Friday, July 10, 2009

the evolution/devolution of netbooks

Our 21st anniversary was today; Kerry asked what I wanted. I think I'm going to get a Dell Mini 9 netbook.

As part of my job, I'm in the server room copying data onto printed spreadsheets. When back at my desk, I type in the numbers. It would be great to capture that data as it is generated and avoid double entries. It would also avoid repeated reprinting of my server data spreadsheets.

I like the Dell Mini 9 because it's small and light. The keyboard is a little small, but for my purposes OK. I'm really looking for small, goes everywhere. I don't want to think about whether I should carry it with me.

They discontinued the Mini 9 last month. Dell has stopped using the SSD, which I want for the durability and battery life.

They have black ones with 1GB of RAM, an 8 GB SSD and a .3mp webcam for $239. They have 512MB models for $10 cheaper without the webcam. The webcam would be worth $10 to me, so go with the 1GB.

I can always swap the SSD for a hard drive to run OS X. The Mini 9 is the only 100% OS X compatible netbook according to this chart :

At best, the others have broken audio (HP) or broken ethernet (MSI Wind).

Had a discussion with someone at work today about netbooks. He talked about how he would need a hard drive so it could be loaded with Microsoft Office. This totally misses the point.

The netbook is the perfect interface to it comes..."cloud". All your apps and data reside on the internet; the netbook is just a smart conduit. Local word processing is probably necessary, but bloatware like Word is just overkill.

The vendors (at least Dell) are missing it too. The netbook is evolving by losing its' SSD for a hard drive (bye bye battery life) and growing bigger screens (bye bye portability). Pretty soon netbooks will become ....laptops.

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