If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

New friend

I mentioned that I was getting a netbook for mobile blogging (and because, to be honest, I just fancied one). It arrived today. I ordered it at the end of last week but, because of a mistake with my payment card, I didn't actually pay for it until Saturday night. So that's effectively next-working-day delivery, which is pleasant. Ordered through Amazon, and delivered from Expansys UK, problem-free.

First impressions are that it is a delight. It's tiny, a bit like My First Computer from The Early Learning Centre, but neat and jewel-like and not in the least bit tacky. It's a very attractive dark blue colour, which the photo doesn't pick up at all (thank you, Apple Corp). The beer can is there for size comparison only, but I'll have to drink it now. The sacrifices I make for my readers, eh? I'm having difficulty working the touchpad (but then I always do) and the keyboard is a bit - er - compact for my workman's fingers, but otherwise it seems pretty good. A damn sight easier to write with than the iPhone, that's for sure. Or a French keyboard, come to that.

It comes with Windows XP, which is an OS I am happy with (the alternative was Windows 7, and I wasn't prepared to risk having that after succumbing to Vista) and will dual-boot to something called Android. I have had a play with this, but I'm not impressed. It is supposedly a fast-loading OS made by Google for surfing and webmail, but I can't even get it to recognise the wi-fi connection, so my experience so far hasn't been positive. It seems very clunky.

I now have a truly portable computer. The laptop won't recognise the new router we installed last year and I have been tied by a cable to one room ever since, so it will be nice to surf the web on the bog, in the bath, or while watching Britain's Got Talent. I've been playing with it on and off all day, and I'm getting used to it.

This post is being written on the new device. But this tiny keyboard - sheesh! I've had to use the backspace key more in the last half hour than in the previous week.

For the technically-interested, it's an Acer Aspire One, with an Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. It has a webcam, 3 USB slots and a multi-card reader built in. It should suit my limited needs.


  1. According to family who has an NexusOne 'Android' is the future.
    The tiny keyboard would bother me, because my hands are mannish, but the size of the whole machine is certainly appealing.
    Have you thought of buying a fleabay budget-priced accessories kit, it'll give you a mini-mouse etc.?

  2. Hi Mrs R,and thanks for visiting! I can see the advantage in Android for mobile computing, as it loads far quicker than Windows, but it seems a bit Playschool to me. Perhaps when I get it to connect (Windows connects on the same machine fine) I will be able to explore it further. I have, shall we say, not the hands of a concert violinist, and I'm making a lot of errors at the moment, but practice should solve that. The size is great - not much bigger than a novel, and it would tuck in a bag very easily.

    I have plenty of odd kit hanging about, including a small mouse that seems to work fine (I gave up on the touchpad temporarily). All I really need is an external CD/DVD drive, as downloading stuff I already own would seem to be pretty silly. Ebay will be consulted, for sure.

  3. endemoniada_887 July 2010 at 16:27

    Can't stand tiny keyboards, myself - I have enough difficulties with dyslexic fingers on a standard one. Of course, toting a full size keyboard around may defeat the object of having a beautifully portable netbook, but there are folding and/or roll-up USB keyboards for well under a tenner on eBay that might be worth a look...

    Windows 7 is OK as an OS, by the way - a vast improvement on the bloated monstrosity that was Vista. Performance-wise it edges XP as well, but I still prefer having a desktop I can force to look and behave like old-skool NT.

    I can see there's still a typo, by the way - you obviously meant to write "surf the web...INSTEAD OF HAVING TO watch Britain's Got Talent"!

  4. As the purpose of the netbook is portability, I think I am going to stick with the inbuilt tiny keyboard. After 48 hours, it's getting easier. I am resigned to carrying a mouse along with the netbook if I intend to do anything but check the weather, but any additional hardware will to some extent negate the whole idea. I can see myself using this to update the blog from my next trans-African trip (or whatever). Hur hur.

    I will accept your verdict on W7, but I'm still not prepared to submit myself to Microsoft's newest instrument of torture, however good it is! XP is manageable and I know how to make it do what I want, so I'll stick with that. I was 99% sure my next purchase would be a Mac, but sadly the nearest Apple do to a netbook is the iPad, and that's just too new to be considered for a while yet - and bloody pricy too.

    And that wasn't a typo, it was a feeble attempt at irony. The internet doesn't do irony very well :)

  5. endemoniada_8810 July 2010 at 16:39

    I wouldn't pay extra for Win7 - it just happened to come on my laptop. My main PC came with the loathsome Vista and was immediately converted to XP.

    Having been professionally deploying Wintel systems since the days of 3.1, I thought the 2000 interface was the best of the lot and still mainly use XP with the 2K look and feel.

    Missed the irony a little, there - I assumed it was one of those sacrifices one has to make to please other people...in much the same way I have to (appear to) share the Gardener's World experience...

  6. I've used XP a lot at work and it's the best I've seen so far. I'm happy with it on this machine.

    The BGT reference was in the same sentence as sitting on the bog, not coincidentally :) I am very lucky in that I don't have to pretend to like stuff I don't want to listen to. Anna's tastes are pretty much my own, except in music, where anything 'noisy' gets the thumbs-down and I have to listen with earphones on. Gardeners' World is the second circle of hell - but the seventh is reserved for The Archers. I lived for 14 years with an Archers fan. Never again.


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