For the past few weeks, the Cloudbook has been a real disappointment, and it’s not like I was asking for much. All I wanted was to be able to access the Web and to use a word processing program. I got 50% of that. I was never able to really connect to wireless in a way that would allow me to surf the Web. If I put the computer right next to the base station I could connect, but even then, it would take 5 minutes to get a web site up and if I tried to load two at once, I’d get nothing. Saturday night, I brought the computer to Jessamyn’s house and tried to connect to her wireless network. Same result. And it has nothing to do with the hardware; the hardware is great. It’s the craptastic, half-baked operating system they put on it; an operating system that doesn’t adequately support the hardware.

So my brilliant husband spent all day Sunday installing Windows XP on the Cloudbook. Apparently a few people had installed XP and were very happy with how well it worked with the hardware. They were absolutely right. It works perfectly. It connects to the wireless with no problem. Windows are all the right size and don’t go off the screen. It boots quickly. It’s easy to change the screen resolution. And when I close the computer, it actually goes to sleep (and it wakes up fast). It’s now everything I wanted it to be. I’m actually typing up my blog post on it right now (you get used to the keyboard really quickly — I’m probably typing 50 wpm now).

It’s companies like Everex that give open source software a bad name and make people think that open source software is for only the most tech-savvy. They did a great job with the hardware, but the software was like an afterthought. It didn’t even work with their hardware! It ran horribly. Sure, I’d have loved to have installed regular Ubuntu on here, but I read too many stories about people having problems installing other open source operating systems on the Cloudbook. Windows supports the hardware. It was just easier, though there was no way I would have been able to figure out how to install XP on a computer with no CD-ROM drive (thanks Adam!).

In 12 days, I’ll be at the Computers in Libraries conference and I’m so confident in my new toy that I’ll only be bringing the Cloudbook. And the best part is that it’s so light and small I can carry it around in a purse! Thanks again to my wonderful husband; without him, I’d never have been able to get this computer to a place where I could use it. You rock, Ad! :)

You don’t rock, Everex. :(