Friday, September 4

First netbook experience

Greetings. Thought I'd try to get this post out before it starts thunder storming again. We had a nasty one earlier. For a place like Austin that has been in a long drout, it really thundered and poured earlier, but at least we're getting some. Maybe we'll even catch up to the other parts of the state of Texas.

Anyway, netbooks have gained popularity in the general computing population and among the blind. Mainly because they are smaller and lighter than a laptop but stil sport many of the same things you find on a laptop or desktop PC. I've been looking into this netbook thing for around 6 months or so, studying different models, reading reviews, and considering features. I decided early on not to get one that was deeply discounted, since while that might have been a good deal, it also had the possibility of being cheap, as in not standing up to regular use over time. I also wanted to get one that included a long battery life, had wireless connection options for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and, from what you can tell from reviews anyway, looked to have a good keyboard. Oh, and now with all these different colors of netbooks, I also was hip to find one in blue. I finally found what I was looking for.

A week ago I ordered and today I received the ASUS EEE PC 1000HE, which sports, among other things: Wi-Fi of 802.11B/G/N (which means it can connect to all current Wi-FI standards and will likely keep pace for some time to come); Bluetooth; a normal sized keyboard, though from initial typing, the keys are smaller and some in weird places, but that's something I can adjust to; and the model I chose was a blue color with good looking finish on it. My colleagues at work today said that it was a very nice blue and finish. And the battery life is advertised at 9.5 hours. From the reviews, actual time looks to be around 8 or 9 hours, but still; that's lots better than some of the MSI models I read about that only got 4-6 hours. Though people have told me that even though the battery is 5 hours, it lasts them all day. I say, as long as the price doesn't go too high, the longer battery the better.

The ASUS 1000He is an older ASUS model, coming out in February of this year, but from what I've read it seems to be among the better of the various ASUS models. It also includes an SD slot, several USB ports, a Lan/Ethernet jack, web cam, microphone, and other things I'm probably forgetting. It weighs just over 3 pounds, which is notable since many notetakers weigh between 2-4 pounds and laptops around 6 pounds or more.

I'm still working out the kinks of getting a new computer, but this weekend should be rather fun as that process happens. Now I can understand why wireless web surfing is so much fun. Earlier, before all the storms, I was on an unsecured wireless netbook and going to Google and other websites. I actually signed into Gmail before I remembered that this was an unsecured network, and then I quickly signed out. I even was able to stream, all be it in fragments, a video and a radio station's audio. That brief wireless experience will see me investing in one of the many wireless routers out there. Though I have used my PAC Mate notetaker wirelessly before, it was somewhat limited with pocket versions of Internet Explorer and in the JAWS quick keys that actually work in the IE Mobile application, which by the way aren't nearly as many as on a PC. Now though, I've got full support on the netbook for any JAWS feature I want to use and in full versions of applications such as Internet Explorer.

Though I still have some kinks to work out and essentially a new computer to get used to, I'm more than pleased with my purchase and research, and look forward to many happy hours of mobile computing! Incidentally, if anyone has any resources for getting started with the netbook I have, then please email me through my site and let me know. Thanks.

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