Monday, February 16, 2009

Tired of Typing With Your Thumbs?

As more and more of us are using enhanced mobile phones or the new “Swiss army knife” of business persons, the Blackberry, some major issues seem to eventually arise. Typing into these devices anything more than a short “? time R U mtg me” is awkward, and if your are not 15 years old, downright irritating. God did not design many of us to type with our thumbs. (Although if you are regular reader of my typos you may think I type everything I write with my thumbs ... no brain, just thumbs!)

It is not just the keyboards that pose problems. The screen size may be fine for displaying a small picture or brief message. Doing a Google search for the complete Periodic Table may pose some issues for even the best of eyes. The same holds true for writing and reading a large document or spreadsheet. What seems to be happening is that we want these wireless devices to connect with the Internet and provide the same usefulness as our regular office or home computers do.

Many have opted to use a lap top computer. While most lap tops are as robust and feature loaded as any office machine, they can get a bit heavy to be carrying around from place to place. Also, they have many more features than most people actually need. How many people really need to be editing network quality video on the bus into Cincinnati?

Enter a new breed of computers, the Mini Lap Top. They are larger than any enhanced phone but much smaller and lighter than a regular lap top. They are also less expensive and energy efficient. Many of the major brands have models priced at less than $275 and offer some very attractive features. Most business people will need to spend about $500 to get a model that provides the most often used features to allow for mobile access to the Internet using WiFi, Bluetooth and some of the mobile carrier’s technologies.

The screen size is usually about 8 inches (measured diagonal) and most weigh in at about two pounds. They have a slightly smaller keyboard than one might find on a standard computer but it is much larger than any Blackberry pad. The keys are in the QWERTY, or standard orientation.

Instead of a hard drive, these Minis use solid state storage in lieu of a power hungry disc drive. The screen resolutions are adequate. The family would not able to gather around and watch a movie.

A mini is not for everyone. If you travel a lot and just need to keep up with email and some correspondence and be able to surf the web occasionally this might be something you should consider. Most of the major brands have a Mini line. Dell, Sony, HP and others have several models.

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