Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Review: Asus eee 900 ha

With M$ 's live cashback at Ebay at 30% and my birthday coming up, I couldn't resist the lure of an Asus Eee Pc 900ha.

I currently have a Nokia n800, which is perfect for quick take along, but text entry on it is a beast and I couldn't watch netflix on it. I wanted a cute little laptop that I could use to type messages, check the internet, and watch online content. The Asus eee 900ha fit the bill, and with its $250 price tag (after rebate), it fit in my budget.

I opted for the hard drive model because of the extra space. With 160 gigs, I wouldn't have to play games like others do on the ssd models to get Windows to fit gracefully. Personally, I think the idea of SSD is more impressive, but the lure of no space worries (and my husband's recommendation) led me to settle on the hard drive. (My other concern with the harddrive was that if dropped it would be more likely to scatch and an ssd would be more likely to come out intact. But, my husband pointed out laptop hard drives were pretty sturdy.)


Size: 8.9" screen
Weight: 2.5 lbs
Processor: intel atom
Ram: 2 gigs
Harddrive: 160 gigs
Os: Windows XP
Other cool stuff: webcam, sd slots, usb slots, 802.11 (wifi)

Here's some pictures to show how small it is.
Look how huge a regular sized mouse looks next to it.

My Eee next to 2 paperback books. It's about the same size as the larger paper back book.

  • small, it fits in my purse. I can stick it somewhere out of my kid's reach pretty easily. My husband can balance it on one leg and I don't fear for its safety.
  • cute. It is so tiny.
  • fairly quiet
  • Windows XP (yes, I like linux, but to get certain websites to run, I need Internet Explorer and I didn't have a spare xp license laying around)
  • Netflix playback is good
  • Mythtv playback is good on non-hd channels (note: this problem is a limitation of the software and my wireless hub, not the eee itself)
  • plenty of room on the harddrive
  • screen is crisp and clear
  • decent battery life. I seem to be getting about 3.5 - 4 hrs with wifi on and webcam off
  • runs skype with video conferencing
  • different power profiles
  • comes with a pouch to put it in
  • touch pad is touchy. I keep hitting it accidentally while typing. I can't tell if the Eee is particularly bad or not, I've never gotten along well with touchpads.
  • Keyboard layout takes getting used to. The up arrow is where my fingers think the left shift key should be. Page down requires the use of the function key. I accidentally hit capslock a lot. I'm getting better though, I just have to retrain my fingers.
  • can get pretty toasty if running it on Super performance mode. I just put it on a book, then put that on my lap. (It's small enough I can do that :) )
  • shiny exterior looks cool, but is a finger print magnet. It does come with a cloth for cleaning them off.
  • If the screen is open too wide, the laptop will tip over backwards. This only happens on a soft / not flat surface like a bed or lap.
Other notes
  • The Eee has no optical drive. This has occasionally been annoying. But most of my favorite dvds are ripped anyway or recorded from tv, so it isn't hard to get them on via the network or a thumbdrive.
Why pick the Eee 900ha (compared to other netbooks/Eee)
  • lots of space on the harddrive
  • 1 gig of memory - plenty to let multiple programs run smoothly
  • higher resolution screen than earlier Eees
  • the 2.5 lb weight is just right. Any heavier/larger and I wouldn't be able to take it with me easily.
  • good battery life
  • Intel's new power saving processor the Atom
  • great price
  • Windows XP license
Really handy uses
  • Watching on-line content where ever I want
  • Video conference with my husband while he was at PDC. Built in webcam came in handy.
  • Entertaining children. The Eee worked great at the airport while I was waiting for my sister; my kids watched a Blues Clues movie on it instead of asking "how much longer?"
All in all, I'm happy with my purchase. It is very convenient and just what I wanted.

(updated: 12/08) So far I'm still loving my eee.
(updated: 1/10) Unfortunately my beloved eee has become almost unsuable. After being dropped 3 times and having a glass of water dumped on it by my toddler, about half the keyboard and the mouse buttons have stopped working. I expect with an external keyboard and mouse it would be just fine, but that defeats the purpose of small and portable :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pickle Sandwich

A poem my children and I made up:

I had a pickle sandwich.
It was white and green.
It had a dozen pickles
And some mustard in between.

