I picked up an Asus Eee PC 901 just before I went on vacation. I got it because I figured I could get some writing done and such. I didn’t really tap into it’s power then, sure I wrote some, but I stayed offline the whole time in Jamaica so it’s utility wasn’t huge.
Several months later I could almost leave my laptop at home all the time and just tote my “little laptop” around. Since I live and work 95% of the time in the cloud, I don’t need a lot of drive space, etc. I can get most things done with online tools.
This week I made the jump to Linux on it by installing Ubuntu Eee. Yeah it was rough at first—the damn trackpad is still driving me nuts—but I’m getting the hang of it now. Mack has a little Sony UMPC and doesn’t use it often, but sees that they are here to stay:
Netbooks are definitely trendy, but I think this is one trend that will last. A small device to check email, read and post blogs, and update Twitter is something that appeals to lots of people. Source: Netbooks are trendy at MasterMaq’s Blog
I think the key to using a netbook is first getting it clear in your head what you’re going to use it for. Even with an external keyboard attached—I have one thanks to MarketLeverage—this isn’t a machine to work on for hours. They aren’t processing powerhouses. Sure downloads and stuff should be zippy, but editing images, etc. Not for the impatient—read yours truly—but certainly workable.
The next thing is to keep the machine lean. Don’t load it up with a ton of stuff. Heck try not to even save docs to it. If you resist the temptation to install all your favourite apps, you’ll be much happier with its performance.
Right now my Eee PC is lean enough that I wouldn’t mind wiping it out and reinstalling Ubuntu Eee on it—which I might do to put the OS on the 4GB flash drive—since the only thing I’d have to do is reset a couple things.
That’s pretty much it. When I’m toting the Eee PC around I’m usually also carrying my full compliment of photo gear so space and weight are at a premium. Before I mucked around I had the Eee PC running XP and had it well tweaked to be a mobile “Lite Office” for me. Now I’m just learning how to do that under Ubuntu, but it isn’t going to take long to get Firefox tweaked and such.
From this whole experience—and all the looks and questions I get when I’m out and about using it—I think a lot of people would be into a light netbook that you can really leave the AC adapter at home and toss in a bag to have email and such on the go.
With the news that you’ll be able to get one dirt cheap, with a contract for a data plan, I expect that I’ll see a lot more netbooks at my local coffee joint before too long.
Are you tempted to buy a netbook?
BTW Ewan Spence has a step-by-step install process for the 901 and Ubuntu Eee.
Update: Right after I posted this I checked Twitter and Mashable and I are on the same wavelength about netbooks and the cloud.
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