Adam Stovicek (dot) com

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Big Show Has A Little Eee PC

I finally broke down and bought an Asus Eee 8G this past week. Newegg finally had them for sale (again, I assume) for $499.99 plus $10.84 for shipping. As of this writing, it appears as a deactivated item. Apparently they sell them in spurts. Here’s some pics and other miscellaneous info.

Showing the ugly mug with the Eee’s built-in webcam with the stock Xandros OS.

Feeling constrained by the limitations of the stock Xandros OS, we begin the Ubuntu-ization.

A wah-lah! Apophis is born. Thanks to for the how-to guide in building a Ubuntu Live USB, and to C.K. Sample III for the rest of the procedure.

Here’s a size comparison between the Asus Eee PC and my Thinkpad T41.

Here is a comparison of the maximum screen resolutions with a common layout between the two laptops. The top is the Thinkpad with a 1440×1050 resolution, and the Eee at the bottom with a 800×480 resolution. You can see that there’s a definite lack of real estate for multiple windows on the Eee.

One of the limitations I had with the Xandros OS was having one single workspace. It is a KDE environment, albeit modified, but no discernible way of improving it. Ubuntu supplies Gnome with Nautilus which can allow multiple workspaces. KDE has the same feature but the Xandros OS doesn’t appear to allow it.

There’s plenty of guides across the internet for installing your own choice of OS on the Eee. Without a floppy or an optical drive, it presents some obstacles. Fortunately it has three USB ports making it easy to use an USB DVD drive or USB flash drive. The User Guide that comes with the Eee even has instructions for installing Windows XP. You still need your own copy of XP, but they’ve at least gone through the effort of supplying the steps for you. And in case your choice of an alternate OS doesn’t quite work out, they supply a DVD with a recovery option and instructions for the different ways to approach it.

The packaging was quite professional along with the provided documentation. The satchel, or carry pouch, is decent and the AC adapter has a wonderful length. An unexpected bonus that was boxed in with the Eee was an optical USB mouse. While I am a fan of the touchpad, Eee’s can be stubborn sometimes. Even after tweaking the sensitivity, there are times when it requires extra foreplay in order for the magic to happen. The mouse has a slight red glow to it that can either be mistaken for something ominous or feminine. I opt for the former.

It did only come in white Pearl White when I bought it. My brother, who also wants one, is hoping for a black edition. Since everything else I own is black, having something in white is a nice change of pace.

Things I want (or have already) change:

  • Replaced the Xandros OS with something more configurable.
  • The ‘Intel Inside’ badge that was mounted to the bottom left corner was hanging over just enough to annoy me. I replaced it with a ‘powered by: ubuntu’ badge.
  • Upgrade the ram to a full 2GB.
  • Install an encrypted flash drive for personal files.

All in all, it’s a wonderful little machine despite its shortlist of
cons. It has plenty of punch for a such a little, under-powered machine.

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