New Toy – An eee PC!

First off, let me preface by saying how awesome my wife is – for our first anniversary, she went and got me an Asus eee PC (the 4G model)! I had been considering picking one up, but decided that they were too expensive to justify, considering I have plenty of computing resources at my disposal (although most weren’t really portable). And just to show how well she knows me, she bought the version with Linux pre-installed!

After using it for a couple of weeks, including a 11-day vacation in and around St. John’s, I’ve definitely come to appreciate that a lot of this laptop is built to “just work.” For example, I plugged my iPod in to it, and within about 30 seconds I had access to all of my playlists, tracks, podcasts, etc. The SD card reader is super-handy, since it means I can add a good chunk of storage (say, a 16 GB card – another gift from my wife), and plus I’ve got some extra cards kicking around since we upgraded cameras from a pretty decent Kodak point-and-shoot to a Canon DSLR (which, naturally, takes CF cards instead). So far, the battery life is about what I’d expect, considering the size and weight – decent, but not spectacular. I was somewhat less than impressed with the default offerings for software and repositories, but there are plenty of great resources out there to help you with that 😉

So far, my only serious complaint has been the wireless – I’ve got a static IP arrangement at home, and the wireless seems to be rather poor at coping with that. I’ve found that a lot of people are seeing various problems with their wireless, but so far none of the solutions I’ve found have fixed my particular problem. Unfortunately, Asus Tech Support was exceptionally unhelpful, essentially stating “we don’t know anything about static IPs on Linux.” They ship the O/S, and it’s customized for them, so how is it that they know nothing, especially about something so basic?

So far, I haven’t done any crazy hacks, but it looks like there are some really interesting ones. I’m actually very interested in figuring out how to get GPS going on this thing, but that’s a project for another day.

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