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Old 07-23-2010, 09:57 PM   #21
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Re: Typing on a netbook.
I went to the store and tried out various sizes. I ended up buying a 10 inch netbook and it has become the only computer I have used for the last 2 years, much to my surprise -- I didn't even unpack my desktop computer when I returned to the USA on my last several visits. This netbook keyboard, if I recall, is 92% size. What I found is that there is a big difference between a 9 inch netbook and a 10 inch netbook on the keyboard size, it really made a difference. And I am a touch typist who can type very quickly.
This is exactly what I did too. I actually bought a really cheap Asus EEE PC 900A with a 9" screen. The keyboard was pretty cramped and the shift and arrow keys were funkily arranged. It seemed slow and jittery. I really bought it as a toy to mess around with.

Not liking the keyboard so much, I sold it (for a profit!) then bought a $200 Dell Mini 10 with a 10" screen and a keyboard that was advertised as 92% of the size of a full size keyboard. It really feels like a full size keyboard to me, and ergonomically it is more comfortable to type on the Dell Mini netbook than it is an older 15" full size laptop. Less strain on the wrists.

(This message was typed on my netbook FYI).

I was watching a demo of some neat new software on the ipad. The software and integration of the touchscreen was nice. But I had to lol a bit at the effort it took the person demonstrating it to type in some simple street names and addresses and email addresses. You have to switch to a different keypad to enter numbers (ie away from the alpha keypad). Similar with symbols. To me, it would be like texting on a phone. Awesome for banging out a 160 character tweet, but not a multi-paragraph ER forum post. Or making a spreadsheet, doing alphanumeric data entry, or any number of office lite tasks that I find myself doing almost daily with my netbook. But hey, some swear by the ipad and it works for them! Thefed, I think you'll find the netbook convenient for what you are looking for. It really doubles as a laptop for most purposes unless you are running power hungry software or serious new 3D games.
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:01 PM   #22
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I suppose it's what you are used to. I'm getting between 1.2 and 1.5 Mbps downloads on my aircard and compared to the dial-up speed I "enjoyed" previously, it is pretty darned swift.
I agree it is all a matter of comparison. I use a very fast cable modem network. So the aircard suffers in comparison.

It also depends on what you use it for. I used to have an aircard for my notebook and mostly used it for casual web surfing and email when traveling. And it was great for that. But not so much for heavy video streaming for example.
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:04 PM   #23
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I was watching a demo of some neat new software on the ipad. The software and integration of the touchscreen was nice. But I had to lol a bit at the effort it took the person demonstrating it to type in some simple street names and addresses and email addresses. You have to switch to a different keypad to enter numbers (ie away from the alpha keypad). Similar with symbols. To me, it would be like texting on a phone. Awesome for banging out a 160 character tweet, but not a multi-paragraph ER forum post. Or making a spreadsheet, doing alphanumeric data entry, or any number of office lite tasks that I find myself doing almost daily with my netbook.
I really love the ipad and find myself using it more than I really expected to. That said, if one's main need is heavy word processing or spreadsheet creation it is not the beat device for that. I've mostly typed emails on it and did view a spreadsheet (and could have modified it if I chose to) and it was fine for that. But if I really needed to do heavy writing I wouldn't use my ipad (or DH's netbook for that matter -- I would use my full size notebook).
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:54 PM   #24
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I wonder how much usage we will see by accessing emails and our own website for orders?

Curious if anyone uses an aircard all the time instead of a wired home connection? Verizon used to have unlimited plans, but they no longer do...
We have. There is a reason we never changed the card! We didn't want to lose our unlimited plan.

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Old 07-23-2010, 11:51 PM   #25
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I considered a netbook but thought the screen was too small and operating speed was slow. I opted for a 11.6" Gateway with nearly a full size keyboard. Very small size and lightweight. No complaints.

