Taking it to Netbook City!

By Ross Madden
Published on October 2, 2009 1:01 pm MT
Updated on March 20, 2012 9:39 am MT
Posted in General CNSIT, The Cloud, Windows

What is a Netbook?

Netbooks are the term applied to ultra portable laptop computers which in turn come with a low price tag; typically, under $400.  The low price means that these devices are comparably underpowered for the operations a more expensive “laptop” or desktop computer could typically handle.  The ultra portable part means that these devices are very small, usually a 10″ screen or even smaller.  Powered by an Intel Atom processor, these low power chips are great for battery life – as some netbook specifications boast 10+ hours of life on a single charge.  These devices are great for Internet, photo and video viewing, social networking, and basic applications.  Just don’t expect to do anything heavy like Photoshop or video editing.


I am aware of at least a few of these devices in the building – and anticipate more.  In fact, I just recently picked up an Asus 1005HA model (shown above).  This $300 machine is replacing an aging Apple Powerbook G4 12″.  A netbook was attractive to me because of its ultra-portability, long battery life, and low purchase price.  For my purposes I will be running Windows 7 32bit RC and Ubuntu Linux Netbook Remix.

It took me only a couple of hours to follow these dual booting directions (http://www.bauer-power.net/2009/06/how-to-dual-boot-windows-7-and-ubuntu.html).  I use the Windows 7 side for the majority of my work on this device – Word, Excel, and web browsing.  The Ubuntu side is available so that I can program of course.

The important thing to remember about these little devices is that they are UNDERPOWERED.  Just like any low cost traditional laptop or cheap desktop setup – they are noticably slower when doing anything other than browsing the web and using services or resources that exist on the web.  However, I would say that close to 90% of what I do on computers happens within a web browser.  E-mail, Social Networking, Netflix – these services all exist in the “Cloud” (See the post for ‘What is Cloud Computing‘) – and with more and more services popping up online, netbooks seem like a good and affordable way to access these resources from wherever you are.

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