Mini Notebook / Netbook Snapshot

I’m sitting here, away from my desk waiting to be joined by a guy I work with to discuss mini notebooks/netbooks that may fit his needs.

Given I’m writing this entry on my ASUS EEE 701, I guess I should declare a slight bias, but none the less – the 15 minutes of Googles and link pasting I did to get the information he needs was an interesting exercise to say the least.

Since I bought this EEE last year, the mini/sub/net notebook market has exploded, it seems that every manufacturer has something small they want to offer to the market and, while the original roots of lowest cost, smallest form factor, no moving parts for robustness seem to have faded into a distant memory, the amount of technology now being crammed into these small shells is nothing short of astounding. Despite the range of offerings however, there are only a few standouts in my opinion and I’ve listed these below (with a complete bias toward the New Zealand market – because that where we are). As always, I’m happy for feedback, links to reviews and anything else which may be relevant – so comment below and tell me if I’m wrong (and why):

MIni Notebook Faceoff November 2008



  • $800-850ish (XP Home)
  • Up to 2Gb RAM
  • 80-120GB HDD
  • 10” Diagonal, 1024x600px
  • 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth + Webcam
  • 6-cell 6600 mAh standard (~5 hrs std use) vs. 8-cell 8800 mAh (~7 hours)
  • Review here


HP 2133

  • $890-1000ish
  • Up to 2GB RAM
  • 120Gb HDD (or 64Gb Solid State)
  • 8.9” Diagonal, 1280x768px
  • 802.11 a/b/g
  • 3-cell battery std (~2.25hrs) vs. 6-cell battery (~4.25hrs)
  • Review here

MSI Wind U100

  • $850-900ish (XP Home)
  • Up to 2Gb RAM
  • 80-120Gb HDD
  • 10” Diagonal, 1024x600px
  • 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth + Webcam
  • 9 Cell Batteries available (7800 mAh vs. 2200 mAh of the Stock 3 cell)

Also Ran (but eliminated due to inability to configure options in online store):

Dell Inspiron Mini 9

  • $850ish (XP Home)
  • 1Gb RAM
  • 16GB SSD
  • 8.9” Diagonal, 1024x600px
  • 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth
  • 4-cell standard battery

So that’s the wrap up, there’s a ton more options out there but take care as many ‘mini/sub notebooks/netbooks’ (whatever you want to call them) are so close in size and price to a ‘real’ laptop, that you’re more than better off getting something full size.

The most important thing is to define your requirements and decide how the device will be used to best determine what features you require. As an example, my list looks something like this:

  • Solid state/no moving parts
  • Connectivity options
    • Is WiFi is all you need?
    • Perhaps bluetooth for easy no cable links to a cellular data connection?
  • On-board storage capacity
    • Personally I use the device to bootstrap to ‘the cloud’ where my big files are stored, most of the apps I use are web based so there’s little need for massive amount of on board storage.
  • Applications you wish to run / users who will utilise the device
    • Many of the apps I need to keep things usable for others useing the device are windows based so, despite the performance hit – I’ve got Windows XP installed after a couple of attempts to use Ubuntu.
  • Price
  • Screen resolution

I hope this has been helpful to at least some of you who may be considering an iminent purchase. For those with more time and money on their hands, you may want to hold out for the touted Apple Netbook

Video: Company Values

This link has been bouncing around the NZ twitter space this morning, it’s very well constructed video of a young company and their employees explaining what it means to be, and work at the company. It reminded me of my early days at an NZ IT start up, and also of the early days at Xtra when it was an ISP… great energy, great people and a desire to do the right thing for the customer – let’s see more NZ companies catch this bug again.

It may be the best 7 minutes you spend all day (values shown in their entirety at the 06:57 mark) – thanks to @benkepes for the heads up on this, I’m enthused once again.

“Improving a pain in the ass doesn’t make it a kiss.”

Kiss [Photo credit: Scarleth White]Doc Searls ended a recent post on the folly of yet another guess as to how to get online advertising to work with those words. A succinct yet accurate observation such as I’ve come to expect from the Doc since first encountering his thinking while reading the The Cluetrain Manifesto back in 2001.

He is commenting on a recent idea called ‘SmartAds‘ which plans to slap advertising space into ‘blank’ spaces of online video. Coming from New Zealand where we are exposed to one of the highest rates of advertising messages in the world*, I’m really hoping that this is not going to take off – my brain doesn’t have enough space left for any more non-relevant advertising taking the shotgun approach to product awareness. A kiss this certainly would not be.

*I did read a paper on this somewhere, I just can’t remember the source and Google seems to want to hide it from me this morning 🙁 – Can anyone else find it?

Larry Lessig – Master of presentation

I watched the following presentation this morning and was moved on a number of levels (hat tip @gnat for the heads up to this clip).
Firstly, the way Larry Lessig speaks is very powerful, his timing, use of pause, his accentuation of important points – he is very easy to listen to.
Secondly, the presentation itself is a masterpiece, it’s well structured, simple (in a kind of Dick Hardt way) and peppered with brilliant choices for its visual assets.
Thirdly and finally, the subject matter – while heavily US centric, has relevance in probably every nation to every person who want to ensure that they, the voter – the person represented by those who seek policital appointment, is getting the right kind value for their support. As Larry says: It’s all about trust.

Watch and enjoy…