I quite luckily had the good fortune to win a Dell Mini 9, in a rackspace event raffle. It’s perhaps a little on the small side (8.9″) for prolonged work, but quick note taking and casual web browsing are quite bearable.
The netbook came with an 16GB SSD drive and 1GB of RAM, but sadly also had the exceedingly tired looking Windows XP on board. After a day or so of using XP I really had enough. Ubuntu is another netbook OS regular, but I’m so used to using Apple computers now (its been 4-5 years of OS X for me now) that what I really wanted was to get back to my familiar territory.
Thankfully, installing OS X on the dell mini 9 is indeed possible (legalities may be another thing though…). The procedure is detailed quite nicely on the web, and while it did take a couple of goes, it really is so well documented that you don’t need to be an SA guru to install this.
So here is a (truly terrible) snap of it running:
Everything pretty much works as you would expect with OS X. I’m updated to 10.5.6 and wifi was picked up without issue at all. Spaces and expose work excellently, and I have evernote installed for synching meeting notes to my desktop and Macbook Pro. Speaking of the Macbook Pro, going back to that after using the mini 9 – boy does it seem HUGE, the keyboard seems like it’s made for a giant in comparison!
OS X seems to run so much snappier than XP, in fact the 1.6 GHz atom processor seems snappy enough for the simple tasks I’ll be using this machine for. Sure I ain’t going to be installing the new release of Oracle DB for OS X mind.
One top tip I do have is to install Eternal Storms PresentYourApps. This superb app, selectively hides the OS X taskbar – in a similar way to how you hide the dock. When you are working at 1024 x 600 – you need all the screen real estate you can get your hands on.
In my opinion Apple are nuts not to release a $499 netbook, OS X seems to work great on devices of this size and power – they could really own this market if they had put their mind to it. Question is would it cannibalize their macbook market – i’m not too sure about that as surely even the low end macbook has a more powerful cpu and much larger screen real estate than what any potential Apple netbook would have.
It does not matter to me now whether they do release a netbook, as I already have my OS X enabled netbook and it rocks!