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Living with eee: tips and tricks

I have used my eee PC for a few months al­ready, and here are a few tips I gath­ered along the way.

  • Re­­move Xan­­dros, get *Ubun­­tu on it

    Yes, it boots a bit slow­er, but ev­ery­thing still works (I ad­mit, with some man­u­al tweak­s), and you will use less disk space, and be gen­er­al­­ly hap­pi­er.

  • If you use KDE, check the ad­­vanced win­­dow menu.

    Did you know that any app can be fullscreen? Yes it can. How­ev­er, I pre­fer the "No Bor­der" op­­tion. Yes, your win­­dows will have no bor­der­s,bu­u­u­u­ut:

    • You are prob­a­bly not go­ing to use win­­­dows side by side on a 800x480 screen, are you?

    • You can still move and re­­­size win­­­dows: Al­t+LMB and Al­t+RMB are your friend­s.

  • Yes you can play games on the eee: get psx, the psx em­u­la­­tor. I had a bunch of CDs for my long-dead PS1. Need for Speed looks pret­­ty good, and Tekken 3 is a lot of fun :-D

  • There's enough stream­ing mu­sic to avoid car­ry­ing your MP3 around. Last.FM and all the shout­­cast ra­­dios on Amarok do the trick for me.

  • Get SD card­s.

  • The black mod­­el seems to be pret­­ty scratch re­­sis­­tan­t.

  • Yes, you can throw it on the so­­fa when you ar­rive at home. No, noth­ing will break (at least noth­ing broke on mine). SS­Ds are nice.

  • A 1yo boy with clean hands can slap at the key­board for a minute or two and it may live.

JEC: Just Enough Computer

Since I am the guy that "works with com­put­er­s" ev­ery­one asks me the same things over and over. So here's at least one an­swer.

Ques­tion: What com­put­er should I buy?

An­swer:

If you nev­er need a com­put­er out­side your home­/of­fice, a eee PC will suck for you, but maybe a Shut­tle KPC will do the trick.

But sup­pose you are a "Of­fice+We­b+­Mail+IM+Y­outube" guy, as are about 90% of teenage girls and maybe 95% of the over-50.

Then the KPC will work won­der­ful­ly for you, if you don't need to trav­el with it.

And the eee could work great for you if you trav­el a lot, or pre­fer your in­ter­net ac­cess on a cafe 1, al­though you could be hap­pi­er with a light-ish, or­di­nary 13" or 14" note­book with a large disk (y­ou know the size of your data, right?)

Do you use it for work on the road, on­ly? Then the eee is awe­some. I dare any­one to need over 3GB of da­ta for work, out­side of some spe­cif­ic data-in­ten­sive nich­es.

Do you see a pat­tern here? I nev­er tell you to buy a 4-­core 4GB RAM box. You do not need it.

If you need­ed it, you would not have­to ask, you would know you need it.

  • If you are a gamer, you need a gam­ing rig. But you knew that, so you were not ask­ing me.

  • If you ed­it video, you need what you need. But you knew that too.

  • If you build KDE from sources dai­­ly, well, you know you need more than one com­put­er any­way ;-)

A Celeron 900 (what's on the eee, prob­a­bly the slow­est non-VIA CPU sold to­day) is enough to play any video, ex­cept ful­l-HD (which makes no sense, since it has high­er res­o­lu­tion than your screen any­way ;-).

A 240GB disk can hold ev­ery­thing you own. Ev­ery­thing you may need on the road prob­a­bly fits on 8G­B, or 40GB if you want a huge mu­sic col­lec­tion.

So, your da­ta can fit in one ex­ter­nal disk (buy 2, do back­up­s) , and what you use of­ten will fit on any note­book you buy, even a eee PC, mod­u­lo a few SD card­s.

So, if it's not about the CPU, it's not about stor­age, it's not about the video board, why would you need a very fast com­put­er?

Buy cheap. Buy last year's mod­el. Are you will­ing to spend some ex­tra mon­ey? Then spend it on­nicer pe­riph­er­als for your desk­top com­put­er, or spend it on a qui­et com­put­er, or­spend it on a lit­tle RAM, but do NOT spend it on CPU.

