Having had a week or so to play with the new toys, I have some experiences to write about.
Toy #1 is a 1 Tb hard drive. Yes, we do have that much data. I generate data like crazy for work, and Kevin needs regular backups because he has so much trouble with flaky hard drives. (I’ve never had a hard drive go bad on me. Both of us use Dells. My machines are all Latitudes, his are all Inspirons. This may be significant.)
So, yes, we have a 1 Tb drive. The price of storage is ridiculous these days. So much so that we bought a mirrored RAID drive. Most importantly, however, it is a network drive. It plugs into the Ethernet switch, and all of our PCs can see it. This is very useful. So far the drive is behaving fine, though Kevin has discovered that the backup software is painfully slow.
Toy #2 is a new netbook. The little Acer Eee is very cute, and it has been useful to have a Linux machine to play with, but really I need something that is capable of running all of the software I use in my daily work, and that means Windows. I was thinking of getting a Lenovo, but once in Fry’s I got distracted by an Acer Aspire. It is what the magazines have started to call a “lapbook” – something that is almost netbook-sized, but has all of the power of a laptop. Really? Yes, really.
So for $400 (plus tax) I got a little machine that’s not that much heavier than the Eee but which has a 160Gb hard drive and 2Gb of RAM. The only major things my laptop has that the new machine doesn’t are a DVD drive and a dual-core processor. I’m impressed.
Of course there is one thing I had to have with the new machine that the laptop doesn’t have: Windows 7. I am very relieved to report that after a week or so of use it hasn’t done anything horrible. As usual, Microsoft has hidden a bunch more of the controls, and moved others to obscure places, as part of their on-going plan to make Windows impossible to configure without hiring trained technicians, but the software itself works. There was no problem hooking up our printer, or putting the Aspire on the network. All of the applications I have installed work (including Eudora which I was quite worried about). When installing iTunes I discovered that I actually have the 64-bit version of Windows 7, so I’m even more impressed that the old software all works.
So far, so good. I think I will be able to travel lighter when I go to conventions from now on. Indeed, I took both the Latitude and the Aspire away for Thanksgiving, but only used the Aspire. My primary concern is that the screen on the Aspire is a lot smaller. The resolution is excellent, and due to extra width I probably get more data on screen, but I think I may have to upgrade my glasses, and that could cost as much as the Aspire.