Thursday, May 28, 2009

Odds and Ends with some Recommendations.

A busy week has passed. I've tried assembling my thoughts coherently so that I could segregate the topics, but that just made me stare at the blank screen. So it is now time for a general brain purge! Find a tarp and take a few steps back...
First off... in the previous post I mentioned demoing an MSI Wind U100 netbook. Part of the deal for getting the demo unit was that our tech-team would write up some impressions that MSI could use for some internal redesign stuff. I won't bore you with the full review, since a quick google will give you many more qualified impressions. My take? I'm continually impressed with the agility of the Atom processor, but that is independent of this model. The newer netbooks all benefit from this tiny, hyper-efficient chip, and the possibilities for these improvements to begin affecting consumer tech in general feels pretty exciting. The U100 is a nice solid unit. The hinges are stiff, and you don't feel like you could break the thing just by picking it up. The touchpad is responsive and easy to use, the touchpad buttons feel a little mushy, but they seem to register consistently so I can forgive that. The keyboard kills it for me. The buttons are nicely spaced. A little compact, but we are talking about a unit that is barely 12 inches across. Touchtyping is possible, but a little tricky since the ridges between keys are fairly shallow. The killer though is the Ctrl key. For some reason the key under the left shift isn't Ctrl, it's Fn. Ctrl is next to it. Try telling that to my pinky finger. Nothing sucks worse than botching a simple Copy Paste routine. I found myself moving my hand off the keyboard to make sure that my fingers were using the right buttons. Not good!
I was also unimpressed with the battery, but the demo unit only had the 3 cell. Bigger batteries would be available. In the end I came away fairly impressed, but at the same time certain that these netbooks aren't designed for professional use. Small resolution screens and cramped keyboards outweigh cheap and portable if you're trying to use one of these buggers for an 8 hour work-day. On the other hand it was awesome having the little thing on my coffee table so I could look things up without having to switch away from what I was doing on my big screen. I'm definitely considering getting A netbook. Probably not THIS netbook, but I'm keeping my eyes open for a good deal. Recommendation: Netbooks are neat, but don't expect too much. They are cheap for a reason.

I've been spending a lot of time with my music collection lately. Now that Amazon sells DRM free MP3s I've done the unthinkable and actually purchased a few albums. The catalyst was a friend from Germany recommending a group she had seen: LaBrassBanda. An awesome little band using trumpets and tubas and such to make some excellent sound. A few minutes on youtube and I started hunting for a good place to pick up the album. One thing led to another and now I'm starting to go through my mind about albums that I miss or wish I had. My latest purchase was The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails. I LOVED that album. I don't even remember how I ended up with the cassette, but the crispy, dark, industrial sound touched a part of my brain that was hungering for something and gave it sustenance. I'm burning the album off to CD at the moment so that I can give it a semi-permanent spot in my car. Recommendation: My experience with purchasing MP3s from Amazon have been positive and I would recommend it. Also, NIN is awesome and I recommend giving Reznor's latest stuff a listen. He has a distinct style which could be easy to dismiss at first listen. But give it another listen. The man has a way of weaving a tapestry with sound. Many of his compositions are bleak or angry, but they contain an emotional depth and raw energy that you rarely find in music.

No comments:

Post a Comment