Sure, I understand the structure of a For-Next Loop and I can work through an If-Then-Else statement, but I’m typically much better at sorting through someone else’s code than I am at writing my own programs. It is sort of the programming equivalent of being able to read a foreign language, but not speak it.
Recently, Coding Horror weighed in on the subject of what value netbooks have. Netbooks, in case you aren’t much of a techie, are small, lightweight laptops that are typically both low-end power and low-end pricing. In other words, you end up with a very portable computer that is not designed for power computing tasks, all for a very low price.
For example, I got my Acer Netbook for just over $200 including shipping and tax. It weighs close to 2 lbs and can fit inside of my 6 inch x 9 inch notebook that I use. (It’s a little thick though.) The trade-off is that it uses a slower than the typical desktop Intel processor called Atom, and it only has 1 GB of RAM. Incidentally, these lower level limits are the result of Microsoft’s tight fisted control of the Windows XP license that can actually run on a netbook versus the recently demised bloatware known as Windows Vista.
Why Netbooks Suck For Techie Blogger Types
The author of Coding Horror is a regular reader of another blog called Global Nerdy, where a recent article suggested that Netbooks occupy the arena between Smartphones and Laptops. While Coding Horror comes to the defense of netbooks, their reasons are different from my reasons.
The original article author apparently looked around at his needs and found no need for a netbook. His contention is that Netbooks are too big to fit into your pocket and thus inferior to Smartphones as a portable device, and less powerful than laptops, and thus inferior to laptops as a computing device. This is not untrue.
The mind boggling part of the recent backlash against netbooks is that the, overwhelmingly techie, authors of these articles assume that people purchasing a netbook are actually trying to replace either a Smartphone or a Laptop at all. If that were the case, then these writers would have a point. However, that is almost always NOT the case, and the myopic vision of those who are power computing users, are just missing the point.
Netbooks are NOT a replacement for laptops or smartphones. Indeed, they are something else entirely. I cannot speak for why other people purchase a Netbook, but one need look no further than the freelance writer to understand how great a Netbook can be for the right user.
Why SmartPhones and Laptops Suck
As a professional freelance writer, I have many needs. This is not unlike most other professions. A carpenter needs a hammer, or a nail gun. I do not. But, I don’t go around saying that nail guns are worthless and that no one ever would need anything other than a hammer.
For a freelance writing business, there is no tool more necessary than a Netbook. In fact, for most of my particular uses, it is the SmartPhones and Laptops that suck, not the netbook.
The best iPhone or top of the line Android SmartPhone, and every other phone out there from Blackberry, to Palm to Windows Mobile all suffer from one fatal flaw; they cannot be touch-typed on. I write 500 words in my sleep. I often write 2500 words, 5000 words, or even complete 300 page books or manuals. Not being able to touchtype is like cutting my salary by 75%. For typing on the go, a Smartphone is worthless, no matter what kind of keyboard it has.
Which brings us to laptops. While certain techie types might consider carrying around a five or six pound laptop with a 17″ widescreen to be perfectly acceptable, there are, I would wager, quite a few more of us who find the idea of carting around a laptop and accompanying laptop bag less than appealing.
Sure, if I’m headed to the local Starbucks for a little java and writing, then I wouldn’t mind at all. On the other hand, if I’m headed out to meet up with friends, or to drop my daughter off at dance class and I just need to have something along with me so I can use some of my down time to write, I really don’t want to be lugging around a big old laptop computer and then wondering when I’m done if it is O.K. to leave it in the trunk of my car. (Is it too cold? Too hot? Will it get stolen?)
A netbook on the other hand serves this function beautifully. It is small and very portable. Instead of being the dad with the huge shoulder bag, I’m the dad with a small backpack or even just a portfolio case. I can whip out the netbook virtually anywhere and write an article, jot out some notes, or do a little research on the Internet when I find a Wi-Fi hotspot. When I’m done, it really isn’t all that big, so I can pretty much take it with me anywhere. If not, it fits in the glove box, under the seat, in a locker. Heck, it even fits in a friend’s purse!
In the end, people who bag on netbooks are completely missing the point. Netbooks are not for replacing phones or for replacing laptops. Netbooks are made to replace and improve upon that centuries old tool, the notebook; not the computer kind, the paper kind. A netbook eliminates carrying around paper and pen along with a file folder with all of your reading or research printed off. Use a netbook for what it is made fore, and you will find that netbooks are not worthless, they are priceless.