Some two months ago, I bought a Netbook.
I had been toying with the idea for some time before that. I rarely impulse buy. I wanted a portable computer, but not necessarily the ones that had those big screens, or weighed a lot to carry around, or had relatively short battery lives.
I began to look at Netbooks as a solution. They were small and light. But many of them had the same short battery life as a larger laptop. The biggest problem was the keyboard size and key type. I am not a small person, and so my fingers are not small either. Many of the keyboards of the Netbooks seemed “Blackberry-sized.” Many of the laptop keyboards are smooth-top with no separation between the keys. Not my style. I like to feel the key separation as I type.
I intended to use the Netbook as a mobile device, and that meant using it away from my home network. I wanted a device to carry in my bag and grab opportunities to write the starting skeletons of articles that I could finish on my main computer when I returned home.
Most of the laptops today have automatic wireless network access, so that would not be a problem. In my local and road travels, I have found that every fast food restaurant, library, book store and hotel has wireless internet access, most free and most easily accessible. I can check them from the parking lot so I did not even have to go inside the building to use the wireless service.
In Costco, I saw the HP-210 mini. It was small (10.1 inch screen) with a 93% of full-size keyboard with “island” keys that I can feel while typing. It was light (under 3 pounds) and had a battery life of more than 7 hours (with careful management, I stretch mine to 9 hours).
Guess which one I bought.
In addition to jotting down article and story ideas, I love to read books. They are my escape from reality. They are also inspiration for story and novel ideas. Ask Walt Disney.
I downloaded the Kindle PC version from Amazon (Free) and also downloaded some ebooks (Free).
These are older stories, out of copyright (Moby Dick, Treasure Island, Sherlock Holmes, and others) but great stories nonetheless. There are also lots of free books available at Project Gutenberg (gutenberg.org) and other sites.
The Amazon ones can be read on Kindle, the others download in a file, but are readable.
It is a change seeing it electronically instead of smelling the paper and the glue of the binding ( a fragrant smell that I associate with my youth when I fell in love with books).
The final feature I loaded and use on my Mini is Skype (Free).
Skype is amazing to me, making a free phone call and seeing the other person on the screen. I can talk face to face with my family in New York, and friends from Texas. I just have to make sure I’m dressed.
So for $350 I have a combination iPad, Kindle and Smartphone–with a real keyboard.