A lot of people ask me about my computer. I have an Eee PC 900 by Asus. It’s small and cute. I refer to it as “the wee precious,” but her name is really Miranda. Miranda Zero, if you must know. Net-tops are getting to be all the rage. Now, I’m not usually an early adopter, but here I am with a six-month-old Eee. So, here are my thoughts.
Miranda has two drives, a 4 GB C drive and an 8 GB D. I run her with a 16 GB high-speed SD card in at all times. She runs Windows XP, not Linux. I had a choice when I bought her, and I stuck with what I know (Windows) instead of buying the Linux learning curve. Miranda has three USB ports, a port for a DSL cable, and a port with, umm, you know, the kind with the big heavy plugs and all the little prongs, the kind all computers used to use for everything before USB and wireless.
It should be obvious from that last statement that I am not a tech-head. Or, rather, I learn things specific to what I want to accomplish. I am a goal-oriented tech buyer. I’ve never needed to learn the name of that sort of cable or port, and I doubt I ever will.
Other features of Miranda: a trackpad with dual-touch functionality, built-in video and still camera with mic, headphone and mic jacks, and a, a what, and 8-inch screen? I think it’s 8-inch. I’ve never checked.
I use Miranda for almost everything. I run Google Chrome for my browser. I use GMail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Twitter, LiveJournal, WordPress, and Flickr all online. I take digital photos, hook the camera to the computer and suck the photos directly from my camera to Flickr without pausing on my hard drive. I upload video from my phone to 12seconds.com without using space on my hard drive. I keep all my writing on Google docs, with backup .txt files saved on my SD card and a 320 GB external hard drive named Auxiliary Brains.
I run ESET for antivirus. It’s installed to my D drive, but still needs to write to and from the C drive. Chrome is on my D drive, too, as is Megauploader, Flickr Uploader, Microsoft Works, and Skype. I keep my C drive as clean and clear as I can possibly manage it.
This is a running battle. Chrome likes to store crap on my C drive, and I cannot figure out how to get it to stop saving little icons for every page I visit. I clean out my C drive and de-frag it once a week. I tend to run with 12-17% of my C drive free.
The only major, tedious problem I have with Miranda is music software. I own a Zune, named Lockheed. The Zune software is loaded to the D drive, my music is saved on Auxiliary Brains. But the amount of back-and-forthing Lockheed does over Miranda’s C drive is crazy-making. I have to give up on doing anything else if I am updating Lockheed. Moreover, I have no cd/dvd drive. So, ripping my cds? Nuh-uh. Not happening here. Luckily, I have a desktop I can use for that. But that means Lockheed needs to be kept up-to-date with two computers, and . . . it’s just a pain.
Also, don’t even think about photo or video editing software. Miranda scoffs at your Photoshop. That’s a big no-go.
So — overall, I a quite happy with Miranda. I love the portability, I love the size and weight. I am used to the keyboard now, I am used to the screen. I have a mobile broadband card which I use when I am away from a wifi hotspot, so the real limiting factor for my internet access is battery life. Miranda runs, honestly, about ninety minutes of real use before the battery dies. That’s mobile card, Chrome, and IMing. Ninety minutes.
So, do I recommend net-tops? I do — provided you know what you want it for. Provided you know what you are getting. Think through your computer usage, look at the options out there right now, and think through what you really want. I love my wee precious and won’t be parted from her, but I do admit her limitations.