First impressions of the eeePC

Very first log in screen, one that will never show up again. They made me do this at the store itself so that we could test that the machine I was going to take home with me was in full working condition. I’ve been playing with this for the past three hours. My right hand hurts. It will take me some time to get accustomed to the keyboard, as a touch typist used to rapid typing on a full size keyboard, I have to concentrate while typing on this machine in order to go slower while I adapt to the size. Also I found that even with medium length fingernails its very difficult as the nails slip on the keys causing typos, missed keys and general frustration.

Most websites are not really set up for screens this small. I wish that they would just automatically resize, maybe that is something for the future, particularly if mobile phones and such smaller devices become more prevalent as they undoubtedly will. I had to decrease the text size once in Firefox but that helped with the majority of the usual sites I go to. Some wrapped text around and some just mangled text at the ends or had images pile up on text, like Yahoo’s screen. This is going to be fun in a way to see what happens online as your viewport gets smaller and smaller.

It will take me awhile to learn to find my way around the File Manager, the back end of Linux is unfamiliar to me and I wasn’t able to locate the Open Office spreadsheet function in ‘browse’ mode when trying to automatically open an Excel attachment I’d received on gmail. Thank god for Google Docs, since they let you open the .xls file anyway.

I plan to try blogging from the eeePC tomorrow. By the time I was done exploring and setting up things the way I like them on firefox, bookmarking typepad, gmail, webmail, bloglines and all that, a part of me was feeling as though I needed to “relax” and find a fullsize screen and keyboard.

Wireless was touch and go for a while when I first set it up at home, simply because of the unfamiliar dialog boxes – how well we’ve been trained by Microsoft over the past two decades! But its on and its fast. More thoughts on the eeePC will be interspersed with posts on other topics over the coming few days.

Today’s insight comes from Dave Tait, with whom I was chatting about my discoveries as I poked around the eeePC’s interface and applications. “This is will be a cross over device for those accustomed to mobile phones as their primary means of accessing the internet,” he said.

Then perhaps ‘thumb’ typists might find this keyboard easier to adapt to than regular old touch typists. Lets watch and see what happens!

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