Scrivener on a netbook

Now that OS X will run on netbooks, I am wondering how they would fare as writing machines.

I don’t have one (yet!), but my take is that 9-inch screen models are too small for typing unless you’ve got really small hands. I’d love to use Scrivener on something with a 10 inch screen and a good keyboard. The Wind (or the Samsung NC10 when it becomes available) seems to have the best keyboard – with a standard right shift key.

Has anyone used one of these puppies for writing? I’m curious to know how they type and how durable they are.

Just to be clear, this activity (running OSX on non-Apple hardware) is an express violation of the EULA and as such is against the law in most countries. Please do not post tips on how to accomplish this activity without getting KB’s express permission as this exposes him to potential legal action as an accomplice.

Please not that I am not making a statement as to the propriety of the Apple OSX (or any other OS) EULA, just stating the facts.

KB if I have overstepped my bounds please forgive me and feel free to delete this post.

Jaysen, I’m not advising it either, though I would love to be able to run OS X on something smaller than a MacBook. As much as I love the looks of the new MacBooks, they’re still a mite big and heavy, and the glossy screen makes writing outdoors difficult. Obviously, we don’t want to promote anything illegal or infringe on Apple’s rights. Whether legally enforceable or not, the EULA is an agreement, and I agree with you: if installing Mac OS X on a computer is illegal in your locality, then you shouldn’t do it.

To stave off any potential debates about that murky subject, let’s change the topic from using Scrivener ON a netbook to the usefulness of a netbook as a physical writing machine – regardless of which OS is installed. After all, if you’re running linux on a netbook, you can write on it and send your files over to your mac where they are easily imported into Scrivener (which, of course, you will still use to organize your writing project). Not as elegant as doing the actual writing in Scrivener, I know, but netbooks seem to be more portable than anything Apple’s put out in recent memory. At least anything with a keyboard. :wink:

So… anyone use one of these for writing? if so, what model and what do you dislike/like about it.

I was really hoping Apple was going to come out with a 10" Macbook/Pro model this time around but it didn’t happen. Since I have been without a notebook for 5 months waiting for this update I went forward and purchased one of the new 13" Macbooks. I love it, but a 10" would have been sweeter!

I know completely how you feel. What I wouldn’t give for an aluminum mini-macbook! The new macbook looks a lot more durable than the old one. If I sell my old macbook and my iMac, I could afford a new MacBook—the model with the illuminated keyboard… especially if they have a thanksgiving sale this year. Scrivener in full screen mode with a black background would look really nice on that all-black screen, I’m thinking.

Choices, choices… :neutral_face:

Netbooks and netbook enthusiasts tickle me pink! I hate to play somantics but how are they any different to an ultraportable? In my opinion the MBA is a netbook.

Going back a couple of years, I owned a ThinkPad X20 12.1 inch laptop with no optical drive. That little pearl weighed 1600 grams, lasted 4 hours on batteries and I took it right round the world packed in an A4-sized document wallet. As it was refurbished, it only cost me $1000AUD (about £400). Fujitsu, IBM/Lenovo and Sony have produced 8-12 inch portables for years but Asus produces a hyped-up Fisher Price toy (that was much more expensive than promised) and the world goes nuts!

Back then people laughed at my ThinkPad and said it was underpowered and too small. Oh well I have a long memory.

Although ultralight, at 13.3-inch the MBA is still too large to be considered a true netbook IMO.

And you’re completely entitled to it, mate! But one’s man’s netbook is another’s ultraportable; I am two metres tall and have bigger hands than most, the EEEPC family looks absurd when I use it. I don’t personally own an Air and I’m certainly no evangelist, but I wouldn’t hesitate in getting one if I needed that kind of portability.

Why we need to pidgeon hole hardware with new fangled marketing terms is beyond me. Surely my old Thinkpad would qualify as a netbook and that came out years ago! Do netbook users only use their netbooks to surf the net? I seriously doubt that’s the case; most people from what I see want bargain bin, fully featured computer in a small / light form factor.

What’s the magic cut-off number for qualifying devices? 7-inch, 10-inch? At 13.3 inches the MBA is not much bigger than a sheet of A4 paper! True it won’t fit in a handbag but i doubt you’d notice it in a messenger bag or backpack.

Size and cost are the two biggest factors for Netbooks. Netbooks generally have low power processors, cost $300 to $600 USD, and have screens 7" to 11" in size.

The MBA doesn’t really meet any of the above criteria. I would love to have one, however I have a fairly new MacBook Pro.

Ok I can live with that as a definition. That puts my old ThinkPad, PowerBook G4 and the MBA out of the equation. I guess my dinner plate hands could cope with 10-11 inches but truthfull I love the screen real-estate and functionality of my Santa Rosa Blackbook. Rather than the MBA, maybe an MSI Wind with hacked OSX would suit everyone; apparantly, EULAs aside, it’s has the most OSX compatible hardware.

I have a feeling Apple will eventually release something with those specs, but I seriously doubt with would be under $600USD and even if it was they’d still make us Brits pay £600 even though the pound is nearly double the dollar! Damned colonials - all this fuss over a few crates of tea.

Well, since I’m 84% of your height, it follows that my ideal laptop would be 84% the size of yours. If the MBA/MacBook is the ideal size for you, then mine would be about the size of the wind (but thinner). I think you’d have trouble on a 10 inch keyboard, just like I can’t type on a 8.9 inch one.

