Art Alexion on 22 Dec 2010 04:39:08 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Need Advice: Netbook for Christmas?

On Dec 20, 2010, at 8:16 PM, Casey Bralla <> wrote:

> I've been considering using some (well, all of it, actually) of my Christmas 
> loot to buy a netbook.  But I'm worried that I may find a netbook too slow and 
> confining.  What does the group think?  Are they "worth it"?
> Here is what I'm looking for in a netbook:
> 1.  Excellent portability
> 2.  Long battery life (should be able to fly to Europe (~ 6 hours) on a 
> battery charge
> 3.  Linux (natch)
> I don't have anything really "practical" I want to do with it.  It would 
> really be a toy, but hopefully a toy with some utility.  I'll want to do some 
> surfing, maybe some real work (in short spurts) and also use it as a fancy 
> iPod music player.  (playing flac files, of course)
> I don't want a tablet because I want a true keyboard, even if it is smaller 
> than most notebooks.
> I've got my eye on an Asus with a dual-core atom.  By the time I buy the extra 
> GByte of RAM and a bluetooth mouse (I hate track pads), it will be in the $350 
> range.
> However, I could also bust my budget and get a budget laptop for $450.  This 
> would give more performance, but less portability and shorter battery life.
> My fear is that the netbook will be cool to play with for a while, but will 
> simply be too confining (too slow, too small a screen) to hold my interest.
> Has anyone bought a netbook recently?  How do you feel about 6 months later?  
> Would you buy one again if you had it to do over again?

I had an Asus Eee 1000. Now I have 3. Actually, I brought one home from work, and my wife wanted one. I liked hers, so I got my self one. When my Son's Dell D630 died he wanted one,  the newest one is a year old. 

I don't like full sized "desktop replacement" portables. I think laptops should be lightweight, small, but not tiny, and have battery life I can depend on when I go somewhere without having to worry if there is somewhere to plug in the charger. 

When I need the power of a desktop, I want a desktop. I want a too big to carry monitor, a nice big ergonomic keyboard, lots of room to add a drive or some card I might need. I don't want a relatively more expensive portable that is heavy, needs to be plugged in most of the time, has a cramped-anyway keyboard, and can't really be customized. 

But that's just me. 

I have been running Ubuntu. Used to use the netbook edition, but I hate the current Unity launcher, so I use the standard Gnome desktop, which works fine. The older 1000 models have 2 SSDs. One is a faster 8 GB where I install /, and a slower 32 GB where I install /home.  It has an SD slot where i put /swap to avoid a lot of unnecessary writes to the more expensive SSD. 

I have an MSI x600 ultra thin that was provided for work. It is as big as the bigger, full sized laptops, but much lighter in weight. The keyboard is big enough to have a full numpad. The battery life is almost comparable to the netbook. It features nice video and sound cards and hdmi outputs. It is a nice compromise between a netbook and a big portable. 

Art Alexion
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