Well, I survived my vacation into the Central American tropics (Panama), and seem to have come back no worse for the wear.
And while much of the rest of the IBM company takes off a few days at the end of the year, I'm firmly ensconced in my Austin stronghold, holding down the fort and bringing home the crazy year that was 2008.
In other words, it's awfully quiet around these parts, though I know for a fact there are a few salespeople scurrying like crazy the next couple days.
To them I say, good luck and good selling, and don't hesitate to call if you need my help.
As for Panama, I had a most excellent visit, and have more stories than propriety and common sense would allow me to extrapolate on in this post (although I will try to share some thoughts on Panama soon).
Instead, I will currently attempt to tie my excursion back to an information technology thread.
There seems to have been a recent ongoing dialogue going on about the opportunity for netbooks.
If voting with one's mouse and credit card is any indication, Amazon.Com probably should have a say, and they already have.
A large majority of the top 25 best-seller slots over the holidays on the e-commerce site have, in fact, been "various permutations of the Eee PC and other souped-down, sub-$500 machines," according to a story on Slate.
I should know, I was one of those customers.
After traversing the market high and low, and giving a great deal of consideration as to what might be the best netbook for me, I ended up purchasing an Acer Inspire One for around $400.
It included a 160MB HD and 1GB RAM, and (thankfully) it runs Windows XP (Vista would bring it to a grinding halt).
It was the only computer I took to Panama, a fact which caused me no small amount of nervous tension.
Sure, I was headed off on vacation, but I take my computers everywhere. Don't you?
No, not necessarily to do work work. No, no, no, to stay in touch with the world. To entertain myself. To keep up with what's going on around the planet!
So now that I've had a netbook for a little while now, and now that I've traveled with it as my primary computadora outside the country, I can say I still don't see what all the fuss is about.
Despite a smaller screen and keyboard, and a slower (Intel Atom) processor, the netbook is what I'd call "good enough."
Good enough to stay in touch with friends and family (I called my parents via Skype to wish them a Merry Christmas and to check up on my sister after a minor surgery).
Good enough to stay entertained on a small island (Isla Contadora) where we had no TV or radio (I had downloaded the entire first season of "The Wire" to the Acer via iTunes before the trip. Thank God!!)
Good enough to send video emails via Eyejot (yes, it includes a built-in camera and microphone).
Good enough to download all the photos I took and upload a select few to Facebook to share with my friends as the trip was underway.
Good enough to keep up with the news of the world (including streaming video).
Good enough to run TweetDeck and microblog some of my adventures.
So, for $400, less than the cost of some high-end smartphones out there, I had a fully-functioning PC that didn't weigh me down and let me do the things I needed to get doing done.
The netbook will likely never replace my Macbook Pro as the primary machine, not even if it gets a faster processor.
I value the screen real estate of my MBP too much (not to mention Mac OS X).
But, for a quick trip, either out of the country or down to the coffee shop, it does just the trick.
So, regarding the netbook debate, it's not an either/or proposition.
It's an "and."
How's that for ending a sentence with a conjunction?
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