iPad Substitute

I seem to have developed a pattern of buying alternatives to Apple’s flagship products.

Instead of getting an iPod, I bought an iriver. Part of the rationale was that it supported Ogg Vorbis. It also turned out to be chunky and awful and churn through AA batteries, but meh.

I deliberated for a while about getting an iPhone, but on the verge of making the decision there was some controversy or other about the app store, which pushed me over the line to go for the Android-powered HTC Hero instead. The idea of an open platform for app development appealed to me enormously. So far I haven’t actually done any of said development, but it’s nice to know that I could in theory.

I don’t actually have a problem with Apple, and in fact I think their focus on a simple, seamless UI is something that should be imitated far more often. But being a geek, I actually like something with a few visible seams, because they can be picked apart. Like Shamus, I’m not really their target market.

Anyway, less than a week after the iPad announcement, I find myself having bought a Vye Mini-v S37 at auction. Notionally the idea is to have something small and light to travel with, especially on our honeymoon in May – an argument supported by its the fact that it has a CF card reader, will let me dump photos onto it. But really I just thought it was cool. Obviously I’m planning to put Linux on it (probably Xubuntu)… although I can’t find anywhere that explicitly says that someone’s tried that and everything works, which means that it could be… interesting. It’ll be disappointing if I’m stuck with Vista.

So the relevance of this to a blog about software and stuff (other than the fact that I’ve been otherwise occupied with work and wedding plans and the box set of Buffy and am struggling a bit to find something to write to break the silence) is that I’ll be posting some updates on how Linux holds up in the tablet-netbook-thing niche.

Update: Apparently the Vye S37 is also sold as the Kohjinsha SH8. That link is to a blog describing an attempt to get Ubuntu 7.10 working on said Kohjinsha (and I thought this blog was too topic-specific :) ). So it looks like the problems, if I have them, will be WiFi and the touch screen… although I’m also quite optimistic about Ubuntu’s progress over the intervening two years.

Update 2: The Ralink RT73 WiFi adapter allegedly works out of the box in 9.10. Should be okay on that front.


  1. Terry

    April 16, 2010 @ 8:40 am

    Hi Dave as a matter of interest how much did you pay at auction?

    Have you got any further along with linux or more importantly is there anything that just wont work?

    How are the wedding plans going -May, getting close now.


  2. Roland

    August 3, 2010 @ 11:47 am

    Hello Dave, I’ve just bought mine at an auctin and have some shennanigans with the initial vista setup. I can’t get past the circular error where it tells me that Vista didn’t install properly, start again. If I leave it alone it reboots and goes through this procedure endlessly. Do you know how to get past this?
    I can’t seem to get to the recovery procedure that VYE suggest on their little “recover” note, ie: press F8 while restarting. when I do that i can’t get past the standard F8 options. As you so well put it, sheesh!!
    Regards, Roland

  3. David

    October 16, 2010 @ 11:50 am

    Hey, sorry for the complete lack of response here. :) In case a reply is still useful to anyone…

    @Terry, it ended up being just under $500 including postage. Of course I wouldn’t buy it at all these days, in the era of the iPad (or possibly one of its clones – the upcoming Samsung one looks pretty nice). Linux worked well enough to take on our honeymoon; I never got most of the extra buttons on the screen working, but they’re pretty unnecessary anyway.

    @Roland, sorry I didn’t really pay much attention to how well Vista was working. Hope you had better luck!

  4. Greg

    March 5, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

    G’day All,

    Does anyone have a VYE 37 or a Kohjinsha S8 that they wish to sell? I got mine working brilliantly but then a flight attendant spilled wine in it and killed it…

    It must have all hardware and original Vista factory restore petition fully intact.

    Please advise.

    Thanks, Greg

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