The pleasure of summer, wifi and country pubs for a writer

A few weeks ago I – on a whim as always – bought a very tiny laptop, a notebook in fact. (I have since worked out it is the Dell mini 910, superceded later by the Dell mini 10) I took it home, it had 1 gb of memory, a miniscule hard drive (6.5 gb) and ran Windows XP Home.

Even though most of my home computers run XP – they will never be updated to any newer Windows OS – I decided this notebook needed Linux Ubuntu 12.04 on it. This meant I could work with LibreOffice Writer and not with the ever-updating Microsoft Word, which was fine. Having got a friend to eradicate Windows and replant/ reboot Ubuntu 12.04 onto it, I downloaded Chromium for Linux for fast wifi connection. (Chromium proved fast but has a few snags with it so use Firefox as well now.)

And then I was off, wandering the UK midland public buildings, its pubs, its Wetherspoons, it's shops, its garden centres and spending most of my time in Leicestershire and Warwickshire in the blistering sunshine of July/ August 2013.

It is'nt – and I write now out in the summer greenery – the wifi that really matters, it's the ability to write fluenty using a keyboard. Forget iphones, typing on those things is a waste of space. Forget ipads, they are stupid things that require one hand to hold the gadget (which must slow down one's typing) and they're bodies are so glossy they are almost designed to slip! (One techy friend suggests putting velcro on the back to avoid this) They remind me of the dreadfully designed Ovation guitars that continually slip off the guitarist's thighs!

This second hand Dell Mini throwaway only cost me a mere £70 and it has opened vistas of enjoyment. A pint of beautiful CAMRA beer in country gardens, an hour of typing into my current novel, or piece of writing I am doing, and then I connect to the internet via wifi to save it to my inbox of my email. Later I can edit and slip it into my work. And then I discovered Dropbox, which means I can work on the same text from many different computers without moving any files ever! How fantastic.

I have had a few problems. For some reason a few places – and I have wracked my brains trying to sort out why – I find their wifi doesn't work. This does not cause me any actual problems (as I just save the file to desktop and then transfer it at home) but I am the type of guy who gets really pissed off if and I can't solve a techy problem it does my head in. I have been advised since by serious techies (helping my head and nerves) that this antisocial behaviour of wifi is not unusual, they use words like scrambling and other stuff. It appears wifi can be a trucculent mare when she wants to be.

Anyway, all I wanted to say was owning a small secondhand netbook running Linux and typing away in a sunny English lanscape with a pint of good English CAMRA beer can be a JOY!

Modern life

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