PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 March, 2008, 12:00am

My two children enjoy drawing and they've noticed the pictures that are occasionally featured on the Google homepage. Is there a contest they can enter to submit their artwork?

Name and address supplied, Discovery Bay

DQ: There is a contest in which children are invited to play around with the design of Google's homepage logo. It's called 'Doodle 4 Google', and it's meant for primary and secondary students in the United States. Google may have found it logistically easier to keep this particular contest within the US school system. But if you want to complain or suggest a similar contest for Asia, write to Google about it and I am sure your feedback will be appreciated.

What is a UMPC? I've heard it's a small notebook computer that might suit frequent travellers. Is it better than Apple's new MacBook Air?

Harry, Wan Chai

DQ: An ultra-mobile personal computer, or UMPC, is a complete tablet computer but wrapped in a very small package.

The UMPC baseline specifications include a 7-inch, or smaller, touch-screen display with a minimum resolution of 800 by 480, a smaller-than-normal keyboard, about 1 gigabyte of random access memory and support for a hard disk drive of up to 160GB.

A device costs about US$500.

The current operating systems used by these devices comprise Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Windows Vista Home Premium Edition and Linux.

Those specifications are likely to change at any time, so it would be worth visiting the websites of companies that sell UMPCs, including: Samsung Electronics (the Q1), United States-based OQO (the e2) and Fujitsu (LifeBook U1010).

In contrast, the MacBook Air was designed to be a standard notebook computer in everything except thickness and weight. It also costs more, with prices starting at HK$14,900. Although the MacBook Air will not fit into a handbag, it is extremely light and, of course, beautifully designed.

UMPC devices will appeal mainly to the geek crowd, whereas the MacBook Air will attract business people who want something light and do not care how much they have to pay for it.