Who ya gonna call?
It’s been a full year since I got an Asus Eee PC, so I thought I would review…
We can start with my first impressions of the Eee PC.
Throughout the year the little computer has served me well. It’s almost always in my backpack and ready to use. Being just 2 pounds is a definite plus for something you always carry around. Lightweight is definitely a top feature. As for battery life, well… I really expected better. With wifi on, I typically see under 3 hours, which isn’t great, but again, small computer = small battery, so I can live with that. The power adapter isn’t too big, so I always carry that around as well. The battery does seem to drain more than it should in sleep mode, so I typically turn if off when not in use.
Connecting via wifi was only an issue at my own house where I had a weird setup (which I’ve since fixed) and anywhere else it worked fine. One annoying issue is disconnecting an external monitor/projector. The Eee PC thinks it’s still there and you can’t see the parts of the screen you want to because it assumes some higher rez display is there, it’s annoying, and worse case, requires a reboot to fix. (I’m used to the way the Mac dynamically deals with monitors being connected/disconnected and does the right thing.)
As I wanted a unit that “just worked” (as much as a Linux computer can) I stuck with the default Xandros OS on it. I contemplated trying Ubuntu a few times, but things like “recompile the kernel for wifi to work” or other such warnings turned me off. Besides, for the way I use the thing, I didn’t think I’d see much benefit from a different OS.
So after one year how am I liking the Eee PC? There have been a few small issues, but none I couldn’t deal with. For the price, it was worth if. Of course today you can get a much better little PC for even less money. It served me well through Web414 meetings, and BarCamps, and anywhere else I needed a computer on the go. (Unless I needed Mac-specific applications, in which case, it was totally useless.) The screen is small. I’m glad to see that 1024 pixels wide is what the newer machines are using, as 800 pixels just doesn’t cut it. All in all, I’ve been pleased with the Asus Eee PC. (I’ll be following up with another post specifically about how I hosed it all up.)
Hey, we did it…. another MilwaukeeDevHouse event.
Bucketworks hosted about 30 to 40 people throughout the night, and besides such craziness as “ghost riding the whip” and “knitting” we all survived unharmed.
We had a project board that listed what people were working on (note: photo needed!) and we had food and drink and what not to keep us going. The event was sponsored by Paladin Web Services, and addition food/drink was provided by 2XL Networks, SmallSharpTools.com and Ashe Dryden.
My own personal project was not as successful as I had hoped. I did succeed in getting gPhoto working on the Eee PC with a Nikon D70, as well as a Nikon D300, but my own Nikon D40 did not work, due to it being a newer model, so I spent much of my time trying to get a newer version of gPhoto installed… to no avail.
Besides my setbacks, I had a good time, and met some cool people. It was a great atmosphere to just hang out and chill, as well as get some work done.
We’d like to do it again, and if you’d like to make it happen, get it touch with me about sponsoring the next MilwaukeeDevHouse event.
So what is a DevHouse? It’s a hackathon event that combines serious and not-so-serious productivity with a fun and exciting party atmosphere…
People show up and either have an idea of a project they want to work on, or look for ideas, or other people to work on things with… But it’s not all serious work. It’s a party atmosphere, so you can hang out and just chill with other folks, discuss whatever, do whatever…
Since it’ll be at Bucketworks, you should also be able to use the FabLab to build something (maybe a desk?) or just create some art… (I’m actually going to be working on getting the screen printing machine up and running for part of the night.)
The main project I want to work on is exploring gPhoto, which can be used to control over 1000 cameras via connecting to a Linux computer with a USB cable. I want to use my Eee PC as an intervalometer, but also see what we can do at Bucketworks using the software and digital cameras…
(Update: I got gPhoto running on Mac OS X… oh, and on the Eee PC too, it was much easier than I thought it would be.)