Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Toy

In the fashion of college students everywhere, my computer these past few years was a graduation present upon finishing high school four years ago. Said computer, a Dell laptop, has performed admirably for the most part, but in recent months it's started to get slow and cranky as computers do after a few years (particularly one that has been used and abused as much as mine). There were even a few worrisome moments where the darn thing refused to turn on for several minutes- quite worrisome, to say the least- and I decided I would feel better if I got a new computer to supplement the old workhorse. I've been eyeing a Mac (yeah I know, shut up) but galavanting the world makes one hesitant about carrying around an expensive thing, and combined with the weight factor I decided to pick something else.

Final result- the computer shown above, which arrived yesterday, an Eee PC 901. Weighing just around a kilo (a hair over two pounds), this little guy has six hours battery life, 20G storage space and, here's the entertaining bit, runs Linux. Which is totally exciting, if only because it turns out there's a game in Linux that's essentially Mr. Potato Head but you have the option of decorating a penguin if you desire. It's what my stuffed kiwi is so engaged with in the above photograph, actually...

(At this point I would like to kindly reassure my geeky readership that I do know my way around several versions of Linux, and I know it has more going for it than just this. But you gotta admit, the Mr. Potato Head game is a definite bonus!)

Anyway, in case you can't tell it turns out the Eee PC is tiny- check out the following picture, with my graphing calculator for scale-
This means I am no longer worried about portability in any sense of the word, but I am spending a little time trying to get used to the condensed keyboard. My main issue is I tend to use the right-handed "Shift" key but the up arrow is currently where I usually strike, so I'm down a few words a minute for now until I get used to things.

Other notes- I am now in the market for an external harddrive to carry music/movies while I'm on the road (no DVD player, as there's just no space), and I suppose I need iTunes on said external as well since my main gripe with Linux is it's not compatible with my iPod. It hopefully won't be too impossible to work around, but if this is my only gripe with an ultraportable $400 laptop I figure life isn't too bad at all! (You can run XP on these, but in the interest of conserving space I'm sticking with Linux for now.)

So to conclude this initial review, if you want to travel the world and not do much more with your computer than update your blog, play with your photos, and play an occasional movie then you should consider one of these guys. Particularly if you don't have chubby fingers.

And with that you'll have to excuse me- I'm still playing around with the preloaded software, and it turns out there's a "sky over your location for any given time/place" program! Must investigate this further...


Dave said...

Every time I read the brand of your computer I read it as "eeeeeee! pc!!" like a teenage girl. Maybe that was the intent.

Will said...

linux will work with your i-pod - I'm fairly certain that the stock standard Xandros derivative that runs on the eee pc has an app called amarok - it's different than you're used to, but it will work.

as for hard drives - I bought an acomdata 320GB hard drive that works with my eee pc - around 90 bucks at newegg dot com - thing is sweet - no external power supply needed and small enough to fit in your other pocket