"Netbooks" is a rather new word in my vocabulary. The word refers to tiny laptop computers, usually weighing 2.5 pounds (roughly a kilogram) or less. These tiny systems seem to be taking over the marketplace. A year ago they were almost unheard of and yet today they are the hottest sellers in the computer stores.
I own a couple of these little computers and am very impressed with them. All is not perfect, however. Computers of this size typically have smaller-than-normal screens, smaller-than-normal keyboards, and usually have no CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive at all. (You can plug in an external USB drive or use a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive that is in your desktop system by hooking up a simple network or file transfer cable.)
These computers are extremely successful because they are useful and because they are cheap. Many of them sell for less than $400. In fact, the local department stores near me are selling some netbooks for as little as $250. At that price, you get a 7-inch screen (which can be hard to see), a very small keyboard, a small disk drive, and the Linux operating system. However, as you move above $300, the netbooks typically include a 9- or 10-inch screen, a larger keyboard, a 160-gigabyte disk drive, and Windows XP. I find a 10-inch screen to be easily readable.
Even the cheapest netbook computers include built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking and a wired network connector. They all are designed to be used online and work well with online services, such as Google Docs, FaceBook, Twitter, New FamilySearch, or most any other application you open in a web browser.
Netbooks typically have slower processors than full-size laptops. They are suitable for running one program at a time but may be a bit too underpowered to run much more than that. Then again, how many programs would you typically want to run on a computer that slides into an overcoat pocket?
Netbooks are great at surfing the web, checking e-mail, and running a word processor or a note-taking program. They are terrific travel systems and also work well at taking classroom notes or for transcribing information at a local genealogy library, courthouse, or other archives. On my last trip, I traveled with an MSI Wind netbook and found it did everything I needed on that trip. Best of all, the two and a half-pound computer easily slips into my backpack.
I used to travel with a 6-pound laptop and a cable and padlock. To prevent theft, I would lock the computer by wrapping the cable around a table leg or something similar and attaching it to the computer with a padlock. With the two-and-a-half pound netbook, there is no need to purchase padlocks or security cables. When I leave the table, I simply slide the netbook computer into my pocket and take it with me!
The marketplace is changing rapidly but the two most popular netbook systems of today are the MSI Wind and the Asus Eee 1000HE. I wrote about the MSI Wind a couple of weeks ago in a Plus Edition article that is still available at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=75#more-75. The MSI Wind is available from RootsBooks.com (the online book store that I operate) for $306.20 and for similar prices from many other online merchants.
Now Digital Trends has published a review of the Asus Eee 1000HE. This little powerhouse features a nine-hour battery life. You can read the review of the Asus Eee 1000HE at http://i4u.digitaltrends.com/review6380_main31908.html.
You can purchase the Asus Eee 1000HE for $379.95 from a number of sources, including the online book store that I operate at http://www.rootsbooks.com/shop.php?c=pda&n=541966&i=B001QTXL82&x=ASUS_Eee_PC_1000HE_10_Inch_Netbook_166_GHz_Intel_Atom_N280_Processor_1_GB_RAM_160_GB_Hard_Drive_10_GB_Eee_Storage_Bluetooth_XP_Home_95_Hour_Battery_Life_Black.
Both the MSI Wind and the Asus Eee 1000HE run Windows XP and are capable of running any Windows genealogy program on the market today. I converted my MSI Wind to the Macintosh OS X operating system and find that it will run any Macintosh genealogy program as well.
Want a tiny computer? There many to choose from but I know you will not go wrong with either the MSI Wind or the Asus Eee 1000HE.