or Facebook, or (almost) anywhere else even without wifi.


  • Typing on that tiny keyboard is slow. Not as slow as the onscreen keyboard, but still a lot slower than typing on a full-sized keyboard. Then again, netbook keyboards are also smaller than standard, so it might not be much of an improvement.
  • There’s no easy way to transfer photos from another camera. I can only think of two ways other than using a computer as an intermediary: use a Micro-SD card with adapter in the camera, or get a card reader that will clone data from an SD to a Micro-SD.

The camera issue shouldn’t bother me. Chances are I’d just end up doing what I did for WonderCon this year: post the occasional phone pic to Twitter and then upload the good photos to Flickr each evening. Just like I’d mostly be writing brief posts from the convention and detailed posts at the hotel.

Not my book, but the same page that she signed in mine.But then I remember the post I made on the Tori Amos signing last year. After the signing I was so hyped that I found a table, set up the laptop, banged out a blog post, hooked up the camera and added a couple of photos…and the post ended up getting linked on a major Tori fansite, producing a traffic spike so big that not only is the following day still this blog’s busiest day ever, but that post, even though traffic fell off over time, is the 8th most-viewed post on the site over the past year.

Still, the promise of another 15 minutes of blogfame isn’t enough to justify several hundred bucks. (Though the < $200 models that pop up on Woot from time to time have been tempting.) So I’m making an effort to practice typing with the G1, both the physical and on-screen keyboards. I’ve got Twidroid and I Tweet for posting to two Twitter accounts. I’ve got wpToGo to simplify blogging. I’ve got a plugin that will automatically liveblog using Twitter, which I still need to test.

It’s just a matter of making full use of the tools I have, rather than running after the latest cool toy.

Update: I posted this last night, but somehow it ended up backdated to the day I started it on May 20. I think wpToGo must have set a publishing date when I posted the draft. Yes, I started this post on my phone.