A while back, I bought an Asus EeePad Transformer. A bit later I bought the base unit which has a keyboard and extra battery. I still love it. Being able to switch between landscape and portrait orientation on a whim is really awesome, because so many sites look so much better in one format. The battery life is phenomenal. I can get a full day of near-continuous use with the tablet alone, and the battery in the base is even bigger. It’s even smart about draining the base-unit battery to keep the built-in one as full as possible.

The last couple of days, I had to travel to NYC, so I decided to experiment with using this as my travel computer. I did bring another (small) laptop along just in case, but resolved not to use it – and I didn’t, except as a reserve battery for my MiFi portable wireless gadget. However, I have run into two serious limitations. One is that I can’t use it for presentations. Besides the fact that it physically has only a (mini) HDMI whereas most projectors are still VGA, I can’t find any decent software for presentations. I’ve looked at several apps and a couple of online services. They’re all awful. Is it too much to ask that a presentation program handle a simple two-level bullet list properly? Apparently. The other problem is that I can’t really use this thing for terminal sessions. The base-unit keyboard actually lacks an escape key. As a vi user, that’s crippling. I could use emacs instead, but the handling of the control key also seems a bit erratic. I tried using the on-screen escape key in ConnectBot, but eventually settled on using Hacker’s Keyboard instead. While I was able to get some work done (Gluster guys: that’s how I did the quorum-optional patch) it was certainly not very pleasant. I’d like to avoid solutions that require rooting the device, but I might have to resort to that.

I still love using the EeePad at home, and in meetings. I just might not be able to use it as a road machine and that makes me sad. Maybe the software situation will improve over the next year or so.