lostcarpark: (Lego Spaceman)
I note with interest that Dell have launched their answer to the Asus Eee PC, the Inspiron Mini 9. Big deal - so's everyone. The bit I find interesting is the fact they offer Ubuntu Linux as one of the default OS choices. Shame they give it less SSD storage than the XP version.
lostcarpark: (Lego Spaceman)
I've been really enjoying my Eee PC, and its Linux Desktop. An estimated 75% of users have been keeping the Linux installationn (sorry, should have a source for that).

And why wouldn't they? Out of the box the machine does pretty much everything that the majority of users want. It seems to be billed as an appliance that comes with everything you need, and doesn't facilitate adding extra software (apart from OS updates). This would seem to be a deliberate decision, as it avoids the situation many Windows users find where their machine becomes so full of applications and forgotten processes running in the background, that it eventually becomes unusable.

However, it's not ideal if you want an extra program or two. There is a way around it, but it involves a bit of hacking. No problem if you know what you're doing, but not something the Linux virgin wants to face alone.

For most Eee users who want to surf the web and do a bit of word processing this isn't a problem, but for Linux to make the big time it will have to do better.

Of course other distros are much better in this regard, but more about them in another post.
lostcarpark: (Lego Spaceman)
It may be slightly sitting in the Apple store taking advantage of their free WiFi on my Eee PC (I can justify it by sitting through their presentations on Garage Band, iTunes/iPod, and switching from PC to Mac).

However, I'm amused by how many people came over to look at my Eee PC.

Eee Love

Apr. 12th, 2008 12:52 pm
lostcarpark: (Lego Spaceman)
I was passing through Stansted airport last Sunday and I happened to pop into Dixons. I happened to spot an Asus Eee PC smiling happily at me on the display, not at all embarrassed by the bigger laptops next to it. The price was £212, which is cheaper than I've seen the 4GB version. I grabbed a sales assistant and asked if they really had them in stock (I've had several experiences of one on display, but none to buy). He said they did, but he'd have to check the colours (though he mentioned they'd sold the last black one the previous day). He came back a few minutes later to say it was a choice of green or pink.

Now I'm sure there are guys who are confident enough in their sexuality to carry a pink laptop, but I'm afraid I'm not one of them. But green I can just about pull off (as a kid it was my favourite colour), even if it's a slightly wimpy chartreuse rather than a bold forest green. So I said I'd take the green. The clever sales guy then asked if I'd like an SD card with it, offering to reduce an 8GB card from £89 to £49. I wanted it, but stalled a little till he reduced the total price of Eee and card to £249. That's about €315 at current exchange rates. Sweet.

I did open it up while waiting for my plane (delayed about an hour, but almost worth it to be spared Ryanair's stupid "you've arrived on another on-time Ryanair flight" fanfare). However, I resisted for fear of affecting the long term battery life by not charging fully on the first use. In hindsight, if I could have found a power point, I could have switched on without the battery attached to try it out.

So I got it home and got it switched on and connected to my WiFi network in about ten minutes. Not bad. It really does work out of the box. The built in Linux distro is very easy to use, and newbee friendly. It comes with a good range of apps preinstalled, and for many users it would do everything they'd want to out of the box. The screen is a little small, and for many websites requires a little horizontal scrolling, but most websites have lots of nonessential borders and adds, so it's not generally a problem. The keyboard is also small, but I find it perfectly usable, and with a bit of practice I can touch-type quite comfortably (though there's something I do every so often that sets it into Japanese mode, which I find rather confusing).

I did have some trouble connecting to my Windows machine over the network. I suspect this is because of its firewall, and with some tweaking I could get it working, but I've found it easier to just copy the files I need onto the SD card on the PC. I copied on the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who, which I'd missed on Saturday, and it played it without a hitch (bear in mind on a new Windows laptop I would probably have had to find and install the right codecs).

I showed it off at the NISFA meeting on Tuesday, and it got oohing and aahing from everyone present. I've also had someone asking me about it on the train.

As you can probably tell, I'm very pleased with it so far, and looking forward to doing more with it. I'm currently looking at how I can put Ubuntu on the SD card, so that I can have a more capable version of Linux, but leave the built-in OS intact.

January 2016

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