UPDATE: Other newsletter readers report that the vendor described here is now reporting "out of stock."
I have written a number of times about netbook computers, the tiny ones that weigh about two pounds and slip into an purse or overcoat pocket. Most of them sell for $300 and up. I paid $400 for my MSI Wind netbook last year and I use it often. Now mwave is selling a newer model of the MSI Wind than mine for the bargain price of $199.99 (after rebates) plus about $10 for shipping. The price is good until March 31.
This tiny computer is more than powerful enough to run any modern Windows genealogy program, including The Master Genealogist, RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, AncestralQuest, and others.
The MSI Wind Intel Atom 1.6GHz 10" Widescreen Netbook in White, model no. U100-439US, is listed at $349.99. It weighs 2.3 pounds. To order it for $199.99 (after rebates), go to mwave's online order page at http://www.mwave.com/mwave/SKUSearch_v3.asp?scriteria=BA25775
Next, look at the mid right side of the page and join mwave's "M Club" (joining is free and allows you to earn a mail-in rebate). You then can purchase the MSI U100-439US for $299.99 and also receive a $100 mail-in rebate for an effective price of $199.99 after rebates. The rebate ends March 31.
This netbook features an Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz processor, a 10inch 1024x600 backlit LED-backlit LCD display, 1 gigabyte of RAM memory, a 120 gigabyte hard drive, 802.11g wireless wi-fi networking, an internal 1.3-megapixel webcam, memory card slot, 3-cell battery, and Windows XP Home. It also has three USB jacks, built-in audio, internal speakers, plus jacks for external earphones and microphone.
There is no internal CD or DVD drive in this tiny computer. Then again, most netbooks are too small to include a CD or DVD drive and this MSI Wind is no exception. You can use CD or DVD disks on this computer by any of four different methods:
- Obtain an external disk drive that plugs into the USB connector. These sell for $30 (read only) to perhaps $90 (read/write). However, I wouldn't do that as it is cheaper to use any of the following methods.
- Obtain a jump drive big enough to handle the contents of the CD or DVD. Jump drives cost $5 to perhaps $20 for this capacity. Use another computer to copy the contents of the CD or DVD to the jump drive, then plug the jump drive into the netbook and use it instead of a CD or DVD disk. You might even want to copy the contents of the jump drive to the netbook's hard drive for long-term use.
- Use a file transfer cable to copy files from a CD or DVD drive on another computer to the hard drive of the netbook. These file transfer cables cost anywhere from $15 to perhaps $45. You can find a selection of them at http://www.google.com/products?q=file+transfer+cable&aq=f.
- If you have a broadband Internet connection in your home, you probably already have a network router and have at least one computer connected to it. If so, connect the netbook to the router (either by a network cable or by wireless wi-fi), set up networking in both computers so that they can exchange files, share the CD or DVD drive on your other computer, then go to the netbook and "mount" that drive across the network. It will then become a normal CD or DVD drive on your netbook except that it will be a bit slower than an internal drive. Place your CD in the other computer's CD or DVD drive, switch to the netbook, and then double-click on the CD or DVD drive's icon to open the disk across the network.
I always use option #4 above so that I never have to purchase any new cables or disk drives. In effect, option #4 above is free if you already have a router in your home.
The three cell battery included in the MSI Wind is a bit smaller than the batteries included with some other netbooks. I didn't find any specs listed but I would expect that battery to provide two to maybe three hours' of use. I purchased my earlier-model MSI Wind netbook with a three-cell battery and found it lasted about two and a half hours. I then purchased a 9-cell battery made by a third party and found that it lasts about eight to nine hours of continuous use. Since I now carry the netbook and both batteries on trips, that gives me a combined usage of ten to twelve hours. However, the extra nine cell battery was expensive at $60 from a vendor on eBay. You can see similar batteries at http://desc.shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=439US+9+cell+battery&_sacat=0&_sop=12&_dmd=1&_odkw=439US+battery&_osacat=0&_trksid=p3286.c0.m270.l1313&LH_TitleDesc=1 (scroll through the list to find the batteries).
Disclaimers: I am not being paid to write this article and don't make any commissions. I am simply a satisfied MSI Wind netbook owner who is quite happy with mine and want to share the good price with others.
I do suspect that mwave will send you frequent email advertising after you join the "M Club." Of course, it is easy to set up an email filter to immediately trash such ads as soon as each message arrives, before you see any of them.