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Eee PC Setup v2.0

Thanks to my compulsive tendency to install every vaguely intriguing application I come across, and a bad habit of tweaking stuff without really understanding what I’m doing, my Eee PC went a but wonky recently. So I did the F9 trick, which resets the Eee to its default state—a great feature, that—and worked out what I really need on the thing.

So, here are the steps I took to turn a stock Eee into the perfect machine for writing on the move.

  1. Enable Advanced Desktop Mode, because Easy Mode is just silly.
  2. Add extra repositories, from which to download applications not provided by Asus.
  3. Install SSH server, so you can connect your Eee from other computers: sudo apt-get install openssh-server
  4. Install Subversion, to keep all your files in sync: sudo apt-get install subversion (setting up a Subversion repository is left as an exercise for the reader).
  5. Install AbiWord, because OpenOffice is too slow on the Eee: sudo apt-get install abiword.
  6. Install VLC, for playing telly programmes on the train when you can’t be arsed working: sudo apt-get install vlc
  7. Tweak Firefox to make it more Eee-friendly:
    1. Install the MiniFox theme.
    2. Install the Fullerscreen add-on.
    3. Install the Google Browser Sync add-on, to keep your bookmarks, passwords and history synchronised with your main computer (optional, but well handy).
  8. Remember to keep all your stuff on a removable SDHC card, not on the Eee’s internal memory card.

That’s it. The whole procedure takes under ten minutes, most of which is spent waiting for the list of repositories to update and the 15MB AbiWord to download.

I’ve been running the Eee like this for ten days now, and haven’t missed any of the gizmos I’d installed over the last few months. More importantly, the Eee is now as fast as crikey, and I haven’t had a single application crash on me yet.

Just in case anyone thinks I’ve lost the will to tinker, I feel moved to point out that I wrote the above while waiting for a Puppy Linux CD to burn.

Posted at 3pm on 25/04/08 by Jack Mottram to the linux category.
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  1. Now you know how tempted I’ve been to get one of these Jack, and I think you’ve answered these questions before, but I have to ask to satisfy my curiosity and desperate urge to spend money on an eee:

    • how long do you tend to get out of it between charges?

    • what’s your opinion of the keyboard?


    Posted by at 9pm on 25.04.08

  2. With the WiFi off and the screen dimmed a bit, it easily does 2hrs (otherwise known as the train to Edinburgh and back), less if I’m watching telly the whole time. I might be lucky, though - from the Eee User forums, an hour and a half seems more usual.

    The keyboard is pretty decent, and I can type quickly on it, but with my hands in a funny bent position that gets a bit uncomfy after a while (I do have rather dainty fingers, though). The main problem I have in terms of typing is switching between the Eee and a proper keyboard - for a few minutes after a switch, I make loads of adjacent letter typos while my hands and brain readjust.

    I reckon there’ll be lots of them going relatively cheap on eBay once the 900 starts shipping - might be worth hanging on and picking up a bargain if you’re not sure?

    Posted by Jack Mottram at 12am on 26.04.08

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