The Eee PC 4G Surf arrived in office to much fanfare. My colleagues gathered around my cubicle and took turns passing around the two-pounder. The gentlemen labeled it as “cool,” while the women-folk universally agreed that it was “cute”. Not too many products gain such positive reactions right off the bat. But since this diary is all about me, I quickly pried the Eee PC from their grubby little paws and went about chronicling my experiences. My initial impression? This is one travel-friendly notebook. It’s a little larger than a paperback, and about as heavy-it just feels perfect in hand. When I popped the top on this puppy and powered on the unit, I was quite impressed with the startup time; it took about 15 seconds for the system to boot courtesy of the lightweight Xandros Linux operating system and a small, but peppy, 4GB solid-state drive. Arriving at the home screen is quite a different experience than with Mac OS X, Windows, or even other versions of Mac OS X. Instead of arriving at the traditional spacious desktop environment with small icons or a dock for launching applications, the Eee PC opts for a tabbed interface (Internet, Work, Learn, Play, Settings, Favorites) with relatively huge icons.It makes navigating and launching programs a cinch, but has a strong “in your face feel” that made me want to just clear the icons and work within a traditional desktop.I guess that was a wise way to go, as Asus originally positioned the Ee PC as the tool for children and grandparents, not 30-something year old tech writers with a fetish for all things electronic. As expected, the keyboard is small-very small. Large-bodied, lion-pawed typists like myself will inevitably come to resemble Quasimodo as they hunch over the machine to peck away at the keys, and the tiny mouse button and touch pad didn’t help matters. The miniscule Tab and Delete keys nearly drove me to the brink of insanity as I crafted this very post in OpenOffice (trying to write directly into the CMS was a visual nightmare). While on the topic of software, the Eee PC comes nicely packed with some of the best free tools on the web: the Firefox browser, GIMP photo editor, and fast links to all of the popular web-based e-mail services (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc). I was able to swiftly connect to our office Wi-Fi signal to check mail, read the latest tech-related headlines, and “test out” the Eee PCs compatibility with YouTube and other Flash-based websites. Eee PC 4G Surf? $349. Firefox browser? Free. Slacking off on company time? Priceless. Although the Eee PC aced the Flash test, the web-surfing experience was not perfection. Many sites optimized for higher resolutions required horizontal scrolling to take in everything-even on our very own www.laptopmag.com. Quite the annoyance. But as there was some copy due to the editors, I decided to once again assume the hunchback position and get to work as keeping my job was a tad more important than reading The Gothamist on Asus’ small wonder. Tomorrow I take the Eee PC to the streets, and also attempt to turn it into a multimedia hub.