1. #1

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    Default Evaluation: Itronix 6250Pro vs. Toughbook CF-25

    I recently purchased two laptops off ebay, one is a Toughbook CF-25, the other an Itronix 6250Pro. The specifications for each are listed below, for comparison.

    eBay, as a Forbes magazine article once noted, is a wonderful place to buy needed equipment at below cost, both current and used. My needs for laptop computers are modest, and are outlined as follows:

    1. The laptop computer must be rugged. It must survive being inside a vehicle, with normal use. This precludes commercial laptops, as they usually have... issues... with being used as coffee tables, being grabbed onto, twisted, and tilted in their mounts. Not to mention the vibration effect. In a worse case scenerio, the laptop must survive being taken out of the vehicle, sat on the trunk, and used in a snow storm.

    2. The laptop must run either Windows 98SE or a modern distribution of GNU/Linux (CentOS, usually) with graphical enviornment (GNOME or IceWM). This requires at least a Pentium Processor and 32MB of RAM.

    3. The laptop must provide application security. The ability to limit non-authorized program introduction is vital - I do not need someone loading Half-Life on their laptop or be found playing DOOM. Or worse, stealing the software off the laptop.

    So, I came to the conclusion that the older series Toughbooks, and the older Itronix laptops, are perfect. Here's the two model's spec sheets:

    Panasonic Toughbook CF-25 (70.00 USD eBay w/ UPS Ground Shipping)
    Processor: Pentium 150MHz Processor
    RAM: 32MB SODIMM (EDO) (Shock Absorber Mounted)
    Hard Drive: 2GB 5400 RPM (Mounted in Toughbook Polygel Caddy)
    Drive Bay: Modular - Ships w/ 3.5" Floppy, CD-ROM Available (70.00 USD)
    OS: Varies, Capable of Windows 98SE
    Pointer: Touchpad
    Resolution: SVGA (800x600) 12.1" TFT Color Screen
    I/O: Serial (1), Parallel (1), VGA Out, Sound Out, Mic In, PCMCIA (16-Bit) x 3 (Type I, II, III)
    Modem: Unknown (I'll find out when it gets here...)

    Itronix C-X 6250 Professional (108.00 USD eBay w/ UPS Ground Shipping)
    (General Specs from specific eBay Seller, every 6250 is different)
    Processor: Cyrix gMx 266 (Pentium II Compatible)
    RAM: 128MB Itronix SODIMM (Proprietary RAM)
    Hard Drive: 6GB 5400 RPM (Mounted in PolyGel Caddy)
    Drive Bay: None - No Floppy, No CDROM (I use CF to PCMCIA)
    OS: Windows
    Pointer: Eraser Pad + Touchscreen
    Resolution: SVGA (800x600) 10.4" TFT Color Screen
    I/O: Serial (1), Parallel (1), VGA Out (1), Sound Out, Mic In, Headphone Jack (Proprietary), PCMCIA (Cardbus) x 2, USB 1.1 x 1

    Obviously, the Itronix 6250 Pro series seems to have more features. Its also 10 pounds, magnesium cased, and has an inch of rubber behind it. While the Toughbook was marketed to law enforcement, the Itronix was marketed to GTE for telephone field repair techs. In other words, these things were slapped on the ground, a test jack was plugged into the modem, and the GTE test software tested the line for the tech. The modem has a speakerphone, as well, for conversing using the laptop. Sears also used them. The Touchscreen is also an excellent resource, as it uses Windows 9x Pen Services, making it universal with most applications that support the mouse.

    As these things arrive, and I play around with them, I'll let everyone know how they work, how well they perform during testing, and what applications I can figure out for them. Alot of folks use GPS recievers with the unit, stick it in an Itronix Vehicle Mount, and turn it into a GPS navigation system.
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

  2. #2

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    Default Itronix 6250 Professional

    I'm currently typing this out on the Itronix 6250 Professional. I recieved it on Friday, from the ebay buyer. While you cannot add software via floppy or cd-rom, you can add software via the 56k modem. I used my dialup connection that comes with DSL to download wireless network card drivers.

    After that, it was a simple matter of installing relevant software. In this case, I loaded varous Windows Updates, .NET 1.1 Framework, WINAMP 2.76, and updated Internet Explorer. Software is being written (by me, actually) to go on to these laptops. For now, I'm testing such things as websites, throughput, responsiveness, etc.

    Once network drivers are downloaded, for whatever network platform is used, software installation is easy.
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

  3. #3
    Charger's Avatar
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    Default

    Excellent info, N.A.! Thanks for the quick & dirty eval..

    You mentioned that you're currently writing your own software... out of curiosity, what style/platform are you using? I just finished a software package for us to handle all our report writing, etc.. When we get our new patrol vehicle here in a couple months, I'm pushing hard to get approval for a laptop with network capabilities, so we can do everything from the car, rather than disappearing into the office. I created our software within MS Access, and it works perfectly for what we need... although, management told me today they'd like it to be able to automatically export the daily reports onto backup floppies, on top of the regular print-outs... So I guess it isn't TRULY finished yet..
    Corbier's Commandos - "Stickin it to the ninjas!"
    Quote Originally Posted by ValleyOne View Post
    BANG, next thing you know Bob's your Uncle and this Sgt is seemingly out on his a$$.
    Shoulda called in sick.
    Be safe!

  4. #4
    Taser's Avatar
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    Planning on having Internet access in the patrol cars once they're in there?
    10-8

  5. #5

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    Bridgegate: MS Visual Basic client over TCP/IP, with .NET 1.1 foundation. It'll be awhile, mainly because I have to learn .NET. But, Microsoft seems to be devoting alot of energy to getting people up to speed on these things, such as coding4fun, Visual Studio Express, etc.

    Taser: Nextel Modems would be going straight to a proxy server. The local police department has unlimited access to the internet on their patrol laptops (The local microsoft reseller did their entire computer system from COTS), and I witnessed first hand what 200 bored cops can do to a website while patrolling.

    I'd rather provide proxied internet, or none at all, then have someone call the company about someone looking at ****on company time.
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

  6. #6
    Taser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. A. Corbier
    I'd rather provide proxied internet, or none at all, then have someone call the company about someone looking at ****on company time.
    You read my mind. Sounds like that'd be a nightmare.

    We might be getting computers in our vehicles soon so I am curious to know how it works out.
    10-8

  7. #7
    Charger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. A. Corbier
    Bridgegate: MS Visual Basic client over TCP/IP, with .NET 1.1 foundation. It'll be awhile, mainly because I have to learn .NET. But, Microsoft seems to be devoting alot of energy to getting people up to speed on these things, such as coding4fun, Visual Studio Express, etc.
    That's kinda what I figured... MS Access databases run on a VBA background, so I've been learning a lot about it myself... I'm nowhere near what anyone could consider an expert yet, but if you run into any speed bumps or anything, feel free to shoot me a PM
    Corbier's Commandos - "Stickin it to the ninjas!"
    Quote Originally Posted by ValleyOne View Post
    BANG, next thing you know Bob's your Uncle and this Sgt is seemingly out on his a$$.
    Shoulda called in sick.
    Be safe!

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