Saturday, September 19

Three weeks abroad with my Eee

For the second time this year (last time was in May), I have spent three weeks away from my desktop - away from home even - with my trusty Eee 701 as my primary (and only) computer.

The experience was about 99.9% positive - the only let down was when I was unable to connect to the free WiFi at Philadelphia International Airport since their malformed verification page expected people to use Internet Explorer. In other places - like at various Bob Evans restaurants and fast food joints - I got around that by using Konqueror, but at PHL that trick just didn't work.

Peoples reaction to the 701 is quite amazing, considering the fact that it's two years since it was released. People came up to me to ask questions and marvel at how small, portable and easy to use it was. An eye-opener for me is the people who admitted to owning a netbook, but found theirs too big to be truly portable... unlike mine.

As before, I find the screen size and resolution to suit my needs perfectly, with just a handful of sites requiring horizontal scrolling. It's also just the right size for watching movies on while on long haul flights. Just fold down the tiny table, plug in headphones, and enjoy the movie of your choice; I brought a nice selection of old SciFi B-movies.

The keyboard is, as before, excellent for both short term and long term typing. Bashing out an email or working on large documents is a breeze, the only niggle is the lack of 'proper' page up and down keys.

The WiFi worked almost too well - picking up free hotspots all over the place as well as a couple of poorly secured networks. Interestingly enough, I saw more hotspots with my Eee running Xandros than others did with large laptops running XP...

On this trip I got to appreciate the universal charger - while I usually have some juicy 230VAC in the outlets I use, I had to charge my Eee from puny 110VAC outlets. It did take more time to fully top off my 6600mAh batteries, but two of those keeps me going all day so it wasn't a big problem.

I also found a near perfect 'go-bag' for my Eee and other sundry items; the Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack. It holds my Eee, the charger, a spare battery, a couple of books, keys, papers, Mp3-player and more... just the thing I need for my next big trip abroad.

And I found yet another use for PupEee - amaze people by booting into a different OS from a tiny card... Kind of a silly trick, but one that shows off the versatility of the Eee quite well.

As for downsides to the Eee... well, the only thing I can think of that I missed is a built in CFcard reader - but blame that on me having an old digital camera and forgetting my USB cable.

And since no post is complete without pictures, here is a fuzzy caterpillar I photographed while travelling.

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