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Asus eee PC 4G Surf: First impressions from an old Linux Guy

I fi­nal­ly got my eee PC last sat­ur­day. It's the 4G Surf in Gal­axy Black 1.

Ev­ery­one says the same thing, and so do I: you can't un­der­stand how small the thing is un­til you see it.

And then ev­ery­one takes a pic­ture of it sit­ting in­side its pre­vi­ous note­book. So will I, 2 times.

Here's the eee with a HP Pavil­lion zd7000, which has a 17" widescreen:


Here's the eee with a Toshi­ba Satel­lite with a very un­usu­al 16.6" 4:3 ra­tio screen:


But is it the small­est note­book I ev­er had? Nope.

Here you can see the eee, a Toshi­ba Li­bret­to and a HP Jor­na­da 720 lay­ing over the HP note­book, so you can get an idea of how much small­er all are. The Li­bret­to is small­er but thick­er and feels heav­ier.


Re­gard­ing con­struc­tion qual­i­ty, the screen is de­cen­t, if you can live with the low res­o­lu­tion (I can). The key­board is ok, even though I have large fin­gers 2 and the gen­er­al con­struc­tion feels good (not creaky, no flex 3), but noth­ing re­mark­able.

The soft­ware... it work­s. But I am loook­ing to re­place it with an­oth­er dis­tro AS­AP. Let's get in­to some de­tail...

  1. Xan­­dros pack­­age avail­a­bil­i­­ty is abysmal. There's lit­tle, what's there is old, what I like is usu­al­­ly mis­s­ing, if you start pulling De­bian pack­­ages it will break, and if you don't want to use the Xan­­dros File Man­ag­er you may have to do evil stuff 4

  2. KDE 3.4 is worse than 3.5. There's no kopete?

  3. The menus are in­­­com­­plete (in both the sim­­ple and ad­­vanced mod­­es). There are a bunch of things in­­stalled but not show­ing.

  4. If you have on­­ly 4GB of stor­age, lit­­tle RAM, and a slow­ish CPU, build­ing from source is prob­a­bly not a good idea, so I can't in­­stall that way even if I felt like it.

  5. No PyQt4? That means I can't blog from it :-(

  6. On the oth­­er hand, ev­ery­thing in the eee works us­ing xan­­dros, and I don't know if it will on an­oth­er dis­­tro.

The on­ly changes I made so far are:

  1. Switched to full desk­­top (KDE) mod­­e.

  2. I got rid of the sil­­ly union­fs sit­u­a­­tion (BTW: I did it us­ing the in­­struc­­tions at http://wi­k­i.eeeuser.­­com, but used RIPLin­uX as the USB bootable dis­­tro, it's the eas­i­est of them al­l)

  3. I re­­moved a lot of garbage (got 2.2GB free now)

  4. Moved logs to a tmpfs

Oth­er than that, it's still the orig­i­nal stuff, and I have been us­ing it to work around the house while watch­ing the baby, and from bars, and such.

Hap­py­ness-me­ter: 8 out of 10 so far.


A huge thank you to Fer­ay Gir­gin, my moth­er in law who brought it from the US :-D


My hands look like crip­pled obese oc­to­pus­es (oc­topi­i?)


Be­ing so smal­l, it's not sup­posed to flex even if it were bad­ly built, I guess.


I end­ed sym­link­ing kon­queror to xan­dros­file­m­an­ag­er

Dear Lazyweb: What should my company's site be like?

The day is ar­riv­ing when Net Man­agers SRL will emerge from its co­coon of bu­reau­cra­cy.

Net Man­agers is a com­pa­ny. Of which I own a piece. And it will have a web­site, at­man­ager­s.­ ... and I have no idea what to put there.

So, what should it be like?

Here's some data:

  • It's formed by Lin­ux/U­nix geeks of a rather high lev­­el, IMHO

  • Our busi­­ness is fix­ing your Lin­ux/U­nix prob­lem­s, and ex­­plain­ing to you how you can re­al­­ly use Lin­ux/U­nix to do cool things (which mean­s, cor­po­rate Lin­ux con­­suklt­ing and sup­­port)

  • We have a re­laxed cor­po­rate cul­­ture. Ev­ery part­n­er would get the joke about how Christ­­mas and Thanks­­giv­ing are the same, since 25dec==31oc­t. We would pre­fer to ac­­tu­al­­ly show it. We are usu­al­­ly hired by IT grunts, not suit­­s.

  • I have a blog and it's re­al­­ly not en­ter­prisey , but it shows (I think) that I know about this. Should it be linked?

  • We have no phys­i­­cal of­­fices. Legal­­ly we do, but re­al­­ly, we op­er­ate out of each part­n­er's home­­s, on two dif­fer­­ent prov­inces. So, no pic­­tures of our cor­po­ra­­tion's digs avail­able ;-)

  • We are sort of a star­­tup, but more like a for­­mal­iza­­­tion of a way of work­ing that has been go­ing on for a while.

Ideas, sug­ges­tion­s, are wel­come.

Of course, ques­tions about our ser­vices are wel­come, too ;-)

Thinking in 800x480: Web browsing

I am still anx­ious­ly wait­ing for my Asus eee (still a week to go or so), and I was think­ing about web brows­ing in the 7", 800x480 screen.

Yes, you can do the usu­al things, go to full screen mod­e, what­ev­er, but for many sites, 800 pix­els is just too nar­row.

You can make pages fit bet­ter in a lim­it­ed width by re­duc­ing the font size. A good 8pt font is prob­a­bly read­able on that screen, since you will be pret­ty close to the screen.

How­ev­er, that does noth­ing for lay­outs that are pix­el-based, and for the size of im­ages.

How­ev­er, af­ter read­ing about Qt 4.4's sup­port for we­bkit and wid­gets in QGraph­icsView, I start­ed think­ing... that's do­ing it wrong.

What you want in lim­it­ed screen space is text in the usu­al size and the page in a small­er size.

So, my idea is:

  • Make the font larg­er. Say, 12p­t.

  • Ren­der the page in a we­bkit wid­get that's 1200x720 pix­el­s.

  • Put the wid­get in a QGraph­ic­sS­cene, and re­­duce it 33%.

The re­sult? a 800x480 web page view that con­tains the whole page.

Of course you should be able to change all these pa­ram­e­ters with a sin­gle con­trol. Is the page too wide to see in 800x480 with 8pt fonts?

Then try 1000x600 with 10pt fonts, and re­duce it to fit the screen.

Still too wide? Then try 1200x720 and a 33% re­duc­tion.

Pos­si­ble tip­s:

  • Should work bet­ter with aliased fonts, since the size re­­duc­­tion should make an­­tialiased fonts too blur­ry. A wide, open font will look bet­ter,

  • The scrol­l­bars will look squashed, I ex­pec­t. Prob­a­bly check­­box­es and ra­­dio but­­tons will look funky. Here, more ad­­vanced wiz­­ardry is need­ed.

Of course it would have to be test­ed, but I am will­ing to bet this will work bet­ter than oth­er al­ter­na­tives. If I had a work­ing PyQt 4.4 I would try to do it my­self ;-)

Qmail public domain? Cool!!!!

Ac­cord­ing to Slash­dot, at least.

That means there can be a re­al com­mu­ni­ty project to in­te­grate all the patch­es float­ing around!

That means qmail will stop suck­ing with­out need for man­u­al labour!

I am just thrilled by this.

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