Acer Aspire One netbook - Almost Perfect

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Now that I've been using my Acer Aspire One laptop for two weeks I can share a few more thoughts about it. Do I still love the laptop? Most assuredly. Have I discovered some small areas for improvement? Yes, that too.

When I want to visit a different web site in Firefox, I usually place my cursor in the address bar and then press Control-A to select all in the address bar. After selecting all, I can then quickly delete the text in the address bar and then type in the text of the web page I want to go to. For some reason, on the Acer Aspire One Control-A does not select all the text in the address bar in Firefox. I find this to be a minor annoyance rather than a major annoyance, but maybe Acer can find out a way to fix that issue.

Someone in the local Linux users group told me that the Acer Aspire One's glossy screen is a deal-killer for him. He would otherwise purchase the laptop, but for that glossy screen. I don't find the glossy screen annoying, but neither do I find it to be a positive feature. If glossy screens are repugnant to a section of the population, Acer should either design this laptop without a glossy screen -- or offer a version of it without the glossy screen.

One other improvement on this laptop comes to mind. This improvement involves adding a preference to Firefox that would give you more vertical pixels in your web browser. What kind of improvement? Well, it would be neat if Firefox let you substitute very thin rectangular colors for the titles of the text menus at the top of the Firefox screen. For example, the title of the File menu in Firefox could be subsituted with a very thin (very thin vertically) blue rectangle. Whenever you need to access the File menu in Firefox you would just put your mouse on top of that blue rectangle and the rest of the menu would pop down. This would free up extra vertical pixels on the screen for the web browser.

So this is what I suggest Acer do. Contact the good folks at the Mozilla Foundation and brainstorm some ways to add some preferences to Firefox that would let advanced computer users view more pixels on the screen in Firefox. This preference might not be everyone's choice, but I would very much enjoy having such an option.

At the public library where I work, the universal reaction to people who see the Acer Aspire One laptop has been: "Whoa, that's cool. I want one." I enjoy watching people's faces when they try this laptop for the first time. Their faces have a mixture of disbelief and happy surprise. Could this little and affordable laptop really do almost everything a full size laptop can do? Is this maybe the only computer they will ever need? Those are the questions I see people asking themselves.

The answer to their question is equally simple and elegant. Sometimes less is more.

Phil Shapiro

The blogger is an Adjunct Professor of education and a technology commentator in the Washington DC-area. He can be reached at

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