toy fix

I don't know about you, but every now and then - okay, every couple of months or so - I get a severe rash of technolust usually focused on some financially-as-yet-unavailable toy that would probably have every Marxist on the planet tutting and shaking their head at my unbridled desire for gadget consumption. On the other hand, there's my parallel mental self-flagellation for even thinking of spending such money when I don't have a day job and the income from a writing career is sporadic by nature. Basically, I have to get my hands on an E-ink reader so I can decide I don't really want one or, worse, buy one of the damn things.

I had a moment a bit like that on my last visit to Taipei, when I finally got to play with an Asus EEEpc, the relatively inexpensive mini-laptop that's apparently shifting by the bucketload in the States. I'd read a lot about it and did indeed engage in a fair bit of pre-emptory technolust which was finally sated by playing with one in a gigantic computer store in the centre of Taipei and realising it wasn't really quite for me. Don't get me wrong, it's very cool and for a lot of people I'd recommend it, but it was just so teensy-weensy I couldn't see me getting a great deal of practical use out of it.

Now if I can only hypnotise myself into developing a desire for things that are cheap and easily available, like cardboard boxes and interestingly shaped pebbles, except that's not really the point of unreasonable material desire, is it ...


Ian Sales said...

I sort of fancied an EEE too... until I got to play with one in PC World recently. It struck me as all a bit plasticky, and the Linux OS looked a bit tellytubbyish. It felt more like a toy than a convenient gadget. Ah well.

gary gibson said...

I actually thought it was fine for email and browsing on the go, if you didn't mind the tiny screen, which was the lust-killer for me. And I couldn't type on that tiny keyboard. But you know, it'd be great to give to a kid, and it's handily handbag-size as well. Sort of like a computer for people who aren't bothered about having a computer.

Simon said...

the eeepc is a great gizmo, really handy for mobile online tasks. One doesn't buy a gizmo like that for developing some web 2.0 app using ruby on rails or writing ones next blockbuster or whatever.

Amazing that there are so many helpful using unencrypted wifi. In Bristol the other day I got a link to the net on most streets where I stopped. The eeepc is great for that.

I use linux full time. The variant used on the eeepc is designed for kids and to be light weight. You can easily switch it to its "advanced" mode or replace it with one of the tweaked versions of "proper" distro's that are now appearing, like eeeUbuntu (ubuntu is probably the most popular and ungeeky linux).

It's good as an ebook reader, movie viewer and photo display app also. Much better than the PDAs I've owned, palm and archos 400, cheaper also.

I've got eeeXubuntu (a ubuntu varient which runs the lightweight xfce desktop) - it looks and handles brilliant.

Enough gadgetary. About Stealing Light, I was happy to discover (on this site) that it is part of a triology. I know that putting a "part one of... " into the blurb could lose sales 'cos people might wait until all had been published by which time it is forgotten etc. But it just finished.

Full stop finished. Somewhat of a cliffhanger, but sort of given an absail rope by the final block of paragraphs about suns going out.

It really isn't clear. And I've read a review someplace that says much the same. You could have stuck a "To Be Continued" at the end for us slow brainers. Particularly as (IMHO) Against Gravity resolved itself in an unresolved sort of fashion.

Apart from that it was great. The type of space opera I really love. Your tweaks on the sub genre are imaginative, the characters believable and a really strong narrative drive. When do you reckon the next part will come out?