Gift from a dear friend who knows that my mac needs some time in the shop and that I could use a traveling machine. Wikipedia page on the AA1.
1> Keyboard is very good for the size.
2> Machine is fast – subjectively faster than my Macbook for some operations.
3> Bundled software is more than adequate. Has python on it. Putting on skype takes a few minutes, getting it to run from the cutesy start menu requires one config file edit. SSH is about the same amount of work, ditto gpg. Python included. IRC client would not hurt either.
4> Minor quirks. Power adapter is small, but the cable from the adapter to the wall socket is huge – half the size of the machine even tightly wrapped. Odd. Also one of the two SD card slots is fully recessed, but used by the software automagically as an expansion of onboard storage. The other is not fully recessed, and is treated as a normal drive. Both should be fully recessed.
Overall, I think that going with the SSD (8 gig) rather than the HD (160 gig) makes sense for three reasons: battery life, general system robustness (with an SSD these are tougher than most ruggedized machines are), clarity about what the machine is for. Right now it’s configured as the IM box and I may move my RSS feeds on to it, so there’s a simple kinesthetic cue for main work activities on the mac, and gossip with my homies on the AA1.
Still some question about “working set” management. There’s no substitute for Omnigraffle and I find Pages a pleasure to use. Ecto’s hard to beat. There is no substitute for a mac.