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Old 12-17-2012, 10:58 PM   #1
jhempel24
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Writing on a NetBook

I'm seriously contemplating buying a NetBook for it's size and portability. I was wondering if anyone uses one to write on the go, or if you just use a PC. I also write some at work and go between two different pieces of software (word, and open office) and it doesn't translate everything as well as I'd like.

My laptop is a heavy 17" machine that I can't take with me all the time, but I'm pretty sure I can take a 10.1" netbook.
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:16 AM   #2
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I do. I use a nearly 3 year old Acer netbook, running Ubuntu. When I switched to Ubuntu I took out the stock 160 GB hard drive (with Windows XP on it) and installed a 320 GB drive. I use the Open Office suite. The nicest thing about Ubuntu (or other Linux distros) is the ability to switch among virtual screens -- that eases the difficulty of dealing with such a small screen.

The small screen is a bit of a challenge, but I've gotten used to it. I will admit that I (long ago) used to write on an Epson Geneva PX-8 with an 80 column by 8 line display (no descenders on lower case letters). The netbook is a huge step up from that. Still, I do use cut-and-paste more frequently with the netbook.

As far as writing "on the go" -- mostly, I use it in the house. I use it in the living room in the morning and in front on the TV at night. I have taken it out to a Barnes & Noble and our local library a few times and used their wi-fi, but not nearly as often as I thought I would.

I use the netbook every day and I'm very happy with it, but I won't automatically replace it with another netbook when the time comes. I do use the SD slot to transfer files, but I still miss a DVD/CD drive. I've found myself checking out 14 inch laptops lately. I'd say it's a toss-up right now as to which way I go.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:26 AM   #3
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I use iPad and kindle and I find Kindle more convenient to carry. Though it is easier to write on a bid 15 inch lap top it is cumbersome to carry
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:30 AM   #4
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hempel24

cromag has some good points.

First, check out the size you want. Unless your hands are small the 10.1 might have too tiny a keyboard. It does for me. I am a touch typist and I play the typing keyboard like I do the musical keyboard. I want the keys to be where I expect them.
Second, the keys that are flush with their surroundings, not raised, are a pain to me. Avoid them.
That said, an 11.6" screen or even a 12.1" screen should indicate a large enough keyboard to be comfortable on but still try to check it out first hand.
Once those things are straight, think about the screen. I like a bright screen and the ability to view at a wide angle isn't so important unless you will be typing on two machines and just want to glance over at one occasionally from the side.

After the above, look for battery life.

The new chromebooks which are 11.6" and the older ones which were 12.1" are a second possibility that you might consider. That will require a new way of thinking though. Just like ubuntu.

If you only want to change the size of the machine, stick with XP or W7 and I wouldn't try W8 as yet. You can use Office.
If you like Apple, the Air has a 11.6" machine and is excellent in all other ways though 2 to 3 times more expensive. Also Office.

On the low cost side, Acer has some new netbooks on Amazon for $250. Again best to be careful with the 10.1 or even smaller models. I would avoid them.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:13 AM   #5
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I have an 'original' Acer netbook, can't type on it, the keyboard is too cramped. I wouldn't advise trying to write on it. Like this: http://www.amazon.com/Acer-AOA150-14.../dp/B001EYV9TM
You'd be better with a full-size keyboard (maybe that's what you are looking for).

There are some great ultrabooks - (I got a Dell 14z early this year, it's great - not quite an ultrabook - but purchased primarily as a mobile writing machine). http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-14z-5423/pd
There are also Chromebooks if you are are using it just for writing/surfing and have wifi available where you will use it. http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome...&utm_medium=ha

Last edited by kennyc; 12-18-2012 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:47 AM   #6
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I have a Samsung N130, which makes a great secondary device for continuing writing when out and about, but I wouldn't want it to be my primary device for writing.

It's actually got a very nice keyboard, good for a few hours without getting tired, but it's still not as comfortable as the full-sized one on my desktop.

Also while a 1024x600 screen is fine for continuing with a piece that you're writing, and could even be said to reduce the chance for distraction, a large monitor is much better for laying out your ideas and writing with reference to notes and an outline.

But for writing on the move, say on a train, a netbook works very well, and can be useful in situations where you've not got enough table space for a larger laptop (such as in seats closely-spaced with no table at all).

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Old 12-18-2012, 08:49 AM   #7
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I guess my hands are small, because I've had no problems writing on an Acer Aspire One or an eeePC 701, or even my TF300's docking station. Tablets in general have an advantage because you can get bluetooth keyboards that're closer to full size, and use one of them. People might laugh, especially if you're like me and set your tablet up on a picture easel, but it works.

Trying to write on an on-screen keyboard is an exercise in futility. Been there, tried that.

