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Your Next PC

Your Next PC
by Gary Woods

There's been a lot of talk about what our next PCs will look like. If you've bought a PC or Mac in the last few years you've got an astounding amount of computing power right under your fingers. But the question is, do you really need all of that power? The question gets deeper when you think of all the unused computing power that you have then multiply it by a few million. That's a lot of wasted power.

So to give us an alternative the folks at Zonbu have come up with a $99 2-pound computer that's about the size of a Mac Mini. It comes preloaded with a modified version of Linux operating system and a set of basic applications. There's no Intel or AMD microprocessor and no optical hard drive. It has just 4 gigabytes of flash memory to store a few files locally. Most of your files are stored on the Web thanks to a deal Zonbu has struck with Amazon's s3 online storage service. The fee for storage is anywhere from $13 per month for 25 gigabytes to $20 for 100 gigabytes.

Zonbu has a bunch of open source applications like Firefox, Open Office, an e-mail client called Evolution and a music player called Banshee plus a photo manager. Put that together with the Skype Internet phone software and a bunch of games and you're styling. The only downside is you might have to buy a new printer because there are only about 1,500 supported.

Zonbu may not be your next computer but it's definitely on the right road.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc