Today I am writing on my new Hewlett Packard netbook, an HP Mini 1030NR, with a 16GB SSD (i.e. flash memory, not hard disk) drive, 1 GB RAM and a 10.2 inch screen. This follows a week of struggling with an Asus Eee PC 900A, which I finally returned to Best Buy last night, after the mouse button key on the trackpad failed, and the machine itself had to be re-set to its factory settings 3 times during the course of the week. And the tiny keyboard was driving me nuts.
The new HP machine was about a hundred bucks more, but it was money well-spent. This new little machine is much more satisfactory. The keyboard is comfortable (except for the odd placement of the mouse buttons at the left and right edges of the trackpad), and the screen is brilliant and clear. As a long time Mac user, I’m not thrilled with the Windows XP Home edition installed on it, but I deleted the MS Works that came pre-installed, downloaded Firefox, changed my default search engine to Google, downloaded and installed Open Office, and my friend Robert turned me on to Avast, a free virus protection software, so I won’t be continually extorted money by Symantec. He is very particular about such things, and he is running Avast on several of his own machines (as well as, tellingly, on his mother’s PC), so if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me. I was up and running on my home wireless network in fewer than five minutes.
While I was away this past week, I had the Asus machine with me, using it to check email and take notes at the conference I was attending. I really got sold the idea of being able to slip the netbook into my small messenger bag. The SSD drive starts up much faster than a typical hard drive. For doing email, taking notes, surfing, writing blog posts, this new HP machine is great. I would not want to write a dissertation on it, but it feels much more “real” than the Asus did.
(About the Asus: all the reading I did about it said, “Get rid of the Xandros Linux OS that it comes with and install Ubuntu.” Doesn’t there seem to be something flawed in that thinking? Why should it be necessary to replace the manufacturer’s operating system with another, because the OEM system doesn’t work? I guess I’m naive in thinking–as a Mac user–that it should “just work.”)