ASUS EeePC/ Netbooks
At least for part of the year, I have this to experiment with. The light, small laptop is great for light tasks, such as Word Processing and Web Browsing. Luckily, Firefox and OpenOffice.org are included for these tasks, and even though a little slow at times on Launch, it is plenty fast. One great thing is that KDE can easily be enabled for a more advanced user interface. It is great for what I need, and works pretty well. The battery only lasts about 3 hours, but the Power Supply is very small and portable.
Services- Google Services
As always, Google is helpful to me. I use several of their services, and they are a great help in organizing my work. I dislike carrying a thumb drive with me everywhere I go, and I like access to my docs or notebooks wherever I go. I also find storing my docs online does help. Google Gears makes it possible for me to get them offline too. I think it works great for what I need it for.
All In All, from Google I use,
Google Chrome, Google's browser, is now In beta and available to the public. It seems to be a fast and speedy download, and after the tool is installed, it operates quickly, and has a nice interface, obviously Google Themed. Each individual tab runs it's own process, so simply going in to task manager and killing a single process will close a tab. The beta seems to be somewhat stable, but Java content does not work as of yet. The browser is Open Source, and it is based on WebKit, also Open Source. Chrome's new tab page is a little useful, and shows recent bookmarks, most visited pages (With a thumbnail of the page). It is very speedy, and I think it is almost faster than Firefox and Internet Explorer. It only works on Windows as of right now though.
I just learned about this one. It is like Synchroneyes. You can easily teach classes with it and if you use the master application you can take snapshots of others screens, power up a whole lab of computers (Wake on LAN must be enabled in the BIOS), log in remotely, shut down computers, demo your screen onto computers, and allow students to present things from their computers.
Hardware- Energy Efficient Systems
Energy Efficient systems are becoming more and more wanted. Non- Gamers don't really enjoy having a power hungry computer that uses 300 Watts of power(3.33 Hours = 1 Kilowatt Hour.) People also like laptops that have a long battery life. Intel's Atom processor, Possibly AMD's Athlon 2000, and VIA's C7/Nano, are making this possible. With an Energy Efficient power supply, the Intel and AMD systems have measured about 40 Watts. That is a small amount of power, and In Standby mode, Intel's C6 mode has seen about 5-10 Watts! Although not exactly the best thing for school (Maybe the Netbooks are) the Net-Top can be an interesting thing to experiment with. It would make an excellent always-on system, and could make an awesome Linux box. (The Realtek chip doesn't work great with Linux though.)
That wasn't so bad was it? I think the new coming software and hardware will be able to hold me off until some new big Linux distributions come out? Will it hold you over, there isn't that long to wait!