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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Chrissie prezzies for writers

   
Author Topic: Chrissie prezzies for writers
TaleSpinner
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I just have to recommend the Acer Aspire One for anyone writing on the road--and thanks to Mike Munsil for getting me over my fear of Linux.

The Acer is a "netbook". It's a fraction of the size and weight of a laptop, which it largely achieves by not packing a CD drive.

The screen is bright and detailed, the keyboard is fine, and the trackpad can be a bit oversensitive: we're all getting accustomed to each other ...

It runs "Linpuss Linux" and includes Open Office, which is largely compatible with MS Office.

The browser is Mozilla.

It includes a WiFi connection --and while it's great when it works, here's the only rub: it loses the connection sometimes and has to be rebooted because there's some kind of software bug. That said, this evening in the pub, it hasn't lost the connection phhtt! No, just kidding, this evening's been fine.

The good thing is--and here's where Mike's praise of Linux comes in (he waxed lyrical a while ago over Ubuntu Linux, and I installed it for my software engineering son to play with, and Mike's right, it works)--the Acer's Linux is stripped back to a bare minimum. So while it ain't got no fancy features--you can't even set your background picture or decide your homepage icons--it starts a darn sight quicker than XP and saves, oh, $50 or so. While the wireless connection drops sometimes, it's only a few moments to reboot and reconnect.

I'm getting some two hours and a bit battery life, about the same as my laptop, and there are upgrade batteries that will do more.

Only downside so far is I can't find a decent dictionary--even if I could find one that runs on Linux, they've idiot-proofed the Linux which makes installing new software a job for experts who can get around the idiot-proofing.

Anyone else got some recommendations for Chrissy prezzies for writers?

Jingle jangle,
Pat

[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited December 07, 2008).]


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KayTi
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First you're going to have to define what a Chrissie prezzie is. Is that perhaps a Christmas Present in ... er... uh, where are you again? You go to pubs and I'm pretty sure you'd spell flavor flavour, so are you Australianish? LOL

I'm glad you took the jump on a netbook - there are many more out there just in the last year (I've been watching the market for a year because I've been involved with the One Laptop Per Child project that has the XO laptop that shares some features with netbooks, but is a children's laptop.) Asus has one called the Eee that is rated high, and it seems like all major manufacturers have launched some scaled-down PC of some sort.


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skadder
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Yeah, I have a Advent (used to be called msi wind) with a 10 inch screen. The keyboard is much easier to type on than the eee pc which I had before. Also the advent runs Win Xp, which I prefer after screwing around with Linux on the eee pc.

If you want to get all geeky and get into Linux, be my guest, but I found it cut into writing time if you wanted to learn how to do anything beyond basic program use. It was all command line stuff.


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TaleSpinner
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UK, for my sins, though I'd love to live in Oz.

Yep, I'm talking about a Christmas gift.

I looked at the others you mention, and they're all great. Unusually for me, I didn't do a scientific survey; I just picked one that looked kinda cool, trusting the store brand and figuring I could take it back to the store if it turned out dismal. (The store is a UK chain that's reasonably reliable, Curry's, kinda like Best Buy but less hard sell.)

Yeah, Linux is for serious geeks if you want anything but the standard fit of software. It has Open Office and Mozilla, so I can write and browse, even do a spreadsheet. I really need little else (and can do photo editing on the bigger machine at home, no need to do it on the road) so for me, the standard complement of software is fine. Except for the lack of a dictionary and thesaurus, dammit ...

Pat

[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited December 07, 2008).]


