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Thread: Netbooks on Bikes

  1. #1
    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    Netbooks on Bikes

    Does anyone have any experience with the small footprint NetBooks that are out now? They are about as big as a sheet of paper and maybe a couple of inches thick...weighs around 3lbs. They have the Intel Atom chip. They come with either a physical harddrive or a solid state drive (ie, huge thumb drive). They also have built in wireless.

    I was thinking about getting one....they're small enough that I could easily pack in a saddlebag or tank bag. I figured the SSD would be better than a spinning harddrive due to vibrations all day long. Maybe that's not a big deal with a HDD that's parked and not on. Plus the SSD doesn't use as much battery power.

    They're running from $350 to $500. Variations in OS (Linux, Windows), memory, etc., change the prices. For me, I'd require at least some kind of small MS Office, like Excel and Word.

    Any thoughts? I'm jonesin' for some kind of good sale...

    Thanks...
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    depends on what you want to do with them.

    I've found that used small IBMs/Toshibas, etc work great, are more versatile for about the same price.

  3. #3
    Motorcycleton
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    This summer when travelling to the rally in Gillette I wanted to take a computer. I wanted to be able to check and send e-mail, watch videos, and save the moto-videos that I planned to make enroute.

    I looked at some of the real small devices (e.g., Asus Eee PC) but I found that the keyboard was too small to be of use to me. Instead I took a small tablet PC that I already owned - similar to this device

    I was very happy with the results. The PC was placed in a small padded case (which will also work with a Mac iBook) and the case easily fit in one of the saddlebags on my oilhead RS. That saddle bag also was able to hold the small bullet cameras, solid-state video cameras / recorders, batteries, and chargers. In the evenings I would transfer the photos and videos to the computer to review.

    The computer was a good choice for me. Plenty of speed, storage capacity, and large enough screen and keyboard. The computer survived the trip (along with my videos).

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    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    David and robsmoto -

    Thanks for the insight...I understand where you're coming from. I wasn't necessarily looking for anything for "power" use but something just to keep in touch. The idea of something that is smaller/lighter than the existing laptops, good battery life (I understand the eeePCs with SSD can get 7-8 hours of life), and but still be compatible with my home/work stations might be interesting. I currently tote around an old laptop for business trips that is getting to be a bit much. It basically becomes that "extra" piece of luggage...I was looking for something that can go inside existing carry-ons with not much problem.

    And the idea of easily carrying it on bike trips has an appeal as well...
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    Have you considered an iPod Touch? You can check e-mail on WiFi, it can do You Tube videos, and has some web browsing capability. If you're after something bigger, take a look at the MacBook Air. Tiny and light compared to most laptops.
    Dan

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    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    My previous bike laptop was a Fujitsu Lifebook P1120. It's just slightly bigger than a normal sheet of paper folded in half. Although the keyboard was smaller than a typical one, I could touch type on it. It had a Crusoe chip and would run about 6 hours on one extended life battery. The screen was 1024x600 and included WiFi B, but no optical drive.

    It was slow, but extremely practical. However, last year I tried to install Skype on it, and it just couldn't do the audio. (I think the Crusoe chip does most of the video and audio work directly, rather than having accessory chips do those things, to save power.)

    So I bought an HP TX1000Z at the end of last year. (I looked at Fujitsu's current line, but their prices had gone way up since I bought the P1120.) The battery life is the biggest disappointment, it will only do about 2.5 hours. Everything is a bit bigger (12" screen, for example), and the laptop itself is heavier (includes a DVD RW drive, though).

    Either of these fits easily in my saddlebag liner, but the Fujitsu could do it lying horizontally.

    Good luck on your search.
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  7. #7
    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    What about physical harddrives?

    Anybody have concerns about the actual hard disk and what might happen with the vibrations on the bike when it's stowed? I know it won't be running, but what about minor beating it will be taking on the bike? I guess I'm focused on that aspect of it...

    The iPod Touch...that's an interesting thought. I'm a PC guy...will working on a Mac product taint me???
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    At the Apple Store last night the "salesman" made the point that compared to the iPod Touch, the new iPhone 3G might be a better value. The iPhone is maybe $100 cheaper, does the same computer stuff, and has more internet access modes than the iTouch. And, of course, it's a phone. The only reason not to go with the iPhone is that you have to have a 2-yr cellular contract with AT&T and then pay them an additional $30/mo. for unlimited wireless data access.

