Friday, July 11, 2008

Asus Eee: Learn Tab

It's at this point that the Asus Eee starts to look like it's more intended for the younger audience. But there anything here for us oldies?

First comes the Science icon. Clicking this takes us to a screen with only two further icons on it.

Periodic Table sounds, and should be boring. But it's not. It'll be brilliant if you have kids doing science/chemistry at school, but I found myself intrigued as I got immersed in the program. Not only does it display a period table, but gives you loads of info about each element, including where possible photo's or pictures, drawings of the atomic model, and loads of other data. For instance, did you know that Orbits (whatever they are, relating to Mercury (Hg) are "Xe 4f14 5d10 6s2". Nor did I. Or that it's atomic radius is 160 pm. Or that it's density is 13.55 g/cm3. I knew that one. Err.....Ok I didn't. Seriously, I found this quite interesting. Yes you could look this up on the 'net, and it does seem an odd inclusion, but it's neat.

Then there's a Planetarium program called KStars. You know there's a lot of info in here bacuse it takes about 20 seconds to load. You get a setup wizard to set your location and time etc, then you're off, gazing into the night sky. Excellent for getting kids (or adults) interested in the heavens.

Back on the main Learn screen Language takes you to two options. Typing is in fact "Tux4Kids" a program to help them improve their typing via some games. I didn't dwell too long here, but my 11 year old daughter found it fun for a while.

Then there's Hangman Game, and old favourite that helps with spelling and letters.

The Math icon gives you four options. Fraction Tutorial and TuxMath are aimed at making maths fun, the latter using games to achieve that. Geometry and Function Plotter appear at first to be a little more involved, and may be things that schoolkids particularly could find useful in assisting them with their maths homework. I'm not sure they'll be something I use too much!

The Paint icon takes you to Paint and Tux Paint. The latter again is aimed at the younger audience and has predefined stamps, images, brushes etc to make "fun" images, whilst Paint looks like a Linix version of the Windows Paint program. If you wanted more serious image editing you'd probably want GIMP or similar, but I'm not sure the Eee (at least mine) with 512mb RAM and 4G SDD is up to serious image editing anyway. I'd leave that to my desktop machines.

Finally, Web Learn takes you online to If you want more info on what this is about, check out the link!

In summary then, I reckon the Learn Tab will mostly be used by younger computer users, and is ideal for getting learning going in a fun way (I guess). A couple of the options may prove occasionally useful to the older audience, but I rather suspect most seasoned computer users will be steering clear of this tab.

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