Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Net books aren't all bad.

As an "IT Guy" I spend a bit of time on blogs reading about technology and what's new and what's good.  I've seen a lot of news about netbooks.  A lot of the new is good but there are a few bloggers that hate netbooks and feel they shouldn't exist.  Reasons for this include weak processors and small screen sizes.  Both are true but I think there definitely is a market for netbooks.

I recently acquired a netbook during the holidays and I have to say I'm very happy with it.  Before I got it (as a gift) I understood the limitations of netbooks so I wasn't completely disappointed.  With only 1.6GHZ processor and 1 GB RAM you can't run Google SketchUp with some of the serious drafting that I tend to do at work.  But it works perfect for a portable media center.

First thing I did was install free VLC so I could watch all the DivX-ed movies and shows I have.  I already had 65+ movies compressed for a portable format which kept the file sizes low.  But with 250 GB HDD I wasn't too concerned.

Next was to install Boxee.  This really helps my netbook look and feel like a media player.  I had to do some renaming of video files so they could be understodd by Boxee but it was worth it.

I then copied all my eBooks (which are mostly in PDF format) to the netbook and installed free Foxit Reader.  This is an attempt to use my netbook as an eReader of sorts.  I open the PDF file, rotate the document 90 degrees clockwise (or counter) then hit F11 to go fullscreen.  BAM!  eBook reader.

Next move will be to copy all my audio books to it.

I would instantly recommend a netbook to anyone who's looking for a lightweight (physically and processor-wise) media player.  The battery life for the netbook I have is well over 8 hours.  I've not fully tested the capacity while watching movies back to back but so far I don't have to recharge it very often and I use it all the time.