When the first wave of netbook computers appeared, I got myself an Asus Eee-PC 901. I loved it, and used it to play around with various flavorsof Linux, even Chrome OS. But since then, I’ve been forced to buy a full-size laptop computer, and I handed the 901 down to my daughter. At first I installed Ubuntu, but the 4 GB SSD in the Asus turned out to be too small for that to really work out. So I decided to try Joli OS instead. And I think it’s great. Especially for kids. More Joli OS is great for kids!
I’ve pointed out this brilliant piece by Wired before. If you haven’t read it you should. It’s about how netbooks changed the computer industry, and ended, at least for some uses, the arms race towards ever greater performance. But there’s another thing that makes these tiny laptops very important, and that’s innovation. Hardware limitations and new use cases have forced software and hardware developers to come up with new solutions. Since the launch of the original Eee-PC nearly two years ago now I’ve spotted a number of really cool innovative projects that would probably not have existed without the netbook phenomenon. More Why netbooks are important: Innovation
Moblin 1.0 made the headlines because it promised to boot really quickly. But startup times alone will probably not be enough to lure Windows users into trying Intel’s purpose-built netbook operating system. That’s may well be why the brand new Moblin 2.0 beta looks really slick. It’s definitely still a little rough around the edges, but the user interface is impressive.
Microsoft pounded itself on the chest last week saying over 96% of netbooks now use Windows. This made me somewhat sad, because I was hoping these little computers could be the break Linux had been waiting for.
The first couple of netbooks all had Linux pre-installed. Unfortunately, Asus chose to go with a custom Linux distribution for which it has yet to release its first update. No Firefox 3, no Flash 10 and no easy way to get additional software. Except for the easy to use interface, they came up with the worst example of what Linux can be. But if there’s one thing Linux offers its choice. It is my opinion that Ubuntu is the most user-friendly Linux distro out there, and I highly recommend giving it a go on your netbook. More Five reasons to put Ubuntu Linux on your netbook
I have to admit that I missed the original post about this device, but when I stumbled across the protoype announcement today I couldn’t help but get excited. If you’ve been following this blog you’ll remember my little quest for the perfect at-home-on-the-couch internet device. After considering, among others, the Nokia N800 I ended up getting an Eee-PC. But it looks like the Crunchpad is what I really wanted all along. And still do. More Crunchpad: An e-book reader for the web
I wrote a few days ago about how I’d bought my daughter a somewhat older model Eee-PC. In that post I mentioned that I didn’t like the AC adapter that came with this netbook. I’ve always thought very highly of the build quality of Asus products, but this thing is downright dangerous.
When the first Eee-PCs were introduced, it was love at first sight for me. I’d been looking for a small, portable device that would let me blog, send email and surf and this seemed to be it. The reason I never got the original 701 was because models with bigger screens were announces even before these 7″ versions actually hit the market. But when I saw the pink 701 on sale last week I couldn’t help getting one for my eldest daughter. It was dirt cheap and she loves it to death. More Pink Eee-PC 701 + 5 year old girl = fun!
I have to say that I was slightly disappointed by the 8.04.1 version of Ubuntu-eee. I know I blogged about how the Netbook Remix version of Ubuntu would probably be ideal for netbooks, but now that I’ve actually played around with it I feel differently. The 901’s 9″ screen is big enough to use the regular UI, and having even the smallest little popup window be maximized bugged the hell out of me.
That’s why I decided to go ‘back’ to my old setup with regular Ubuntu made ‘eee-friendly’ using the array.org kernel. I put the word ‘back’ between quotes in that last sentence because this also allowed me to go with the newer 8.10 version of Ubuntu (Intrepid Ibex). It may not be as easy as installing Ubuntu eee, but I found it to be well worth the extra effort. More Installing Ubuntu 8.10 on the Eee-pc 901
Since I wrote a post asking for “Asus Eee-PC 901 OS recommendations” a while ago, I’ve actually tried three of the five options I mentioned in that post. OSX isn’t a serious option for me, mostly because I don’t want my netbook to run illegal software. An ‘nLited’ version of XP would probably boot faster and run a bit smoother, but it would still need regularly updated firewall and anti-virus software. The three options I did try each have their own merits and flaws.
Windows XP was slowish, and I didn’t want to deal with virus scanner updates, etc. XEPC was great, but in simple mode it wasn’t quite a real operating system, whereas in full desktop mode it didn’t work so well. So I decided to try Ubuntu. To me, Ubuntu’s Netbook Remix seems like the ideal user interface to run on netbooks, but for starters I decided to give ‘Ubuntu Eee” a try. Here’s how I went about it. More Another week, another OS: Setting up Ubuntu on the Eee-PC 901
This is the personal blog of Roy Tanck, designer, geek, freelancer and WordPress enthusiast. It's also the home of projects like WP-Cumulus (a 3D tag cloud for WordPress), my Flickr widget, Gunfollow (the Twitter hitman) and Snapatar.com. More about me here, or you can follow me on Twitter.