2008-06-12

Eee's are good, Eee's are good

I got an Asus Eee PC the other week, and spent the weekend and the last few evenings putting Ubuntu 8.04 on it (compiz, Ubuntu studio themes, several desktop tweaks, scite text editor, installing wifi and other drivers). It's small and cute. The screen is surprisingly legible, even for tiny text at arms length, and it's smoother than my big laptop running compiz.

As I don't have a USB DVD drive, I installed off of a USB stick, which took a bit of persuading to boot, and then used rsync to copy the installation over to the flash drive on the computer. The various installation guides weren't much help getting it to boot off the internal drive - various settings around grub-install seemed to update the USB stick rather than the internal drive, but following the instructions from the grub manual to do a 'native' install did the trick. Once I'd done that it seemed to be OK, but it believed it had mounted /dev/sdb1 (the 16G internal drive) as /, whereas it had really mounted /dev/sda1 - the 4G internal 'system' drive. That was cured using UUID rather than /dev/sda1 in the grub menu.

Getting wifi to connect is still rather hit and miss - Wifi-radar seems to be the application which works for it. There are far too many wifi controller apps for Ubuntu, and the few I tried didn't seem to do anything. None have particularly good indication of why a connection isn't working.

[2008/06/14 - the issue was two-fold: instead of running cables everywhere, I was connecting into a wifi gaming adapter through a router, as I had two machines sharing the adapter, and that router appeared to be giving out DCHP addresses, even to other wifi devices, which mean DCHP wasn't working. As far as Wifi-radar and the network selector, wifi-radar was setting up the wifi correctly, but still needed network selector to turn off the ethernet. Doing that using sudo ifdown eth0 worked as well, and putting that command as a connection command makes everything work just by opening Wifi-radar then hitting connect.]

The GPS works fine with it. I haven't tried getting the web-cam working yet.

One odd thing is how rough the texture of the keys feels - I've had my larger laptop a couple of years now, and the home row is polished smooth. You can hold it at an angle to the light and see that Dvorak was right about letter frequency, except for the modifier keys.

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