The issue with screen space is IMO because people aren't designing their apps with smaller screens in mind the way they did when the only commonly-available GUI had a 5" screen at 72 DPI. We've gotten used to having way too many features for a simple writing app, with all the menus and bloat that follow. At some point, someone is going to end up developing a "gold standard" tablet writing app that sets the design language for future ones, the way MacWrite did for conventional word processors.

I've got a hunch it also relates to designers setting default font sizes for a 96-DPI screen, instead of a percentage of available screen height.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:33 AM   #8
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teh603

When the netbooks first came out, I really, really wanted the 10.1s to work for me. I tried for near 3 weeks to get used to one. I hated it.

Keyboards are important for me. Normally at home I have what is called a "typist" keyboard on my desktop. It clicks and clacks and the keys travel up and down, gives all sorts of feedback tactility and sound wise and is great. The one I liked best though I have had others is a Dell one. I am using one now that actually has 2 keys that don't really function properly and I replaced it with a new Microsoft one, but after a month, decided to just work around the bad key problem on the old Dell.

To do a control alternate delete, I have to left hand "span" a octave and a note to use the opposite "alt" key, and the squared off right bracket doesn't work so I have to copy and paste one if I need it. (In the old days, I would have just used a control code to get it, but I don't bother anymore.)

Thinking about it, maybe I will order a new one, but that is what I did with the MS one.

Last edited by frahse; 12-19-2012 at 03:45 AM.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:26 AM   #9
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I have the Asus TF101 with its dock and it is a good bit small to type on. Its one thing for updating twitter/facebook - a different world for writting. I have a Dell 17" monster that I travel with - planing to move to a Macbook Pro 15 Retina (work is paying, else I could never afford it!) but even then I found the keyboard hard to use. I much prefer the curve style keyboards which are tough to find.

Go to Bestbuy or some other store, open notepad on the machines and start typing. Type for a good few pages if need be. See how they feel. For writing the keyboard is the most critical piece, IMO.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:26 AM   #10
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Keyboards are important for me. Normally at home I have what is called a "typist" keyboard on my desktop. It clicks and clacks and the keys travel up and down, gives all sorts of feedback tactility and sound wise and is great.
Y'know, I learned on some fairly un-tactile Mac keyboards back in the day? A too- clackey keyboard doesn't work for me. I guess it would matter to someone who started using the old pre-PS2 keyboards or on an actual typewriter, though. The parents learned on (and still have) their mechanical typewriters, and have had a difficult time moving to an actual keyboard.

There's times when I wonder if they're looking for the fraction keys.

Edit: Course there's sometimes when I *wish* they still had fraction keys.

Last edited by teh603; 12-18-2012 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:32 AM   #11
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Y'know, I learned on some fairly un-tactile Mac keyboards back in the day? A too- clackey keyboard doesn't work for me. I guess it would matter to someone who started using the old pre-PS2 keyboards or on an actual typewriter, though. The parents learned on (and still have) their mechanical typewriters, and have had a difficult time moving to an actual keyboard.

There's times when I wonder if they're looking for the fraction keys.
I learned on a manual typewriter back in the stone age before personal computers existed. I love me some real keyboard action!
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:37 AM   #12
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I spend way too much time in front of a computer, have done for years - and many years ago I began to develop problems with my wrists (presumably something like carpal tunnel syndrome although I never went to a doctor about it). I started using Microsoft Natural Keyboards and that seemed to solve it - but the keyboards are not small. These days I've moved on to a Kinesis Freestyle (the MS keyboards don't have the quality they used to have).

As a result, partly out of being so long used to big bent keyboards, and partly because of the "condition" - whatever it is - I have trouble with small or cramped keyboards, even laptops. I can use them for a short time but I quickly get uncomfortable - and I spend way to much time thinking about where the keys are to write very fast. So for now I am tied either to my desktop or to a system that will accept an external keyboard if I want to do any serious work. And, of course, needing a large external keyboard makes everything that much less portable.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:44 AM   #13
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Won't it be nice when we are able to just think and have the words pop up on the screen!
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:06 PM   #14
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Won't it be nice when we are able to just think and have the words pop up on the screen!
yes. lol.


I've tried several 10.1s and 11s and have no problem typing on them. I'm used to tight spaces sometimes. what i cant do is type on a tablet. at all lol.

Thanks for the feedback. There are a couple for $240 at the local wal-mart. An Acer and a Gateway. If it doesn't work for me then I can always return it.
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:45 PM   #15
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yes. lol.


I've tried several 10.1s and 11s and have no problem typing on them. I'm used to tight spaces sometimes. what i cant do is type on a tablet. at all lol.

Thanks for the feedback. There are a couple for $240 at the local wal-mart. An Acer and a Gateway. If it doesn't work for me then I can always return it.
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