Well, my itsy bitsy teeny weenie seven inch Asus Eee PC finally arrived with the relatives visiting for fiesta season. I had bought it in the US six months ago, but it was back-ordered and not delivered on time. So my grandson Luke has been using it in the meanwhile.

I bought THIS ONE at Amazon…selling for $360 or so.

This is the one with only a five gig flash drive and a seven inch screen. It also uses Ubuntu, not windows. No problem. I use Ubuntu on my laptop too, and unless you are into gaming, it’s easy to use.

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Newer models by ASUS have Windows XP, a larger drive, and even larger screens.

So what are the advantages?

One: It’s small and light. (32 oz–about one kg) Will fit into my purse.

Two: sort of a super palm-pocket: enough room to store a diary, information, email, etc. But it also plays music and lets you talk to your friends using the webcam.

When you turn it on, it boots quickly. Opening page is internet icons. One is to connect to the Internet, and I just programmed that to automatic, and it found the right numbers.

But once you do that, it signs on automatically. Or you can hit the “wireless” icon and it will connect to any nearby signal.

Other icons are fast links to the internet: Google, mail programs, Skype, Wikipedia, Internet Radio, and Google Documents. One click and you’re there.

The Wireless connection doesn’t pick up the signal as well as my laptop: If I surf the net from my bedroom, the signal is only 30% from the router in my son’s office. I can pick that weak signal up on my laptop, but the ASUS won’t. But it works fine sitting outside in the garden.

For web surfing, it uses Firefox, which is as easy as Microsoft explorer and I used it routinely with our Windows computers.

Then if you want to work on the computer, there are lots of nice tabs at the top of the page.

Number two tab says “WORK”.

It includes “Open Office” for word processing, spread sheets, and presentations. It includes a pdf reader, note pad, and a mail program,”accessories” and a dictionary.
I used to use the Microsoft mail program with Outlook at work, but could never figure out how to use it on my laptop, so I can’t tell you about that one. The “accessories” includes a “Personal Information manager” which essentially is the same as Outlook: It has mail, calendar, diary, to do list, etc.

The next tab is “learn”: Except for the periodic table, not something I care about.

Tab 4 is “PLAY”.

There is a mp3 etc. player, a media player, a web cam and a sound recorder. One of these days I’ll play with these, but my grandson Luke said they were neat…

Since there isn’t much disc space for music, one might ask why a media player a movie player? Well, I downloaded an AVI movie to my thumb drive and watched it. Tiny, but it did play.

One can attach a thumb drive (MP3 or flash drive) via the USB port, or one can place a memory card in another slot for more storage. Alas, my palmpocket memory card doesn’t fit.

Finally, it has a nice battery (Worked for three hours). And the case is hard plastic, so it’s rugged for traveling.

So what don’t I like?

I am a sixty word a minute touch typist. The tiny keyboard drives me nuts.

The speakers are too weak to hear in noisy environments.

And the print is small.

But if you travel, want to take a tiny computer that does most basic things, and don’t have a lot of money, it’s something to look into.

For a little more money you can get Windows XP, a larger screen and a larger flash disk. I’d do that if it were my only computer and if I had more money. But as a spare backup computer to travel with, I’m pleased.

Addendum: When my granddaughter saw that ASUS was now selling in the Philippines she wants one…

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Phiippines. Her website is Finest Kind Cliic an Fishmarket.

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