Eee 701 Planetoid


Review: Turpial

Filed under: Raspberry Pi, Reviews, Software — Tags: , , , , , — Tim @ 21:12

It might surprise readers to learn that I’ve had surprising difficulty finding a “lightweight” graphical Twitter client for Linux, that works comfortably on a small screen and (for good measure) has a multi-column display mode.

For some time, my favourite Twitter application has been TweetDeck—either in its “native” form (usually on the Mac) or its Chromium app version (Arch Linux on my Eee). However, whilst the Chromium TweetDeck app “does the job”, I have used it while at the same time, watching out for a “native” app which might function usably on the Eee’s more constrained hardware. (This became more pressing when I acquired my Raspberry Pi Model B, as the Chromium browser doesn’t run particularly comfortably on the machine.)

Screenshot of Turpial

Turpial running on the Eee 701SD (thumbnail – no larger version available)

The other week, I searched the Arch Linux package listing of Twitter clients, and amongst the fairly lean selection—much of which were text-mode/console programs (which perhaps I’ll check out another time), I found a client I hadn’t heard of previously: Turpial, created by a self-professed “bunch of crazy people” (!) in Venezuela. (I don’t think I’ve seen so many coders credited by name for an open-source app before, but the project seems to benefit 🙂 )

Turpial can be found in the Arch “community” repository, so installation is simply a matter of entering (as root)

pacman -S turpial

It’s a Python program, so if you don’t already have the dependencies installed (and there are quite a few, mostly python2 and related packages), pacman will need to retrieve them. Once it’s installed, Turpial will ask you to enter your account details and authenticate with Twitter; the latter will ask you to enter a number into Turpial itself, to ensure the app has permission to interact with your Twitter account.

In action, Turpial runs reasonably smoothly, considering it is a Python program. “Out of the box”, it displays three columns at a time in its window, and you can toggle between two “sets” of three columns:

  • “Master” timeline, “at-replies” and direct messages; and
  • Your profile, favourites and a search column.

The window maximises comfortably and tidily into the Eee’s 840×480 display, without looking particularly squashed-up. If you’re using a larger screen (hold that thought), Turpial doesn’t take up much space, though I am curious to find out whether the program can be set to display fewer columns (or even a single one), for use on a very low-res display, such as VGA (640×480) or a non-widescreen SD television set. I may soon get that very opportunity…

If you have a notification daemon running, Turpial will let you know when new tweets are received. I use the XFCE notifier on my Eee and RasPi, with no problems experienced.

A row of pictogram buttons below the message columns, takes the place of a text-menu, giving you access to the application’s other options, including posting a tweet, finding and following other users, posting an image (but not other multimedia) and the program’s preferences.

The “update status” dialogue box has a handy “add friend” option, to choose friend(s) from a list box to include in a tweet. There is also a separate field for shortening URLs (you set the shortening service of your choice in the preferences). Both handy features, and not always implemented in more “modest” Twitter clients—thumbs-up to the Turpial team here.

Image-uploading is relatively straightforward as well—again, you set the Twitter-image host of choice in the Preferences. Almost all the common services are present in the list, with the notable exception of Flickr (which my favourite mobile phone social-networking client, Gravity, includes). It would really “put the icing on the cake” for me if Flickr support could be added in a future version of Turpial; however, it is not a “show-stopper” for me, as I usually upload images from my phone to Flickr, which then updates my Twitter timeline. (I don’t mind using Yfrog for more “ephemeral” images, either.)

Turpial also packs a couple of useful features which are rare on Twitter clients:

  • If you’re a Twitter regular, you’ll occasionally (or more?) find that a user may start sending a large amount of posts (say, “live-tweeting” an event), which may clog up your timeline, or otherwise make you feel that you’d rather not see all their tweets, without actually un-following them. Turpial offers an ingenious solution: a “mute” option. Just tick the box next to the “friend(s)” in question, and the application will not display their tweets until you un-tick them in the list. Potentially handy, but if you use this, just remember to take said friends off the list… 😉
  • Similarly, the “filter” option allows you to specify words which you would rather not see in your timeline. I haven’t tried this yet, so I don’t know whether it “bleeps out” words or hides entire tweets containing them, but it could be handy if you want to hide a certain hashtag!

