Friday, October 06, 2006

Tablet PC - Southern Hemisphere Style

I want to share three stories from my week in an episode dubbed: Tablet PC – Southern Hemisphere Style.

Because Tablet PC and Ultra Mobile PC are still considered very “vertical market” in the Southern Hemisphere sometimes these devices end up in rather ubiquitous locations, and circumstances. I want to share two such circumstances that I thought were worth a mention; and my third story is a warning to Fujitsu P1610 buyers.

Let’s begin in Hobart, Tasmania (see: lonely planet).

For those of you that don’t know where Hobart is, don’t worry neither do we! Hobart, located in Tasmania (or Tassie as we know it) is the southern most point of Australia, and actually not attached at all. You can fly there, even catch a ferry there, but you definitely can’t swim there.

This story unraveled itself about 6 days ago when I was sitting to eat some Thai food at my favourite take out called WokBar, in Dee Why. My mobile (cell) phone rang and there was a rather sweet sounding mum on the other side. Her name, Maree, and husband’s name, Rob, came across as a mum-and-dad team should, i.e. caring and happy-go-lucky. Our conversation carried on for about 15 minutes and revolved around their little 3yr old boy Rohan (pictured with favourite toy, "blue").

It turns out that Maree and Rob had been hunting for advice regarding Tablet PC for quite some time. Their needs are rather unique in that Rohan suffers from Cerebral Palsy – a debilitating permanent brain injury that affects an infant in the womb; it can prevent or inhibit walking and cause a lack of muscle coordination, spasms, and speech difficulty.

As a dad of one (Leon my five year old) and soon to be father of a Daughter (Amber due in late November) I couldn’t help but connect with Maree and Rob’s plight. During the conversation my feedback focused on the resistive qualities of several touch screens, and the significant difference a large display could make to someone with poor motor skills. Subsequently - due mostly to a light weighted touch, a slate design and 12.1” touch screen - Maree and I settled on the Sahara i215 tablet by TabletKiosk.

Maree imparted much of her story and inadvertently let me into her inner-circle of loved ones. Rohan was 3 in August and his grandmother Marie tells me that Rohan is an adorable child with lots to offer. “His body suit helps his body-control, and his walker gives him freedom,” his grandmother told me. “This computer will help so much!” She also shared with me that Rob (the father) is a fulltime carer that looks after Rohan and his sister Emily very well. The irony is that mum Maree is also a sonographer and actually performed her own Ultrasound before birth; the unavoidable circumstance that followed left Rohan with his disorder, and mum and dad with a forever changed life.

Although the role I played was minute, and perhaps inconsequential, we did manage to get Roahan the Tablet for under replacement value. I do like to think that I helped the little guy and I’m looking forward to hearing of his progress; I am promised updates and photos regarding his interaction so I can’t wait to share more with you.

The second story, from an even more remote location, comes out of the Solomon Islands; and it involves UMPC! Today I received this email from a friend of mine named Glenn Vassallo of Bold Intelligence:

“I wanted to let you know how things are progressing with the EO UMPCs. They have been used for about a month now at Honiara International Airport where it is very hot and very humid, so far they have worked without a hitch. The UMPC was a perfect solution as the size makes them very portable, while still offering enough screen real estate to run the browser based survey software. The solution uses the UMPCs wireless to connect to a Windows 2003 Server located at Solomon Island Telekom co-hosting facility. I’ve attached a few photos of me testing the unit at Honiara airport. "

How cool is that? Did you even know that the Solomon Islands existed, and that the capital city is called Honiara? When I heard that Ultra Mobile PC, the Otto Berkes brain child, has made it to the remotest of remote locations in the world, and is actually experiencing success, I couldn’t help but feel contented. For those of you that have no idea where or what the Solomon Islands are then wonder over to the U.S Department of State website or the Solomon Islands website to learn more.

My last little blurb is a warning to P1610 buyers.

Today a friend of mine, a reluctant blogger named Grant, had his $1,000 dollar RAM shipped to him. What am I talking about you might ask? I’m talking about the current Fujitsu P1510, and its subsequent successor the P1610, which both run a miniaturised RAM called micro-DIMM. Not interesting you might say. But what if I told you that a 1Gig stick costs $1,999 Australian dollars (approx. $1,400 USD) - now I got your attention.

