The Sony U- the original UMPC?


A funny thing happened to me late last week that is quite ironic and timely at the same time. I visited a new tech blog,, and noticed they had a contest underway to celebrate the site launch. The first clue for the first prize giveaway had just been posted and it seemed to me that it was pointing to the Sony U that I know so well. Lo and behold, a short time later the site owner contacted me via email and informed me I had won a Sony U71 complete with accessories. Wow! Talk about surprised! The Sony U arrived yesterday and let me tell you, picking it up and powering it on felt like coming home again. I have missed the U for months and the liberating mobility it offers that I haven’t found in any other device.

It is only appropriate that my good fortune happened when it did. Origami and UMPC are all over the web right now and rightly so. I have yelled from the treetops for so long that full computers that fit in your hands can open new horizons for everybody. You have to experience watching a streaming video on the web, capturing a screen from it along with the link to the video, and blogging it from a baseball game to fully appreciate the rich mobility that UMPCs can deliver. There is no substitute for having your full computer with all applications and documents literally at your fingertips. With the official announcement about the Origami/ UMPC expected tomorrow at CeBIT, we are entering a new age of mobile information that will ultimately affect us all, and in our lifetimes. It is a very good time for mobile computing.

The Sony U is the device I consider to be the first real UMPC with its sleek and small form that conceals a full laptop replacement. I find the similarities between the hardware interface of the Sony U and the leaked pictures of the Origami device to be quite interesting. See for yourself:

Sony U71

Origami concept



Your whole anonymous rant didn’t take long to get profane so this thread is locked.


Lol, so judging by few kneejerk responses I see here, it looks like quite a few cages were rattled – and, even better, the JK readership has not, as I surmised, jumped to JK’s defense. Which is not surprising really, considering that my posts consisted, by and large, of a condensed restatement of his own words. Words that, by any reasonable measure are quite damning when put together.

Still, the posted comment do deserve the promised responses, and so here they are:


JK can do whatever he likes to make a profit. But to make said profts through 1) begging his readership for gifts, 2) proceeding to sell out his readership by turning around and selling the gifts he was selflessly given, and 3) using his connections to learn about and visit sites that are giving away gadgets in order to insure he collect the largest, most expensive prizes is simply wrong any way you slice it. The U is, as you say, not the perfect gadget. But then, in the end, its not about the U at all – its about how JK treats his readership and profits from them in an egregious and hypocritical fashion.


If you would actually bother to read what I wrote, you would know its not about the U. Its about begging for donations and gifts, then bragging about said donations and gifts, then turning around and selling aid gifts at an inflated rate due to the hype he himself generated, despite the fact that said gifts are the ostensible focus and lifeblood of the site. Then having this pattern repeat again. And again. And again. All the while claiming prizes and gifts that he himself should not be eligible for, due to ubfair advance knowledge. In short, he cheats others out of valuable gear – which he actually cares nothing about – and then proceeds to laugh all the way to the bank after doing so. That’s not the way a decent person – let alone the creator of a popular website – should do business.

Matt Smith,

Just because you don’t like to read doesn’t make me illiterate – or you any less of an ignorant pawn (or “ass” to use the more common vernacular). Cut the bravado bullshit and actually address what I wrote. Because if you cannot, you don’t deserve any responses whatsoever – which leaves you plenty of time to fetilate JK to your heart’s content, I suppose…


I have a life, thanks very much – and the facts to back up my statements as well. Something which you, apparently, do not have. In other words, you’re blowing smoke, so you really should piss off. Of course, if you really like bending over for JK, feel free to gift him with another U just as soon as he sells this one.

Which, of course, won’t happen, so he claims.

Just like he claimed for the last one.

See, I’m no censor ozone – I *want* you to check out *all* the facts and decide for yourself what the truth of the matter is. And this is exactly what makes JK uncomfortable – because the facts make him look like a greedy, heartless bastard without any added interpretation on may part. Sorry if that ticks you off,

Oh and JK, if you’re reading (which I’m sure you are), I’ve taken the liberty of informing quite a few well-known sites (and forums) of the little scam you pulled on slickgeek. After all, turnabout *is* fair play. So far the responses I’ve gotten have been most interesting, to say the least. Let’s just say you shouldn’t count on your “incredible luck” happening again anytime in the near future. Or to put it in terms that better suit your flair for the dramatic: that jig, as they say, is up.

Just a friendly word of advice: you’d beter start looking for another way to pay for your toys. Perhaps an honest day’s work? That is, if your clients will have you, after reading what’s been going on over here. Then again, you never were very good at keeping clients happy (or keeping clients at all for that matter…no wonder why you went into the website payola biz)….

Again, have a nice day. :)


Anonymous… you sound a lot like some other jerk that was posting on forums. I personally have had very informative exchanges with jk and his advice has been very valuable. What are you? Some self-appointed censor? I pity you and your delusional state of mind. Get a life.

