Netbook or Tablet? It's All About the Keyboard
There is growing trend in the marketplace toward smaller and more portable computers. Apple's revolutionary iPhone triggered a boom in the development of smartphones, Sony's new PSP To Go relies on downloading games, and it seems every new portable device has WiFi, Bluetooth, and/or 3G built-in.
Where will all this lead, and what will be Apple's role in the brave new world of pint-sized computers?
There has been endless discussion of what Apple is going to do with all those touch screens it ordered recently and what it's highly rumored tablet is going to look like, but I will be completely honest and tell you that I know nothing.
It's All About the Keyboard
However, I do know about the logic of netbooks, and to me, it's all about the keyboard. I use a computer to write, and there is no substitute for a physical keyboard.
Yes, many of us have used an iPod touch or iPhone to reply to emails or enter passwords on websites and the like, but if you really need to type an article or compose an email that is more that a paragraph long, a real keyboard is critical. I know that there are many questions about the usefulness of a netbook's tiny keyboard, but my hands are small, and I used to type on the attachable keyboard with my old Newton MessagePad (talk about tiny!).
The second thing that I would like to use a netbook for is as a communication device. I don't have a built-in video camera on my beloved Pismo, and I think it would be great to have a video camera for a face-to-face chat with my kids and their modern (to me, at least) MacBooks. Bluetooth would be nice as well - all sorts of modern communications that I just don't have with my Pismo.
And in a compact package that would weight about two-thirds as much as the six pound Pismo.
That would be a relief on my arthritic neck and shoulders. There will never be a time when I don't take my iPod touch with me, but when I want to work on my blogs or write an article for Low End Mac, a netbook would be an excellent portable workstation for me. There seems to be a trend towards using online applications, so I'm not sure that I will be handicapped with less memory or the lack of a DVD drive.
Is a netbook for you? I don't know, but I do know that I am seriously considering one.
Update on the Ubuntu installation on my Dell desktop: I have been having all sorts of issues trying to get a pair of old CanoScan LiDE scanners to work for my lab at the high school. That will be the subject of another article (planned for Friday), but these old timers worked without a hitch using XSane, the scanning software that came with my Ubuntu distribution.
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- The Lion Sleeps (on My MacBook) Tonight, 2012.07.05. Starting with a full backup, a Time Machine Backup, and an OS X 10.7 thumb drive, John Hatchett moved to Lion.
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