Monday, August 11, 2008

Maybe A Netbook

When we were growing up, the worst thing my brothers could say to me was, "Quit being such a girl!" It usually meant, "Shape up and start pulling your weight, or go home."

As a result, I don't generally bat my green eyes and look pitiful, waiting for a male to rescue me. I drill my own deadbolt holes and install my own locks, I replace my own electrical switches when they die, and I dig and plant my own trees.

There are exceptions to my self-sufficiency, however.

One was during high school when I learned we would be dissecting frogs. Live frogs.

I found the two biggest guys from the football team (so they could block my view of the poor amphibian) and offered to write up the experiment if they would carry it out. The three of us were a very successful team during our junior year. We all got As. And I suspect at least one of them went on to become a serial killer. The other is probably coaching Little League.

Another time I deliberately go "girly" is when it comes to the initial installation and operation of any new technology. When pointed in the right direction, I do a fair-to-middling job of comparison shopping and selecting the right item in question for my needs; I just don't want to have to deal with setting it up.

When I received a digital camera as a gift a couple of years ago, it sat in its little box until one of the men in my life came over to get me started. And right now, there's a brand new flat-screen television sitting in a box in my entry hall where it's been for the last month waiting for someone to get fed up with the fact that I've made no move to de-box it. You see, I don't actually watch television; I mostly listen to it while I'm doing something else. Therefore, the quality of the picture is a non-issue for me--unless it's Viggo Mortensen on screen.

Anyway, the point of this post is that Peter Winkler pointed me in the direction of the new "netbooks" last week. I'd never even heard the term until Peter mentioned it. My plan had been to buy an e-reader and something like an Alpha Smart to do word processing. Until Peter suggested a netbook, it had never occurred to me that I could purchase one device for both functions.

As is my wont, I Googled the word "netbook." According to Wikipedia, Intel introduced the term on February 21 of this year when it announced it would begin selling processors for portable computers costing as little as $250.

Over on the Technology@Intel Website here, Paul Bergevin describes a netbook this way:
They are small laptops that are designed for wireless communication and access to the Internet. And they cost about $250, making Netbooks a potentially disruptive and high volume market segment.
Go here to see a comparison chart of netbooks on Wikipedia and a second chart listing the upcoming releases.

I'm interested in the Asus PC. If the HP Mini-Note comes with Vista instead of XP, I'm not interested in it. I made our IR Department remove Vista from my desktop at work. It was like Windows with training wheels.

Reports are that the Dell E may be released as soon as this coming week.

Interesting times.


Jolie said...

Oooh, thank you! This may be exactly what I've been looking for. Devices such as AlphaSmart seem pretty great, but they're kind of big compared to these netbooks, and I want something small. I love my laptop; it's just too cumbersome to carry around with me on a daily basis.

Maya Reynolds said...

Jolie: Don't thank me. Thank Peter.

I'm in exactly your boat. I want something light and easy to carry, but that will let me write (or read) wherever I am.

Peter L. Winkler said...

Dear Maya:

According to some of the customer reviews at, Vista allows users to downgrade to Windows XP. Or someone from your IR department can simply reformat the hard drive and install XP with a USB optical drive, which I'm sure they have.



Maya Reynolds said...

Peter: Thanks. They uploaded Vista in order to give me the latest Microsoft Power Point. One week of Vista was enough to send me screaming for help. After years of using Windows, Vista was counter-intuitive to everything I wanted to do.

The guy who uninstalled Vista for me said Microsoft laid a major egg with that application.