Sunday 26 September 2010

Gratuitous Aphorism #3

Patient: Doctor, doctor! It hurts when I do this [Waves arm unnaturally above head]
Doctor: Well, don't do it, then!

Saturday 4 September 2010

Samsung N220 Netbook

New hardware here at chez chilliant. I cute, little 10.1" netbook from Samsung. As is my wont, I researched the marketplace quite thoroughly, so I had to set myself a budget of £300 to prune the options. My requirements came down to:

  • Small size,
  • Good build quality,
  • Enough computing power to pursue hobby programming,
  • Ability to playback videos easily,
  • Good battery life.

The UK version of the Samsung N220 ticks all the right boxes, not least because it has a Broadcom CrystalHD Decoder built-in, unlike its foreign cousins, bizarrely. It means I can copy recorded programmes directly from my Topfield TF5800 PVR and play them back at native resolution (720x576 or 1024x576) with no lost frames and good (backlit LED) display.

The keyboard is a little under-size, so takes a lot of getting use to, particularly the tiny cursor keys, but I'm typing this (on a train) with not too much trouble.

With a battery life of supposedly up to 12 hours (I get about 7 hours with my usage profile), it's not disastrous if I forget to plug it back into the mains of an evening after a few days of commuting. Interestingly, after punting around in the Control Panel and settings, I came across a BIOS setting to only charge the 6-cell battery to 80% capacity in order to extend the lifetime of the battery pack. The very fact that this is a BIOS setting suggests that modern computers do a lot more when "switched off" than I ever imagined.