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netbooks are worth getting excited about

The Dell mini 10v I just bought (which will arrive next week) is the first computer I've bought in a very long time that I'm legitimately excited about. More on that in a moment.

I don't like big PCs. Never have. I don't like the wires, the big-box bulkiness, the heat they generate, the fan noise, etc.

What I do like is a computer that's small, cheap, neat, quiet, self-contained and ultimately usable.

I'll be able to take my lil' netbook anywhere where there's wi-fi and with that 6-cell battery have 4 to 6 hours of charge at my disposal. Standard laptops get 2 hours at best usually and then you're dead in the water. Netbooks overcome that deficiency easily. I don't even have to bring the power cord with me when I go out. I just toss the netbook on the passenger seat of my truck and off I go.

That's just plain cool. It's something I'm actually excited about, because yeah, this is usable. And I mean really usable.

~ ~ ~

Quick story about me and tech lust concerning usability:

Years ago a friend of mine ordered what was at the time the most kick-ass video card on the market, the ATI Radeon 9800 PRO. It cost him $300 to get the stupid thing. When it arrived, he invited me over so we could plug this sucker in and see what it could do. We ooh'd and ahh'd at the cool box it came in and ooh'd and ahh'd again when we saw the blood-red colored card itself. Heck, to this day it still looks good.

After installation, what happened was the thing didn't work right. Even though the PC was very current, the ATI control software was crap. The increased frames-per-second we were expecting on "the game" of the time (Counter-Strike) simply didn't happen. It was no better than the card he replaced.

In other words, $300 in the toilet.

I was happy that I wasn't the one who spent the money on it. And no, I didn't say that to him, but I was thinking it.

It was at that point I lost my lust for bleeding-edge computer tech.

~ ~ ~

Since that time the only real money I've put into a computer was the Dell Inspiron 6000 which I'm using to type this right now. It cost me $1125 after a whopping $600-off coupon. At the time this was a steal. This now-old laptop has served me happily for nearly 5 years, so it definitely doesn't owe me a thing.

For everything else, I've gone cheap. Monitors, mice, keyboards, hard drives, optical drives, motherboards, RAM, CPUs, all of it. Never do I buy top-of-the-line. At best I will buy what's considered to be mid-grade.

Essentially I'm a cheap bastard by nature when it comes to computing, because I've seen what happens to those who push hundreds and/or thousands of dollars into a computer. That big bad-ass expensive PC turns into a worthless hunk of crap in less than a year. That's why you see so many "pro custom" PCs on eBay, Craigslist and in pawn shops. The boxes are junk from the get-go.

Netbooks on the other hand are not crappy custom PC boxes that serve as expensive toys and nothing more. What you get is something that goes anywhere, communicates easily and doesn't burn a hole in your wallet.

I'm not junking my big-box PC because I still need it for video editing. But the netbook will be an awesome companion portable. I may even use it more than the big box because I like laptop keyboards way better than standard ones (hence the reason I type up most of my posts here and for work on them).

This is the laptop I was waiting for. It's gonna rock.


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