A few weeks ago my son Trevor became interested in having a netbook for his writing so I gifted him with my blue Acer Aspire One. I really liked it so it wasn’t easy to part with, but I had in the back of my mind that I would hold off getting another unit for myself until I saw what Apple might or might not be offering in the space between the iPod Touch and the Macbook.
I figured I could get by fairly easily with my Palm TX and my Neo as portable writing devices. I like and use both, but within three days I was missing the Acer rather badly. Once you’ve had the experience of toting around a small but fully functional general computer, it’s a hard habit to break.
What did me in was seeing an ad for a Dell Mini 10v on sale. I checked the specs and liked what I saw: Windows XP, 1GB RAM, 160GB HD, slightly larger keyboard than the Acer, and a 10″ LCD screen. The sale unit included the essential 6-cell battery, so I ordered one, in Alpine White, so I could half-pretend it was a Macbook.
I also checked the netbook compatibility list for Ubuntu Linux Netbook Remix and saw that the Dell Mini 10v is one of the most Linux compatible netbooks on the list.
When it came in I was on assignment with two articles for the Photo Life Buyer’s Guide to be published in the fall. I immediately loaded WhizFolders into the Mini and got to work with it. I filed both stories yesterday and now can turn my Mini into my personal machine.
I’ll use GParted to resize the Windows partition of the HD so I can install the Ubuntu Netbook Remix alongside Windows as a dual-boot option. As a writing machine for essays and fiction, I prefer the Linux interface to the Windows one. It’s less cluttered and I like Gedit, with colour tweaks, better than any of my Windows text editors.
Aside from a somewhat loud spacebar key, the keyboard is relatively quiet. It’s large enough that typing is very easy. I didn’t need an adjustment period, as I did with the Acer.
I’ve no doubt Apple will come up with something exciting, or at least interesting, but it will have come too late for me. And whatever they offer, I know it will be much more expensive than my Dell Mini 10v, so once again Apple loses its chance to gain me as a customer.
And to tell the truth, I can’t imagine a netbook that’s significantly better than the Dell Mini. I’m a happy camper.
Now, as Mur Lafferty says, “I should be writing.”
See ya later.