Steve said: “Want to deliver an increasing level of value. There are some customers that we choose not to serve. We do not know how to make a $500 computer that’s not a piece of junk, and our DNA will not allow us to ship that.” People are taking that to mean they won’t produce a mini-macbook, but that’s not really what he said. The comment was apparently in response to the question of whether Apple would be bringing out more affordable computers. So, all hope of a mini-macbook one day isn’t necessarily gone. But, until the MBA is retired, I don’t think we’ll see it, as it would seriously undercut its sales. But we can still wish!

And one man’s ultraportable is another woman’s normal-sized laptop :smiley: I’m 5’2", so theoretically my ideal computer would be 79% of yours. Make it less than that, in fact, because women have less upper body strength on average. To me, even a normal MacBook is a hell of a weight to lug around, which is why mine basically lives at home. An MBA is about the maximum weight I can cope with, but I really can’t justify replacing my MacBook yet, so I have an Eee 900 instead (running eebuntu and pretending to be a Mac :laughing: ). I could probably stretch to an Eee1000, weight-wise, but they weren’t out yet when I decided I was fed up of waiting for the perfect post-7" Eee.

Which brings us back to the original topic - writing on a netbook. I don’t use the Eee for serious drafting or editing - my Alphasmart Neo is far better suited to the former and Scrivener to the latter - but it is useful for planning, researching and outlining on the move. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this forum, I like to use SuperNotecard for preliminary outlining, and happily it runs on Linux as well as Mac and Windows. I also use Zim desktop wiki on the Eee for organising my world-building notes -it’s Perl-based, so could easily run on my Mac as well (I just haven’t gotten round to installing it yet).

In my ideal world, Apple would make an MBA mini - a 10" ultraslim netbook, preferably with a solid-state drive. I wouldn’t expect it too be ultra-cheap like the Eee and its rivals - if money were my sole criterion, I’d be using a cheap mass-market PC (with Ubuntu installed) rather than a Mac!

I know this is rather obvious, but a 12" Powerbook (mine is 1 ghz, 1.25 gb) is a really nice, albeit dated, machine.

I have one I bought used on Ebay. I paid a little extra (glad I did) to get a machine in mint condition. Everything works on it, and it doesn’t have a scratch, dent, or ding. I avoided Leopard on it for a long time, but the people at the Apple Store convinced me it would be fine, and it is.

I carry it with me everywhere.

There are some things it won’t do – Aperture comes to mind – and I expect there will be more such after Snow Leopard comes out. But for text-based things, database work (Filemaker Pro with an 11,000-entry database) internet and email, I expect it will work well for a long time. I have an iMac for the things it won’t do. If it was my only computer, I might not like it so well.

Anyway, just a thought on portable scrivening.



We do our best.

Y` can say that again!! :frowning:


We do our best.

jeeezzz!! dont y know a set up when y` see one. :frowning:

Whatever y do,[u][i] dont[/i][/u] show Daughditor or Snort!!
I couldn`t face being responsible for you having to live with rejection.

PS I`m feeling guilty all ready :frowning:

keyboards are pretty tiny on a netbook and not very ergonomic. I don’t think they would make good writing machines at all…you really don’t want to be fighting a keyboard while you’re trying to get your words to flow…IMO.


Of course that depends on your fingers. I tried typing for a while on one of those and it did not feel exceptionally uncomfortable. Mind you I have tiny fingers! I used a Palm Pilot unfoldable keyboard (the size of a reporter-style Moleskine notebook unfolded) to write nearly 45,000 words of a book, not to mention many other things.


My Acer Aspire cost CDN$249, it has a keyboard 1 1/2" narrower than a standard size, so in a pinch, it’s not bad at all to type on. One wouldn’t wish to type for 4 hours every morning on one but half hour stints of data recording or intense notetaking are painless.

My writing is entirely focused on natural history and the philosophy thereof.
A naturalist is a representative of the reconnaissance forces that inform ecology, and while cogitation and theorising certainly have their place, an unnecessarily deskbound naturalist is somehow a misrepresentation.

I have produced volumes of hand written notes and meditations over six decades, but I have to say, there is no backing away from the word processor once it has it’s hooks in you. Until the advent of the light, low priced netbook I was never able to find a comfortable solution to this problem, not being inclined to risk a $1000 fullblown laptop on the back of a horse or vulnerable to being dropped in a lake or some other such statistically probable event.

Now I have a leather pouch containing my netbook at bellybutton level, below my binoculars, that cunningly folds forward, and voila, 3 1/2 hours of typing is possible.
If I am in my canoe, I have a 12 VDC battery that keeps it going all day and into the night, and a pringles can wireless antennae that provides (if I have line of sight) access to my lakeside home computer network.

Eureka ! ! ! !

I have been perfectly content, to date, to use common text editors, etc., and an ancient DOS, authentically cubical spreadsheet (FormalSoft-QubeCalc v3.01, circa 1986) under WinXP.

I can’t convey how tickled I am to have, this very day, downloaded Scrivener for windows. I haven’t yet done the installation because I’m not sure if It has Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package (x86) on it , but I don’t anticipate any problems. What I do anticipate is a substantial advance in my research capabilities.

Thanks ever so much