Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Netbook!

I bought a little (9-1/2 X 7 X 1") netbook from Office Depot--an Acer One with 160 GB hard drive, excellent RAM and accelerated cache for video--and only 2 lbs.

Here's what I said about it to the Webheads:

I spent the first day downloading the things I like to use, e.g.,
Mozilla Firefox and OpenOffice. (That's why I wanted the big hard
drive--earlier models come with only 8 GB.) The second day I spent
trying to get the USB fax modem to work because I will be on dialup in
places. Acer doesn't come with an internal modem, so I bought an
external. I had to download the US Robotics driver, since Acer doesn't
have a CD drive to load the software either. But Windows reports a
.dll file missing, and I have been unable to find it online. Meantime
the modem blew out a phone line, that is, it couldn't hang up the line
when it didn't succeed in connecting. Very annoying--US Robotics says
it's the phone line and my phone provider says it's the modem. As I
was leaving and couldn't return it to the store, I brought the modem
with me, and will try to find someone with an external CD drive to
load the software for me. I wouldn't recommend USR. I'll also find
someone else's phone line to try it on!

I think Acer is correct in going with the non-phone modem concept--and
most software should be downloadable from the Internet.

I didn't have time to research the USR modem, but I realize now it is
probably 2004 technology. Meantime, the wireless and ethernet
connections on the Acer are functioning fine in several cities where I
traveled today from Sacto to Nashville to Ft Lauderdale. (I have no
idea what time zone my brain is in...)

Someone asked about price--$350 in the US at Office Depot. This was
much better than I saw for the DELL mini (online) and others, because
it included the larger HD. A similarly equipped Dell was over $450. It
was another $30 for the (so far) non-functioning external USR modem.
They can't keep the Acers on the shelf. In the 3 days it took for me
to decide to buy one, they had sold 11--just one left for me. [I checked
out the Acer here in Marathon, FL, and they had a deal--free if you buy
an AT&T cellphone modem, or $450 without it. Too pricey for me.]

One really neat thing--I could open it up fully on the airline tray
table--I've found increasingly that I couldn't use a 15" laptop on a
plane at all. Battery is only about 2-1/2 hrs, but I don't need the
upgrade that Gavin mentions, as I rarely use it unplugged.

One minor annoyance. I frequently increase the font/type size on
various Websites, but then they tend to readjust themselves if my
fingertips stray over the mousepad. I'm not sure why. It should only
change with Cntrl-+.

I've since found that the keyboard is a little small for my husband's fingers (he is losing dexterity because of peripheral neuropathy), and I've spent a long time with Outlook Express setup--why can't this be a Mac????? But otherwise, it is operating very well. I picked up the broadband connection from Comcast here in our Florida retreat by downloading online (it also came with a CD). So it's only the older technology of dial-up that I will have a problem with.

I'm wondering if this netbook--with a 24" monitor connected by one of the 3 USB ports--can't replace a regular-size computer. Of course their prices are plummeting.

And it's cute.