Six weeks ago I purchased an ASUS Eee PC. For those not in the know, the Eee PC is a range of über-portable laptops whose genesis originates from the hypothesis that when people travel they mostly need to check email and browse, and that doesn’t require a high spec machine. The first Eee PCs ran off a Linux operating system, but now there are models that utilise Windows XP if you insist on a Windows security blanket. I’ve been happy with the Linux OS.
My desire to buy the Eee PC sprang from the frustrations of modern travel. These days I aim to travel light. I try to pack everything into one bag – preferably a carry-on if it’s a flight. Especially if I’m only going to be away for a couple of days. I have a small laptop, which is only 14″, but it’s impossible to tote it, with its power supply, and the rest of my gear in one bag. It’s cumbersome and heavy. If I have to negotiate security checkpoints, traverse endless airport corridors, walk to train stations, travel up and down stairs, search out accommodation, and suffer adverse weather conditions, I don’t want the bother of also dragging around a lot of kit.
The Eee PC is a simple rugged machine, with a keyboard that is just big enough to operate. I wouldn’t want to use it all the time, but it’s perfect for light writing and emails. I’m using the Surf Eee PC (in black), which has a webcam, a 4GB hard drive, 512MB RAM, and a 7″ screen. USB pen drives and memory cards are cheap and plentiful as muck these days so extra memory is not a problem. There are newer niftier models of Eee PC coming out all the time (although those of us in Europe are getting them at a slower rate than the USA). The battery life is around 3 hours, but you can shave an hour off that if you have the WiFi enabled and are doing a lot of surfing and browsing. It’s a jewel: tiny, lightweight, and functional.
Now a confession: I have a slight passion for bags. I’m not a crazy person with a room dedicated to them, but I like to have different bags for different occasions. Recently I purchased a Charlotte Reid handbag, which you’ll see in the photographs. I bought it for a variety of reasons, but never considered that my Eee PC could actually fit inside it. But with encouragement it does! It’s like a magic trick that has passerbys looking askance when a fully formed laptop pops out of my handbag.
I’ve also noticed that when I use the laptop in a café, or out in the wild, that it always attracts attention. People peer at me over menus and around the side of their newspaper. Eventually, someone will ask about it. So far 100% of the time it’s been men who have approached me. I know there are geeky women out there (hello, me!), but they seem to be thin on the ground, or maybe they are less forthcoming. Perhaps the Eee PC is the new way to meet people, the perfect conversation starter in a tech-obsessed world. I’d imagine that any single woman or man could set up an Eee PC in a trendy café and wait for the polite enquires to start. A shared interest in gadgets is a solid starting point.