Friday, May 1, 2009

Cool Technology of the Week

As folks who read my blog know, I'm a great fan of cloud computing, software as a service, and working remotely.

There's a perfect client to complement these technologies - netbooks.

Netbooks are simple computers with an operating system, a processor that's good enough, and just enough memory and storage to ensure a positive web browsing experience. Most cost under $500.

I recently evaluated the Dell Mini 10 and it's my Cool Technology of the Week.

The Mini 10 is a netbook with a 1024x567 ten inch display, web cam, an Intel Atom Processor Z520 (1.33GHz/533MHz FSB/512K Cache), 1 Gig of memory, and a 160 Gig hard drive in a 2.5 pound package for under $400.

I found the keyboard, multi-touch track pad, and 10" screen to be the right proportions for rapid typing and easy viewing with my 47 year old presbyopic eyes. I accessed all my storage and applications in the BIDMC and HMS clouds via 802.11g on my home FIOS network and found the Atom processor fast enough to meet my needs.

Here are the full specs.

The device I tested ran Windows XP, but I plan to test Ubuntu, which is offered on other Mini models, as soon as it is available.

A full featured netbook with a screen like a 720p television that's lightweight and low cost. Cool!


Neil Hinrichsen said...

Its interesting to see how more and more computing will be able to migrate into the cloud - see for example this fascinating article in MIT's Technical Review on how cellphones could offload computing-intensive tasks into the cloud as well.

Unknown said...

How does it compare to your MacBook Air?

Unknown said...

How does it compare to your MacBook Air?

Anonymous said...

I have an Acer Aspire One and love it. Small, cheap, surprisingly speedy, and just a pleasure to have around on trips. Mine just got back from a five day trip to the American Telemedicine Association. The light weight really becomes a plus when you are hauling your stuff around an airport.

John A. said...

I've been using the eee 901 from Asus. This machine has a 6 cell battery for 9 hours of run time on battery. My only complaint has been the SSD it is split with 6 gigs on the c: drive and less than 9 on d: drive. I added a 6 gig SD card to help. I had to reconfigure windows temporary files to use d: because c: kept running out of space. Now that all that is done this has been a very handy machine....

John Halamka said...

This machine is a different price point than a Macbook Air. I use my air for graphics editing, media management and all my work related functions.

The Mini is great for email, basic word processing, and anything related to the web. It's not a replacement for the Air.

Steve Rovniak said...

This is timely as I am considering a laptop or netbook purchase at this time. I fear not having the CD ROM/DVD drive. Any thoughts on that?

Doug Ko said...

@Steve R, how often to load a CD/DVD on your laptop nowadays? You always have the option to buy USB powered DVD drive. I think Newegg has one for around $60.

...Indeed the proliferation of Netbooks validates cloud computing. Economies of scales and efficiencies can be achieved readily in the cloud which means cheap Netbooks for the average consumers is more than suffice.