This is being typed in on my new groovy, tiny and rather cool looking laptop; it is called a netbook, laptot or SCC (Small, Cheap Computer) – depending on the website you read. I've been waiting for these machines to appear for years and they took their damn time getting them out. Just enough of all that is needed to use a word processor, email and browse the web.
This is the Acer Aspire One – not the best battery life, nor the biggest screen; but it has a keyboard that is 95% full size. Having tried the eeePC701 and 901 in Office Works, and again in JB just to make sure, the keys were just too small to comfortably touch type. This version also runs Linux – which was specifically what I was after. Last thing I needed was XP wedged in. This one runs Linpus, which is Acer's own version and written specifically for the machine. It also makes it easier to add and remove features; this one has Compiz Fusion running on it, which is a 3d desktop. Unlike Vista, which I have the misfortune to have to use at work, which has a rather simplistic and particularly unuseful Flip3d as its claim to a 3d desktop, Compiz Fusion is a full 3d desktop. This entails, for example, that I am typing on one side of a cube that I can rotate round to different desktops. There is more functionality than you can shake a stick at – including my personal favourite – the wobbly windows option.
I am particularly fond of the screen, which is bright and clear – the resolution of 1024x600 is practical and suited to this machine's personal primary purpose, which is word processing. Can't say I was upset when I found a version of the C64 classic Paradriod in the package manager though.
The heart of the machine is the 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor. This is well groovy. The laptop that has been put into retirement as my portable is a 233MHz Pentium with 32MB of memory; it runs Windows 98 well enough and is smaller than the desktop replacement laptop I have at home – which sits beside the desktop. I still find it surprising, that no-one else is surprised by the fact that my old 233Mhz laptop takes about the same time to start MS Word as my dual-core 2GB memory PC at work. In comparison, even of the speeds that the motherboard can transfer data around within the two machines, the one at work should be on the cusp of going back in time. Instead I have to use Vista at work which doesn't respond to mouse clicks reliably and cannot even remove a folder correctly to the Recycle bin. A full list of bitching about Vista is likely to appear in the near future.
Having an interesting in techy things, I was a bit disappointed to find that I would need to take this laptop apart to add more memory – and I really mean apart. Remove keyboard, casing, motherboard, daughter board and all the rather fragile ribbon connectors in between. Maybe once the warranty has run out...
On the pleasant side though, it doesn't feel like the memory is really needed as the machine is running very smoothly. The sound from the internal speakers was also a pleasant surprise. So it's pleasant all round.
Now to get onto that novel; the real reason for the splashing out on this new piece of kit.