A tip, which I originally didn’t spot: to exit the program, don’t simply close the main app window, as this leaves Turpial running (and consuming resources). Instead, the application places an icon in your system tray, so you need to right-click this and select “Quit” to exit. If you’re using the keyboard only, or for whatever reason your desktop environment/window manager doesn’t have a system tray, I’m not quite sure what you do, but neither apply to me in this case…

Overall, with Turpial, I feel I have found the Twitter client I have been watching for all this time, and not only for my Eee 701: it works usably well on my Raspberry Pi too. Being a Python program, Turpial doesn’t require separate compilation for the Pi’s ARM processor, so new versions generally arrive around the same time in the Arch repositories for ARM and x86. Turpial takes around thirty seconds to load on the Pi, but once it’s running, I find you can leave it up without great impact on the system.

Want an uncluttered, native, graphical Twitter client with a multi-column interface, which will run comfortably on a modestly-specced machine? Tall order, but I think Turpial meets these requirements, and is well worth a look.



Snippets (early August 2011)

Filed under: Linux, Software — Tags: , , , , , — Tim @ 19:33
  • First up: I was vaguely aware from the blogosphere, that Linus Torvalds had announced the “arrival” of the 3.x-series Linux kernel, but was surprised earlier this week (whilst carrying out a package update on the Eee) that Arch Linux had fed the new kernel straight into their “core” system! Thus, my modest netbook holds the distinction of being the first Linux machine in my “orbit”, to be running a 3.x kernel. Perhaps I should give it a certificate or something…
  • When my 701 was running Eeebuntu v3 (and how long ago that feels now 😉 ), I sometimes made use of Guake—a “pull-down” terminal app inspired by the command console in Quake. I wondered if there was a “lighter” program which did much the same sort of thing, and soon found Tilda, which is apparently based on the GTK+ toolkit. I’ve got it set up so that a press of the F10 key brings down the terminal—slightly less effort than the Ctrl-Alt-T I configured to start the XFCE terminal app…
  • Another Eeebuntu application I sometimes wheeled out, was the Internet phone (VoIP) program Ekiga, for making calls via Sipgate. In keeping with my trying to avoid GNOME- or KDE-orientated apps where possible, I came across Linphone, which supports both audio and video SIP calls. Linphone, like Ekiga also offers a free Linphone SIP service account, which could come in handy for testing SIP-to-SIP calling.
  • Finally, I’ve started tinkering with XChat, the venerable Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client—partly for curiosity, but also because the #archlinux channel on Freenode seems to be the best way to get quick Arch Linux support 🙂


Two quick tips for KeePassX

Filed under: Software — Tags: , , , , — Tim @ 18:31

If I were writing my post “Ten programs I want on all my computers: the Eee 701 view” today (and I might still do an update sometime), I would definitely include one application which wasn’t present in the list at that time: KeePassX, the cross-platform encrypted password manager. (Actually, I did mention it in passing in the article, but I was still getting familiar with the program at the time.)

To cut a long story short: since I posted the above article, KeePassX has become one of those apps for me—you know, the programs you wonder how you ever did without. Basically, KeePassX—and its Windows cousin Keepass Password Safe—is a password manager for Linux and Mac OS X, which stores your login details for all those Web sites you visit, in a 256-bit-encrypted database file.

I could write a much longer article about why I think this is such a great app, but at this point I just want to share two tips for KeePassX which I have learned, and which I find very useful.

  • KeePassX uses the same database file format across platforms (I assume the Windows version does; certainly, Linux and Mac do), and you can customise the app’s settings to point to wherever the file is located.
    If you use Dropbox (and I can hardly imagine my Eee 701 without it 🙂 ), you can place the KeePassX database anywhere within your Dropbox folder, and the file will be synchronised across all your computers, thus ensuring you have an up-to-date password database.
  • The Linux version of KeePassX has a handy feature: “auto-fill”. (I haven’t tried the Windows version, and I couldn’t get this feature to work in the Mac version, though that could’ve been my fault…)
    In the menu, go to Extras/Settings…, select the Advanced tab and place the cursor inside the field next to “Global Auto-type Shortcut”. Then, press the keys you wish to use for a keyboard shortcut—I use Ctrl-Shift-A—and this will appear in the field.
    Now, when you visit a site where you have to log in, select the entry for that site in the KeePassX list, place the cursor inside the username field on the form in your Web browser, and type your keyboard shortcut. If all goes well, the fields should be populated from KeePassX, and the form submitted. This usually works in Firefox, though with all the “variables” involved, “your mileage may vary”.

