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WebPC... good idea!

evildragon

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http://www.pcworld.com/article/14056/dells_petite_webpc_debuts.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebPC

Couldn't find any pictures...

There's an auction for a magazine on ebay that shows off what it looks like, though. http://www.ebay.com/itm/BYTE-Magazi...t=Magazines&hash=item3cbd811f0b#ht_1246wt_752


If it sold for $300 or less it would have done better though.

That magazine is NOT showing off a Web PC.. It's showing off Apples Pippin, which was a game system from Apple Computers.

This, was the Web PC: http://techforthecommonman.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/webpc.gif
 

DOS lives on!!

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Very similar to the (I believe) New Age Internet Computer sold back in the early 2000s. It didn't have a hard drive and booted it's OS off a CD. Not sure if it was ethernet ready but definetely relied on a modem. I do like the form factor of the WebPC.
 

njroadfan

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webpc.jpg

(monitor was NOT included)


I pimped out one of them at the shop I used to work at for a point-of-sale terminal. It could barely run Windows 2000 well with an upgraded Celeron CPU and maxed out RAM. It was one of the first machines to NOT come with legacy ports like PS/2, parallel, and serial.

Others have also upgraded these machines: www.alexia-media.com/webpc/
 

krebizfan

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The WebPC shrunk the case compared to the more typical mini-towers but the BIOS wasn't ready for not having PS/2 ports yet. Other than not including PS/2, parallel, serial ports and covering that space on the back with more art for the other ports, the amount on design work on the WebPC was quite minimal.

The video was slow; so slow that many DVDs didn't play correctly on it despite some models including DVD.

Dell does still carry the manual on their website. Maybe some of the other vendors can learn that keeping 10+ year documentation around costs nothing and gives the illusion of lasting support.
 

krebizfan

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What are you aiming for? This one is a fine system for its intended market: cheap computers for office work with good security. Well, good for 2000 anyway. Can't really run games with it.
Dell and HP sell very similar (albeit modernized) systems; see the Dell Optiplex 790 USFF for an example. But basically, a new one would cost several hunderd dollars extra compared to a similar system that retained extra bays and slots. Few offices or homes had so little room that the shaving off of a couple of inches made up for the added cost.
 

barythrin

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Yup. Used to work (well a contractor) for Netpliance for a short period of time. That was during the webtv computer attempt by lots of vendors. This one was a bit different in that it came with it's own internet service/dial-up access. Effectively they tested the market by selling the original units (they ran off a 32MB CF card running a copy of QNX) for $100 despite the actual cost of making the thing (I mean, really this was a fairly nice flat screen lcd before they were common/cheap) was somewhere around $200-300. The first person with a screw driver and lack of care for the warranty opened it up and found that despite the system running off of a CF card, it actually did have an IDE controller on the motherboard and poof the hacking and popularity boomed at that under production cost ;-)

Anyway nice system and hackable for what it was. Lots of folks quickly had Windows 98 running on it and others of course ended up with linux. It was a nice small design, standard ps/2 keyboard with the built-in mouse. They go for around $20-30 probably without a box these days but I think the PS is proprietary, not standard (can't remember).

There are lots of (I guess nitch names like webputers) out there for vendors. They never took off for whatever reason. Sorta funny how the execs started marketing computers that connected to TVs as a specialty and repeating the (g)old days. Amiga had a fairly failed attempt at it as well with their Amiga CD32 console which was a gaming system/computer in console format.

The other popular amongst our community is the Audrey (extra points for female name? :) ) otherwise known as the 3com Ergo. Has had a few votes for the ugliest computer or design or some such in the past. I sorta like it though. It was meant to be in the kitchen computer genre I believe.

We've come a long way from the original kitchen computer (Honeywell) target haven't we?
 

njroadfan

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I still have my iOpener complete with the box, hacked with the linux-hacker kit and one of those Lasagna CPU fans. It was kind of crippled by the lack of L2 cache, but was a serviceable machine with a USB NIC and a parallel to SCSI adapter. The power supply was a standard power brick and plug. For some reason I saved a very upbeat investor's video from the company's last days that seems to have vanished from the internet. I converted it from RealVideo and posted it on youtube to preserve it for all to see.

 

krebizfan

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One strike on iOpener is how in their video no one in the office uses an iOpener. "Eating you own dogfood" may be an inelegant phrase but heavy use internally definitely helps identify problems. I guess creating crippled computers expressly for the older market that hated computers was a concept doomed to failure. HP didn't do any better with their printers that could print emails without needing a computer.
 

NeXT

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There are lots of (I guess nitch names like webputers) out there for vendors. They never took off for whatever reason. Sorta funny how the execs started marketing computers that connected to TVs as a specialty and repeating the (g)old days. Amiga had a fairly failed attempt at it as well with their Amiga CD32 console which was a gaming system/computer in console format.
VanCity purchased hundreds if not thousands of CD32 consoles so their customers could use their online services and build them into kiosks and they all had modems. It's the reason so many CD32 consoles and parts are available around here. Almost everyone had one.

I still keep a WebTV INT-W200 terminal sitting on top of my home theater system for that one hopeful day someone comes back to it and tries to make it do something (anything) with the now antique hardware.
 

krebizfan

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I had a good laugh when the video said, "I really believe that in five years, we will be a Fortune 500 company." :D

Kind of looks like that didn't happen, unless I'm missing something...

Do buyouts count? They are now part of a Fortune 500 company, specifically HP. Before that, Netpliance (renamed TippingPoint) got picked up by 3Com which was fairly large if not Fotune 500 material. Not bad results for a company so poorly managed.
 

WMH

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Do buyouts count? They are now part of a Fortune 500 company, specifically HP. Before that, Netpliance (renamed TippingPoint) got picked up by 3Com which was fairly large if not Fotune 500 material. Not bad results for a company so poorly managed.

True, but they probably couldn't have achieved that if it weren't for being bought out.

I guess the world just wasn't ready for appliance-style Internet boxes like the WebPC and i-Opener.
 

Chuck(G)

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I guess creating crippled computers expressly for the older market that hated computers was a concept doomed to failure. HP didn't do any better with their printers that could print emails without needing a computer.

I think the business of creating computers for the older cyberphobic set is still a going enterprise. I've seen systems with large-letter keyboards and bundled ISP access (with email to exchange with the grandkids) still being offered (check a copy of the AARP magazine).

The price is usually outrageous in terms of capabilities.
 

dave_m

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I think the business of creating computers for the older cyberphobic set is still a going enterprise. I've seen systems with large-letter keyboards and bundled ISP access (with email to exchange with the grandkids) still being offered (check a copy of the AARP magazine).

I agree, I bought my 80-something aunt a WEBTV many years ago and she clung on to it like it was gold. All her friends were having bad luck with their Windows PCs with virus, blue screens, etc and had no idea what to do about it.

A couple of years ago, I finally could not stand seeing her looking at that fuzzy TV screen, and bought her a refurbished iMac G4 and, with a little training about the Dock, "Click on the picture of the stamp for email", she was on the air. Since she only uses it for web surfing, email and printing, she has had no issues using it.

But change is hard as I wanted to 'upgrade' her to an iMac G5 to get a whopping 17" screen but she will not hear of it.
-Dave
 

Chuck(G)

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But change is hard as I wanted to 'upgrade' her to an iMac G5 to get a whopping 17" screen but she will not hear of it.

I can sympathize. I observed this morning that, in spite of it being interesting that the Schick Hydro razor uses a PIC microcontroller, I'm still using the same double-edged safety razor that I bought more than 40 years ago. Nickel-plated brass and it still works fine.
 
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