I’ve been bantering around the idea of having a device for mobile writing for a while now. I had a list of specs that seemed rather impossible, initially. It needed to be small (less than a 12-inch screen), it needed to have at least a few hours of battery power, it needed network connectivity (for research purposes and managing the repositories of my stories), and it needed to be cheap.
I haven’t sold a novel yet, so I can’t fathom dropping $1000+ into a device that won’t actually make me a better writer.
I was thinking more along the lines of, ya know, $300 or less. Preferably with a solid-state hard drive.
I’d heard about the ASUS laptops, but the new models were all $350 and up, which I didn’t want to drop. I read a bunch of reviews on the ASUSes, the Dell Inspiron Mini 9, and the Acer Inspire One. The ASUS seemed to be a winner, but the prices on all of them were $350 and up.
Then I found this little gem: the ASUS Eee PC 4G 701. It’s a slightly older model, and I think I’ll end up with about 1.25 GB free when it’s in my hands (based on what I saw of a newer 4G model in BestBuy). For someone working on a novel or two at a time, 1.25 GB is plenty. Getting a text editor, LaTeX, and git on it should be relatively trivial, even if I have to compile git. Stripping off the shit I won’t use (Thunderbird, etc.) might prove to be more of a problem — I haven’t looked into that.
I’m very excited. It’ll fit in my purse (yes, my purse is 9 inches across — and I don’t even have a baby), it’s about 2 pounds, and it seems more than powerful enough for what I want it for. Plus, the one I saw in the store was adorable. I’ll be able to write when I’m working at the hospital (although I won’t have internet access there), print over my home network, share stories with my desktop through a centralized git repo, etc., etc.
It should be here between this Thursday and next Tuesday. I’m checking every two hours to see if it’s shipped yet.
I try not to get too hung up on tools when it comes to writing, but being able to take advantage of stolen time is too good to pass on — when I’m waiting at the pharmacy, waiting for a roleplaying game to start, waiting for… well, everything that I find myself impatiently waiting on these days.