Thoughts on Translation is back from vacation (Costa Rica was amazing, thanks for asking!) and ready to attack some new projects. Summer always seems to be a challenging work time; I’m in and out of the office a lot doing fun things with the family and we also travel for several weeks, so I’m usually trying to fit more work into less time than usual. I haven’t yet made the leap to a smartphone, so mobile computing has been on my mind a lot this season.

I feel it’s really important to take at least one real work-free vacation a year, so on our recent two week trip to Costa Rica we took my daughter’s XO laptop to play some games and briefly check e-mail, but otherwise we were computer-free. My warhorse laptop, a factory refurbished IBM ThinkPad that I bought 7+ years ago, is finally on its last legs; first the touch pad stopped working, now the WiFi only works about half of the time, and sometimes when I boot it up it gives scary error messages that are probably its last gasps of usability!

After a lot of hemming and hawing, I decided to get a netbook; I was on the fence between an MCI Wind and an Asus Eee and finally decided to go with the Eee. The model I got, the 1000 series with a solid state drive and Linux OS, isn’t insanely tiny (unlike some netbooks that are approximately the size of the graphing calculator I had to get for 9th grade math!), but since I have pretty big hands and do a lot of word processing, I thought that a model with an almost full-size keyboard was a better bet. So far I’m really happy with the Eee. I replaced the factory-installed Linux OS with Ubuntu’s netbook-specific distribution and it’s really fast and easy to use. The whole package (the computer, cord and my flash drive) zips into a little neoprene case for easy carrying, it’s pretty slick!

Part of my rationale for getting a netbook was that in the age of ever more pervasive WiFi, it seems like a pretty good substitute for a smartphone. If I’m waiting to pick my daughter up somewhere or out doing errands for a few hours, I’m nearly always within range of a WiFi signal and the Eee Linux model uses so little battery power that I can leave it on nearly all day on one battery charge. Also, I wonder if netbooks are going to put a dent in the market for software upgrades. I paid a little under $400 for my Eee; because our office is an all-Linux shop, the cost of software upgrades isn’t an issue, but if I ran Windows, I would certainly look at the option of attaching a netbook to an external monitor and keyboard instead of purchasing OS and office software upgrades for a desktop computer. Any other netbook-using translators out there? If so, what uses have you found for your little tool?

12 Responses to “Netbooks”
  1. Judy Jenner June 16, 2009
  2. Olli June 16, 2009
  3. Loreto Riveiro June 16, 2009
  4. Adriana Morgan June 17, 2009
  5. Adriana Morgan June 17, 2009
  6. learningbytranslating June 17, 2009
  7. Tom Ellett June 18, 2009
  8. tricia June 29, 2009
  9. Ok July 4, 2009
  10. Lucina Rodero March 5, 2010
  11. Michel Marques February 5, 2011

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