Yesterday, I made significant weight-loss and a financial security goals. I also bought a new computer. A light one. In cash.
I had written about the Asus Eee PC — which I’m calling “One Laptop per Adult” — but was thinking about waiting until April or later, when a rumored slightly-larger model was set to debut. But when a Day Job Office Mate got one of the low-end Surf 2G models on a lark and wanted to upgrade to a larger (but currently unavailable) model, we agreed that I would buy his. As you, dear readers, know: I love making the most out of low-end hardware.
The Asus Eee PC Surf 2G is the same size as its litter-mates, but has the smaller available processor (800 MHz) and RAM (512 Mb). It has no webcam (when have I ever used one of those?) and its solid-state hard drive is a pokey 2 Gigabytes. (On which the operating system and applications must also reside, leaving about a third of that for one’s own files.)
But the pluses make this small machine a darling.
- It is tiny. With the wall plug adapter, it weighs 1065g (measured on my food scale!) or 37.5 ounces. By contrast, the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition, is 1015g with a similar size. (Photos below.) It even fits in my inside coat pocket.
- At US$299.95 retail, it is terribly cheap, but the more robust models reach another hundred dollars.
- Yet it is solidly built. It might look toy-sized, but doesn’t feel like a toy. Because it has no moving hard drive, it is quiet. The speakers are quite good. The button on the touchpad is a bit hard and I’m sure to use a spare USB mouse — there are three USB 2.0 ports — in daily use.
- It has a custom adapted Linux operating system — though built on Xandros, which many Linuxy types hate for philosophical reasons — that non-Linuxy types would use with ease. Indeed, I was going to swap it out instantly but have decided to leave it for a while, adding and removing individual pieces of software.
- It sips power. 22 watts — less than the compact fluorescent bulb in my desk lamp — and the packaging was mostly cardboard with just a bit of plastic. (That matters to some.)
More about who might-could-would well use an Asus Eee PC later.
Pictures below the fold.