Sunday, May 31, 2009

To Netbook or Not to Netbook...

There's this image, perpetuated in advertising, of young people lost in thought, curled up on a bench or perched on edge of a stone wall (preferably with greenery or the ocean in the background) or lounging on a pillowy sofa with a cashmere throw tossed casually over their legs (all in tasteful neutrals, of course, with maybe a cat), tapping away on a tiny computer, connected to the world with little effort and lots of style.

I've tried the above with my laptop, and while it's pretty small as laptops go, generally wound up either having my leg fall asleep or getting a crick in my neck. Also, laptops get kind of warm, and it's hard to type while balancing it on one knee so that the cooling fan is uncovered.

So maybe I need to get a little netbook for two or three or four or so hundred dollars, one of those miniature laptops that's bigger than makeup case but smaller than a Stephen King hardcover. Then I could sit in coffeeshops or parks or at the beach, updating my blogs or writing my deep thoughts or editing my multimedia files.

Of course, if there isn't free-wifi at the beach, I'd have to get broadband internet access, which costs, like, $60 a month, or I'd have to sync the netbook to the Bluetooth on my smartphone, providing, of course, I have good cell coverage in the area, and who knows how much extra that would cost.

The battery life on netbooks isn't that great, and if you bring the power cord, well, you might as well bring the laptop...

Or, I could just go out into the world and actually talk to people and save my computer use either for sitting in my ergonomically correct chair at my desktop, with my ergonomically correct keyboard and mouse, or with my laptop set on its cooling tray, in my lap in the recliner.

But I want a neat little netbook. I want to be one of those free, easy, connected people who can just blog from any position and location, without respect to proper circulation or maintaining correct posture to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

Unfortunately, I'm just not that cool. And I can Twitter from my smartphone. That's about all I have patience or inclination for at the average coffeeshop anyway.

Turn left, do not pass Go -- but do pass Best Buy -- do not spend a few hundred dollars. Today, that is.

Think I'll wait until the third or fourth time I say to myself, "Drat, a netbook would sure have made my life easier right there!" Hasn't happened yet. So far, my smartphone has got my mobile connectivity covered. And it takes really good pictures. And, a phone.

For more on the debate, click here. To see the netbook of my current dreams, click here. To see my smartphone, click here.

What's the future for netbooks? Great idea, take connectivity with you without the bulk (or risk) or lugging a primary laptop around. Better idea, sell a cheap version in the same way cellphones are sold. Oh, look, Verizon's doing that (still not all that cheap). Who's going to top their offer? Maybe Radio Shack (and you can get some batteries and a thingamajig to hook the whatsis to the splitter on the whatchamacallit while you're there).

I'll let you know if conditions change...

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