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Thread: Need some techie opinions

  1. #1
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    Need some techie opinions

    Calling all IT Admin guys and techies.

    I need some advice. I have an idea to use one of these "new" at least to me Notebooks ( I think they are now called netbooks) instead of a laptop. I want to be able to run a program that contains a database (somewhat processor intensive) as well as say access the web, use wi fi and run a few powerpoint slide shows.

    I have no experience of these units and now that they have been out a while I was wondering what the consensus is of the guys here that deal with these things daily.

    What apeals to me is the light weight small footprint, pretty much solid state format (getting back to my roots).

    The last time I was excited like this was the release of windows CE on a small HP handheld that was over sold on its promises and underperformed.

    So once bitten twice shy but that was a long time ago.

    If the machine is a go would you get one with or without hard drive. This is not intended to be a machine I work on to create anything. More of a decent communication platform for when I am on the move and a tool to hook up to a projector and do a presentation and capture some information into a package with a database at its core.

    Opinions please. Any even the non techies please have a say. I value the opinions of people here.
    Thanks
    Last edited by Rob Keeble; 05-01-2009 at 03:36 AM.
    cheers

  2. #2
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    I've worked with a few, but haven't committed to buying one. The processor (1.6 ghz) should be big enough for most presentations, but may not be big enough if you've got a lot of animation. I'd suggest getting at least a 10" screen model, the smaller 7" is a bit too small even for me. Memory is cheap, get a couple of gig. The hard drive is up to you, the solid state won't run down the battery as fast, but doesn't hold as much either. Get at least a 6 cell battery if you want less cord time.


    edit: They are great for on the road, light, great for getting on the net. We use them for VPN into our network via tethering over BlackBerry, works great.

    my .02
    Last edited by Darren Wright; 05-01-2009 at 04:11 AM.
    Darren

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    Calling all IT Admin guys and techies.

    The last time I was excited like this was the release of windows CE on a small HP handheld
    Rob, old buddy old pal, This doesn't speak well for your instincts! Reminds me of that time I fell for the pretty blond with those big eyes who said "why, sure, honey, I'll be nice to you... and I can cook!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    Opinions please. Any even the non techies please have a say. I value the opinions of people here.
    Mistake number two! We don't have time to keep up with this stuff! When I need advice about machines, I go to the pros. Try this for research: http://crave.cnet.co.uk/laptops/0,39...9297248,00.htm bonus points because its actually written in english!

    Seriously, if you ask us, someone will say "hey, I've been running an compaq for years, get a new one of those," someone else will say "whatever you do, run linux, and someone else will say "get a mac!" Me, I got this cousin vinnie, who can get you a great deal on some nice new hardware...

    Seriously, research. Know your stuff when you walk into the store. Then buy whatever's the best deal that day!

    Sure you want to run a database on one of these? MySQL would have been a candidate, but now we're all just Larry's pawns...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  4. #4
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    I've not used one, but based on what I've seen about them, I agree with Darren's assessment about them for the things you're looking at, Rob. If I were traveling, I'd probably have one by now. Dunno if it's available, but I think I'd opt for one with a solid state drive for the operating system and applications, and a magnetic hard drive for my data storage.

    One thing to keep in mind about the solid state drives is that they do have a finite lifecycle. They can only be written to a certain number of times. (It's still typically a very high number.) It varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and it's getting better all the time.

    Also, do not run a regular defragmenter on a solid state drive. SSDs don't benefit from the same type of defragmentation as a magnetic hard drive, and in fact the defrag process can shorten the lifespan of the device because it introduces extra write cycles to the drive. There are specialized "optimizers" for SSDs, but they don't actually do much defragmentation. Instead, they place the files in such a way as to reduce the amount of write cycles on the drive. (I know this because I worked on SSD optimizers at my former job.) Some of the drive manufacturers are also building this technology into their products. (In some cases, we built it for them.)
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  5. #5
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    From what I've read (no first hand use), They're fine for web surfing, email, and light word processing. They're not so good for processor-intensive use. So photoshop and video editing is OUT, and I'd be very careful about your database use. I bet it would really depend on the app. Are you just browsing a modest size database? Or are you expecting to be massaging a big db. I bet it makes a difference.

    Any chance you could load your database app onto a USB stick and bring it to the store to try it out?

    The other thing I'd caution you about is keyboard size. I'm pretty close to a touch-typist, and I think a cramped keyboard would drive me nuts. If you are a two-finger hunt-and-peck type, maybe the smaller keys wouldn't be too bad. Again, really check it out at the store. I was browsing at a small trade show the other month, and we noticed that HP has a new unit that boasts a keyboard that is 97% of full size, which looked pretty decent.

    caveat emptor.
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  6. #6
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    I have one. I bought the Asus N10J. Aside from a bunch of nice features it has I bought it as I thought it was the nicest in the 10" screen lineup with a long life battery. If you have big or fat fingers though I wouldn't recommend a netbook as you will find the keyboard difficult to use. That goes for pretty much all the netbooks. To check out the specs on the Asus N10j check the link below.

    http://review.zdnet.com/product/lapt...0j-a1/33316326

  7. #7
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    Thank you to all of you. I followed much of your advise. Checked with the software manufacturer in the UK as to their use of a Netbook for the application I want to run on it and the overwhelming response that came back was Samsung NC 10. They actually use this device themselves after a bunch of research.

    Having got that I then set about looking up all the reviews I could on it. Seems pretty good especially in two specific areas that concerned me. As Alex mentioned (keyboard) this is one area the Samsung has done well in and the other is battery life.

    So now I only have to find the best price.

    Just for background the software I intend to run on it is a specialised packaged developed to be able to do complex business reviews while at the same time capturing the results of the review directly into the database for analysis and report generation. Veru powerful tool as it helps the business owner establish priorities as well as examines the alignment of the management team to the President/Owner of the business.

    The dilema many businesses now find themselves in relates to the fact that having responded to the economic situation and made all the cuts that only leads to survival. Now where to from here. There are many issues to tackle but they need to be prioritized since very few businesses are now left with the resources both human and capital to be able to tackle several opportunities simultaneously. Selection of the next step will be key in their long terms survival. I hope to help some businesses in this area.

    Thanks again guys. I appreciate the advice.
    cheers

  8. #8
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    As I see it, these scaled down 'puters are now in the same stage that a lot of other computers and peripherals were several years ago.
    If you buy one today, next week an improved model will come along at half the price.
    And, for older eyes, these small screens are hard to read. (or so I'm told )
    Actually, the couple I have seen are very difficult for me to use.
    Suggest you spend some time with one before making the commitment.

  9. #9
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    Thats good advice Frank, however the software developers recognised your point and took it into account and subsequent to the release modifies the display features specifically to cater for the small format screen. But for other applications it will be as you say tiny format.

    I will still follow Arts advice, I am going to take the program on a memory stick and run it at the store before I buy.

    I have been burnt one too many time in my past by my own over zealous enthusiasm for new tech products. Given up being a new adopter and have moved substantially to the right of the tech adopter graph. They burned their own people. Now once biten twice shy.
    cheers

  10. #10
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    Rob,
    I can't contribute anything of value to you, but I'm not all that inclined towards the lap top computers... I know they are the way of the future, but the one that I had (it was a handmedown from my son & was some years back - so don't take my comments into your considerations) was difficult for me to use. I am a touch typist and have a pretty good typist speed. The smaller keyboard was nearly impossible for me to use... I wound up setting it up like a desk top and hooked a full sized keyboard into it. It had dual batteries, but both were about shot, so it was permanently hooked to household power. Other than that, it did everything my current desktop does.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
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