Saturday, August 16, 2008

Asus Eee PC 901

I've been waiting for this little one for weeks now. Ebuyer got it in stock on Thursday and I was quick to order one and pay an extra £10 for a Saturday delivery :-)

It arrived this morning and it's happily sitting on my desk at the moment. I've got the Xandros (Debian based) Linux edition that comes with 20GB of SSD and a gig of RAM.

First impressions are OUTSTANDING! This is the Eee PC as it was supposed to be. A couple of words on its features:
  • Screen: fantastic, 1024x600 is all you need for a little web browser.
  • Keyboard: awkward, I managed to type 2s instead of 1s all the time. I'll get used to it. In any case this is not a machine to write your thesis on...
  • USB: plugged in my Logitech mouse, Western Digital 320Gb passport, Lexar USB stick no problem. 3 ports in total should are enough for most of us.
  • MMC/SD: inserted my 4Gb Sandisk Extreme III card, no problem.
  • WiFi: connected nicely to my Netgear router. After restarting though I had to re-enable the WiFi connection, I'm sure I'll find out why this happened.
  • LAN: connected to my LAN via ethernet cable, assigned static IP address, easy setup.
  • OS: Impressively nice. The home menu interface is really good for starters, your mum can use it immediatelly. I spent a lot of time using the terminal mode however (Alt-Ctrl-T) but I feel that Windows users will not have any problems at all.
  • Storage: the Eee PC comes with a system storage device of 4Gb that is mounted as "/" and it mostly occupied (86%). A solid state drive (SSD) of 20Gb is 98% empty and is mounted as "/home" where all your use files are.
  • Webcam: haven't used it, I think I might even put a sticker on it to stop the Internet spying on me :-P
  • Performance: not the fastest machine on earth but absolutely sufficient for its use. I can't really tell about the HD performance but I haven't really seen anything wrong with it. I've installed Tomcat 6.0.16 on it and the server started up in 2.044 seconds (!), not bad.
  • Programming Languages: Eee PC comes with java 1.5.0_10, Python 2.4.4 and Ruby 1.8.5 installed.

Windows
What Windows? I am not a Windows foe, I rather like Windows for what they are and what they do. However, I honestly don't see the point in spending license fees for a WinXP Eee PC when the Linux edition is so well polished and comes with an extra 8Gb of storage space. Novice users will never have a problem using the Linux edition, it might even be a good idea to get some "exposure" on a different OS. I seriously think that the Eee PC is a great gift for children.

I was actually thinking of buying the Eee PC to play with it for a bit, then install Windows 2000 on it (yes, really retro fashion) but I am now so completely converted to Linux that I won't. I'm now thinking of getting a second one to put Win2k on it, just for fun :-) LOL

Annoyances
Not many to be honest, just a few minor ones:
  • The default username is "user" and although it asks you for your name the userid remains "user". It automatically logs in as this user, but this is hardly any problem as this machine is intended to be very "personal". I would however have liked to be able to change the username (it might be possible btw, I haven't got the time to google it yet) so that when I ssh to it, it shows my normal desktop username. I hope I can fix this later.
  • The FileManager disappeared after the first restart(!). To fix it I found these instructions which fixed the problem quickly.
Overall
Overall, the Asus Eee PC is a little gem of a netbook. I'm really glad I've got one, it will go with me everywhere from now on.

2 comments:

vpapanik said...

You should start checking the hardware mods available on the net,otherwise you will always remain a "user" as the default username implies. (comment sent via iPhone from the WC)

tsonix said...

vpapanik... with an iPhone???? LOL

(I went mac in 2001... I won't go back)