What my Eee says about Mee

Asus Eee vs Acer 'laptop'The Asus Eee mini-laptop is the new Wii: the ultra-cool white gadget that clearly surpassed its manufacturer’s best sales projections. I was lucky enough to find one on sale in Tottenham Court Road a few weeks back, at list price too, and it was the guy’s easiest sale of the day.
What makes the Eee special? Its portability: as you can see, it’s much smaller than a conventional laptop, and much lighter too. Its cost: just £219 for the most popular model, but it’s still fully-spec’ed. But most importantly for me… its boot-up time. You’re up and running in 15 seconds, online in about 30.
And interestingly, it’s a conversation starter. Total strangers on the train ask me about it. I whip it out in meetings to take notes, and the conversation inevitably deviates for a minute or two. As Hugh MacLeod might say, it’s a ‘social object‘.
When you’re living the freelance/consultancy life, things like this matter. The Eee allows me to quietly communicate a few things about my view of life and business, without having to say a word. It’s quick. It’s not unnecessarily expensive or extravagant. It’s adaptable. It challenges the norm. I’ve yet to say the words ‘very much like myself, actually’ – but I think the message gets through.
Meanwhile, my former Big Ugly Laptop is gathering dust in the corner. Vista is a distant memory. Result all round, I’d say.

Eee redefines mobile working

Asus Eee vs Acer 'laptop'I didn’t go into London this afternoon expecting to buy a new laptop; but confronted by a shop which actually had the Asus Eee in stock – and at RRP too – I couldn’t resist. I’m now the very proud owner of an A5-sized Linux-based ultra-mobile PC… and the initial reaction is very positive indeed.
It’s undeniably cool, and feels much more solid than you’re entitled to expect for £219. The little keyboard takes a little getting used to; but the screen is fantastic, and the sound is better than I expected. The machine itself is remarkably lightweight, and the compact (mobile phone style) AC adapter is a pleasant surprise.
Inevitably you’re going to find yourself using Firefox most of the time, so it’s an immediately familiar user experience. The custom front-end is simplistic but perfectly functional; and it’s (apparently) dead easy to enable a more conventional Linux desktop if that’s what you want.
I can’t immediately see a catch. Smaller and lighter than a conventional laptop, with all the functionality you need, and a rock-bottom price tag. It redefines mobile working, simple as that.
If you fancy one yourself – good luck. There’s a great website which checks online retailers for availability: but be warned, they tend to sell out in minutes, unless you’re prepared to pay a hefty premium.