Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:41 PM
I have used a small notebook (Sony 1280x768 10" widescreen ) for 5 years as it was the only truly carryable anywhere laptop. The new netbook's are much less expensive and you lose a little real estate on the screen, but I'll be buying one when my Sony dies. Coupled with a small portable external hard drive (mine is a WD My Passport 500GB and I'm sure 1T will be coming soon), you get a small footprint required to work, a very low weight/shoulder to carry around, and high storage system.
The footprint size was #1 for me to fit on an airplane tray, comfortably in my lap anywhere, etc. I've found even at home I don't connect to a larger monitor as I can carry the Sony around easily, even from room to room or to a coffee shop with wifi. The only time I need to hard connect is scanning or printing ( printers can be networked now too or I use print to PDF). I choose portability and compensate in organizing to the screen size and develop shorcuts or other work flow patterns. For us Blackberry or iPhone users --- its all about portability. You develop techniques and can become quite fast after a while (my husband can use the BB Pearl keypad, I have to use the slightly larger BB Curve). So its priorities. I do wish TMG provided one stroke scoll in/out, resize, more drag/drop, etc. Less key data would help ergonomically for whatever size device you use. But I won't complain too much as TMG is the best out there I've seen and it is getting better.
I use RockDock instead of the standard windows task bar/icons on desktop. RockDock creates a Mac-like bar that you can place top, bottom, left or right. By mousing over it each of the icons gets bigger and the name is displayed. This allows me to have my applications, individuals folders (images, source documents, SS files) one click away opened or unopened to avoid a lot of WIndows navigation since you need all the screen real estate you have. Just one of the little compensations for the small screen size.
I'd love to see more examples of how netbook users are organizing their screen and adapting their work pattern (see mine below) to learn "ahas" that would simplify my work.
SIDEBAR ON WORK PATTERN:
My genealogy work pattern seems to be different from most. I've never used the full sized TMG on the screen.TMG is just one of the programs that I use when I'm working on genealogy. My key programs are TMG, Acrobat, Endnote, Firefox with things like Google desktop search if I can't find what I'm looking for on my laptop. As a librairan, I've used Endnote for managing sources for years, and back in the TMG v.2-3 days when the ability to save lots of texts and file attachments in source document in external files wasn't easy and searching the full text in those source documents didn't exist. That was also before SS. I did manual web pages back then and could link TMG source to a folder of source documents. Now SS has completely automated the process and allows external files, so I may look at eliminating Endnote when I have time. I'll lose some functionality but save in others ways. I save all my source documents as PDFs. If I have them OCRed I could search the entire content using Google Desktop to find a particular item -- and if not add the extra information into the PDF instead of Endnote now if it doesn't fit well in TMG. Again my librarian training. I don't want them as images as PDFs are the standard for document storage in my professional field. We were part of the Google Books project and had all our pre-copyright books scanned by Google and now they are available to anyone and downloadable in PDF format. I'm now enjoying that conversion as genealogist as the Google Books project get more old books. I now have a digital library of genealogy books downloaded and saved on my WD My Passport external drive. I've scanned my old 25+ years of book, letter, article, other such documents into PDFs and in the process of scanning my images and going completely digital. They are easier to find, read and store. Basically I want it all digital so I can work on it anywhere, anytime; and be able to share the data and source material digitally. Kudos to John Cardinal and Second Site for making that much easier.