Apr 012009
 
Authors: Glen Pfeiffer, Ryan Gibbons

Our lives are filled with “outings.” Places to go. People to meet. Things to protest. Zombies to … whatever.

We are all increasingly on-the-go as our society demands more from us while paying us less. Luckily we humans have a symbiotic relationship with the ecosystem in Silicon Valley, in which new species are constantly evolving. The newest, identified as/”netbookus laptopis,” is rapidly reproducing and creating delicious offspring for us to consume.

Environmental parallels aside (we heard green is the new green), one of the biggest crazes in hardware right now is the netbook — a miniature laptop computer which sacrifices performance for portability and affordability. Amazingly, the designers seem to have done a satisfactory job with knowing where to draw the line. Everything you would want to use a highly portable laptop for still exists — Internet surfing, word processing, instant messaging and video conferencing./

What are the downsides, you ask? The biggest for most people will undoubtedly be the lack of an optical drive. This means installing software can be a real hassle. You can purchase an external drive for around $60 and, via USB, you can watch movies, install software and rip CDs. However, you can actually share optical drives over a home network, which gives you the full functionality of an optical drive without buying another one.

Sadly, you will also find yourself unable to do much n00b pwning. These mini-laptops aren’t made for playing games or running any other high processor intensive programs. That means no Photoshop, no Sims and no video editing. It also means you can’t be doing too many things at once. Say you’re working on a Word document, updating your iPod and watching a certain YouTube video — it might take Charlie the Unicorn about 20 minutes to reach Candy Mountain./

Let’s talk a little bit about size. We could be cliché and make a size matters joke here, or we could just say that something smaller might be able fit into more places but will also sacrifice performance./

Size is a tricky subject; both the screen and keyboard on netbooks are significantly smaller then a laptop. But then again you can’t fit a laptop in your overcoat pocket. If you’re looking for something that’s sporting a little more screen real estate than 10 or 12 inches, then you’re looking for a laptop. As for the keyboard, it’s smaller than a standard laptop keyboard, but you’ll get used to it. We promise./

As we are college students, we think you should consider the netbook concept for what it can offer you. It’s affordable, with models ranging from $200 to $400, and it’s a great way to take notes in class. Plus, when you end up out on life’s little excursions, you won’t have to drag a full-sized laptop around. In fact, one of us just spent this weekend in New Mexico and decided not to bring a full-size, 17-inch laptop because it was just too much. A netbook would have done gloriously in its place./

This column has been brought to you by Dr. Schlossel von Hindenscheiben, co-discoverer of netbookus laptopis. He can be reached at verve@collegian.com./

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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