Netbooks and Productivity

by Virgil Huston in Tech, Travel · 1 comment


The reason I didn’t get my usual blog posting out yesterday is because I was doing client work and then got preoccupied with getting my new HP Mini 1000 netbook up and running. This is one sweet little machine.


My laptop has seen better days and is still quite useful, but not for toting around. For travel, I had a Verizon USB wireless card that was eligible for an upgrade. When I saw the deal on the HP Mini I jumped on it. Standard Verizon price for the mini with a two year contract ($59.95/mo for 5GB transfer, same as I was paying for the USB card) is $ 199. With the upgrade eligibility, it was $ 149.00 with a new two year agreement.

My only other option was an Acer netbook with ATT, but for best coverage where I live and mostly travel, Verizon was the only choice. I would have picked the HP over the Acer, in any case.

For those thinking about getting a mini (and you can buy them without a mobile broadband plan for two or three hundred dollars more), here is my take so far.


  • It is perfect size and unbelievably portable, makes my laptop look like ENIAC. One reason I have never had a palm device or Blackberry is that I can’t deal with the tiny keyboards. The mini has a 92% sized keyboard and it rocks.
  • While some reviews I read criticized HP for using Windows XP as the operating system, I see this as a plus. I hate Vista, I know XP, and software I want to run on the mini will work. XP has its faults, but it is still Microsoft’s best OS, in my opinion.
  • Again, the 80GB hard drive has also been criticized as too small, but I see it as fine for me and the purposes the mini serves.
  • It boots up quickly and comes with only a few software “freebies” that you will want to get rid of, like the Norton trial, AIM, and MS Works. Not like the tons of garbage that comes on a laptop or desktop.
  • Works like a champ on a ethernet, wireless, and the Verizon broadband network.
  • Will work overseas with temporarily switching to the Global plan, or, if you travel a lot, you can get the global plan from the start ($ 129/mo)
  • Has a built-in webcam
  • Has built in Bluetooth


  • Took me a long time to get it to work on my wireless network, your mileage may vary. Once working, all was good with the world
  • AC power connector is loose, you have to be aware when it is not actually connected.
  • Comes with 1GB of RAM, expandable to 2GB, but you can’t get it from Verizon online, you have to go to one of their stores. My solution is to just buy the memory from somewhere else at a better price.
  • Comes with a 3-cell battery, good for around 2.5 hours. The optional 6-cell battery is $ 149 from Verizon. I have found them a lot cheaper on ebay and some online stores.
  • Has two USB connections, not much if you are going to use a mouse, but you can always plug in a hub.
  • Has a VGA port, but requires an adapter to connect to a monitor or projector.
  • Does not have MS Power Point, but does have a Power Point viewer so you can give presentations (I installed Open Office and I could have installed MS Office if I had wanted to, I suppose).
  • Comes with MS Works, a worthless program if I ever saw one.
  • Touchpad is the worst feature, but I don’t like touchpads, in any case, I’ll be using a mouse most of the time.

Some of the cons could actually be considered pros, and the pros outweigh the cons on an overall basis in a big way. I highly recommend this computer.

I plan to keep my mini lean and mean. I uninstalled software I don’t need and have installed only Skype and Open Office so far. I may add a couple more items, but not many.

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About Virgil Huston

Field Service Rep Journeyman at Raytheon in Afghanistan; Studied Ecological Anthropology at University of Georgia; Lives in North Augusta, South Carolina; Married to Lynn Huston

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