Monthly Archives: December 2009

Connections Loom

The ability to reconnect with people whom I haven't seen, or frankly thought of, throughout a large part of my life, has become less novel. In novelty's absence arose persistent attraction. For the younger folks, it will never be fresh; it originates as the mundane. Those of my ilk marvel at, “Jeez, how did 30 years go by since I last saw this person?”, and the youngers say, “30 years? WTF?! I can't even imagine.”

The compiled years are not an insurmountable abyss across which one leaps. They are just the period that passes without really noticing. We travel within a small envelope, a week or two into the past, and a few days or weeks into the future, and with us we carry those with which we interact during that time frame. Everything else is just passing sets — both stage and mathematical — and everyone else are entries on the 'Guest Stars' list. We weave our own fabric at our own loom, our threads occasionally intersecting.

Social sites expose the threads, showing us snippets of other designs, through windows of which we imagine we can see the true colors, where we think we can remember the tastes and sounds, yet knowing we are observers watching the show. Allowed to vote or comment, for sure, we needst turn away and again pump the foot pedal, until the realization of isolation is too much to ignore, and again we gaze. Once blind, the gift of sight lures us. We can live without it, as we had always done, but it's just too convenient…too present…to care to try to do so.  The upside of annoying non-productive familiarity beats the freedom of isolation.

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Netbooks versus Notebooks

A friend of mine asked me to comment on netbooks versus notebooks, so I sent her the below message, slightly modified for this blog.

———- Forwarded message ———-

    The main attractions I consider in a netbook are price, ease of portability, and battery life.  The down-sides are the inability of them to run any intense apps, especially games. For kids, that might be a big deal. Although it sounds like a good idea, netbooks without hard drives, the ones with the solid state memory, are almost useless. At least get one with a hard drive. Most netbooks of any worth have at least 160GB HD's, such as the Acer's seen here: http://www.circuitcity.com/applications/campaigns/campaigntemplate.asp?CampaignID=1192&SRCCODE=CCEM175MS&cm_mmc=EML-_-Main-_-CCEM175-_-circuit175 . None of them have CD drives, so basically, to install software one has to either copy it, to a thumb drive first, or use an external CD drive. I recommend the later, as it is much easier.  One can find an external CD/DVD drive for between $50-$60, but remember that when you're pricing netbooks.  Thus, the difference in price, between an entry-level notebook, and a decent netbook, might be the difference of an external CD drive.  The point is that, if you're looking at a netbook to get into a PC, for a kid, under a notebook price, one must consider the CD drive when doing so.

    A 6-cell battery lasts longer than a 3-cell battery.  For this reason, always go 6-cell if one can.

    Netbooks are great for accessing the net (thus their name), as they are compact, have long battery lives, and can run basic applications.  Some of them have Windows CE on them, which is the same OS that some hand held devices have.  I would avoid those and instead aim for something with true Windows XP or Windows 7, as they will run more apps.  Installing the fully free and compatible OpenOffice.org (www.openoffice.org) on them, for example, is a great idea, as they are great for doing papers and rudimentary spreadsheets.  However, large spreadsheets are cumbersome, on the little screens.  PowerPoint-type things…dunno, as I haven't tried them, and I don't have a netbook myself (I've just played with them).

    If I had a spare $200 I just might pick one up, for myself, as my aged Gateway laptop has almost no battery life left, and taking it to Starbucks involves plugging it in, holding the power cord in it, as its now loose, etc.  These little netbooks are simply convenient, for email, Facebook, and general Internet browsing, while on the go.  I cannot see spending more than $200-$260 for one though.  At that point one can really start to be in decent notebook country.

    A $299 notebook can be seen here [update: out of stock] (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?Sku=A180-15614) .  Yeah, it's an eMachine; I don't think of it as a fully modern notebook; it only has one processor (versus dual), but it's got more balls than a netbook and satisfies the minimum requirements for running medium level games. and being able to store adocuments documents.

    Hope this helps.