Friday Cat Blogging - 21 November 2008

| Fri Nov. 21, 2008 3:14 PM EST

FRIDAY NETBLOGGING.... After my Macblogging this morning (or perhaps Macwhining is more like it) (and yes, I have a 3:20 appointment today at the local Genius Bar, thankyouverymuch) (and I can hardly wait to find out if the only option is to buy a new battery at whatever inflated price Apple charges) — anyway, after all that, I figured I should update you on the netbook I bought last week too.

So here it is, propped up next to Inkblot to give you a sense of scale. (And before you ask: yes, the recursive wallpaper idea turned out to be a huge pain in the ass.) (And it didn't even work all that well, since the white balance of the LCD screen is way different than the white balance of the great outdoors.)

Anyway. It's an MSI Wind U100 and so far it's worked pretty well. Very light and convenient. Good performance. Uses Windows XP, not Vista. Sleep mode and hibernation work nicely. Battery life is advertised at five hours, but my guess is that a little over four hours of continuous use is more realistic. The keyboard is quite usable and all the keys are in the right place. The trackpad doesn't have a scrollbar (why? why?!?), but tapping the upper and lower right corners scrolls up and down, and that works pretty well. The trackpad, as I mentioned earlier, is very sensitive, which is a problem until you figure that out, and still a bit of a problem even after you get used to it. The screen is small, of course (1024 x 600), but very sharp and readable. The card reader gave me some problems until I figured out that internally it's a USB device and I have to click the "remove device safely" icon before I pop it out. Bluetooth and wireless work fine. The speakers suck, of course, but the sound is OK with headphones. (In fact, it's a nice little movie player, and I used it last weekend to finally watch The 27th Day, which I had downloaded months ago but never watched on my desktop machine.)

But there's got to be something wrong with it, right? Yes. And I owe it to the Mac fans to air this on the blog. Here it is: the wireless seems to work fine on all networks except mine. On mine, it continually cycles on and off trying to acquire an address. This could be the router's fault, of course, but the router works fine with every notebook I've tried except the MSI. The only failure comes with the combination of this router and this notebook. If I reboot the router, everything works fine for a while, but the next day it's bollocksed up again. It's probably related to the router releasing and reacquiring an address overnight or something, but I haven't figured out anything more than that yet. I don't suppose the Genius Bar folks can help me with that, can they?