Re: Where are the NCs

Gregory Alan Bolcer (
Tue, 17 Mar 1998 18:35:09 -0800

> As for seeing an NC: you can go see a consumerized one down at your
> local CircuitCity or other electronics megastore. RCA has a
> consumer-ized NC out positioned as a WebTV killer. I own a WebTV box
> and am heavily into consumer electronics, Internet appliances, and Java,
> so I jetted down to the store the day the RCA boxes arrived to check one
> out. I won't float an opinion for fear of predjudicing anyone, but I'd
> be interested in anyone else here's opinions / comparison of the two.

Sun gave us one of the first Javastations as they are funding some of my
research and at one point in time, my project was the largest java
software outside of Sun labs. The early version that I got was a small
1/2 shoebox sized gray thing, nifty logo, microsparcII processor and
built in fast ethernet. It required a special installation of Solaris
to be the boot server. Also, it didn't run Netscape, only HotJava and
had some security bugs to work out. We tested a beta of JavaOS,
and we primarily use it for testing from time to time.

Overall, it's like an X-terminal. The microsparcII was a sit-in
for the Java chips. As I understand it, a 200mhz java chip runs
bytecode just as fast as JIT compiled Ultra2-200mhz at 1/10th
the cost. The JavaStation is very PC like. It has a PC keyboard
and layout, PC mouse, PC monitor. The destop software
as austere and lacking some of the polished graphics of
a real windowing system. Given the fact that I can run
Java on my SGI, Sparc, N64, and Art's PalmPilot, I wasn't that
impressed with the Javastation. Most JS's come with minimal
RAM and booting up the system from the network takes about
the same amount of time as booting a PC. As I understand it,
Samsung is making 128M simms that hold their contents when the
power is turned off. Put 8 or 16 of those in it and you have
a great little machine. It's a really good first step for
people who only need to run things in a browser.