I'm making it official, folks. My supra-cool Libretto 50CT is the neatest laptop out there for under $100. It's literally the size of a VCR cassette and feels smaller. It runs Linux and Windows 95, the latter, at least, quite well. A PCMCIA slot means it's a great little box to take on the road or to most any WiFi enabled spot, and also allows the use of most any USB keyboard/mouse combo you might prefer. The tiny keyboard is initially annoying, but grows on you. I can take notes with it fairly well now, with only a minimum of editing necessary on a fullsize once I'm done. Runs VIm well and, get this, runs VB 6.0 just quickly enough that it's not aggravating to program. CodeWarrior 5 and Java, forget it; they're molasses, but VB6 ain't bad at all, at least for programming smallish utilities. Has a Windows key and a right-click keyboard key, two things that drive me crazy when some upstart laptop mfgr decides to amputate 'em.

Ah, it also has a standard IDE laptop hard drive port. I've got a 10 gig hard drive in there. Very nice.

One note: Make sure if you eBay that you get a "port replicator" with your Libretto. This will give you PS/2 ports for a mouse and a keyboard and VGA out, up to 1024x768 without bad flicker, a touch higher with. It also gives room for two PCMCIA ports, so wireless + USB is an option without adding much weight at all.

Only negative? Hard to find a new battery, and I keep reading that rebuilding is an explosion hazzard. Hrm. And, well, it is a 75 MHz [sic] Pentium with 16 megs of RAM. Still, a great portable that'll do the email, web browsing, and IM chores with no complaining, and even let you code. Beat that for $50.

Apropos of nothing, man, can you believe Jimmy Leland? Man, I wish he'd come back to the Pirates, but it appears he made the right decision. There's a HoFer.