My New Toy

A couple of weeks back I got myself a new toy: an ASUS Eee 1000 netbook. I tried to order one through Amazon, but it appeared to have been sold out everywhere I looked. A week later I was passing through a shop in Croydon, and I happened to mention to the sales assistent that I was looking for the Eee, but it was sold out. He said “We’ve got one”, and then took me to the display model. There was no other in stock, but he gave me a discount on the display model, giving me probably the last Eee in England (for the next few weeks, at least).

I really like the little beast. It’s a pretty solid frame. I’ve been carrying it around with me on the train, doing updates to the Lillifoot website as I commute. I have the black 1000 model, which is larger that the previous models, but still pretty diddly. It’s a nice package, with all the WiFi, etc available. There are only really two issues I don’t like about it: one I can’t fix, and one that I did.

My first  major annoyance is the small factor keyboard. The keys themselves are big enough, but I miss having the home, end, pg up and pg down keys in predicatable locations (I use them a lot). I think that this is an unavoidable problem when you deal with computers this size.

My other major annoyance was the Linux distribution installed: a customised version of Xandros. I was too busy to do anything else when I first bought it, so I thought I’d give the default distro a go. I didn’t have any problem with the UI, which was a tabbed menu interface on the desktop, giving access to application icons. My first impression was that the applications installed appeared to be out of date. The version of Firefox installed was still at version 2. After I connected to the internet, a newer version did install itself, though. Even still, there wasn’t much software available that I wanted. For example, I needed Subversion. It proved harder to install than I expected. It wasn’t available through the standard repositories. I did search about, and eventually found some detailed instructions on how to enable extra repositories, but that came with dire warnings that installing the new software might cause the installation to become corrupted.

Last night, I finally was able to get a chance to install Eeebuntu, and now I’m completely happy with that score. All the software I want is now readily available, and I really like the default theme that it comes with. My only problem now is to avoid playing nethack on the train, instead of doing anything useful.