Smaller electronics pack a larger punch

by Clint HutchcroftStaff Writer

By Clint Edward Hutchcroft

The world of technology once again has gotten a little more petite. Apple Incorporated and the Hewlett Packard Company have just released their smallest toys yet, the fifth generation iPod nano and the Mini Netbook 110 series, respectively,

Technology corporations have found innovative ways to cram more things into tiny places. At the width of a typical journal with a key board 92 percent the size of the typical keyboard and the weight of a paperback novel, the HP mini Netbook provides all the uses of a personal computer, but at a smaller size without sacrificing too much memory or hard drive.

“It’s even smaller than my notebooks,” Cortney Bax said.

She said the main reasons she chose the netbook, were its price and the ability to transport it easily.

“The smaller computers are easier to lug around and allow you to cram more books in your bag,” freshman Caleb Carver said. Carver chose the Dell Mini Inspiron over the HP 110 because of greater memory. Netbooks are alike in design, the purpose is that they are computers ideal for surfing the web.

The Netbooks also have other features, including a mouse track pad with buttons on the side, a mini web cam and a microphone. The mini weighs in at about 2.57 lbs. with a 10.1 inch diagonal display.

The mini laptops are often less expensive than their larger counterparts. Netbooks run for $299.99. But, the smaller, less expensive Netbook does not include any optical drives. A CD-ROM must be purchased separately.

For Carver, this wasn’t a big concern.

“It’s not really a problem,” Carver said. “In school you rarely are needing to play around with lots of software. Quizzes and exams are on Scholar, and Netbooks were made with the Internet in mind.”

Bax begged to differ.

“It is a little annoying not having a CD drive,” she said. “It makes downloading things a hassle.”

Some critics find that Netbooks are not worth the bargain. In some cases consumers may want a full screen to watch videos and a built in CD-ROM to burn music, watch DVDs or even play games.

Students who feel that they need to upgrade from their old computer may worry that the cut in size may also be a cut in quality.

The fifth generation iPod nano has the characteristics of its predecessor, a 2.2 inch diagonal screen that portrays a tall, slim figured sound system with the application of an accelerometer. The iPod not only knows what angle it is being held at, but registers the change in position and causes the screen to enter into two different view modes. When vertical, the screen portrays a tall portrait view. Turn the device 90 degrees and a horizontal landscape view is displayed.

“Some movies just have a quality about them that just screams wide screen, so it is nice that you can turn the iPod 90 degrees and the accelerometer allows you to watch your movies the way they were meant to be,” Carver said.

When the iPod is flicked 90 degrees, the accelerometer causes the program to play the next song or video on the playlist selected. “It does have an annoying quality about it,” Carver said. “Unless you are like me and specifically turn off the accelerometer, you get to walking, then someone runs into you, and the next thing you know is that the iPod has changed the tune.”

The iPod also has an integrated web camera, microphone and radio tuner, with a focus on internet sharing networks like YouTube, MySpace, Dailymotion, and Facebook. Videos and photos shot on the iPod can be edited on the device, transferred to a computer and shared with the rest of the world.