Monday, April 26, 2010

The Netbook

I've recently been using an iPod Touch a lot to check email and surf the web. It was handy because it was small and was fairly easy to use. The biggest drawback was the lack of a keyboard and the tiny screen. So along comes the iPad and I thought great maybe this is what I want. Then I was listening to the Java Posse and heard Dick talking about his netbook and how he used it and loved it. So I was thinking, I'm not a big fan of Apple because of their "we have to approve everything" model. Plus the fact that I had to pay to upgrade the bios on the iPod Touch. So I figured I'd get nickel and dimed like crazy with an iPad.

Anyway, I decided to go with the Samsung N210. The major determining factors for me were wireless N and a web cam that was over 1 megapixal. Other things that helped were the cool white color, no glare screen and easy to use keyboard.

My first impressions of it are pretty good. It came pre-installed with Windows 7 Starter, which I think is a piece of crap. The Starter version disables the ability to playback movies in Windows Media Player. Why even do this because I easily downloaded another open source movie player tool and can play movies from my thumb drive now. The other really dumb and annoying disablement is the desktop background. Can you believe they disabled the ability to change the background? What's that about? All I can think is they probably sell this crappy version for next to nothing with the expectation that most people will upgrade.

Since this is a new blog I should point out that I am very Linux biased and it is my OS of choice. So, my intention from the beginning of purchasing a netbook was to install Ubuntu remix on it. So shortly after playing with Windows 7 and realizing it isn't much better than Vista, I installed Ubuntu 10.04 (beta 2).

All I have to say is WOW! Ubuntu remix version is pretty slick. The creators of this really did some good work. The interface is customized for the smaller screen and it is super easy to use. My wife even likes it.

So just to wrap it up fairly quickly, I like it. I still have some work to do to figure out how to get movies to play because I'm getting a weird error. But from what I've read so far it seems to be a new thing for Ubuntu 10.04. Since I installed a beta version, I can't complain about that too much. Everything else seems to be working well. Wireless is connecting with no extra setup. The one last thing I want to praise about Ubuntu is the memory usage. Windows 7 was using about 75% of the 1GB of RAM. Ubuntu only uses about 30%.