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Ultraportable Blogging

Ultraportable Blogging

Being in the new media business, I can run my office from anywhere. In fact I’ve converted a room at home to serve as my home office. You can usually find my various gadgets there–several laptops, a desktop computer, networking equipment and a huge heap of paper and digital media (also known as junk) on my desk.

Still part of my being on a telecommute setup is working from out of office. This means any Starbucks or other coffee shop with WiFi can be my satellite office, as I prefer to call it. With my 3G-enabled phone I can even work from anywhere with a cellular signal. So I’ve actually checked emails, published posts and made online money transfers in the parking lot, my daughter’s preschool and even the country club poolside, one time or another.

Bring it anywhere

I don’t know if it was out of an impulsive purchase decision or a well-thought of and justified necessity that I bought myself an Asus Eee PC last December.

If you don’t know what an Asus Eee is, you’re probably still living in 2007. The Asus Eee is an inexpensive ultraportable notebook computer that runs Linux. The Eee was among the hottest gadgets being retailed during the holiday rush last year. Some would say the Eee is akin to Apple’s MacBooks and iPods, being hip, cool and to-kill for. What makes it so cool are these keywords: inexpensive, ultraportable, and Linux.

Case in point: the Eee was sold out or in back-orders as quickly as a week or so after it was released in the US. It was the same case when it was first released in Asus’ homeland Taiwan and in various other markets.

How cool is the Eee? Well it’s severely underpowered by today’s mobile computing standards, running an underclocked 900MHz Celeron-M processor and sporting a teensy 7-inch display and an anemic 4GB of solid state storage. But what makes it great is the balance of portability and price. At $399 you get a full-fledged two-pound notebook computer you can work on, play around with and basically bring anywhere. And it has everything a mobile blogger would need, like WiFi networking, a built-in webcam and decent battery life. Good trade-offs, in my opinion.

Operative word for me was bring anywhere.

I’ve grown tired of lugging around my laptop everywhere I go just because I might find the need to act on some urgent online tasks (like fixing dead servers and embarrassing comment spam attacks). My full-sized laptop had been a constant fixture in my car trunk just because of this. And also just because of the pain the weight had been causing my back when I tote around my laptop backpack, I’ve mostly been leaving it in the trunk, hence defeating the purpose of my actually bringing the computer along.

So now that I have an Asus Eee, I can just slip it in any bag that can fit a medium-sized hardbound book. And I don’t mind the extra couple of pounds. I can blog and do other stuff from anywhere, and I actually have done so.

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Changing blogging habits?

I’m thinking cheap ultraportables like the Asus Eee could change blogging habits because not everyone is comfortable lugging around $2,000 six-pound laptops just anywhere. And while laptop prices have dropped in the past couple of years, still not everyone could afford or justify that extra expense. And there’s always that worry that you your laptop can get lost or stolen in the cafe, mall or park. Losing $399 doesn’t hurt as much as losing $2,000, right?

In fact, the Eee is not the sole inexpensive ultraportable around. Other manufacturers have also been developing similar products, and some are already out in the market. These include the Everex Cloudbook, the XO PC (a.k.a. OLPC) and the Intel Classmate PC. While these are targeted at different markets, there is a common denominator–they’re ultraportable and inexpensive. And they could potentially be in everyone’s backpack, book bag, purse, handbag or briefcase.

So could the emergence of cheap ultraportables change your blogging habits? It has changed mine. It surely has made my life easier. My bag is lighter, my back aches less (but aches still because of hours and hours of work on the keyboard), and I feel more productive even when outside the comforts of my office. And with a 20-second bootup time, I can just whip it out and start typing within a few moments, whenever a good article idea pops into my mind.

Blogging and ultraportable computers make a good mix!

View Comments (10)
  • I don’t mind lugging my laptop around…wish it were lighter though. I run my self hypnosis business all around the world thats the great thing about my self hypnosis blog…I can manage it anywhere I go.

  • Oh, gee, I’m so SICK of lugging my heavy laptop around, and it isn’t just the laptop. The power supply weights almost as much as the laptop. I also carry around a portable hard drive or two and they have huge transformers. With all the wires and power cords, I dread traveling internationally where they may weigh my carry-on. When I do, I stuff my pockets with all the cords and portable drives, papers, and everything else so only the laptop is weighed in the case.

    So this sounds wonderful and something seriously worth considering. How is the WIFI range on these? What are you getting for battery time? And how big is the power transformer?

  • I’m tempted to get me one of these but since I don’t travel that much it would be impractical. For now, I’ll have to do with my laptop.

  • I’m bringing my Eee everywhere I go. Now the only thing that goes agains the Eee being a travel laptop would be the battery life.

  • Lorelle, the power adaptor looks much like a mobile phone power adapter. It doesn’t have a “brick” meaning the plugs/prongs are built into the adaptor itself. The prongs even fold in, like the Apple Macbook adaptors, for easy storage.

  • I’ve been using the ASUS for a couple months now. I love traveling, but when flying and visiting a few cities, (especially overseas,) lugging around my clunky laptop is just impractical, and I’d rather save my backpack/messenger bag’s valuable real estate.

    The Asus definitely fills a gap between a taking along and storing your notebook PC versus having to visit internet cafes to send e-mail – and worry about entering and protecting sensative passwords.

    I wrote a review last month

  • I’ve been doing the ultraportable thing for some time now using my Nokia N800 with my Nokia N75 phone. In many ways the N800 is basically an Asus EEE but without the actual laptop bits connected. The screen resolution is the same and it’s capable of running most desktop linux files (once adapted to it’s version of Linux) so I’ve used Opera and now Mobile Firefox to do regular updating of my WordPress development site as well as the other sites I administer. I couldn’t live without it. I think the Asus will put real pressure on the UMPC market to drop prices so we will see affordable handheld XP/Linux systems soon.

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