Hope these are of use, and if you’re looking for an app to keep your Web and other passwords secure, I warmly recommend giving KeePassX a whirl.


Using a Symbian phone’s GPS over Bluetooth in Eeebuntu

Filed under: Hardware, Linux, Software — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Tim @ 20:00

It’s becoming increasingly common for laptops and other mobile devices to incorporate GPS facilities, and for more and more software applications—both installed on the machine, and Web-based—to have the ability to make use of positioning data.

From time to time, since I acquired my Eee 701, I’ve thought how it might be handy to link it up to a GPS receiver, as even a 7″-wide screen is larger than the display on my Nokia N95 GPS-equipped “smartphone” (which I’ve used for navigation until now). Seeing as the 701 obviously doesn’t have GPS built-in—and I’m not the type to start “modding” my Eee to put a GPS unit in!—this obviously leaves me with a few options for external GPSes:

  • A USB GPS “dongle”—these can be found for under £20 if you search online, but they require physical connection to the computer, and you’d probably need a USB extension cable to place the unit where it can get a position fix.
  • A “proper” GPS unit (e.g. the Garmin eTrex)—far more likely to get a “lock” on the satellites quickly (and keep it), but they cost more, and many of these units have only a serial (RS232) port for a cable connection, so a USB-serial adapter cable would probably be required.
  • A Bluetooth GPS receiver—these have come down in price (under £30 online) and are often small enough to fit on a keyring, but I have read that they are barely better than a mobile phone in terms of acquiring and holding a position fix.

None of these options were really ideal for me, not least because I didn’t think I could justify buying any of them. Then, not so long ago, I realised I had been overlooking the obvious: is there a way to access my phone’s position data from my Eee, as if the Nokia were a dedicated GPS unit?

With my Nokia N95, the simple answer is: yes, but not out of the box (at least, not that I was able to find). Thanks to Ken Murray’s excellent HOWTO “How to share the GPS in your N95 with your laptop via Bluetooth in Linux” (from which I took quite a few tips for this article), I found Symarctic ExtGPS, a Java applet which works perfectly on the N95. In short, ExtGPS hooks into the phone’s GPS receiver and basically turns it into a Bluetooth GPS unit.

For what follows, I’m going to assume you have the following hardware:

  • An Eee (or other laptop) running Linux—obviously, I have an Eee 701SD running Eeebuntu v3 at time of writing, but most of the following is probably transferable with some effort.
    • I’m also assuming that you have some experience with using Bluetooth on your machine, and that the Bluetooth software stack is running with no problems.
    • If your Linux system doesn’t already include it (as Eeebuntu v3 doesn’t, though Eeebuntu 4 and Ubuntu Lucid Lynx do), I strongly recommend installing Blueman (a Bluetooth manager for GNOME) via your package manager, as it improves massively over bluez-gnome (the default in Eeebuntu 3) in many ways, and will simplify the Bluetooth part of the setup considerably. The instructions below will tell you how to connect the Eee to the N95’s GPS using Blueman; if you prefer to use the command line, Ken Murray’s HOWTO above gives you further details.
  • A Symbian-based mobile phone with GPS capability, such as my Nokia N95—again, you may be able to do the following with another phone platform like Android, but you’re on your own working that out 😉
  • A Bluetooth adapter—I’m using a cheap “nano”-type dongle, but it works well enough.

Using the package installation method you prefer (I go for apt-get or Synaptic), first install the gpsd (the GPS ‘daemon’, or server) and gps-clients packages, as these are the minimum requirements for most of what we’re going to do here. In a (technical) nutshell, gpsd reads the data from the GPS receiver, and makes it available to applications on TCP port 2947. Amongst other benefits, this means that instead of one app hogging the GPS data, you can have multiple programs accessing it at once.

