As you’ll recall, Marduk died on me in October. I dealt with the grief and sense of betrayal by spending a week obsessively researching netbooks, then buying the Acer Aspire One I saw in Costco that set me off on the research binge in the first place. I promptly tried to install Ubuntu. Something went wrong, and six weeks later I decided it was the hardware, not me. The manufacturer agreed, and offered to let me ship it to them (at my own cost) so they could tinker with it and send it back fixed. I took advantage of Costco’s generous return policy instead.

I was so pleased with their return policy, in fact, that I went and, rather impulsively, bought their HP mini they had as the alternative to the Aspire One. I’d already fallen in love with the weight and price tag netbooks carry. The night before I fell for the keyboard on the mini while at Office Depot*. I figured a week away from home, and work, would be the perfect opportunity to put a new netbook to a stress test and see where it fails me. Generally I find HP as a brand to be sketchy, though their notebooks are grantedly superior to their desktops. Mostly I’m smiting hard from falling out of love with Toshiba.

At any rate, the keyboard definitely cuts it for me. My work comp’s an HP so the brand-specific quirks are natural for me at this point, and I typed the whole airport rant without keybaord-induced difficulties. I’m a little more likely to drop a number in for one of the keys on the top row, but this isn’t a big deal. My thumbs are a little cramped, but that’s not presenting as a real problem yet. The HD is an SSD, which I like since fewer moving parts means less that can go wrong. The screen is pretty much big enough, though I did turn off the bookmarks toolbar in firefox.

It’s still running Windows since, at 7G (is that possible?) the HD is too small for a dual-boot and I need to be able to do work things this week. I plan to wipe it when I get home. Pending success there, I think I’m sold. I tried the EEE PC in a Best Buy, and aside from the sales guy staring blankly at me when I asked if they carried the version pre-loaded with Linux, then agreeing that the native distro is SUSE (not true, to their credit), thought it was okay, though the keyboard was way too short for my hands to hang off it comfortably. That leaves the MSI Wind, which I can’t find at any brick and mortar stores, and Dell’s thing. I doubt there’ll be much improvement.

I am already feeling a little claustrophobic, though. 7g is really small, especially since I was thinking of switching back to dual-booting so I can stop hauling the work comp everywhere. There’s no ethernet jack which won’t matter most of the time, but is a serious problem since Pappa’s wireless routers don’t make so much with the internet connectivity. There are only two USB ports which would be fine on a regular computer, but means that if I’m booted off a CD I can either attach a thumb drive, my ipod, my tablet, or my cuckoo drive. It is conceivable that I’d run into a situation where I’d want two or three of those. A USB hub is an option, though after my experience withe the Acer I’d feel some concern over its ability to power the hub.

Interesting side note, for anybody willing to indulge me in half-serious superstition. I had the Acer for over a month, and never did think of a name I really liked for it. I was calling it Bonaparte during install attempts, but that was a place holder until I thought of something good. The minute I decided to buy the HP mini, I decided to name in Muninn, i.e. Memory, one of Odin’s ravens. Seconds later I realized that Muninn can become Munnie, thus maintaining my M*ie nick-naming convention. I’ve never deliberately orchestrated it this way, but take a look at it:

1) Vishnu, no nick name, but your first love is always unlike the ones that follow.
2) Manannan Mac Lir – Mannie
3) Marduk – Mardie
4) Manticore – Monty
5) Edmond – Mondie (I actually call him Edmond or Eddie, but I’d noticed the pattern at this point and realized this was a reasonable nickname from Edmond, so I rigged this one)
6) Muninn – Munnie

Marduk was originally named De La Vega (or Diego, I can’t remember now), but I couldn’t get his wireless card working and hated him. When the new version of Ubuntu came out I renamed him to Marduk, the card worked, and we fell instantly in love.

So, it seems like I’m not going to go for a computer unless I can find a name for it quickly, and it complies with the nick-naming convention. I don’t plan to rig this at all in the future, but I’ll be curious to see how it plays out.

And yes, this entry is only here to continue testing the keyboard. I’m finished cooking for the night and I’m still twitchy and pissed, so what else am I going to do?

*The people at Office Depot were significantly more knowledgeable and helpful than anybody at Best Buy and of the times I’ve been in there to get my hands on a gadget I think I want. They not only heard me mention Ubuntu and said, “We carry the linux verison online,” but they knew enough about it to give an appropriate and accurate answer when I asked them which distro i.e. they had no clue but could look it up for me, then did. Costco had a bigger screen $50 cheaper though.

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