Matt Smith


In your last post you imply that you have a web site. Why not share it with us so that we can see what a “real” site looks and feels like?

Matt Smith


You are a coward, and, it appears, nearly illiterate.

How sad your life must be that you would spend as much time as you have harboring this resentment and hatred for James. I’m sad for you, and I’ll bet that the people in your life are both sad and afraid for you.


I’ve been a longtime reader of jkontherun and thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from JK’s interesting and unique articles on the usage of items such as the U and others he wrote up after he sold his U. In fact, a lot of the information led me to buy a U-series and a Tablet PC and I’ve never looked back.

Clearly, anonymous’ postings have made me realize that I have been misled and I have thrown both the above items in the trash because of this betrayal at the hands of this charlatan.

Sheesh, I’m pretty surprised that someone would go out of their way to attack someone whose articles have been informative and helpful to others, whatever the latter’s motivations might be (since when is buying and selling some technology such a crime?)Calm down, it’s just a computer! You make JK sound like he’s engaging in some bizarre techno debauchery for fun, fame and profit.

Anyway, JK, I don’t know how you can stomach such nuisances, but I guess the fact that you have a lot more testimonials from loyal readers who appreciate your writing is a comforting thought : ) And by all means, sell your newfound toy because I’d love to have a U71 to accompany my U50!


Anonymous, I think you’re reading way too much into this buying, selling, donating and winning history.

As a Sony U owner, I think its great, groundbreaking device and I have bragged about it myself.

But equally its got a couple of massive usability issues which often mean I completely pack up with using it!

It doesn’t come with tablet OS (yes you can load a copy but its a lot of mucking around believe me) but more importantly the screen is too small to use at 5 inches. So its really a toy for geeks like me.

For someone like Jk, and the nature of this site I’d expect him to swap machines all the time, which he does.

Regarding the money aspect, at the end of the day I am sure Jk will have put more time and money into mobile pcs for us all, FOR FREE, through producing this site, than he will ever get out of it in my view. It must be a massive task.

There is no reason Jk shouldn’t get some pay back, its only fair. From what I can deduce though it is pretty minimal. I don’t think even MVPs are paid.

Reality is Microsoft should be paying JK a commission on the UMPC because I’m pretty sure the idea was written up here first!


What’s the matter JK? Truth stings, does it not? And for the record, I’m *nto* trying to have an exhange with you. Instead, I’m merely pointing out to the “jk faithful” that their guru is apt to – once again – screw them over just as soon as the getting’s good.

Incidently, if you don’t like the facts, then by all means, stop providing them. After all, everything I’ve mentioned is verifiable. Indeed, they are merely restatements of your own words. Now, if you don’t like that, well, that’s tough. Perhaps in future you should consider the possible effects of gloating over your completely undeserved good fortune, and then turning it around and making a buck off of it.


And to think, I didn’t even mention your greatest – or was it your most egregious – “achievement”. Which was, of course, that you sold your second Vaio U, the one you were gifted with *before asking the person who gave it to you if you could*. Which is why, incidently, said gifter was forced to reply rather lamely after the fact “I understnadd why it was jk did what he did.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, eh? Not surprisingly, further gifts from this donor were not forthcoming – despite JK dropping hints on more then one occasion.

Now please JK, tell me – am I lying? Because if I was, then surely the comments that exist in your archived posts would prove this point definitively. Unless, of course, you choose to erase them…

Frankly, I don’t really care what you personally think one way or the other. If you note the lack of responses to this thread, its clear that many of your readers have taken it upon themsevles to check the archives for themselves, and have found out exactly who’s conning who. Or did you actually fail to notice the lack of coments defending you in this thread?

In all honestly, I have no problem with anyone “making good”, but to use the goodwill of the readership that brought you into the spotlight in the first place in such a base way – for needless begged donations and for sheer crass profit – is simply deplorable. Likewise, using your connections to get the heads up on a site about to go live, and that was giving out costly prizes just so you could claim the top one for yourself, is equally despicable. And yet in both cases, you also take the time to brag about your accomplishments – “look what I have, ha ha!”, “look how much I sold it for!”, “look what my contacts netted me!”, kicking it up another notch.

This is what I’m making your readership aware of: that you’re full of crap on many, many levels, and that thet sheer depths you’ll sink to are disgusting to people such as myself, who work in the tech industry and on the web day after day, and would *never* stoop to such actions. Why? Because they only serve one purpose – to cheapen both the medium and the message. Most site owners aren’t gredy bastards. They don’t create a website simly to profit. Rather, it’s a labor of love. We don’t do it to solicit donations, or pine for new gear in the hopes of snagging some. Nor to we brag about the thing we sometimes do receive, and we *never*, *never* sell them for profit. To do so would cause us to fatally breach the trust of our readership. But you apparently, in your arrogance, have no such qualms. Perhaps this explains why your actual physical business is in such a shambles.