Screenshot of ExtGPS

ExtGPS running on a Nokia N95

Now reach for your phone, and activate Bluetooth if it is not already running. Assuming you have downloaded and installed ExtGPS on your phone, start the program from the “Applications” menu. The phone will take a few moments to lock onto the GPS signals and acquire a fix, at which time the “middle” of the three status readouts will show a green “light”, and a message along the lines of Satellite: Fix NMEA-0183.

Go back to the Eee and start Blueman (or check whether there’s a Bluetooth icon in the top panel), then left-click on the icon to bring up the Blueman interface window. Your machine should scan the local area for Bluetooth devices; when it locates your phone, right-click on it in the list and select “Refresh Services”. This tells your computer to retrieve the list of Bluetooth services your phone advertises.

Now, right-click again on your phone, and bring up the “Serial Ports” sub-menu. If all is well, you should see “Symarctic GPS” in the list; if not, refresh the services list again. Select “Symarctic GPS”, and a Bluetooth connection will be made between your computer and the phone’s GPS receiver. (Blueman should display a message like “Serial port connected to /dev/rfcomm0”; remember the latter detail, as this is the virtual serial port you’re connected to, and you’ll need it in a moment.)

Whilst you could connect directly to this port if your application allows it, most Linux apps which use GPS prefer to connect to gpsd, so we need to start this daemon. This is done like so:

sudo gpsd -N /dev/rfcomm0

The -N flag means “run this in the foreground”; I suggest keeping this open in a terminal window as long as you need it, then use Ctrl-C to stop gpsd when you’ve finished.

To test whether GPS data is being received from the phone, you can either telnet to port 2947 (telnet localhost 2947) and look at what appears in the terminal, or you could launch xgps (which is installed with gps-clients) and achieve the same effect in marginally more style 😉

Phew—if you’ve made it this far and have positioning data streaming from your phone to your Eee over Bluetooth, congratulations! In the next instalment in this series, I’ll suggest some Linux apps for making practical use of this data, whilst concentrating on the one I personally find most useful.

Until next time…


Waiting for Eeebuntu 4

Filed under: Linux, Software — Tags: , , , — Tim @ 17:43

Things have been a bit on the quiet side here for a couple of weeks—mostly because I’ve had plenty else to keep me occupied, but partly because I am awaiting eagerly the public beta of the next version of Eeebuntu.

As you’ll know if you’ve been following this blog over the last few months, I installed Eeebuntu v3 on my Eee 701 at Christmas, and except for a couple of niggles (mostly related to sound, a bug with the Conky system stats application, and the Compiz window manager), I think this Linux distribution has proved a worthy OS for the 701.

For version 4, the Eeebuntu team are taking a radical new approach: for starters, apparently they may be renaming the distro, as from this point on it will be based directly on Debian instead of Ubuntu (itself a Debian derivative). I admit I haven’t really “clued up” on all the reasons why the Eeebuntu folk have taken this decision, but frankly I am more interested in whether the new version will improve on v3, so will reserve judgement on the change until I can get an idea of whether (or not) it has delivered.

It certainly looks promising, with built-in apps including Thunderbird 3 and Firefox 3.6, and I understand that it should be possible to upgrade existing Eeebuntu installations without having to start from scratch (though thanks to the “live CD” option, I’ll be able to wait until the final version is out before deciding whether to take the plunge).

The team believes that the beta should be made available some time tomorrow (Wednesday 10th February), so I have a BitTorrent client on standby ready to grab the ISO image as soon as I can get the request through. I hope to post back here later this week and update you on how the 701 gets on with Eeebuntu 4; for the most up-to-the-minute feedback, keep an eye on my Twitter feed from tomorrow evening (GMT).

Update (8.30pm): What a difference a few hours can make… Just as this post was published, I learned via Eeebuntu’s Twitter feed (and a big “hello” to anyone visiting here from there, by the way :)) that they have made the v4 beta available for download. I’m BitTorrenting it as we speak, though the download speed is pretty glacial, which suggests there are quite a few folk interested in this release!

