Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Eee PC 701 SD - learning to love the ookygoo

Some time ago I said some fairly negative things about linux, netbooks and ookygoo user interfaces.

I still hold to these views in general, but I'm beginning to waiver since I bought myself an Eee PC 701 as a travel computer. Now a travel computer has a set of fairly simple requirements. You need to be able to surf the web, read your webmail, take notes at meetings, skype loved ones and colleagues.

It also needs to be small light and robust. Now you could just about get away with an iPhone or similar smartphone except that typing on one of these is not the best, especially when you're one of the thick fingered, and offline note taking isn't the easiest.

Over the years I've tried various solutions - an old powerbook 520 - too heavy to lug about, a handspring visor with keyboard - this nearly worked for day meetings as a note taker and email manager - an old imac G3 slow, heavy, and no wireless, and no up to date software or crucially a browser.

So now one lives on the web/in the cloud with google docs and zoho, and you need a browser to check for flight changes, advance check in and the like, a travel computer seems a necessity for an extended trip.

I settled on the Eee because it was cheap, light and had an inbuilt sd card reader plus a skype client. And for offline it has open office, perhaps overkill, but a reasonable solution.

Having an SSD struck me as good on the robustness factor. I'd also told my sister-in-law's husband to get one as a travel computer and I reckoned that if less than technical ex-lawyer could cope with it it should be pretty robust.

And being the linux machine it has an ookygoo interface - but at least one that's well thought out, and if one thinks of it as sort of more like a phone user interface. And I hate to admit it, that now I need reading/computer glasses the larger icons can be a help.

So I'm learning to love the Eee - perhaps not love at first sight - but a bit more promising than Linpus on the Aspire.

I'll write further on how I go with the Eee as a travel machine ...

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