I too have been using a Sprint aircard for the last couple of years as my primary internet source and have zero complaints. Its great to be able to day trade while the wife is driving.
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:32 AM   #26
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The question I would have is if you are going to use it outside the U.S. where phone service (using a phone based product) would be very expensive to use. Just a consideration.
In many countries, a 3G data service "dongle" with SIM can be had for a few dollars with prepaid call charges. Doesn't have to be expensive. Do *not* use international roaming for data. (The only reason to use roaming for voice is to keep your number, and even that's not always worth the price - for data it's irrelevant.)
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:10 AM   #27
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well, we talked and made a decision already! we ended up getting a HP Mini 311 Netbook from Verizon for $100 with a 2 yr contract on the mobile broadband service...250mb/mo for $39.
That's pretty good. Verizon charged $60 for that a year or so ago. I have the Mini 311 also. I don't need to tether it frequently so I just turn the tethering feature on on my smart phone. It is $25/mth (in addition to the phone data plan costs) but they prorate it by the day if you turn it back off. So I just pay a couple of bucks for a weekend at my get away house. i
I am on it now - works well.
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:31 AM   #28
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REWahoo said: I'm getting between 1.2 and 1.5 Mbps downloads on my aircard

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I'd die. I just checked using the CNET bandwidth check. Apparently I'm getting well over 3.5 Mbps with my cable modem connection, and it seems as slow as molasses sometimes.
A couple possibilities:

1) Are you getting the 3.5Mbps rate when you are experiencing molasses speed? Cable has a lot of shared bandwidth in the system, and if there is a lot of demand at once, it can choke the actual BW to your connection by quite a bit.

2) Molasses speeds may not related to your connection at all. It could be the source, ad servers, your computer/browser, or a slow link anywhere in the chain.

For example, when I right click for page info on the ER portal page, it shows it has about 12.5KB of content, so ~ 125Kbits. So even if that 1.2Mbps aircard throughput was choked down to just 1/10th its normal speed it would deliver that page in about 1 second. 10/100ths of a second at the rated 1.25Mbps, versus 3.6/100ths at our rated 3.5Mbps.

I doubt you could detect a difference of about 7/100ths of a second. Even with pages with 10x the size, it's a fraction of a second delta. Not what I'd call 'molasses' (even at NOLA temperatures). I'd look elsewhere - DNS servers can really affect real-life performance, you can test and find a better one for your area sometimes.

PS: I haven't checked my DL speed in a while, but I generally see 1-1.5Mbps when doing large file downloads. But when I do a shift-R to refresh the portal, it takes about 2 seconds to fully load (with ad-blocker on - sorry but some of those ads were just too invasive). So clearly there is more to the apparent speed than just the connection speed.

-ERD50
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:39 AM   #29
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Don't worry, ERD50, I've got it covered. Sometimes my bandwidth needs are higher than other times. Nothing very complex to analyze here, and not an earth-shaking problem - - simply an informal comment to a former speed-of-light spambuster, made half in jest. See what happens when one uses the wrong emoticon?
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Old 07-24-2010, 12:03 PM   #30
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Don't worry, ERD50, I've got it covered. Sometimes my bandwidth needs are higher than other times. Nothing very complex to analyze here, and not an earth-shaking problem - - simply an informal comment to a former speed-of-light spambuster, made half in jest. See what happens when one uses the wrong emoticon?
No problem, but emoticon or not, I don't see any other way to interpret what you posted other than you thought that 3.5Mbps versus 1.2Mbps would be a large perceivable difference for everyday browsing. So I responded.

And I mentioned it because a lot of people are under that assumption (even if you weren't). My SIL was 'bragging' one day that Comcast had doubled the speed in their neighborhood. When I asked her if her web pages were coming up any faster, she kinda scrunched up her face and said... " Hmmmm, no....?".

Of course, big file downloads can be faster in rough proportion to that speed, and that's nice. It depends how much of that one does. For me, when I DL large files, if I have to wait 10 minutes or 30 minutes, it's the same - I go do something else.

-ERD50
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