Successful Meetings - December 2008 - (Page 18)

Technology Talk > By Michael Goldstein Netbooks and Notebooks In the BlackBerry/iPhone era, does anyone really need to lug a notebook computer? Unfortunately, even the smartest smart phone has limitations. It may deliver your e-mails, messages, music, and calls, but for any kind of writing beyond “C u plside at 5” you need a real keyboard. Downloading and editing documents, looking at pictures, watching video, and updating presentations also demand a bigger screen, on-board storage, and more horsepower than any BlackBerry could provide. What’s the good news about notebooks? Not to sound like a car salesman, but there’s no better time to buy than right now. This generation of portable PCs is the most capable yet, while prices have fallen to their lowest level ever. PICK A PORTABLE While there are inevitable trade-offs when buying a notebook, certain features should be non-negotiable. Must-haves include wireless Internet access (preferably the most recent 802.11a/b/g/n version), two or three USB ports for attaching peripherals like a mouse or memory sticks, and a video port for connecting to a big-screen monitor or projector. Beyond that, what kind of notebook is right for you? To a large extent, it depends on whether your portable will be a companion PC or a desktop replacement. Desktop replacements have the screen size, powerful processors, huge hard drives, audio and video capabilities you’d find on a desktop PC—and they’re not much more portable. The Sony VAIO VGN-AW125J, for example, ($1,900) packs an Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor, 4GB of RAM, built-in camera and microphone for videoconferencing, an 18.4-inch screen, and 320GB hard drive. No wonder it measures 20 x 6.6 x 14.1 inches and weighs a staggering 13.4 pounds. Fortunately, many notebooks are perfectly capable of handling a meeting planner’s workday without breaking an arm or budget. Even Apple has bowed to economic realities, offering an entry-level MacBook for $999. Toshiba’s six-pound A305-S6872 has a 15.4-inch screen, a 250GB hard drive, Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 3GBs of memory, and up to four hours of battery life for around $750. Similarly, the HP G80120US (under $780) offers a webcam with microphone in addition to its 15.6-inch screen, 3GBs of memory, and 250GB hard drive—in a 6.06-pound package. It uses an AMD Turion processor with NVIDIA graphics card for enhanced graphics performance. Most notebooks this size have built-in DVD/CD-ROM drives as well. NETBOOK NOTES But what if you’re tired of lugging a laptop, have a computer at home, and primarily need to read your email, dash off a few notes, or check the Internet? The “new, new thing” is the Netbook. Netbooks are small, light, inexpensive computers designed to run online applications as well as accessing or storing files on the Internet. While some Netbooks run Windows XP and Office, others use a Linux operating system and low-cost applications like StarOffice and ThinkFree Office, both compatible with programs like Word or Excel. Netbooks, by ASUS, HP, Acer, MSI, Dell, and Lenovo, are optimized for Web browsing and e-mailing. They typically come with a 7-inch to 10-inch screen and without a CD or DVD drive. Their biggest bonus is their incredible light weight; the Acer Aspire One, for example, weighs just 2.1 pounds (2.8 with the inevitable AC adapter) and measures just 9.8 x 6.7 x 1.1 inches, small enough to fit in any briefcase and many purses. Tradeoffs? You bet. For example, keyboards are far more cramped than the standard notebook size’s (but much more usable than a BlackBerry’s). The Win XP Aspire One, one of the best of the breed, has an 8.9-inch screen older eyes might squint at, slow video performance, and a relatively limited 1GB of RAM and 120GB hard drive. On the other hand, it has wireless connectivity, USB ports, and video-out capability—for just $349. Dell’s Inspiron Mini 9 claims four hours of battery life and weighs just 2.28 pounds at a similar price. DECEMBER 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS Extra Bytes: Open & Shut Case New rules from the Transportation Security Administration mean you don’t necessarily have to remove your laptop from its case when crawling through airport security. The $99 Targus Zip-Thru Corporate Traveler unzips into two halves—one just for your laptop so it lies flat on the X-ray machine. And the $140 Skooba Checkthrough adds a clear window for your laptop. Of course, even a “TSA-approved” case is subject to the tender mercies of individual agents. www.skooba.com; www.targus.com ILLUSTRATION: BEATA SZPURA 18 successfulmeetings.com http://www.skoobadesign.com http://www.targus.com http://www.successfulmeetings.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - December 2008

Successful Meetings - December 2008
Contents
Editor's Note
Corporate Events
On the Record
Calendar
Research
Planner Spotlight
Personal Success
Technology Talk
Food & Beverage
Professional Development
Quick Tip
Tools of the Trade
On Site: Retire Those Tired Power-Point Slides
On Site: 12 Tips for Thriving on a South African Safari
Deep Impact
Recession-Friendly Speakers
Showing Off
Hawaii Insert
Places & Spaces
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Fort Worth
South Florida
Beijing
Gurus

Successful Meetings - December 2008

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