Please pardon the somewhat off-topic question but I could use your input:
My wife would like to access the Internet while watching TV on the couch in the living room. I have wireless Internet via 802.11b going in the house already. We did a “technology demonstration” with my notebook computer with a WiFi card. She though it was great, except it’s too expensive of a solution, the batteries have a limited runtime, computer it gets hot, it’s kind of heavy, etc. Plus that PC is needed elsewhere most of the time.
I think she would be entirely happy with just a “network terminal” device running VNC viewer software. She could access her desktop computer, which is normal on anyhow, over the network. That could get rid of the hard drive while only running a simple OS on some solid state memory. I originally thought “iopener with Linux with WiFi on the USB” and maybe add memory through IDE to flash adapter. But, the screen is marginal and it does not have batteries.
I’m thinking now, old notebook computer (I have a Pentium 200 collecting dust) with WiFi in the PCMCIA (no USB), and the IDE to flash adapter for memory (running Linux or maybe Win95) and VNC. It would get longer run time on the batteries and would run cooler. Not too expensive since I have the computer already.
That said, I would be grateful for suggestions, recommendations, etc. I feel like I might be overlooking a cheaper, simpler solution, or maybe a really clean $500 purpose made device with warranty that I am not aware of. I've seen the ViewSonic Tablet PC, but it seems to be in the $1000 range and that's too much for the need.