I splurged this past weekend. About to be away for four days on a business trip without a computer in my possession (yes, I'd have one at my company's branch office that I'm visiting but not at the hotel) I decided to buy a netbook. Welcome to 2009. Welcome also to the 1990's.
Now that I own one, I think the word netbook is mostly marketing hype. What I'm typing on right now, is a small, lower powered, lightweight laptop computer. It's a bit of a throwback machine, because of the small screen and keyboard. It's not quite as small as a Sharp Zaurus (yes, I had one of those) and the screen technology is way better than the early laptops, but it's certainly not a desktop replacement. In fact, on all the store netbooks, they had a little Q&A to make sure you really wanted one. For example, "Is this machine going to be your only computer?" If you answered "yes", it would tell you that it doesn't have an optical drive or any way to expand the machine itself.
I went in with eyes wide open. After a recent trip to Baltimore with family, sans machine, I decided I wanted something I could use when I traveled. I wanted to be able to check a map on Google, or Yelp a restaurant. I know a Blackberry can do all that, but the one my company gave me is so locked down that's it's useful only for company email. Plus, I do enjoy the 10 inch screen over the 3 or less inch screen of my Blackberry bold. The downside versus Blackberry or iTouch is that I'm not able to connect unless I'm near a wireless port. Well, I suppose I could connect, but I'm too cheap to pay for a phone network data service for my netbook.
I did a bit of research before I bought, but as with anything else you research before buying, you find your tradeoffs in terms of specs and your favorable and unfavorable reviews. I was ready to buy a eeeMachine but since I wanted one before leaving on my trip and Best Buy was out of those, I ended up with a very capable Dell Inspiron Mini 10. So far so good. I do enjoy the somewhat larger keyboard than some of the competition and the screen seems nice. And goodness, the 3 pounds or so it weighs makes it almost as light as the paperback books my wife loves to buy. I have yet to really explore the machine, but that will come with time.
Anyway, I hope that having easier access to a computer (yes, I'll probably become like Kreblog and have It on my lap while watching TV) along with it's form factor will make it easier for me to get back to things I did before I got a job. Namely, blogging, posting on Facebook and a bit more communicating through email or IM to friends.
I mean I'll do these things after I come down from 35,000 feet.