It seems the big threat to any buyer looking at purchasing a P1510 or P1610 is not so much wether the device "hits the spot”, because I think we all agree it rocks, but rather the RAM upgrade. At over a third the cost of a replacement device the RAM itself could prove to be a hindrance rather than a “must have” accessory. Because I saw GottaBeMobile run a story today and JK last week regarding the P1610 I thought I would take time to place a little reality check on the hype. [although I’ll still be buying one!]

BTW, those of you that followed my post regarding the P1610 (world exclusive), please be patient as the video will be back.

So that was me, Hugo Ortega, in action this last week. It’s been fun, emotional and frustrating. But best of all its been Tablet!

Have a great week!


Gabriel Gonzalez said...

Very sweet story the first one, a very nice way of helping ppl.
I hope the new toy helps Rohan to improve his life :)

Hugo Gaston Ortega said...

Thanks Gabriel,

I know his parents are convinced it will help him greatly - I will keep you all posted. So nice to be a part of it!

Anonymous said...

Wow...very touching story.

Oh and UG on the RAM! I thought it was bad when I saw that 2GB chips for our ThinkPads at work were $2,200! (I had our vendor double check the #). After 3 months though they've dropped to the bargain basement price of $981 USD. Uhh...I think we'll be waiting another six months or so.

Hugo Gaston Ortega said...

Hey Gordon,

Stories are great!

The RAM story not so nice though. I think the underlying message is "love your 512." How cheap is that $981 USD price, cool! At that rate you'll be paying $100USD in 2020. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Great stories, you have a heart of gold.

I should have mentioned in my email that the project I was working on was funded by AusAid. It's purpose is to assist in building the tourism industry in the Solomon Islands, which could really help the local population find employment, access health care, education and all the goodness that money brings.

So basically the UMPCs you were able to sell to me directly in Australia (excellent service by the way) are contributing to the success of a humanitarian project.

Hugo Gaston Ortega said...

Cheers Glenn for the feedback and thoughts.

Your efforts in the Solomon Islands is Awesome, and well worth pointing to. I've even done the humanitarian thing myself - visit: paid my dues here.

Job well done mate, I'm all for the greater good of community.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for all of the unformation on the upcoming Fujitsu P1610. I have owned the P1510D for 5 months and love it.

On the memory, the largest forum of P1510 users can be found at and they have had an ongoing memory upgrade discussion where several of the members have found the 1GB microDIMM chips for $300US at this thread:

Hope this helps your readers.


Hugo Gaston Ortega said...

Cheers Steve,

These links will be very sueful for now and the immediate future once P1610 hits the streets in November.

For those of you interested in P15/1610 RAM go here:

P1510 RAM stuff
More P1510 RAM stuff

Wonder if they got to see my video over there?

Anonymous said...

You bet we have, Hugo!!

Keep up the good work!


CerebralP said...

Here is an interesting summary of the causes of Cerebral Palsy:
Did a medical mistake cause your child’s cerebral palsy? This is a cause for thousands of cases of cerebral palsy, but this is not the only cause possible for this diagnosis. If the answer to this question is yes, then you should look back at the time of your child’s birth, the moment of delivery. Here are some of the errors that could have provoked cerebral palsy:
- the child has stayed too long in birth canal (lack of oxygen for brain);
- prolapsed cord undetected immediately;
- excessive use of vacuum extraction;
- improper use of forceps;
- failure to perform a cesarean section (in the presence of fetal distress);
- untreated or undetected disorders after delivery;
- changes in heart rate during delivery – not eliminated in time;
- failure to plan a C-section;
- mother’s high blood pressure etc.
These are only some of the causes for cerebral palsy at a child’s birth, but improperly treated, undetected meningitis is also a cause for this diagnosis, which may appear later. You can also get more information on cerebral palsy statistics and cerebral palsy treatments by visiting


Michael R.

Hugo Gaston Ortega said...

Hi Michael,

Firstly I thank you for taking the time to make my readers more Cerebral Palsy aware. Secondly I thank you for being so informative and descriptive in your comment.

Not only was I unaware of several of your points but I'm sure my readers were too. My blog has always been focused on education and dissemination of information - your efforts here are a reflection of that. Thank you.

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