Saturday, April 10, 2010

Verdict on the Netbook

You may have noticed the paucity of posts. Stella was on-site last week and not only did I not post, I also didn't even mention it before going away. Rude, I know, but it just kind of crept up on me and before I knew it I was there, and really cranking the work every day and night.

I did something completely revolutionary on this trip: I took no physical books. Yes, I had a paper notebook, and some files and stuff that I was going to need for meetings. But the only book I took was my netbook, and let me tell you this: it worked out really well.

I borrowed several e-books from the library before I left, as well as my collection of the classics from the Gutenberg project, and all of it provided plenty of reading material. I finished up The Scarlet Letter, read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and started an Elmore Leonard novel. And I didn't have to carry them along. One little netbook with all that in it.

Plus I was able to use the netbook as a backup when we were doing a bunch of upgrades to my work laptop. Try that with your average hardcover book!

Or iPaddy.

Or Kindle.

So my verdict: I think the netbook is a win for travel. I've got an Acer AspireOne and it delivered a solid day's worth of battery power -- I read on it on and off from 6 in the morning until about 4 in the afternoon, and I still had juice to go. With the right book reading software, you can read very comfortably on screen, and the other features are nice for other forms of goofing off in your spare time. Having a backup for your main computing device is also very very very nice.

But that's just me. You should do what you want. And if you really want an iPad (and after handling my brother-in-law's iPad I must tell you they are very very compelling) -- well heck you work hard for your money, give yourself a little treat. But if you're a frugal cheapskate like Stella, a $300 netbook will do just fine.

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