In any case, I just wanted to set the record straight. And please realize, that I will be here to set the record straight each and every time you choose to lie, dissemble, or bullshit to your readership in future.

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it (your readership deserves at least that much) and that someone might as well be me.

So consider yourself on notice, JK.

I’m here to stay.

Have a nice day. :)


Anonymous, why don’t you just stop coming here if you have a problem with me. I’m not going to exchange with you since that’s what you obviously want. You’re entitled to your opinion but I don’t have to listen to it. You’re just flat wrong about everything.


It’s not “mean”, it’s a comment about jk’s opportunism. Lest you forget, JL made a name for himself praising the U7x series to high heaven – and yet what was the first thing he did as soon as he gets some name recognition?

Why, sell his U of course. You know, the very device that was his bread and butter.

His excuse?

“Well I needed some cash, and even though I have 5 or 10 other setuos, I think I’m just going to sell this one, because…oh, I don’t know….all of you reader now one desperately.”

And so he does.

Then he pines about his “loss” publicly on his site, encouraging some clueless donor to *give* him a second U complete with extras, wort at least $3000, for nothing. This is at of time, one must note, when actually getting a new US-model U750P was next to impossible.

And yet what does JK do with his graciously-donated gift?

Does he write more articles about it?


Does he continue to use it?


Instead, he brags about it on this website – again – and then turns around and sells it.

Let me say that again, so it sinks in:

JK sold someone else’s gift to him, the same gift that he begged for repetedly.

This time, of course, his reasoning for doing so was different: now that he was a “known commodity”, he needed to “legitimate” himselfm by buying a regular Tablet PC. And, of course, the oly way he could do that – and keep the rest of his goodies intact – was to sell the gift everyone reading his site would have given their left arm to receive.

Which leaves us at the present day. JK learns of a site that will be opening soon that no one else, outside of a very small and select group. He also learns that they will be giving away valuable prizes for the site’s opening. He then proceeds to use this knowledge to get their first and claim the first and largest prize for himself – a new Vaio U71.

Following this, true to form, he returns to his website, informs the rest of us about the existance of the new site, and revels smugly about his “good fortune”. And, of coruse, he also takes the time to insist the that U was, one again, the greatest palmtop he’s ever used, and that he’ll definately write more articles about it, and that he truly loves it and will keep it for ever and ever and ever…

Given the previosuly-established pattern, I’d give it a month or two before it goes up on eBay. I wonder what excuse he’ll use this time?

And, finally, just so we’re clear – the reason JK is a hypocrite is not that he chooses to sell his U repeatedly. Rather, its the fact that three times he’s gotten his hands on a rare piece of technology that many, many others would actually put to good use, and yet all he does with it is extoll its virtues to up his eventual acsking price, all the while claiming its something that’s fundamentally changed the way he’s done business, and thus “could never go back”. In short, JK doesn’t deserve the U. To him, its simply a payday.


That’s just mean.

Technology comes and goes and we each find enjoyment, for a time, with each technology.

Just because I enjoyed a technology yesterday, it doesn’t mean that should hold on to it forever. Nor sing its praise forever.

It’s technology, new things will inevitably come and replace the things I adore today.


So, are you going to end up selling this one to? Because you know, when being a hypocrite, the third time’s the charm…

Yolanda (yvilla)

I have to say wow too James! And congratulations. How this brings back the days when you first got your U, and turned so many of us on to it!


Scoobie, I have been surprised too that the U is not mentioned. A touch screen is very important for UMPC type of devices. I think OQO made a big mistake going with an active digitizer.

I am just getting started with MS FolderShare and so far I am very impressed with it. There will be an article in this.


Congrads. The original and maybe the best?
I’ve been so surprised that other bloggers and news writers have mentioned the OQO but not the Sony as being the original UMPC.
I would be interested in hearing more about your syncing experiences between the two machines, maybe there is a future article for this site in that idea?


Thanks fil! Here’s what I got:

Sony U71 Anglicized
Standard and extended batteries
Sony DDR2 DVD burner, bootable
Sony case with stand
PDAir leather case

That’s it!


So what were the $750 of additional prizes with this?

Share, share…I’m pretty excited for you.

Hehe, I went to the site and just won something? A Wacom tablet I guess.



C’mon… with your knack for acquiring devices… :) Look forward to hearing your thoughts on all of them.


Thanks everyone. Mvenini, I am going to use both devices in a scenario that has me taking whichever device better fits the need at the time. I am experimenting with MS FolderShare to see how well it keeps my docs in sync between the two PCs.

Todd, I wouldn’t be surprised to see comparisons of the U with UMPCs (if I can get my hands on some) and the DualCor cPC.


So maybe we’ll see a side-by-side pro/con comparison with the U and the UMPC? That would be very interesting.

Congrats, by the way!



Are you now going to use this as you pc again? Or are you going to stick with the TC1100?

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