Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Mini 9 for Charlie


BMW friend Charlie and his wife Deb are riding their R1200GSs to Alaska next week.

Charlie wants to write a blog on and asked me to recommend a computer for the job. He wondered about using a tablet, but I argued against it because typing on a touch pad is a pain in the ass. I told him I have yet to find a solution better than the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook I’ve been using since March 2009.

The Mini 9 was soon replaced by the Mini 10 which has a larger, more user friendly keyboard, but its big advantage was its Solid State Hard Drive (SSHD) – no moving parts and thus far less vulnerable to vibration and dust. The Mini 9 is out of production, but you can find used  Mini 9s on Ebay.

And that’s exactly what Charlie did. He scored a Mini 9 with a black case with the same tweaks – upgraded to 2GB of RAM and a 32GB SSHD – as mine. (Dell originally shipped the Mini 9 with 1GB of RAM and an 8GB SSHD.) Charlie’s computer arrived yesterday and he brought it over last night for a tutorial and some software installation with my stand-alone CD/DVD drive.

The previous owner had removed the antivirus software, so I gave Charlie the third installation of the review copy of BitDefender Internet Security 2010 that I got through the Vine Program. I also downloaded and installed Irfanview as a lightweight, simple image management program, and the Google Chrome browser. I like Chrome on the Mini 9 because it has less menu crap at the top of the frame than do Firefox and Internet Explorer. He brought along a copy of Microsoft Streets & Trips, so we loaded that too.

I suggested he get a 32GB or larger SD card to live in the SD car slot and serve as a D: drive. I keep all of my images on an installed 32GB SD card so as not to load up the SSHD.

Now, he just needs to spend a little time with the Mini 9 to get used to the keyboard and also to do some dummy blog posts for practice before they hit the road on Saturday morning.

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