Saturday, June 21, 2008

Eee! A New Toy!

I don't think I've written (read: complained) about this before, but my old laptop (a Dell from 2003) doesn't like to travel (it's big and clunky, and the battery doesn't work, which makes airport security people not like it very much at all), and since I will be making a few treks out of Boston in the next few weeks, I figured I had a good excuse to acquire a shiny new toy (see picture). That's an Asus Eee PC, sitting next to my normal-sized keyboard and my desktop monitor. I'm not entirely sure what the Eee stands for, but from anecdotal evidence, it seems entirely plausible that they just named the computer based on the noise most people make when they first see it.

The model I got (it arrived earlier this week) has a 7-inch screen, with an 800 MHz Intel Celeron processor, 512-meg RAM and a 4-gig hard drive. A really smooth Linux interface is preloaded (you can also apparently install XP, but I don't have any real reason to), along with basic goodies like Firefox, Open Office, &c. Three USB ports, pretty decent speakers plus jacks for a mic and headphones and an SD memory card slot for additional storage space. It weighs about two pounds (at one point I was carrying it around with a pile of papers and completely forgot that I had it in my hands). The battery seems to last about three hours on each charge, which is significantly more than my Dell's ever managed. It's been extremely easy to get it up and running on various wireless networks, and it seems to handle video and audio surprisingly well.

The keyboard is tiny - that's probably the thing about this machine that will take the most getting used to - but I'm definitely getting better at it (I still can't get the shift key though, that's a weekend project). I thought the touchpad mouse would bug me, but I've found it alright so far (and I actually really like the scroll feature on the right edge of the touchpad).

Anyway, all this is a very long-winded way of saying that if you're looking for something light and basic to use for commuting or research trips, &c., I've been very happy with this little guy so far.