Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bronchitis and Netbooks

Well, I'm writing this while grappling tiredly with what I guess is bronchitis. I spent the early hours of Thursday (3am-8am) at Kaiser's near-empty ER in Terra Linda doing asthma nebulizer treatments as my inhaler wasn't doing jack. Amusingly, this was the first visit where I had easy bathroom access, which wasn't the case for any of my many lower-GI trips!

Being sick has really increased the pressure to follow through on my gradual plans to acquire a netbook... In the past, when I was unwell enough that sitting at my desk was tiring, I propped myself up in bed or on the couch and used a laptop there. I even picked out a small notebook for my previous system with that in mind, since I was suffering from severe muscle weakness & pain thanks to the Chiari. Now that system relies on an external monitor, and my huge old y2k laptop suffered power jack damage. No portability there! I'm trying out a nifty Zaurus SL-5600, but haven't learned how to get my wireless card working yet, so it's of limited use.

For the netbook, I'm thinking of going with a solid-state (i.e. flash) drive coupled with a used 2.5" hard drive -- either inside if I can modify the netbook, or in an external case I have lying around. I'm hunting 10.x" netbooks right now as well, after researching what all the specs mean for a week or so. I'd much prefer to get one with Linux pre-installed, both to show my support and save me time, but (reportedly thanks to MS pressuring the manufacturers) most are nearly the same price as XP sibling with inferior hardware. Arrgh.

Which brings me to something that has been perplexing and annoying me for a while now... Many newbies switch to Linux after seeing many happy comments about how easy to use, attractive, and stable it is; some are also entranced by a friendly community like UbuntuForums. As far as I can imagine, companies like Dell or Lenovo should want to emulate that approach, educate consumers so they realize that it's no harder or less intuitive for a newbie than Windows or OS X are. Instead, reps periodically trot out to repeat those same old lies, undermining a product line of their own that could offer superior profit margins if handled properly.

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