The netbook lies

Netbooks are the greatest things since sliced bread.  Netbooks are perfect for surfing the internet, checking email, blah, blah, blah.  These are all part of the netbook lies.

Recently, some family came to visit from the midwest.  Their plan was to make us feed them, drive them all over the state and when possible, just float in our pool.  Well, everything but the pool fell right into place.  Since we had the coolest June since 1913, the pool was really not up to par.  Our thermometer, a small penguin who floats all day long, was showing great temps.  That's only the first 6 inches of water, though.  As the precocious 14 year old visitor put it, "The penguin lies".

During this same period, my wife's internet businesses became worthy of their own computer and a netbook was deemed the best, easiest, greatest solution.  But not before a trip to Fry's Tempe for some serious perusal of the wares.  So the Asus Eee PC was ordered from Amazon.

Halt!  Who goes there?  Is this credit card worthy?  Et tu shalt validate.  3 days pass before shipment.  Apparently, PCs are so regularly ordered with bad credit cards, all of these purchases are validated by Amazon.

As the resident technical guru of the home, I was delegated the role of software installer, network administrator, printer driver hoon, etc.  Problem is, I'm only really good at software (shameless plug makes an appearance), not hardware.  Yes, I can change a tire with only a single allen wrench but this is a teeny, tiny netbook looming large on my horizon.  Oh well, at least I will finally get to use that 3rd license from Norton.

Night number zero, before the computer is even here, is spent moving software to USB and FTP drives for installation.  Most netbooks have no optical drives, er... CD and DVD for laymen out there.  Easy enough, I can read my bloglines account while this is processing in the background.

Night number one is spent adding a free firewall, installing Office, adding Norton... Halt!  Who goes there?  Your Norton Antivirus is expired!  What the?  How come I got no notice whatsoever?  Symantec likes to auto-renew your software.  You'll briefly see this warning displayed during any installation.  I must've read that and disabled auto renewal immediately after installation.  I mean, who wants an unexpected credit card charge from out of (almost) nowhere?  So I sign up for two years of Norton, which is probably not a bargain by any means, but the pressure is on <-- insert marriage joke here.

Night number two is spent trying to get this netbook on our network, a shared printer installed and listening to the Michael Jackson brouhaha.  Ahh, sweet memories.  I remember the fun I had trying to add my last Dell laptop to the network.  Hint, hint:  you really want to have the same domain or workgroup name on all machines.  Frustration builds.  MSDN is consulted.  XP Home, which is installed on the netbook, is feared.  A deadline is set.  If I don't solve this in a half hour, I'm calling in an expert, opening a tub of ice cream and giving up.  Finally, a breakthrough.  If I turn off the free firewall, all computers sing Kumbaya.  I just needed to add a range of IP addresses to the firewall.  Hurray!  We are going to the internet next!

Did Michael Jackson take the internet with him?  I can barely get on Gmail.  Chrome keeps locking up, which it was designed not to do.  Just for laughs, I turn off the ZoneAlarm firewall again.  Voila!  Back in action.  Crazy stuff, but it works as well as any allen wrench.

Lastly, I install and configure DropBox, so the few documents my wife uses that aren't in the cloud can be shared between two PCs.

So, aren't netbooks great?  Yes.  If you have a left brain person within reach, have chiclet size fingerprints and like to surf the web on something the size of a #10 envelope.

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