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kathyton
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I got the ASUS eeePC 900 in June (Linux operating system) and I love it. The way mine came, the desktop was already set up with icons and tabs for anything I would want to do; I don't need to to any programing sort of things at all (so the worries my computer programmer husband -- about an unfamiliar operating system were not an issue).
It is actually quite easy to update the software and add new ones.
It's solid state, fast, durable, cute, cuddly, clean, and polite. Everyone in my house grabs it when they want a quick check of their e-mail or to google something or other.
My only problem has been that is sometimes wipes my ipod if I use it to charge the ipod -- I've got to figure that out.
The tech support people were good the one time I called.
500 dollars very well spent.
draw backs: Some people don't like the little keyboard. It gets quite warm (like holding a baby), Open office doesn't have all the features of Microsoft office (but it's fine for what I do). It would not be good if you are into major online gaming.

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BenM
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Netbooks are great - portable and inexpensive. For me, it's a nice way of separating my home computer 'work' (writing etc) from 'play' (gaming, movies, etc).

I use the MSI Wind, though I prefer the keyboard of the Acer (the , and . keys are slightly out of place on the MSI and it gets annoying sometimes). Luckily that's not usually a problem - they all will use external keyboards for extended writing sessions.


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skadder
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I bought the Advent (Msi Wind) over the Acer BECAUSE of the keyboard, which I found better to use. Strange how different we all are!
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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What I love are the flashdrives you can use for stocking stuffers. I've seen huge ones for great prices (got an 8-gig for $18 for my son-in-law, and would have gotten myself one as well, but it was the last one). I saw an ad for one with 32 gigs on it--I could back up my whole laptop on that thing. Wow!
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KayTi
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KDW, I hold you in the highest regard, but I absolutely must laugh at being able to fit the contents of a laptop on a 32G flash drive.

I recently had an external hard drive fail, it was the one I used as my permanent backup for *everything* (I also use remote external incremental backups for daily stuff from my laptop, and various CD-ROMs and usb keys here and there for current files, and then my online email boxes like hotmail and gmail for writing file backups...) My digital tally, from the data recovery guy I engaged in finding and restoring my backup, was well over 100k files, and something knocking on the door of 120G. And there are files I know weren't on there.

I think one of the more interesting problems we'll all face in the future is managing our digital messes. In my case, I had to pay the guy to recover the files even though I was pretty confident I had them all redundantly elsewhere, because I just didn't *know* for certain that I had a complete backup. How ridiculous!


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Ah, well. I have an old laptop (the hard drive is only 40 gigs, and I'm using less than 30 of them).

I recently upgraded my daughter's laptop for her (from a 40-gig to a 120-gig) because hers was too full to defragment, and I think it would be cool to have a hard drive that big on mine as well.

I hold you in high regard, too, KayTi, and I'm honored to have made you laugh.


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skadder
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Mine is 300gb of which I have used 218 gb. Not sure on what, though.
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JudyMac
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Well, I am a bit old fashioned and like to write my working draft on paper, with a pen. Then I used to dictate the days' writing via Dragon Naturally Speaking, into Word on my PC.

Those days are gone.

I treated myself to an Aiptek My Notes Premium II. I write on a normal pad over the top of a digital tablet. It saves up to 100 pages (great for holidays) and downloads to my PC. It converts via OCR software to text in Word. I not only get the hard copy but a quick transfer to PC, absolutely brilliant!


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Robert Nowall
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Probably the best present I ever got was a typewriter---but that was for my birthday, not Christmas.

I have a problem, giving and getting presents. The giving end involves a bunch of relatives and a couple of friends who are impossible to shop for---or at least I can't figure out what they want. (They're not writers, or I'd know what to give them.)

On the getting end---anything I want, except for the extremely expensive, I can go out and get for myself. Every once in a while, though, somebody thinks of something I haven't got that I could use, but something I haven't thought of. (Odd-shaped cooking pans, a shower radio, towels, are what comes to mind.) It's useless to give me books or DVDs---if it's interesting to me, I've already got it. (I guess I'm impossible to shop for, too.)

Meanwhile...flashdrives, huh? Never used 'em...maybe I should, instead of the obsolete diskettes I use right now. Computers...you could write a book about what I don't know about computers, and I'd probably buy a copy. Several, to give as gifts.


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