In researching potential inexpensive laptop solutions for use in education, I decided that the Eee PC would be a great product for this use. I was especially excited that there were Linux offerings. For myself and potential students, this means no Windows Tax, since I would install Linux anyway.
I never tried the Asus version of Linux, instead, I opted to install the Ubuntu Netbook Remix. I may have tried the Asus version, but was immediately confronted with a EULA, so decided that a format was in order.
I've only been using this system for a few days. I have to say I am very impressed. The keyboard is small, but no so small that I can't type relative fast on. I've only installed a few things outside of the defaults that are installed by default with the remix.
I think this system could easily be used by any student in education. With a built-in webcam and mic, just add a headset and you've got a perfect device for online classes. I'll be using it with next week's Mozilla Open Education Course class. Very exciting times. I think once these units hit the $150-$200 range, they will be even more realistic for a student laptop.
What I'll personally be using this for? Well, the list is pretty long already.
- I listened to Pandora via pianobar several hours this week at work.
- I read a few chapters of an E-book with FBReader. Since this is such a small device, it actually feels like a book. I will certainly be reading more E-books now.
- I used OpenOffice writer to convert an E-book to a different format. I'll be using OpenOffice continually for many projects.
- I watched a couple cartoons with my daughter. One using Firefox with a flash movie player. The second was an avi file from Totem. The display is a little larger than her small DVD player, so with a headphone splitter, it was a familiar and comfortable experience.
- I browsed around Twitter a little with TweetDeck.
- I posted this.
Not only is this a super usable little computer. It will be a welcome option for students at all levels of education.