Toshiba Librettos

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iamdigitalman's picture
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Toshiba Librettos

Anyone ever hear of these? they were a line of subnotebooks sold by Toshiba back in the 90s, and 2 models are still sold today. They started at a 486, and went up to a Pentium 266 (the new ones use a Pentium M at 1.2ghz). What is amazing, is they were the size of a VHS!! Kid of like the Atari portfolio, which was a miniature IBM PC, but they are actual PCs with hard drives. That means they can run linux even.

I have been thinking of getting a 110, as it was the most powerful US model, and shuld run DSl or puppy nicely. Or even rhapsody and BeOS.

they have 2 PCMCIA card slots, which I believe on the older ones is cardbus, so they can do USB, firewire and wifi, as well as 802.11g wifi.

A cult following has grown around these, and I can see why.

the only caveat I can see is the floppy drive is external, and PCMCIA at that. And linux will not see it, because there are no drivers. there are windows drivers, and you can boot off it because the BIOS handles that. Why could they have not used serial or even parallel?

Just wondering if anyone has one of these things, and what do you think of them?

-digital Wink

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I was looking at getting one

I was looking at getting one a few months back. Heard good reviews from friends who had them when they first came out. They still cost a lot for a bogstandard pentium! I suppose your paying for the size.

Also, i wouldnt put anything higher than windows 98 on, because as i remember you cant put very much ram in it.

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yeah, they top out at 64mb of

yeah, they top out at 64mb of ram. one of the machines that was sold in japan can take up to 128mb, just barely enough for XP.

Maybe, just maybe, you can run ME or 2000 on them. I have heard 2000 runs in 32mb.

oh, and it's not quite bogstandard. They do have MMX :).

I am wondering what kind of built in ports they have besides the 2 PC card slots. I'm guessing 1 serial and 1 parallel. I doubt they have PS/2, USB or even a modem jack.

-digital Wink

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I remember seeing these in a

I remember seeing these in a small electronics store in the 90's. Toshiba was ahead of their time for sure. The miniature notebook PC's cost a lot of money, but I could understand given the compact size and wide screen resolution. I was heavily into Macintosh back then, but this particular PC hardware was tempting. I still think Toshiba makes some of the better quality and durable PCs. Even their crappier laptops seem better than other namebrands PCs.

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I have to contradict you on t

I have to contradict you on that one. Their hard drives are crap. Both a 20gb and the original 30gb in my mother's satellite died. My mother's laptop was made in 2003 too, and the build quality is bad. Hinges are sloppy, plastic everywhere is chipping and falling off, and the left mouse button on the trackpad depressed so far down it's unusable, forcing us to use an external mouse, or switch the buttons.

maybe we were sold a lemon, because my mother has babied that thing since the day she got it.

I was also looking into the HP omnibooks. I love subnotebooks.

-digital Wink

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I've been looking to get one

I've been looking to get one of these similar notebooks

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Ah

doesnt look good on the port side, althought im 99% sure they did a dock for the librettos

You have:

PC Card slot
Infrared Port
Microphone Jack
Headphone Jack
Power Connector
Mini Port Replicator Connector (so yes, they must)

Thats all folks!

Thats the ports on the 110 you said you were interested in

All the manuals are on the toshiba website if you need any more info

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forgot to mention, the ports

forgot to mention, the ports on the port replicator are

serial
parallel
ps/2
vga

iamdigitalman's picture
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ah yes

had a look at one of the auctions, and they include the dock, so I can see the ports on that, but nobody is taking a picture of the back of these things, so I can have a look at the ports.

-digital Wink

Jon
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One big issue to check, for r

One big issue to check, for running Linux, is if the dock is a PCI-based system or not. If it's PCI it will likely dock and undock un der Linux ok. THe older ISA systems had more custom controller and didn't use very standard hardware for that. Toshiba is a fairly well supported maker, but getting back tot he days of Pentiums and 486s is where the black magic comes in for most makers.

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Eeep!

You might also want to check out the just-announced Asus EeePC. Base price is $199 US.

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Ugh

I can't agree with the lovefest for the Libretto. I installed Windows 98 on one of these things (which fortunately had a dock) and found it deeply unpleasant. (The professor who owned the device explained to me that it was "the next big thing" but thankfully I have never seen one since.) The keyboard was difficult (and I have small hands) and the trackball thing was placed on the vertical bit of the machine, on the right of the screen. I hate to think what this does to the Libretto hinges, but it was unusable anyway.

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you still have this machine s

you still have this machine somewhere, or is it long gone?

and the new machines have the mouse in the front of a keyboard.

I wonder how well the old 100s can run Windows ME? I actually like ME. With the RMD patch, it's nice.

-digital Wink

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Re: you still have this machine s

you still have this machine somewhere, or is it long gone?

and the new machines have the mouse in the front of a keyboard.

Not my computer and I don't know. The prof who owned it is a hoarder so it may be around. As an example of awful design, I'd love to own one Wink

Trackball relocation: good, but why did it take Toshiba so long to work it out.

Historically, the Libretto family is important. It exhibited that you can't just reduce the size of a laptop/notebook computer and expect it to be accepted. The same argument applies to PDAs/portable phones -- if you try to replicate the old desktop model on a limited device, the user experience will be horrible.

Jon
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Actually, trackballs in odd l

Actually, trackballs in odd locations, and buttons as well, was somewhat common in the early days of laptop evolution. The Libertto had the buttons on the back of the screen, IIRC. I've got a couple old Compaq Contura Aeros which have the trackball off center, and the buttons on the side of the case. It wasn't much before either of these that an integrated pointing device was nearly unheard of, hence the plethora of serial and PS/2 clip on trackballs and such.

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Well, I just found out there

Well, I just found out there is this special version of the libretto, model 50M, which is a modded 50ct that Toshiba made for this insurance company. The difference: it has a touchscreen!! These are rare, but 50cts are common, so I wonder if the 50ct shares the same LCD borad, as I found a site that sells the touchscreen board for $20, so if it does, I can just do a drop in replacement, and install the drivers. I don't need the pen, I can use something else.

So, does anyone know if this would work? I know the 50s are a little pokey, but the touchscreen driver only goes up to Windows 98FE (for some reason, it does not work on SE), so the speed should work. Or, I could just run 95C.

-digital Wink

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