Here's my cur­rent hard­ware:

  • Main trav­el­ing note­­book: Asus eee PC 4G. Can't be hap­pi­er about it.

  • Main desk­­top com­put­er: A HP Pavil­lion zd7000. Got it for noth­ing, used.

  • Rosar­i­o's desk­­top com­put­er: a In­­­tel box with no fan­s, a 600Mhz P3, got it as sur­­plus from a client for free.

Al­so: a cou­ple of mon­i­tors, a bunch of ex­ter­nal IDE disks (with el-cheapo US­B-IDE adapter­s) for back­up­s.

To­tal cost: prob­a­bly U$S 500. You will prob­a­bly pay U$S 800 for it, since you prob­a­bly have less peo­ple will­ing to dump their old com­put­ers on you ;-)

If I were to buy all new to­day, I would prob­a­bly get two KPC's along with a 9" eee.


Ex­pect­ed re­spons­es:

  • I need a faster com­put­er

    Then buy one ;-)

  • The eee/P3/KPC would be too slow!

    For what? Tell me some­thing speci­­fic, I'll try it on my eee an­dlet you know how it goes.

  • You man­age with that hard­ware be­­cause you are a low-end us­er.

    Maybe I am! But maybe you are, too. Let me know why you are high end.

1

I get at least one ques­tion about my eee ev­ery­time I use it on a cafe. Guar­an­teed.

Wine kinda works nowadays

I had stopped try­ing to run stuff in WINE a few years ago,be­cause pret­ty much noth­ing worked.

You know what? They areright about ap­proach­ing 1.0, I had to try a few win­dowsy things late­ly, and each one has worked just fine.

Ku­dos wine peo­ple!

PS: can you make the wid­gets look less ug­ly, though? I heard ru­mours of a them­ing en­gine, but have no clue as to where one would look. Even some­thing like GTK's clear­looks would be bear­able.

My first impressions of Google App Engine

Since I got my in­vi­ta­tion and am tired of Haloscan not be­ing reach­able from home (not their fault, prob­a­bly), I de­cid­ed that my first project would be a com­ment host­ing ap­p.

In oth­er word­s, some­thing a bit HaloScan-­like.

Since I have very lim­it­ed re­sources, it will prob­a­bly not be use­ful for many peo­ple, but I am learn­ing about App En­gine, and at the same time prob­a­bly mak­ing my blog a wee bit more com­fort­able.

Some ran­dom thought­s:

  • Can I put Google ads in app en­gine ap­p­s?

  • Does any­one else need this kind of ap­p? I in­­­tend to make it open, so any­one can reg­is­ter its blog in it and use it. 500MB (the max DB size) are a lot of com­­ments. Like a mil­lion of them.

  • I in­­­tend to use Ya­hoo's YUI RTE for ed­it­ing. So my app will be host­ed in Ya­hoo and Google. Cool :-D

  • It's ba­si­­cal­­ly just Djan­­go. Sure, no UNIQUE, no CRUD (ok, there is Google's, which is kin­­da lame... hire one of the Djan­­go guys and mke him work on it ;-), but it's the same thing, give or take a few bytes, spe­­cial­­ly us­ing djan­­go­­for­m­s.

  • we­bapp is... ok, it's rather ug­­ly. Rout­ing the re­quests is an­noy­ing, you can't do things like pass­ing parts of the URL as pa­ram­e­ter­s...

  • The User/­­Data­S­­tore APIs are ok, they feel a bit lim­it­ed but they have a lot of scope in oth­­er ways (as in, there are a few mil­lion reg­is­tered users and many TB of da­­ta stored ;-)

All things con­sid­ered, a nice thing to use, spe­cial­ly at the cost.

I see strange things: Cosmopolitan magazine

Yes­ter­day I saw this in a news stand and I just had to share it. It's a pic­ture of Cos­mopoli­tan mag­a­zine, and it says is:

Test: am I a vir­gin?

It does pose an in­ter­est­ing prob­lem, though. What's more log­i­cal:

  • If you have to ask, you are a vir­gin?

  • If you have to ask, you are not a vir­gin?

cosmo

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