Saturday, May 23, 2009

Habemus laptopum!

My little laptop arrived yesterday. Technically, it's a netbook; this means it runs on low-voltage processors, has a small and energy-efficient screen, and generally saves power all around. The upside of this means it has close to 10 hours of battery life, which gives me something I've never really had before: a true "unplug and use anywhere" laptop. The downside means it has a few compromises to make it small and light, including a smaller keyboard and odd monitor size.

Something that is both an advantage and a disadvantage is the size. This thing is extremely portable. I have large-ish hands and by laying my hands next to each other across the case, I can obscure about 95% of it. Holding it in my hands, it's about the size and weight of a hard-cover book (say, the size of a long John Grisham novel about a plucky lawyer and their struggle for the truth).

This means the keyboard is slightly smaller, too. It's one step down from a "regular" computer keyboard - the keys are about 92% of the normal size. This makes my hands feel ever so slightly cramped and it remains to be seen how comfortable it will be for long writing sessions of certain doctoral research products.

It has a little webcam, which is another first for me. It's basically the same camera that's in the iPhone, which means it offers attrocious image quality for still pictures. For little stuttering videos of my bed-head, it seems to work well enough.

This little netbook seems like it will fit in nicely with my Overall Computing Strategy (OCS). Basically, this is the small, light, cheap, and functional thing which can go anywhere I want to (for example, to the U.K. in the fall). It offers internet access and substantial storage for off-loading pictures taken by my camera.

The balance of the OCS comes with the purchase down the line of a more substantial desktop computer, to tackle any of the activities that are too heavy for this computer. Since this computer is designed to be small and low-powered, it should last a good long time doing what it does best: email and other internet related functions.

For now, though, this little computer represents the vanguard of my computing power. It's a significant improvement from the not-safe desktop I have left over from 2000.

Now, what about upgrading my car....?

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