Someone else, in this case, is my daughter Robin (right). She did her first review for me when she was 3. I sat her on my lap in front of a huge PC and she checked out some learning software.
She has gotten bigger, and the computers have gotten smaller. She had never seen Linux before, but within five minutes with the Asus EeePC 900 she had found several games, including one called Tux Typing, which is under the Learn menu.
The game taught me something important about the keyboard I complained about yesterday. It's really designed for four-finger typing. Keep the others out of the way and you can move along at about 30 words per minute with a minimum of mistakes.
Then, as promised, she brought it to her junior college classes this morning and showed it around.
"When I showed one of my classmates in my Calculus class, he said that the size reminded him of something called, My First Laptop. I thought that was funny."
One really big advantage over her seven-pound Lifebook is its two-pound weight.
"I was carrying everything for Calculus. I was going to do a little cramming before the test. It did not really add any weight. and my Calculus book is pretty big and heavy on its own.
"Also because it starts up pretty fast and even shuts down fast it is something that everyone can use anywhere in the library or wherever they are."
I know some people might think this $400 Linux laptop is a Microsoft killer. It's more like a Dell killer. There are no moving parts -- it's just chips and a screen. For extra memory there's an SD card slot, or plug in a hard drive through a USB port.
This makes for long battery life and ruggedness. Plus, each unit is the same -- no need for Dell's mass customization.
While I focused on the tiny keyboard (which she also noticed) Robin's biggest complaint was the slow response of the mouse buttons. But it's something you can get used to, she said.
There's one point missing from Robin's review and it's an important one. There were no ease-of-use issues. Everything was point-and-click, Windows-like. She didn't learn Linux. She didn't have to.
This is not a PC you load with additional hardware, or much additional software. This is more like a cell phone, something you toss in your backpack and use on-the-run. I can see a lot of Airport road warriors grabbing these babies.
So what do you think? Grandpa going to put it in a grandkid's stocking this Christmas? Could be. It's cheap as chips.