I am planning to be traveling through eurasia and asia (russia, china, korea, japan, south east asia...) for a while and, although there are plenty of marvelous things to see and to do, I must keep on working :(.
I am a python developer, dedicated mainly to web projects. I use django, sqlite3, browsers, and ocassionaly (only if I have no choice) I install postgres, mysql, apache or any other servers commonly used in the internets. I do my coding on vim, use ssh to connect, lftp to transfer files, IRC, grep/ack... So I spend most of my time in the terminal shells. But I also use IM or Skype to communicate with my clients and peers, as well as some other software (that after all is not mandatory for my day-to-day work).
I currently work with a Macbook Pro (3 years old now) and so far I am very happy with the performance. But I don't want to carry it if I am going to be "on transit" for long time, it is simply huge and heavy for what I am planning to load in my rather small backpack (while traveling, less is more, you know).
So here I am reading all kind of opinions about netbooks, because at first sight this is the kind of computer I thought I had to choose. I am going to use Linux for it, Microsoft is not my cup of tea and Mac is not available for them, unless I were to buy a Macbook air, something that I won't do because if I am robbed or rain/dust/truck loaders break it I would burst in tears.
I am concerned about wifi performance and connectivity, I am going to use one of those linux distros/tools to hack/test on "open" networks (if you know what I mean) in case I am not in a place with real free wifi access and I find myself in an emergency. CPU speed should be acceptable, but since I don't plan to run Photoshop or expensive IDEs, I guess most of the time I won't be overloading the machine. Apart from this, maybe (surely) I am missing other features to consider.
With that said (sorry about the length) here it comes my question, raised from a deep ignorance regarding the wars betweeb betbooks vs notebooks (I assume tablet PCs are not for programming yet): If I buy a netbook will I have to throw it away after 1 month on the road and buy a notebook? Or will I be OK?
I have received great feedback so far! I would like to insist on the fact that I will be traveling through many different countries and scenarios. I am sure that while in Japan I will be more than fine with anything related to technology, connectivity, etc. But consider that I will be, for example, on a train through Russia (transsiberian) and will cross Mongolia as well. I will stay in friends' places sometimes, but most of the time I will have to work from hostel rooms, trains, buses, beaches (hey this last one doesn't sound too bad hehe!). I think some of your answers guys seem to focus on the geek part but loose the point of this "on the road" fact. I am very aware and agree that netbooks suck compared to notebooks, but what I am trying to do here is to find a balance and discover your experiences with netbooks to see first hand if a netbook will be a fail in the mid-long term of the trip for my purposes.
So I have resumed the main concepts expressed here on this small list, in no particular order:
- keyboard/touchpad feel: I use vim so no need of moving mouse pointers that much, unless I am browsing the web, but intensive use of keyboard screen real state: again, terminal work for most of the time
- battery life: I think something very important
- weight/size: also very important
- looks not worth stealing it, don't give a shit if it is lost/stolen/broken: this may depend on kind of person, your economy, etc. Also to prevent losing work, I will upload EVERYTHING to the cloud whenever I'll have a chance.
- wifi: don't want to discover my wifi is one of those that cannot deal with half the routers on this planet or has poor connectivity.
Thanks again for your answers and comments!