Portable Computing

I’ve had a laptop for years. The current MacBook is smaller, better made and more robust and portable than its predecessors. But it’s still rather heavy, useless in full daylight, uncertain how it would fare in bad weather, and not really something I want to carry around the mountains whilst on holiday.

Neither do I want to be out-of-touch for an extended period. Sometime no doubt I’ll be able to carry a USB storage stick with my private SSL keys in a virtual machine, and expect to be able to use it every time I touch base in ‘civilisation’. But nowadays, I dread getting stuck on a Windows box where I can do nothing other than surf the bloody web.

So I’m interested in an intermediate device: smaller and lighter than a macbook, with both GSM and wifi connectivity, and with some kind of terminal/ssh capabilities as well as web, POP and IMAP clients. I asked on IRC, where I happen to know pctony is a Blackberry user. But he warned me against the blackberry’s terminal capabilities, and suggested an iPhone would be a better bet.

I’d definitely be reluctant to get an iphone: with the branding and marketing, it would smell like buying designer clothes [shudder], and on a more rational level it’s rather severe lock-in. If the blackberry’s idea of a terminal is really poor, then that’s not an attractive proposition. What about an Asus eee PC? Or a top-end ‘phone with Linux or Symbian? Anyone suggest pros and cons of the various options?

Posted on July 11, 2008, in teleworking, travel. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. “it would smell like buying designer clothes [shudder]”

    So instead of trying not to be influenced by branding and marketing, you choose the simple way and fool yourself into thinking that explicitly not buying something because of branding/marketing is aesthetically better. That’s like punk-rock kids that don’t want to look neat and pretty and spent all their money and time on looking punk. It’s the same stupid concept.

  2. http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/07/11/round_up_iphone_rivals/ is one take on competitors.
    Although with all the “netbooks” comming out these days, one of those might be a viable alternative if you’d rather have something remotely resembling a laptop.
    Totally agree on no getting the iphoney – I couldn’t get myself to pay the slightly over GBP600 it costs here including the required contract – just to get $100 or so worth of hardware.

  3. Give it a couple of weeks and the Acer Aspire One should be out and about. News of this thing’s impending release (expected around £200-£250) killed my enthusiasm for the EeePC last month.

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