I may well have to leave this downloading overnight, but once I’ve had the chance to boot Eeebuntu 4 on my 701 and play around with it a bit, I’ll try and post back here with a few first impressions. In the meantime, my Twitter feed will carry more up-to-the-moment updates, usually tagged with “#eb4”. Stay tuned…


Ten programs I want on all my computers: the Eee 701 view

Filed under: Software — Tags: , , — Tim @ 12:52

Last September, on my “main” blog, I posted a list of ten applications which I would want to have on every computer I owned.

To save you looking ( 😉 ), these were:

  1. Firefox
  2. VLC
  3. OpenOffice
  4. TweetDeck
  5. Inkscape
  6. The GIMP
  7. Audacity
  8. Skype
  9. Miro
  10. Stellarium

This isn’t an exhaustive list—and isn’t intended to be—but I thought I’d revisit my choices, insofar as I’ve been able to get them working (or not) on my Eee 701 (running, at the present time, Eeebuntu 3).

Mostly, the news is good. Eeebuntu 3 comes with a number of the above apps (Firefox, VLC, OpenOffice, Inkscape, The GIMP) preinstalled, meaning that I had to install only the other five myself. (Of these, I found four in the software repositories—easily installable via apt-get or Synaptic—whilst the last one (TweetDeck) just took a few moments to install via their Web site.)

(In passing: if you’ve been following E7P since late last year, you may recall that at that time I reported being unable to get the Adobe AIR runtime installed on my 701 with the default Xandros OS, meaning that TweetDeck was, literally, a non-starter. Fortunately, under Eeebuntu, TweetDeck installs without complaint, although how well it actually works on the 701 is a subject I’ll come to shortly.)

OK, that’s getting the ten apps onto the 701 in the first place. How well do they run, once they are on there?

Well, for the most part, well enough, as long as you’re not too demanding and bear in mind that the Eee 701 isn’t going to go toe-to-toe with a fast desktop any time soon. Skype works beautifully on the 701, with the proviso (on Eeebuntu 3) that the sound may take a bit of tweaking to get “just right”, though that’s not Skype’s fault. Furthermore, Miro does a sterling job as a video podcast “catcher”, within the caveats connected with the 701’s small screen (of which more shortly, though it’s not a deal-breaker for me).

Firefox and OpenOffice won’t usually tax the 701 that much, though obviously if you’re viewing a document/page with lots of graphics and/or other multimedia, you might start to run up against memory issues, or (at worst) the processor could begin to struggle with (say) heavy-duty embedded video or Flash. (I haven’t seen much of this myself, but acknowledge that it could happen.)

Similarly, even with Eeebuntu, a high-quality video can leave the 701 a bit “out of breath”, especially if it’s running off batteries and therefore in “reduced power” mode. If you want to watch a DVD-rip captured at full quality (even standard-definition) with VLC, I’d advise a fast USB storage device and AC power to hand, or that playback will end up choppier than the Atlantic in a hurricane.

Unsurprisingly, the 701’s WVGA (800×480) screen can mean that some apps struggle to fit into the available space. Inkscape and The GIMP are usable enough if your imaging needs are modest, and/or don’t mind scrolling around a bit, whilst you’ll need to play around with Audacity’s toolbar settings if you want to see more than about 50 pixels’ height of the waveform you’re editing.

Furthermore, TweetDeck can fit only about three columns in a maximised window (with their “narrow” setting enabled), and about two entries in each column vertically if you have the “entry” panel open. If this doesn’t bother you, no problem—I like TweetDeck enough that I can live with the constraints, but I keep Twitux on my 701 just in case.

TweetDeck can take over twenty seconds to load, but at least it runs tolerably well. Unfortunately, Stellarium (with its heavy 3D-rendering) struggles to manage more than 3-4 frames per second, making it all but unusable on my 701; astronomy types may wish to consider a less demanding application for their sky views.

There are a few apps I would now want to add to my “must-have” list—Dropbox, TrueCrypt and KeePassX, to name but three—and as it happens, I am writing a follow-up post to the original which I hope to publish at the Sidingsound blog within the next couple of weeks. Until then, I’m pleased to report that, as long as you’re prepared to make an allowance or two for the Eee 701’s reduced size and power, it’s a capable enough platform to run some favourite useful applications.


