Sunday, February 15, 2009


Sometimes I wonder about my mind. I don't mean that I consider it with wonder, marvelling at its grace and magnificence... frankly some days it seems about as graceful and magnificent as Courtney Love. I mean that I wonder about it in the same way that a biologist wonders about a particularly weird little bug he's been looking at under a microsope.

I have a tendency to get ideas in my head that seemingly spring up out of nowhere, but take root with alarming speed and then burst forth with great fragrant blossoms of foolishness. One moment I'm wondering if there's something more useful for entertaining me on my exercise bike than an iPod Touch or a portable DVD player, and the next thing I know I have an Eee.

If you don't know what it is, the Eee is a netbook. If you don't know what a netbook is, it's a stripped down, miniaturised laptop computer with flash memory instead of hard drive. If you don't know what a laptop is, then there is no hope for you understanding anything more modern than the electric mangle and we should part company now.

Do I actually need a netbook? It's one of those things that could be useful in a number of situations but isn't specifically right for anything in particular. I just sort of wandered into buying it, because it was small and cool and now and inexpensive and The Flatmate egged me on. So now I have something that's sort of amorphously useful but never essential.

Still, for something tiny and cheap it's remarkably feature-packed, with a webcam, wireless networking, plenty of ports for SD cards or USB peripherals, and a comprehensive set of basic software included in the price. About the only thing I don't like about it is the fact that it has "Eee" written in a large, tacky cursive font across its cover. I'm already considering various vandalism options to get rid of it.

One may be moved to wonder why the Asus corporation chose to call it the Eee in the first place (or, as one particular friend insists on calling it, the Weee, suggesting that he's been a little overwhelmed by modern electronics marketing). Did they sit around the boardroom table, tossing around names like MicroNet or xNet or Netmini, until eventually someone shouted out, "I know, let's name it after the sound of fingernails screeching down a blackboard!", and everyone else shouted, "Eureka, that's it! Rice wine martinis for everyone!"?

Or, as I suspect, are the Taiwanese chortling into their sleeves, maliciously delighted that their dominance of global computing is so complete than they can convince people to buy computers with a name like the scream of a frog being boiled alive?

The crucial question is, does it entertain me on my exercise bike, which was the entire, if tenuous, rationale for buying it in the first place? I did my exercise biking this evening with it propped up on the magazine rack, listening as it politely read out the first four chapters of 'The War of the Worlds' which I'd downloaded from Project Gutenberg. I'd already tried to do the same thing with my existing technology, only to find that my iPod Shuffle refused to accept the files from iTunes, at which point I became iPeeved. So there's a win right there.

I also wrote this post on it, while sprawled in my Eames chair. The keyboard isn't as easy to use as my desktop's, but there are extra coolness points in writing one's blog posts from one's Eames chair, so I guess it all evens out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual an entertaining blog. It inspired me to check out 'Eee' in case the Koreans were indeed having a joke and it actually meant something. I couldn't find anything in phonetic Korean, but Wikipedia gave up these gems:

* EEE (psychedelic), a drug (maybe it is addictive?)

* Embrace, extend, and extinguish, a term referring to Microsoft's business tactics (it really would be good if they stole this from Microsoft!)

* Electronic Entertainment Expo, the former name of E3, an annual convention for the computer and video games industry (possibly a connection planted years ago in an executive's mind?)

* EEE sometimes also designates a width or girth in shoe size (have you measured it?)

* Eee-O-11: The Best of the Rat Pack, a 2001 album compiling songs by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr (not really a likely conection there.)

* Eeeee Eee Eeee, Tao Lin's first novel. (I couldn't believe there was such a title. A very excited author!

Who would have known such possibilities for Eee's genesis existed? Jaymez

3:32 PM  
Blogger Laziest Girl said...

We've got a EEE too. As well as the three other laptops. And the child isn't even big enough to have his computer yet.

10:27 AM  

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