Sorry for missing my weekly tech post last week; I had completely run out of ideas and the best I could come up with was a rant on the classification of mammals. I find it crazy that dolphins and whales make the cut but
platypusses... platypi.... the platypus can carry on with blatant disregard for the standard and can still be considered a mammal. It lays eggs and is poisonous, wtf!? So, yeah... no one would have enjoyed that article.
My backup at the moment is my wife's old netbook, a Dell Inspiron Mini 10. I spent most of this weekend tweaking and prodding it to get it to install and run the necessary programs for podcasting and audio editing (skype, audacity, etc.). Off the bat, my main issue is that the screen resolution is not fit for the screen real estate it provides. Its a 10" screen, which is serviceable, but it really isn't the best when the windows you bring up on screen don't fit properly. However, it does have an HDMI-Out port which allows me to output directly to my tv. Unfortunately, while I do have compatible televisions I don't have any practical monitors that sport HDMI at the moment. My Cr-48 laptop sports an 11" screen, which is a bit bigger, but you can tell Google Chrome is custom tailored to fit nicely.
I'm dual-booting between Windows 7 Starter and Linux Mint 10 on the Mini and at the moment the linux side is broken. Upon booting into Mint I get an error relating to video drivers and the system will not go past the login screen. Once I track down an empty usb flash drive I can scrub and replace the linux side with something more up to date. On the Windows side of things its painfully obvious as to why netbooks only shipped with 7 Starter or XP... this thing crawls. It's slow even running the most basic of programs. I did spend a few hours trying to upgrade this thing but Dell really designed this laptop to be a pain to get into. After disassembling the most of the unit I still couldn't reach the 1GB ram stick inside. If I could max it to a 2GB, things would run a whole lot smoother.
I ran into some major issues with Windows Installer and Windows Updater working in tandem to thwart my attempts at installing Skype, but after a lot of tweaking I finally got it to work. Also, after messing around with some idle processes in the task manager I was able to coax out a little bit of extra power and speed. It would be better with more memory but it does manage to run Torchlight in "netbook mode." And it runs slightly less terribly than on my dead laptop since it sports a more modern Atom processor (over the ancient Intel Centrino). Receiving a Torchlight 2 beta invite immediately after my other pc crapped out definitely felt like lemons in the wounds.... but I'll be ok. And yes, I did attempt to boot T2 up. It didn't go well.
I love the ideas of netbooks and definitely appreciate what they do and what they stood for. Unfortunately, saddling them with sub par specs with bloated windows systems on top was not the way to handle the movement. As I sit here and type from a prototype laptop with a custom OS thats only a couple degrees out from retail (chromebooks) I find it sad that they didn't try to use them as a linux platform. Simple 11" chassis, Atom Processors with 2-4GB ram running Ubuntu would've been a proposition that had potential. The Chromebooks could've used that kind of boost in awareness too. But anyway... keep up with my adventures in netbook land right here on EnthusReviews. I will probably be posting about the awesomeness that is fixing a partition after dual booting on The Open Source Noob page in the near future as well. Now the chase is on to find and purchase a capable desktop pc that can handle a little modding and upgrading as well as podcasting and gaming... without breaking the bank.
@crunchychocobo for letting me know that mammal classification is just technically broad enough.