Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tech Tuesday - The Netbook

This post is a result from the blogging prompts offered over at geneabloggers. Tech Tuesday is for new technology or web offerings that we have found that may help other family historians. Although my post is not about a new technology, it is fairly new to me and I felt I needed to pass on my thoughts on a netbook computer.

netbookI have a Toshiba netbook and I love it. I was a little leery of the netbooks at first because they are so small with tiny little screens and keyboards. I didn’t think my fat fingers would be able to type on this thing. I was also a little hesitant because they just don’t have the power of a regular laptop and I am a guy so I need more POWER!! I carried around a Sony Vaio laptop for a long time and it was just too heavy and I always had to be on the look out for an outlet because the battery just didn’t last long enough for some serious research trips.

I really looked at how I use my laptop and figured out that 90% of the time it is for schoolwork or my family history when I am out doing research or just not near my desktop monster machine (remember, me man – need power).  So I did my research on these netbook things and discovered they are generally just made for surfing the web and basic word processing type stuff – just what I needed. And then I looked at the battery life they get and I was sold! Anywhere from 6-9 hours of battery life depending on the brand you get. Say goodbye to lugging around that power cord everywhere I go.

So, I went out and paid about $350 for a netbook and I have not regretted it since. It took a little getting used to the smaller keyboard with the keys a little closer together but that is nothing. I love the compactness and the battery life.

I can literally put this in any bag I own and take it with me and it is so light, I hardly notice it. For battery life, I have gone all day long without plugging this thing in. Now, that isn’t typing away all day long non-stop, it is typing away some, surfing the net some, close the lid when not using it. I am very impressed with the battery life.

The main reason for buying this was for school work. My classes are 100% online so this is perfect. furthermore, once I started using it I thought why don’t I just install my Legacy Family Tree software and see how this thing does. It works like a charm and since my data is stored on Dropbox, I can update my data on this thing and then it is all synced up with my monster desktop when I get back home.

Final reason for loving my netbook. I bought it before I started this blog and am so glad that I have it. I can pull this out whenever I have a few moments and update a post in draft or start an idea I may have. All my posts are kept on Dropbox also so they are all sync’d up with my desktop also.

Now, with anything, there is always downsides. The only downsides I have found with this netbook is getting used to the smaller screen and keyboard. I got used to them very quickly and now they do not bother me at all. The portability makes up for anything else for what I want it for and the price is perfect – cheaper than an iPad.

So, these are my thoughts on the netbook and I would definitely recommend one to someone who needs or wants a little more portability to their research tools.

I am interested in the opinion of anyone else using a netbook; what are your likes and dislikes, would you recommend to another family historian? Leave your opinions in a comment.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ for that family.

Chris

Photo from: Thales Barreto

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