Monday, May 23, 2011

Netbook Niceties

My husband had been talking about getting me a new computer for quite a while now.  He bought me a laptop several years ago to support and add my (then non-existent) writing career, but it didn't take long for my toddler to pop too many keys off it to allow it to function well and then somehow the screen started falling off so it wouldn't work right more than half the time.  Since then, I was back to using the family's desktop.

He'd been dropping hints like would I prefer a laptop or a desktop model, if I had the choice for a few months.  When he got his latest tuition reimbursement check from his workplace, he wanted to head down to Best Buy and pick up something for me.  Boy am I glad I was with him!  I shudder to think how much he would have spend on something that was far beyond what I needed.

Basically, I need a keyboard and an internet connection.  That's it.  Some basic word processing capabilities is good too, but not strictly needed, since I can always type something up on an online format and transfer it to the hard drive of the family computer some other time.  Going into the store knowing this, when he started to head over to the laptops, I redirected him to the much smaller and cheaper netbooks.  At the time, I didn't even know word processing could be done on them, but I saw that keyboard and knew it could connect to the rest of the world, so I was more or less sold...especially when I saw how much cheaper they were!

I think the sales guy thought I was weird, because while my husband was asking tech related questions, I was picking at the keys of the various models they had on display to see which ones would be the most likely destroyed and leaning on the screens to see which seemed the most vulnerable to attack.  At one point, I actually explained to the guy about the death of my last computer, so he would be happy I was trying to destroy the netbooks on display, since I was basically asking buying questions with my hands.  The Toshiba NB505 is what looked the least destructable, so that's what I decided on.  It also happened to be the second cheapest one they had, but this is an example where sometimes (not so much in this case) it is more thrifty to spend more on the onset, to save money on the long run, kind of like how I only buy one pair of shoes every 2-4 years, but they tend to be far more expensive than most people I know's shoes.  The shoes last 2-4 years of hard, nearly continuous use and I hope this netbook lasts even longer, so it is worth the initial outlay of funds.  Not only that but, when I am done with this device, I probably will be able to sell it to like I did my broken laptop, which I got $50 for even in its seriously dilapidated state!

Today, I started playing with it to see what other ways it could save me money.  I quickly remembered that software for reading Kindle books (relevant since a number of my favorite authors have been being evil lately and publishing short stories and novellas about characters I like strictly in ebook and sometimes strictly in Kindle format!) can be downloaded on such a device, so I looked into that and was thrilled to discover that my nice, lightweight netbook makes a decent ereader!  I wouldn't have been interested in using a desktop or traditional laptop for such a thing, since they aren't as portable (this fits in my purse!) and too big and bulky to pull out for a quick read, but this machine weighs less than a lot of hardcovers, so it works for me!  I probably will end up using this for a variety of ereader thingies, since it looks like ebooks from the library, which I still haven't figured out how to access, but I will when I find one I want I'm sure, come in a variety of formats.
Referring to my blog for a recipe while making dinner

The fun didn't stop there.  I realized that this could easily be my new "brain" and my new cookbook, since I can take it with me wherever I go, whether that be out and about with the kids or in the kitchen to try a new recipe (or even one of my own recipes that I can't quite remember and have blogged about).  This netbook will probably offer a significant savings in paper that I won't print out or the ink to print on it over time.  Yes, it still takes electricity, but I'm sure it takes less than the family computer, which now will be off a lot more, since I won't be tempted to pop on and off it all day like has long been my habit (Hey, some people take smoke breaks, I take Facebook breaks!).  Tonight when I was making dinner, I even pulled up my favorite radio station and listened to it online, so now I don't need a radio in the kitchen like I'd been thinking of getting.  I'm sure as I have it longer, I'll discover many more uses for it that will save even more money!

And to think that all of this is accomplished by getting a device that costs hundreds of dollars less than what my husband originally wanted for me, which wouldn't even do as much...or be as easy to keep away from the kids!


  1. We got our Toshiba a little over a year ago, and it's honestly one of the best purchases we've made for the household. It's so convenient, and it has withstood being dropped on multiple occasions. We love it. :0)

  2. how does it sound? my acer likes to "skip" (speakers are not that great)

  3. Kellie, not great, but no worse than a cheapy little radio I would have probably otherwise gotten. I haven't really noticed any skipping or least not yet.

  4. My hubs has a little Dell netbook and he loves it...he loaded Ubuntu on it (he's a big Linux geek) and it works great. For a gift a while back I got him some of those plastic flame stickers, the kind you get from automotive department, to put on it. I'm pretty sure after the rebate it was under $300, and he can do all kinds of stuff on it, which is a lot since he's a programmer.

  5. I understand the e-book excitement. My sister-in-law got herself a new iPad for Christmas last year, and since she could transfer her e-books to the iPad, it made her year-old Kindle redundant - so she was going the THROW HER KINDLE AWAY.

    ~pauses to let that absurd idea sink in~

    I offered to pay her for it (figuring why would she throw it away when she could make $50 for it? And I would still get a fairly new Kindle for less than the store price). She confessed that she'd been thinking of giving it to me for Christmas, but she'd decided against it because she didn't want to offend me by giving me a used item for the holiday.

    That one took a few minutes to sink in, because how could anyone consider a used item in good condition to be an insult? At that point I convinced her that I would be thrilled, not offended, and she ended up giving me the kindle as a gift.

    I love my Kindle and can't ever imagine giving it up.