jeff on 19 Sep 2008 07:29:28 -0700

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[PLUG] eeeeeeee PC

I got the Asus 1000 nettop a few days ago.  Opted for linux (which is 
approximately all the info they gave on it).  This is the `huge' model 
with the 10" display (and ridiculous 1024x600 resolution) - most have 
8.9" screens.

I don't know what I was expecting but this thing is tiny.
It has 40g SSD, wireless, bluetooth, audio, webcam, and a sporty-looking 
not quite as masculine as I'd like black pouch.  Probably TSA-approved.

Starts and performs admirably (1.6 Atom cpu, 1G ram).

Warning: this is where it really gets subjective....

When they say linux, they're not lying.  It's a customized Xandros.  But 
if you were looking at it, you'd never know it.  There's no visible way 
to bring up a terminal.  Kudos to the designers, as they built a GUI 
that ages 5 to 65 can use without blinking.

I took it around to a dozen coworkers of varying abilities.  Each one 
got right to work (or play) without questions or difficulties.  No one 
asked what OS was on the machine.  They borrowed a few tricks from 
Windows: `I found a wireless network - would you like to connect?', 
which make things downright easy to use.

The box is a certified HIT at work.  We're buying a bunch for our loaner 
pool for people who complain about size and weight.

I think this is almost a perfect travel device for the masses.
Before you buy, get your hands on one to see if you're ok with the 
keyboard and display.

For linux folk, abandon hope unless you're looking for a toy whose OS 
doesn't matter or you're going to install a different GUI or distro.  It 
only looks like linux at the CLI (ctrl-alt-T).  You can install a 
customized version of Ubuntu, which entails installing it normally then 
adding a repository and getting a new kernel.

I have a Dell coming for evaluation.  It has a 8.9" display but larger 
keyboard and Ubuntu (I heard that has a custom GUI too).

My feelings:  It's not for me.  Yes, it could work to manage things in 
an emergency (with a cellular modem) but the screen's way too small and 
I keep screwing up while typing (yes, I could eventually get used to it 
but why bother?).

I was going to install Ubuntu but my bootable USB version wouldn't book 
(although it was found).  Too much work to do what I want to do with 

I'm going to skip the nettops and try for a thin full-size laptop.  Asus 
has a 12" display full power unit for a few bucks more.  Maybe a 14" if 
they're reasonable.  I like what I read about the X200 (Lenovo?) and 
Dell has an E4200 that looks promising (but expensive).

Big car, big laptop display.... I must be overcompensating...

I am posting a more detailed review on my blog (hopefully tonight, 
hopefully it won't be down again - $*&#ing software).

ThermionicEmissions   - the blog

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