So, I've been spending far too much time lately trying to decide if I'll buy a Netbook, and what one to buy. I've been fretting over models and colors... it's pretty sad really

The first hurdle I faced, and probably the main thing that sent me into a downward spiral of reading reviews and compulsively reading Wikipedia etc. is the fact that I haven't yet found a single German computer store that will order me a laptop with an English keyboard - not even on special order. I can have any keyboard layout I want, as long as it's German... which isn't much use when you want an English one.

Someone kindly pointed me at a shop in Hannover (about 100km south of Hamburg) that refurbishes laptops, and many of the models they have available have English keyboards (I have to wonder though how they managed to get computers with English keyboards though). They have a nice variety of laptops available, but none are netbook class machines... all are bigger, heavier laptops. I decided to pass on them this time and focus on the netbook world - I will keep them in mind though.

So... options... I can order from the UK.. but.... prices.. oiy... it seems like the computer companies took the Euro price, and just changed the Euro sign for a Pound sign. After exchange, the prices are considerably higher than buying here.

The dilemna continues... what to do... buy in the UK at a high preimium? Buy local and get a computer with the wrong keyboard layout? Buy in a neighboring country?

I opted to buy in the Netherlands where I can easily get a computer with an English keyboard layout. In fact I ordered the machine last night (an Asus Eee 1005HA-H in blue), and it's already there, waiting for me to pick it up.

Keyboard issues aside, why all the bother about it? I want a netbok that will run on Linux. in fact I've been trying hard to find one that comes with Linux preinstalled. Seems that none of the retailers here carry the Linux machines anymore... only with XP Home... Funny thing is, all that I asked so far said they don't carry Linux machines, and they are not sure why since so many people buying them are asking for Linux ones. One shop I talked to got so tired of it that they now provide a printout of info on where to go to get some of the more popular Linux builds for netbooks they sell... so the customer can remove the unwanted XP and install the OS they requested in the first place. Ha... funny how that works Sadly... no one I've talked to has managed to get a refund for the unwanted XP license which they were forced to pay for. That won't stop me from trying though.