If you don't know the back-story, vodafone demonstrated the go-anywhere, super-portable aspects of the Dell Mini 9 Netbook by sending a chap called 'vodafoneliveguy' out and about to 11 cities across the UK.
Anybody in these cities who sussed out where he was, deduced from clues left in real time online via Twitter, YouTube, his blog etc, could win a Netbook by tracking him down and challenging him f2f.
I was determined to be the first person in the UK to track him down, as he kicked off his nationwide tour in Edinburgh.
How did I get to him first?
I cheated of course.
Sending him a DM via Twitter inviting him for a coffee at Edinburgh's Social Media HQ; Centotre.
Incidentally, I also excluded myself from winning a Netbook, I hasten to add, as I wasn't playing by the rules. (Nothing new there then. Ed.)
He sportingly turned up for a chat, along with Alastair from Dare who was riding shotgun for vodafoneliveguy throughout the trip.
And what a good chat it was, I was particularly interested in the marketing strategy, the planning and creative that had gone into the project, how many in the team on the road and back at base, etc. (Full credits here.)
Once vflg had hit the road to other cities I tracked, searched, shared, blogged and tweeted the story; for a couple of reasons:
1. To support the cause, I really did buy into the idea. (Altruism.)
2: I thought at the end of it, there might be some recognition of my contribution from a brand to a blogger. (Self-Interest-ism.)
And guess what?
Over Christmas, I got a call from Dare asking me what my house address was.
They wanted to thank me for the support during the campaign and were sending me a Netbook.
"Wooooo, Flippin' Hooooo!"
(I know this is geekily sad in the extreme, but I couldn't resist doing a flickr unboxing set.)
Arriving all gleamy, shiny and new early in the New Year, I couldn't believe my luck, (or, if you will and that's the way your mind works; my Machiavellian genius.) .
(Incidentally, over the course of the campaign, I also got a massive spike in traffic to my blog, and more than a fair few new Twitter followers. = Result. + Result. Even had there been no Netbook swag in the pipeline.)
So what do I think about the Netbook, having given it a fairly rigorous work-out in the 10 days since first opening the lid?
(Full and frank disclosure: I am a Mac nut.)
Well, it it's small and hellish portable that's true. Very light, runs windows XP, has Bluetooth, wi-fi and of course the built-in vodafone mobile broadband.
How have I used it? Well, I've pretty much taken it everywhere, giving my MacBook Pro a rest for a while.
I was out shooting some digital stuff yesterday, hooking my camera up to the Netbook to get the shots online.
A few recent train journeys where considerably enhanced by having the NB to hand.
It even fits in the back of my cycle jersey to check Google maps, (and tweet of course), while out riding my bike. (Mainly there though for posing points/bragging rights with other roadies.)
It's dinky size is also a heck of a conversation starter in wi-fi spots.
And in some ways, it's a more practical alt to my iPhone, which is my usual mobile internet device du jour.
For my size hands and erratic typing style, I did/do make quite a few typos when using the keyboard, but as in many areas of my life I do need to s-l-o-w down, and I'm sure my accuracy will improve.
The only real bad news for and from me, (and something that has nothing to do with the Dell hardware or vodafone's connectivity), is that, of course, this little puppy runs on Microsoft Windows.
Just a personal thing, if you are cool with the Microsoft OS, and software, (as over 90% of the planet is, I hasten to add), no problem.
But me, I'm a Mac I'm afraid.
And find XP, er, wanting.
However even this is no biggie, as I tend to run most of my online life via the cloud, so once the browsers up and running, (I installed FireFox), I'm a happy bunny.
Then the only thing to remind me it's a windows bit of kit is that I keep forgetting where the @ symbol is on the keyboard.
So overall, does the Netbook float my boat: Definitely.
Would I pay my own money to have one: Very probably.
Did I actually pay for this one: No.
Fitting perfectly between my mobile phone, and 15" laptop, it's a heck of a handy addition to my Social Media armoury.
So thank you Vodafone. And thank you Dare.