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'Thin client' laptop

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I'd like a thin client laptop. A Google for this phrase shows plenty of hits, but they don't seem to be what I want. I have a big, powerful desktop computer, but occasionally I want to use its power in a lightweight, laptop form. So this product would be resemble a laptop computer, but it would be linked to the desktop computer over an encrypted wi-fi link and all it would be able to do would be to send keystroke and trackpad data to the desktop computer and receive screen update data to show on its screen. It would require minimal processing power and memory (which ought to keep the price down). It would also require some server software running on the desktop computer.
hippo, Feb 08 2010

Remote Desktop http://www.microsof...ed/Remoteintro.mspx
Exactly this idea only no special hardware and it comes free with Windows. [WcW, Feb 08 2010]

Mechanical TVs http://www.hawestv.com/
I don't know much [nineteenthly, Feb 11 2010]

Mechanical television https://en.wikipedi...chanical_television
[notexactly, Apr 22 2018]

Loewe 3NF and other models http://electricstuff.co.uk/loewe.html
Mentioned in my anno. Vacuum tube integrated circuits, starting in 1926 [notexactly, Apr 22 2018]

[link]






       Noting that what you want is a "wireless windowing terminal" in oldschoolese... but no Google hits.   

       [edit] also noting that thin-clients aren't really windowing-terminals.
FlyingToaster, Feb 08 2010
  

       Sounds like a VNC viewer, or possibly an X terminal, both of which are widely known to exist.
Wrongfellow, Feb 08 2010
  

       So a kind of Lan-book (as opposed to a Net Book) where all of the communication is lan-based (not so much "Cloud" computing, as aerosol computing)
zen_tom, Feb 08 2010
  

       Yes, kind of a windowing terminal, or a VNC viewer, but portable and laptop-like and capable of only doing that - and with the server software which runs on the desktop machine accessible to the average home user.
hippo, Feb 08 2010
  

       On a consumer-advice based front you could set this up now with Apple Screen Sharing (assuming you're running OS X) with say a big fat Apple server/desktop and a cheaper laptop off eBay - not exactly what you're looking for, in that it's not built for purpose, but could be a sort of solution.
zen_tom, Feb 08 2010
  

       That would be some way towards a solution. I'd rather not do screen sharing though - I'd rather the desktop machine was running some server software in the background which just received input from the client machine and synthesised screen updates for it.
hippo, Feb 08 2010
  

       I'm unsure of how current OSes handle communications to graphics cards, but what you would *want* to have happen is the windowing processing and administration on the client (OpenWindow, CloseWindow), but I think WinOS just sends stuff like DirectDraw (Draw a Line from x,y to w,z etc.) which chews up bandwidth.   

       In the meantime I understand that various Linux's contain much less bloat and therefore run faster.
FlyingToaster, Feb 08 2010
  

       [hippo] I thought that's how screen sharing (or, specifically Screen Sharing - the Apple VNC client that's in OS X) worked - you enable it on the host (desktop) machine and then when a client connects, there's communication only of the screen contents and keyboard/mouse events.
zen_tom, Feb 08 2010
  

       It does sound like something which Linux would already do, given that multiple X-Windows's can be run: a minimal Linux install which runs an X-Windows which gets its display commands from another system and UI commands from local.
FlyingToaster, Feb 08 2010
  

       Look, it's called "Remote Desktop" and if you have a reasonably high bandwidth and a reasonably low TTL between the two computers it is nearly seamless. All you need is a reasonable laptop. Nothing special at all. This idea is baked.
WcW, Feb 08 2010
  

       Hmm. Seems to me that there are various bits of ancient hardware which would do this with appropriate firmware. I reckon you could do this with two modified walkie-talkies and a ZX81 with its ROM replaced, plugged into a UHF TV. Text interface, naturally.
nineteenthly, Feb 08 2010
  

       [WcW] yahbut that requires the laptop to run not only the RD but a full OS as well.   

       I think what [hippo] wants is just something to run the RD fulltime using a bare minimum of resources. I imagine there wouldn't even be an OS, like [19thly]'s setup (but shinier) , just a program that you'd run on the Host machine.   

       Wireless USB going from Client to Host, and Wireless HDMI going from Host to Client (at which point it isn't really a thin client or a windowing machine, just a wireless UI and HDTV).
FlyingToaster, Feb 08 2010
  

       In a way, this doesn't even need any computery stuff inside it, just some card on the PC with a radio connection, a screen which can pick up the signal from the graphics hardware on that card and a transmitter in the keyboard that sends keypresses as serial signals.
nineteenthly, Feb 08 2010
  

       <considers posting "Thin Client Lapdance">
wagster, Feb 08 2010
  

       It was/is baked, but not widely known. The best example was a tablet that ran WinCE and used remote desktop to control a PC. If you had a server you could run lots of them. The price was the deal breaker, as I wanted one years ago and found a purpose built one for $900. Some early Netbooks were also good hardware for this purpose as they had tiny SSDs and either embedded XP or Linux. If you want one, Google "WinCE tablet" and bake away.   

