It's official, hell has frozen over and I've bought a Windows XP legtop. I've been wanting an ultra-mobile PC for a while, Apple was dragging its feet on the rumored iTablet (I don't like tablet computing anyway), and it didn't look like the iPhone or other smartphone was going to cut it for Real Work™. Meanwhile there's been a lot of activity on the Windows/Linux side with the OLPC initative, the Intel Classmate, and now the Asus Eee PC.
Back in the US this week for the AAAs, I decided to pick up an Eee PC 701 for $399 and loaded it up with 1 gigabyte of DDR2 ram and a 16 gigabyte SDHC card for storage. Yale has a site-license for XP so I installed that instead of the default Xandros Linux. Why? Because there is some Japanese software/hardware (namely the new portable ScanSnap 300 that I want to run that only works with Windows (not Wine, I tried).
The Eee is quite a marvel, tiny compared to my PowerBook G4 15" above (click on the photo to enlarge it) -- but still usable. I bought a Zaurus two years ago as my UMPC and its keyboard killed me. I'm hoping that the Eee PC will be the ideal field machine. You can touch type on it, it is extremely lightweight and small, it has no moving parts (solid state memory disks only), is totally silent, and reasonably fast.
Skype works great, especially video skype with the built-in webcam. Thunderbird and Firefox are snappy. I installed StarOffice which seems to work fine -- I'll try Office 2007 next week and let you know how it goes.