Friday, January 8, 2010

Netbook or Notebook? I can't decide!

As my Florida trip quickly approaches I am quickly becoming aware of three things:

(1) I want to re-open my Mystic Guardians concept from 2004 and my Holly Knight Chronicles from 2005.

(2) I am going to have nearly two full weeks of 100% no destractions -- minus a bit of shopping, karaoke and going out to dinner / to the pool.

(3) As it stands the only "notebook" I possess is the old fashioned paper kind.

This is not a great thing to realize when I only have about 4 weeks before I leave for my trip. Now, I did consider taking Beaster -- my old 1987 (or something equally ancient) laptop that is an IBM with nada but floppy disc drive and Windows 3.1 or 95 or something else equally grotsque and decaying. But the problem is, Beaster's floppy drive is defective. Forgive me, Beaster, if I do not want to spend two weeks on a manuscript and not be able to retrieve it.

My next option is to use my sparkly new iPod touch to write my novel. But... Hello?! 23.5 inch screen, tiny touch keyboard and 50,000 -- 100,000 words do not mix any better then beer and cheesies. (Just ask my parents. Seriously.)

Add to this that I am not really in the market for a mobile pc as a main computer either. I have a fantastic desktop that I actually plan to swap for a newer and far more custom designed model later this year -- Dad or Mom can have this one. Point being, I do not need a Super Laptop or a Mobile Desktop / Desktop replacement. I use my fabulous 37" Acer TV / Monitor for my PC and my Xbox 360, it works absolutely DIVINE, and I love it.

So what do I need? I need Baby Bear's Porridge. A machine that will do Beaster's old job, but that will not have me paying as much as I will likely spend at Canada Computers this summer when I get my new tower designed. Which begs the question -- do I need a cheap / budget laptop, or a netbook?

There are some key differences. Notebooks have a CD / DVD drive -- netbooks don't. Notebooks tend to have larger hard drives and more powerful processors and (in comparison, at least) more powerful graphics chipsets. There is much more room for a large screen on a notebook then on a netbook and the keyboard is also much more likely to be full (or closer to full) size.

But I suppose that the best way to determine what I need for my portable PC is to think the same way that I do when I buy for my home PC. "What do you plan to use it for?" Lets see...

-- Writing my novels (Duh.)
-- Checking e-mail / general web surfing
-- Charging my iPod
-- Storing wanted footage off my video camera until I can transfer it & edit it on my big PC (What will I need for this? Need to check.)
-- Ventrilo & MSN

In comparison here is what my Mobile PC's "Big Brother" does:
-- Playing MMOs (Must meet current game requirements; built my last PC for WoW raiding.)
-- Editing video footage (I like Pinnacle VideoSpin personally)
-- Watching stuff on YouTube (I have my Touch for this when traveling -- although I can certainly take advantage of and iTunes if I want to put new stuff onto my iPod. Quite handy!)
-- Watching DVDs (Little guy is likely not going to be used for this. If I *really* want to watch DVDs I could always spend the $20 on a cheap DVD player. It would be nice, but its not *necessary.*)
-- Editing artwork (37" screen > 15" screen > 10" screen. Unless I am DESPERATE with a big capital D I am sure my totally badass home setup will be my editing PC of choice.)

Soooo... I need to find a suitable PC. I have done some looking around and some of the things that I have seen have been pretty cool, ranging from cheap to chic. What have I made up my mind that I would ideally like?

If I buy a netbook:

Must run Windows XP. Why? First off, I am not versed in Linux -- it was Greek to me at my ICSP (Independant Computer Stuidies Program) in 1999, and I would wager it is still Greek now. Why not take a shot on Windows 7? Because (a) I have heard that for Netbooks it sucks, and (b) I am more inclined to go with the least resource stealing OS I can that I am ***familiar*** with.

Must have a good keyboard. This is vital. If it does not have a good keyboard I might as well be using my iPod Touch since I already own it. I plan to take a look at Beaster's Keyboard and screen before I make a final purchase. He is not perfect, but he served me well for quite some time and I did a couple fan fic novellas as well as my first novel "Ring of Darkness" quite contently before his floppy disk drive died on him.

Screen must be ledgible. I will have to go and check out these machines to see whether I can physically see the screen on them. I don't have any qualms about pumping the print on my MS Word to 14 or 16 but if we get into 72 territory for me to be able to see, forget it! It would not be worth it.

It must be a liveable colour. Black, red, white, pink... I could handle one of these. Lime Green? Unless I want that to be The Colour of my machine, the answer is *not so much*. Why? Because I can easily (and affordably) get a skin for my new netbook from . For example, this one:

Isn't it cute? Anyway, as you can see there are oodles of ways to make the thing look cute and personal without deliberately paying a small fortune or sarcrificing goods under the hood in the name of fashion. For instance, there was a cute HP Netbook at BestBuy that caught my attention but it is running Windows 7 and is $349.99 before tax, which is a bit more then I can afford comfortably. (Click Here.)

In essence, it comes down to a debate between two machines: either a netbook or a budget laptop. I found these examples on and feel that they pretty much sum up the general idea for option a or option b of what I will end up buying. (Although individual store stock and a bit of luck must obviously be taken into account.) Anyway, here they are:

A Potential Notebook

A Potential Netbook

Which will I end up buying? Only time will tell, but your opinions and suggestions are very welcome. Thanks for reading!

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