Thursday, August 28, 2008

No, I'm Not Gone Yet

Your intrepid Damselfly has been busy fluttering around. Painting the garage, staining the front railings, cleaning up the garden, packing for our trip (only 2 more sleeps!), and buying myself a new toy. Yup. I got this:

Her name is Bluet (a common name of several types of damselflies) and she’s a teeny-tiny laptop computer, no bigger than an average hardcover book and weighing just a little over a kilo. It all started when my friend got a similar one awhile back. Then I saw an ad in a big box store flyer and the price was not much more than what I paid for my Palm T/X. I could so totally see using it on our holiday uploading my photos through the card reader, making notes, maybe even posting a blog or two if I can find free WIFI somewhere. Also if I install my knitting software I could even get some designing done. However it wasn’t going to be so easy.

Warning — rant ahead! I am so annoyed with big box stores who advertise a product and then don’t have any of them in stock. They covered their a$$ by adding “limited supply” but having none at all except the demo model is just a bit too limited IMHO. They were not very helpful either. “Maybe we’ll be getting some in next week so check back then” just isn’t good enough. So I got on my trusty desktop and hunted down another local source. Not only did they have it, they had a better model with a bigger battery pack that lasts a reasonable 6+ hours for only $30 more. It’s an Acer and runs my familiar Windows XP and has a small but functional keyboard, 1GB RAM, 120GB hard-drive, 3 USB ports, Ethernet port, 2 card slots (one SD and one multi), but no CD/DVD drive. This might look like a toy but it’s a real computer. I lurve her!

Of course now there’s the fun of trying to get everything set up the way I like in the short time before we hit the road. Good thing T-Man is a techie-type because we already have a wireless network in our house. That and the several SD cards I’ve got for the Palm and camera are the only way to bring files onto her, apart from downloading new stuff off the Internet. Much fussing, a repurposed Ethernet cable, and we’re nearly there. I have what I need for the moment anyway. And I got her a present: a mouse. I hate the touchpad! I’m so awkward. Now I’m trying to learn how to type on a 89%-sized keyboard. How am I doing? This post was completely typed, the photo was edited and the whole thing posted from Bluet. Cool.

Meanwhile I’ve finished the Purple Passion Socks so I don’t have to drag them along with us. I may or may not have time to blog them before I go. I have several other projects to knit on while we’re travelling including two pairs of plain-knit socks that I can do on the road. At least I mostly don’t have to look at plain knitting so I won’t get car-sick or miss any attractive scenery. The lace knitting will have to wait for camp because I’ve tried it before and determined that make too many mistakes as my needle bumps out of position just as I’m about to work a decrease and I look up to see the sights and lose track of where I am. I’ll bring a spindle or two, nostie and mini skein winder too just in case I get an urge to spin. I’m not dragging Tori the Louet wheel with me though she might pout at being left behind. I feel more of an urge to knit rather than accomplish a lot of spinning. Spindles are just fine for occasional indulgence and take up a lot less space even than little Tori in her pack. My crafts take up one tote bag this time! (So far anyway. I can’t speak for after the shopping I’m planning!) We also need space for books to read and clothes for every eventuality because who knows what the weather will be like. It’s going to be so nice not to have any worries except making sure we’ve got enough groceries and meandering down the road to the next campsite and setting up. I’m sure there will be some long walks included there. And we’re taking our recently-rather-unused bicycles along so I guess I shouldn’t expect to sit around all the time. A change is as good as a rest, as me auld mum used to say. And we both sure need some time that doesn’t include a paintbrush or a vacuum cleaner.


Susan said...

There you are! I was wondering about you...

Congrats on the new lap top (knee top?) I'm using a Dell Inspiron and love the freedom wi-fi makes.

Acer comp's: Hubby has blown through 3 models of Acers so (*touch wood*) hopefully you won't have any probs. Mind you, you do have a pro in the house to trouble shoot!

Have a great trip! We'll be gone when you get back....

Cyndi in BC said...

Hi Louisa, I've been looking for that size of computer myself. What is the model name or number of that one?

Louisa said...

Cyndi, it's an Acer Aspire One Mini Notebook, Model #ZG5, with an Intel Atom processor, a 6-cell battery and running XP Home. There is another model running Linux and there are two battery sizes: 3-cell and 6-cell. You definitely want the larger capacity or you only have a little over 2 hours of time on battery. Plus I can't understand getting a Linux OS since it only runs specific programs, unless all you want to do is surf the net and send emails. This one is only a little more expensive and is very familiar and functional. We are getting along just fine!

And thanks for the heads-up, Susan! I'm hoping this one will be the exception to your bad experience with Acers. I'm usually an HP girl myself, but the mini HP wasn't nearly as small and didn't have the same features. Plus it was $200 more!

Chrissy said...

What a great idea! I hope you're having a lovely trip!