I am old school.  I say this neither bragging nor complaining, but just as a statement of fact.  Although I was born during the Kennedy administration, the better part of my worldview is pure Eisenhower. 

One of the more interesting phenomena I noticed after digging my way out of the time capsule  (shoulda buried it deeper, boys) was the advent of the Weenie Computer…. otherwise known as the ‘netbook’.   This little piece of progress seemed too good to pass up, so I decided to replace my old coal-fired laptop with one of these low calorie widgets. Ho-ho!

At first I was impressed with some of features:  the diminished ballast in my briefcase, the seemingly eternal battery life, the almost instantaneous start-up.  But lo…. the huzzahs end rather abruptly at this point. For inasmuch as the box is small, so is the keyboard. The marketing hucksters who work for the weasels who made this dis-oracle call it a “3/4 size keyboard”.  Alas, but I do not have 3/4 size hands.  Full size, plus.  Typing has always been a challenge for me– especially since 1977, when I took a touch typing class in summer school.  (It wasn’t as much a typing class — it was more like playing Whack-a-Mole without a mallet.) The teacher was about ready to cut off my fingers to save the two-ton Royal Standard Electric from the abuse.  But I wasn’t quite as bad on the keys as some of the athletes in class.  They were trying to type with pork sausages for fingers- but at least they could count on the girls on the cheerleading squad for assistance in filling out forms*cough*.  But I digress.

The other major joy in using the weeniePC or the DietMac is in the incredible viewing screen (as in incredibly small).  Not only do I not have the ability to see more than a paragraph of text at a time, but it changed my whole perspective of the Internet. It makes you think that you are looking at web pages through a knot-hole in a fence – like a Peeping Tom with scrollbars.  Add a couple of toolbars—I dare you. They’re just like venetian blinds

Sometimes it’s fun to watch the web addicts at a Wi-Fi hotspot, all hunched over their toddler keyboards and squinting like Popeye the Sailor at their screens- trying to read a news website or write some e-mail-with their soon to be arthritic hands cramping on the keyboard.  Does anybody remember back when Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was the Malady of the Month?  Back in the early 90s, it seemed like anybody who ever looked at a computer keyboard was being diagnosed with it. I remember seeing a whole lot of leather wrist straps (aka Chamber of Horrors) in the office where I worked. They should be back in vogue pretty soon— it is the perfect complement to the new Quasimodo humps that are sprouting up at the local Starbucks’.

I did give my little mini-marvel a fair trial. I used it for an entire week—all the time resisting the growing urge to create a new Olympic sport – the Netbook Throw (similar to the discus but with more emotion involved.)  At the end of the week, I replaced it with a FULL SIZE laptop—even bigger than the 8 year old behemoth I used to carry. It has a keyboard big enough for the Rockettes to dance on, and an IMAX size screen. The best part is the speakers. No longer did every bit of audio sound like either the Chipmunks on helium or a kazoo band.  YouTube became more to me than just a rumor.  Now I can show graphics on my screen to others without using a magnifying glass. 

The bottom line is this- the netbook would be a perfect fit for you—if you were an elf, pixie or leprechaun. But if you are a full-size human, and desire to do full size work- buy a full size laptop. Life is too short to go around googly-eyed, stooped and with cramped hands.