Friday, April 30, 2010

So, About That Netbook Dilemma . . .

I spoke about it earlier this month, my decision to buy a portable computer but not knowing whether to go the Netbook or rather small laptop route? Click here if you need a refresher.

So, like I was pretty much already leaning toward in that entry . . . I ended up getting the Dell Inspiron 11z "mini" book. It just came via FedEx yesterday!

So far so good. It does everything your typical netbook does: plays movies on a widescreen display, surf the net, etc. Since it's a netbook, it can't play DVDs or load up CDs because -- hey, there's no optical drive! But there are ways and then there are WAYS around that, which I won't go into here.

It's smaller than your typical laptop, but has a bigger screen than your typical netbook: 11.6 inches, to be exact. Nice middle ground there, no? It weighs next to nothing, too! I don't have a postal scale so I can't tell for sure, but it feels just slightly above 3 pounds with the huge 6-cell power brick inserted into the back.

What else do I like about it? Hmm . . . well, for one, Windows 7 totally kicks ass! I wasn't so sure how I would weather the crossover from Windows XP, but I couldn't be happier. I'm so glad I didn't buy this back in the Vista days, though. Phew!

I actually purchased a MS Office license with the netbook, so I spent a few minutes registering that and then testing out the various programs like Word and Excel. Most netbooks come only with MS Works installed, if at all. But--and I shouldn't need to say this--Works sucks balls! I thought I would be able to handle it, but after giving it a test run in stores I have to say I was severely disappointed. I'll stick with Office for now, thank you.

The built-in webcam was a nice bonus feature I completely forgot about. Once again, Windows 7 made the whole process of recording and compiling videos a breeze. As evidenced by the rather bizarre and late-night vids I posted earlier. Again, sorry for that. I know the quality is horrible. I'll be looking in to fixing that over the weekend.

Funny thing about the vids. For some reason the audio synch was way off when I uploaded them on to my Youtube account. The audio's fine when I review the files on my desktop. But something screwy seems to happen when I upload the same files to Youtube. I'm not the first person to complain about this issue, though. Seems a lot of people who record their videos through integrated laptop or netbook cams experience the same synching problems. What's up with that?

I'm sure if I'd done some more research I would've figured it out. But screw that! I'm an impatient man when it comes to my gadgets. I needed answers NOW!!! I remember a video blogger I follow mentioning switching his account over to Vimeo. So this is what I did. And, voilĂ ! The videos work, and the audio is in synch! So from now on until I learn better, Vimeo will be the repository of all my future inane video babblings.

Scared yet? Well, you should be.

During lunch today I went out and purchased a bluetooth mouse since the netbook has built-in bluetooth technology. I'm currently trying to decide between a bluetooth headphone set for watching movies on the plane vs. a traditional wired one. Either way, this time I'm going to go with actual foam cans instead of earbuds. I'm tired of the feeling of having hard plastic shoved inside my ear canals each time I want to just listen to music or watch a tv show. And, plus, they do a piss-poor job of canceling out the ambient engine noise on airplanes for some inexplicable reason. You would think with the speaker portion jammed so close to my eardrums, I wouldn't hear anything *but* the media I'm playing. But guess again.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'll update this blog if any exciting developments occur with my new toy. It's good to live in the age of technology, ain't it?


  1. As a techno-geek myself, I completely understand the feeling you're experiencing with this.

    I hope you get much fun with the new netbook!

  2. Thanks, man. Here it is almost 2 in the morning and I'm still fooling around on it. Can't seem to shut it down and go do something, er, productive. :)


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