As I was bemoaning elsewhere, my 13" (okay, I think it’s actually 14", but it’s still a thin-and-light) has: 3 USB 3.1 (2 type A, 1 type C), full-size SD, SIM, mini-DP, full-size HDMI, RJ45 (ethernet), 2 mini-RCA (audio in/out) and power (barrel plug). That’s three less than Whinis, but still…
It also has a 3200×1800 display and a decent keyboard (full-sized arrows, separate page-up/page-down/home/end keys). And a top-tier processor (well, it was when it was new), 32 GB RAM (non-soldered, I want to say) and 2 m.2 slots.
“Ultrabook” doesn’t have to mean “massive compromises”, but I have yet to see anyone making a machine that isn’t a major step backward from what I have. Framework is close, they just need to fix the keyboard and screen and figure out how to add more ports. To be fair, I think the modularity idea isn’t bad, because most people don’t need ten ports, but at least six would be much more practical, especially with only a single m.2 slot onboard.
Here’s a couple ideas/+1’s for things already mentioned:
A 10 key number pad that slots into both of the right side expansion card slots, but has 2 (or more?) expansion slots built into it.
A Framework hub/dock/eGPU combo, a separate case that plugs in to one or both expansion card slots on one side. Said case would have, say, 6-8 expansion card slots in it, with a space inside for a separate, upgradable GPU board (and cooling fan), the same way the Mainboard in the laptop itself is replaceable/upgradable. You could start out with just a hub/dock, with multiple monitors (and mixed port types) and additional I/O if you just need additional screen real estate but not necessarily the extra graphics horsepower, but have the ability to add a more powerful GPU later. Or, if the laptop screen is sufficient but you need the GPU power, have the eGPU setup to drive the internal laptop screen, with lots of extra I/O (or extra storage…) available on the hub.
You could also have the expansion slots be taller than on the laptop, for things like full size Ethernet, VGA, multiple USB ports per expansion card, gpio, etc.
It would probably also make sense to have dedicated power going into the hub/eGPU, and power pass-through to run/charge the laptop.
Sorry, this is a lot longer than I thought. Just excited about the laptop itself and all the other possibilities that could go along with it.
An RS-232 expansion card. For those who have to deal with routers &c where this is (annoyingly) still in existence. Oh never mind, I’ll just use USB<–>Serial converters. It’s just that my current (but ancient) HP laptop docking station actually has an RS232 port.
When I asked for a NFC/RFID module, here is what I am looking for:
It should support all five NFC (13.56mhz) forum types (covering ISOs 14443A and B with optional support of 7816 [low priority because ISO 18092 technologies will likely supplant] as well as Felica [low priority]), and ISOs15693 and 18092. This would cover all the current NFC technologies out there while being forward enough to prep for the smartcard transition to a contactless format.
In terms of RFID (125khz), support should be focused around emulator chips such as the t5577 and branch out from there (support all of the chips it can emulate first).
The user should be able to scan the tag through the top of the open laptop–no pulling out an antenna or some such thing–with enough range to couple with a tap (2-3" surface spot) rather than slowly fishing it around for a sweet spot. The module should be able to couple with both traditional and helical antennas. In terms of support from Framework, libraries for C and Python (please!) should be provided.
Similar devices sell for around $200. I would happily pay $300+ to have it be a part of my laptop rather than a peripheral I have to cart around. If two separate modules are required (NFC and RFID) I would expect to pay significantly less and for the ranges to be truly contactless.
If that was supported by the chipset, the regular USB-C passthrough module would offer this functionality already. Otherwise, you’d have to add an additional power input, and at that point you could just charge the phone from that input in the first place.
How big are these modules normally? As NFC and RFID antennas are quite small, it seems plausible to me that something like this could be added to the handrest in a future updated version of the laptop. Or do you think a separate module would be necessary for this?
I couldn’t say, for certain. Most of the really compact devices in this range are of almost no use… They tend to act like a keyboard and just read out UIDs or only work with NDEF records. But a Proxmark easy is a large example of a solid reader (but it won’t couple with helical antennae) the smallest was maybe an inch or two by six. I don’t recall the brand… Some random European company. As I understand it, the Flipper Zero (not yet released) does pretty well with both frequencies AND couples well with helicals.
All that to say, if it could be installed without taking up a module space, so much the better!
It’s an older model System76 Galago. The newer ones lost the SIM (although the service manual suggests it was never actually functional, anyway), one of the audio, and the mini-DP, but gained an additional USB-C… which would be fine it they hadn’t also switched the good keyboard for the same awful ones that appear to be the current industry standard. (I don’t understand why no one uses the better keyboard, but I really, really hate that no one does. It’s not “size”, either; the HP Spectre x360 13" comes so close to being good and then botches the arrow keys.)
The service manual (n.b. page 5) seems to be the only still-available online source that shows the ports. (I’m not sure if I have the v2 or v3, but the ports are the same on both.)
What about a Serial port. If you can get one in there, you can start grabbing field support people that are stuck using those drives and connectors to talk to industrial electronics for another market group. Granted the laptop has to be beefier to survive dropping from 6 feet with the abuse they take.
Yes, I said that a week or so ago (scroll up). There are plenty of usb-serial cables available so it could just be a matter of translating the electronics from one of those into a Framework expansion card, the specs of which were coincidentally released today.. Is there an EE in the house?
Framework have made it clear that they understand the need for gig ether and are in fact working on an expansion card with that offering.
If it’s not ready by the time the laptop starts shipping, then as a short-term stopgap, you could use - as I plan to - any of many USB- to gig-ether adapters. Some are just Ethernet, some also add addtional USB ports, PD passthrough, SD card, etc. etc. And all that for about $20-30 at the usual online discount vendors.
I’ve done a write-up on a couple of low-cost units here: