Bob asked why I am thinking of moving on from my Eee 701.
I have been using it as my only t’interweb machine for the last 6 months. There are a couple of very specific things I need Windows and IE for, and that amounts to less than once a month, those are the only times I don’t use my Eee for Web business. As my Windows box failed last time I tried to do an Office live meeting, or net meeting or whatever its called this week, even thats not a massive use.
I find that quite incredible – basically if I did anything for a living other than Microsoft/Windows/Excel/Visual Studio dev I would have no need for Windows, or any other MS product probably. Its one of the reasons I keep trying to prod MS to provide users with a compelling story. This situation would have been unheard of a few years ago.
The spec is totally standard 512 Mb RAM, 4GB SSD and the standard Linux distro. I use a 19″ monitor and an ergo keyboard (MS) and mouse. And in that set up the only issue is lack of horse power for stuff like all the new flash BBC content I have had a few crashes with content from Failblog too. Often it runs at 10 or less or zero Mb of RAM free and Open Office can take an age to open. Its needs more RAM and a faster proc too I reckon.
The screen at 7″ is just too small for extended use, especially spreadsheeting. I’ve done doc reviewing and it works well, but for grid stuff or IDE stuff its too small. But it will drive an external display up to 1600 x 1200. Presenting doesn’t work well when the machine screen and the projected one are at 2 different resolutions, ok for ppt yawnathons, but for interactive stuff it makes your head explode. The new breed are 8.9″ which I think will make all the difference. This is the key factor on changing it, if it had a 9″ screen I would just add RAM. Its great to carry around because its small, light, tough and replaceable.
The other issue is Linux distro, I’m still a noob having no real need to delve into the OS to get everything done I needed to on my Eee. But as I understand it if I were running a more common distie then there is a wider choice of apps ready compiled to drop in. eg I don’t think GIMP2 is available for the Eee Linux, or the latest OOo. So I’m thinking Ubuntu or SLED. In fairness I do have other machines that dual boot into those. But for 200 quid I’d rather keep those as they are and get an Acer Aspire one.
I think these netbooks are going to be the net appliances that Larry Ellison has been dreaming of for years. And MS don’t really seem to have anything for them. You can use their deprecated OS that is no longer for sale at retail (win XP), Vista the ‘operating system’ needs too many resources to operate these systems. As of Jan 14 2009 the only fully supported MS productivity suite will require at least 25% of the available vertical pixels for its ‘user experience’ (that would be cramped, wasteful, struggling to find commands, and can’t find the work because the effluent UI is in the way). Hints are this numpty UI will infect Visual Studio v.next, making that unusable, in general, and on smaller screens in particular.
What do you think?
Anyone got a Windows sub notebook? Anyone see value here for Office devs?