  9. #9
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    Anybody have concerns about the actual hard disk and what might happen with the vibrations on the bike when it's stowed? I know it won't be running, but what about minor beating it will be taking on the bike? I guess I'm focused on that aspect of it...
    In short, no. I've put many, many miles on all sorts of laptops going back about 15 years (used to commute on the bike before I retired) and never had a hard disk failure. When travelling I currently stuff the laptop into a slightly padded sleeve and stuff the sleeve between my clothes in one of my panniers.

    I change laptops about every 4 years. The main reason is the battery. At some point I refuse to pay $150 for a new battery on a 4 year old laptop. My last-but-one laptop still does duty in my home office. It's OK as long as I keep it plugged in. The battery is good for maybe 15 minutes!

    // marc

  10. #10
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    I bought the Asus eee last spring and was instantly sold. I even considered being a dealer for the mightly little one. But, it seems they sell themselves to anyone who is remotely interested.

    Paul and I took it to Alaska this summer. I carried it in a stocking hat for small cushioning. I wasn't worried about the hard drive. It still works like a charm.

    The model I bought cost $350 which included a 4 GB solid state hard drive, but not a camera, since I had no need for one. (The two GB is $300, the one with the camera is $400)

    I love the size and find typing on it to be a breeze, except for the ; which I always mess up somehow. So I just don't use that key.

    At a gas stop, I'd pull it out and in about a minute it would be loaded up and ready to tell me if the wifi was really unsecured. I was amazed at how many places have free wireless! I'd download email and then read it quickly for fast individual response, and save the rest for reading and responding later.

    We did a lot of camping, and even many campgrounds now have wifi. And restaurants. And as I said, gas stations.

    I can load pictures to Flickr and should be able to load to Photobucket, but for a small problem I need to work on.

    It came with a Linix operating system but I've also seen it with a Windows, light version. It comes with Open Office, freeware that can open Word, Excel and Powerpoint files. It has three USB ports so you can use a jump drive to store extra stuff.

    The battery lasts over two hours of constant use, and most amazingly, uses little of that when I just power up to check the wifi and power down.

    The computer has a huge following and you can find answers to questions on the online forum of users here:

    http://vip.asus.com/forum/default.aspx?SLanguage=en-us

    Questions? I'd be happy to answer. As you can see, I'm sold.

    Voni
    sMiling

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  11. #11
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    This series has a 6 to 7.8 hour battery:

    http://promos.asus.com/US/website/Sp...Computing.html

    Voni
    sMiling
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  12. 10-24-2008, 06:41 AM
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  13. #12
    Motorcycleton
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    Well today I purchased an Acer Aspire One. The clincher was the effective price of $100.

    How, you ask? Well the retail price in the store was $350. But the Vonage sales guy said if a computer was purchased then there was an immediate $250 rebate if one signed up for Vonage. There were other inducements such as a rebate on the phone modem, no activation fee, and 2 months free. I'd been thinking about getting another low-cost phone line and Vonage looked like a cost-effective option.

    So now I'm setting up the Acer Aspire One, which comes with Win XP. I'll only want it for e-mail, web browsing, looking at photos, etc. while on the road. Most importantly for me, the keyboard is ok for touch typing. I like the fact that there is 100GB of storage and pretty good wireless and wired internet capability. The screen is adequate for such a small machine. (Way better than the Radio Shack Model 100 laptop that I bought [and still have] over 20 years ago.)

    My initial impression is that the computer is adequately fast. I've yet to run a MFLOPS benchmark, but it really won't matter as I won't be doing any numerical-type calculations. The windows performance is decent.
    Last edited by robsmoto; 10-27-2008 at 02:00 AM.

  14. #13
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    Any thoughts? I'm jonesin' for some kind of good sale...
    I always plan to take the Macbook on roadtrips, but it rarely makes the cut. A netbook bagged for travel isn't much smaller.

    Just staying in touch, I've been using a Treo for years. iPhone/Touch is a much more elegant device for doing this. Anything bigger is a luxury.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

  15. #14
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    It is a luxury!

    And I like it that way

    Voni
    sMiling
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  16. #15
    Registered User ylexot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    The iPod Touch...that's an interesting thought. I'm a PC guy...will working on a Mac product taint me???
    You could get a PDA running Windows instead

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