       PS A good smartphone will do the same, my DROID does. So will an iPhone or the maxi-Pad when it comes out.
MisterQED, Feb 08 2010
  

       Thin clients are great for text based applications like programming or analytical models, but fall short with image heavy or latency critical applications like video games. Wireless HDMI solves the video bandwidth problem, but has a rather limited range.   

       High internet bandwidth for video exists, but is very expensive and not always available. Latency is inevitable with long distances, and increases sharply with lousy routing hardware. Basically it needs either a dedicated setup, which defeats the purpose of a laptop, or close range, in which case you might as well walk to the desktop computer.
Aq_Bi, Feb 09 2010
  

       // Thin clients are great for text based applications like programming or analytical models, but fall short with image heavy or latency critical applications like video games. Wireless HDMI solves the video bandwidth problem, but has a rather limited range.// I originally liked the idea of a slave laptop as laptops are barely upgradable, but desktops are easily upgradable. Wireless-N is plenty fast even for 1080P video.
MisterQED, Feb 09 2010
  

       if you want to keep the demands on the hardware down run a bare bones win2k or XP. If you run Remote Desktop full screen you will never be able to tell the difference. If this is all you do on the computer I don't think the OS is going to be any issue. Also it should be noted that this was exactly what winCE was all about. Weirdly Bill G. seems to have gotten into cloud computing a decade to early.
WcW, Feb 09 2010
  

       I don't agree with that approach because you don't need anything with processing power at all. You just need a wireless keyboard interfaced to the computer in a different way than the main keyboard, and a graphics card with dual monitors plus a transmitter which is picked up by a second monitor on the "laptop". You probably don't even need any LSI components, let alone something which would run Windows.
nineteenthly, Feb 11 2010
  

       It needn't have the computing power of a decade-old computer even if it so happens it has. All a keyboard really needs is the likes of a shift register and a transmitter. The way ASCII works, you can see the shift and control keys are simply about turning bits on and off, also known as "closing a circuit". I'm aware that the actual keycodes aren't ASCII, but keycodes could be generated using a manual typewriter with hammer which complete circuits in parallel using their heads. Clearly monitors don't need much either. There wasn't a lot of electronic computing power around when the mechanical TV was invented, for example, so it can be done. No computing power necessary.   

       The reason for cutting down on complexity is to make something user-serviceable and less disposable. If you just need to replace a valve or a switch, why chuck out a whole unit?
nineteenthly, Feb 11 2010
  

       Yes, i suppose the question is how many valves are needed for a shift register. The answer is therefore several capacitors of different strengths in parallel, one for each line, and forget the shift register which was a complete brainfart.   

       To be honest, my concern with respect to integrated circuits is actually that i feel an attachment to and nostalgia for older technology. I've been contemplating this for a while and the big issue is clearly the creation of a hard enough vacuum. I've been on a bit of a valve binge since the positronics idea.   

       Valves are not needed for this, or even for producing a series of pulses on the same frequency, now i come to think of it. You don't really need high-tech for capacitors.
nineteenthly, Feb 11 2010
  

       \\ You don't really need high-tech for capacitors.\\
Unless you want them to be any good?
Jinbish, Feb 11 2010
  

       I wanna hear about [nineteenthly]s mechanical TV's.
FlyingToaster, Feb 11 2010
  

       I suppose what you need for a capacitor is either a troop of elves who can throw little pots on their wheels and stick plates in holes, or a micrometer, a scalpel and some wads of cardboard or something to measure precise thicknesses, but microscopes have been around a while and you need skill to grind the lenses and line them up, but not particularly high technology. I have no idea at all how to make a vacuum pump.   

       OK, mechanical televisions: these were Baird's original design, and involve a rotating disc with holes in in front of a lamp and are viewed through a lens. Apparently there are other systems, including some with very large screens and around four hundred scanlines. Those are the receivers, which are what you'd need for this. However, i did think the alternative might be one of those bent CRTs Sinclair used to make, since the idea is for a laptop rather than something with a display which would cover a wall or only be visible through a peephole. See my link.
nineteenthly, Feb 11 2010
  

       // To be honest, my concern with respect to integrated circuits is actually that i feel an attachment to and nostalgia for older technology. I've been contemplating this for a while and the big issue is clearly the creation of a hard enough vacuum. I've been on a bit of a valve binge since the positronics idea. //   

       Diy vacuum tubes are a thing, and the first integrated circuit was in vacuum tube form: [link]
notexactly, Apr 22 2018
  
      
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