I picked my sandwich up
And went to take a bite.
All the pickles screamed, "Aieee"
and ran away in fright.

I had a pickle sandwich
it was white and green.
But now I have a mustard sandwich,
with nothing in between.

I made a pickle sandwich,
This one on a bun.
This time I made sure,
the pickles wouldn't run.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Alas, Chili's fajitas

Today my family and I went to Chili's to get a build-your-own fajitas. I love the one with steak, bacon, and the chimichuri sauce. But alas, they are no longer offering build your own fajitas. I was so disappointed. I don't usually like Chili's that much, this was the one thing I liked there.

We made do with the mushroom jack fajitas with steak substituted for chicken and chimichuri sauce. It wasn't quite the same though, the bacon was in little pieces instead of nice, thick strips. It was good, just not what I wanted. Oh well, won't be going back to Chilis for awhile.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Health care, philosphoically

Universal health care seems to be coming up a lot this election year. Several candidates support it, and I can't decide if that support is a deal breaker for me. I don't know what I think about a universal health care system. I have always been blessed enough to have insurance and also blessed to be free from any major medical problems. I've never felt the terror of having a sick child and not being able to afford to go to a doctor. I know in scripture we are commanded to care for the sick, but I'm not sure if a socialized health care is the way to do that. (Don't take anything that follows personally, I'm working through this issue.)

Insurance sucks. I know the "joys" of calling the insurance, the doctor's billing office, the insurance, the doctor's office trying to get things worked out. I wonder if the government system would be any better.

There's two ways to look at this debate 1) from me as someone who has insurance already and 2) from someone who has no insurance now. I suspect from the view of #2, anything is better than nothing, except that their taxes go up, but I don't know that for sure. For me, I have a few issues:
  • How would a national health care program work? (Note to self: look into Canada's health care system.) Would doctors essentially become government employees? Would the government act as a giant insurance company? (Now from the people who brought you taxes and IRS, health care and um... HURT (healthcare for the uninsured, residents, and taxpayers, Ok, it's a stretch). Would you get credits to buy your own insurance?
  • From my greedy point of view, am I going to keep paying the same for my insurance while my taxes go up to provide health care for those without. Why don't I get any benefit? Or maybe I do in the form of warm fuzzies and a reduction in total pain and suffering. One of my husband's co-workers said that we were already paying for the uninsured because hospitals have to pay their costs, so they charge others more to make up for the fact that some can't pay. So this would mean if everyone could pay, insurance premiums would go down (yeah right, sorry I'm cynical of insurance companies).
  • Would this produce a two tier system where basic care was free, but any meaningful care cost extra. Sort of like the shipping at Amazon, you can get free shipping, but you'll have to wait two weeks, want it tomorrow and you'll have to pay more. If you want an appointment you can get it for free, but if you want an appointment sooner than next month that will cost you $20.
  • How far would the national program go? Would there be a cap on per person spending like there is in regular insurance or would we as a nation be bound to provide extreme levels of care?
  • Would the insurance lobby stand for any kind of real beneficial change to how health care works in America?
(Edited 10/9/08)

I've looked through Obama's plan. Basically he wants to offer a basic government health plan. Insurance companies can offer other plans, but they must be the same as or better than the government plan. Also, insurance companies can't discriminate based on pre-existing conditions. Not sure what I think of it. Sounds nice, but it seems to me everyone will have to switch to government plan since I can't see any reason for insurance companies to offer better plans if they can't discriminate.

My friend's getting married

I'm so excited, my friend from the good old days in the CS computer labs at BYU is getting married. I'm so excited for her. She is so wonderful, I'm glad a wonderful man finally noticed. Now I just have to pick out a wedding present.

It's funny actually, because I was really bummed I couldn't find anywhere cool to go over UEA weekend. Now I'm glad, because that's when her wedding is.