Here's one step, a crucial one, to making an truly useful instrument from the new button-array keyboards: your midi controller needs a properly configured netbook/laptop. First, you need a loop-back engine, otherwise you computer can only do one thing to your midi input, and you need it do more.
This is basically due to the ancient (in computer terms), simple original design of midi: the computer was thought of as just another instrument or musical gadget: input one thing, fix it up, and spit if out.
All MIDI data sent to the program's output is channeled to the receiving applications in real-time.
I recommend loopbe1, from some guys in Germany. It is very simple, installs cleanly, and detects feed back.
It's only quirk: if you do get a feedback going, it will mute itself, and you will have to remember open the control and un-mute it. It may take a while for the light to dawn.
There are other tools available, like Midi-Ox and Midi-yoke. These provide much more functionality and flexibility, and can help, for instance, observe midi streams: far more tool than you need.
Selecting a Netbook
Through the laborious reading between the lines of the details of driver updates, I found that the amazing bulk of net-books (and perhaps most low-end laptops) seem to have the Taiwanese-made Realtek sound chip.
Based on my experience and the google "RealTek midi problem" hit rate (it does not work with ASIO4All for example), I'd suggest you stay away from these if you want to use your netbook for more than simple sound output, without shelling out $100 or so for a USB-connected external sound card.
I did find that as far as I can see the only non-Realtek sound chip units are HP, with their IDT chips. These have a better reputation, and my experience with the HP mini (VM264UA#ABC) bears this out. - DPC Latency check reports .5 to 1 millisecond latency (inside the computer), with both MM and ASIO4ALL. DirectSound is very poor. The real key-to-sound-in-the-ear latency varies but can be made decently low.
This $500 netbook works well velcroed onto an AXiS - they are the same size. The screen although tiny (I need glasses to read it) has lots of detail; enough for most full laptop work. The battery will lasts for 6-8-hours(!) with the right power-saving settings. Recommended.
PS. the $300 HP netbooks have the same chips, just a smaller screen, so should work well too.
Next posts: An over of where I am going, and selecting a virtual instrument and a learning system.