Having fun with Eeebuntu 3

Filed under: Linux — Tags: , , — Tim @ 23:56

A very Happy New Year to all readers, and apologies for taking nearly two weeks off posting here. You may or may not be surprised to learn that I’ve not been entirely idle: not least, because my Eee 701 has been put to good use, road-testing the Eeebuntu 3 alternative Linux distribution for the Eee range of “netbooks”.

Eeebuntu 3 desktop

Eeebuntu 3 desktop with translucent panels

Unfortunately, I don’t have time right now to present a detailed review of this distro, but I thought you might appreciate a smattering of “bullet-point” items of feedback on my experience of Eeebuntu so far:

  • It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into making Eeebuntu “suit” Asus’ range of teeny laptops, and even better, this includes the 701 machines with their especially small displays. Many of the fonts and other presentational elements of the interface, have been reduced in size to suit the 701’s 800×480 native resolution, and although some windows still extend beyond the desktop’s boundaries (oh, how I wish MS Windows had Linux’s “Alt-and-drag” feature for such moments), they’ve done a mostly great job of fitting in the GNOME desktop to such a small space, without it looking too cramped.
  • There are numerous nice “touches” to the apps, which are rather more up-to-date than Eee/Xandros has ever been: for instance, the mail client is Thunderbird, and (joy!) it has the Lightning (calendar) and Enigmail (OpenPGP encryption) plugins pre-installed “out of the box”.
  • So many things “just work” in Eeebuntu—not just the built-in hardware, from the wireless network to the webcam, but also many add-on and plug-in items. Got a USB Bluetooth “dongle”, for instance? Just plug it in, and a “tray icon” appears straightaway, for you to start pairing with other devices and transferring files. (It could be made easier to set up PPP over Bluetooth—for using a mobile phone as a 3G modem—but that’s a relatively minor quibble.)
  • Whilst most parts of the system work flawlessly—at least for me—the major “fly in the ointment” for me is the buggy version of Compiz, the compositing window manager, which is enabled by default. Whilst many of its features work—translucent windows, 3D transitions and so on—there are numerous odd behaviours. The main Compiz options manager interface barely functions on the 701, the window moving all over the place when I attempt to enable other effects (e.g “wobbly windows”—I don’t think this is what they meant!). Furthermore, some effects render the display unusable, meaning at worst that a hard reboot of the machine can be the only resort, and for a while I switched from Compiz to GNOME’s own Metacity window manager, just to ensure a usable if less flashy desktop. (One tip: a few glitches can be avoided if you choose another window decoration theme in System > Preferences > Appearance, instead of the default “eb3”. For some reason this results in a few less odd behaviours, and I have no idea why.)

Overall, though, Eeebuntu is a sizeable improvement over the Eee’s “native” Xandros Linux, and I am also excited by the impending release of its new version, which is due out within a few weeks. This new distro will be based on Debian instead of Ubuntu, and I am hoping this will mean greater reliability, hopefully without sacrificing too many “bleeding-edge” features. Of course, they’ll have to call it something other than Eeebuntu, though…

(updated on 2010/01/07, with a screenshot of my Eeebuntu desktop; and again on 2010/01/29, correcting a reference to the Eee 701’s display resolution as “800×400”)


Is the Eee Xandros still being updated?

Filed under: Software — Tags: , , , — Tim @ 18:17

I’ve been installing a few new apps lately (that’s “new” in the sense of “haven’t been installed on my Eee before”), and have noticed that the versions in the Xandros repositories are—to put it moderately—a teensy bit on the elderly side.

No, forget that: they’re positively primordial.

Let’s take a couple of examples:

  • Inkscape—the Eee/Xandros version is v0.44.1, which dates back to September 2006. Over three years later, the program is now up to v0.47.
  • VLC—latest version (as of December 2009) is v1.0.3. The Eee/Xandros repos have v0.8.6a (which I believe dates back to November 2006).
  • Conky—this is currently up to v1.7.2; Eee/Xandros offers v1.4.4 (November 2006—see a pattern developing here?).

I could keep going, but I think the point is made: the “factory” Linux OS which shipped with the Eee 701 (or more accurately, the Xandros repository which is recommended for use with it), appears not to have been updated appreciably since the machine was launched in 2007.

Much of the time, I can put up with the limitations this imposes, though some apps I like to use, are lacking features which would be welcome to have (e.g. Conky is ‘missing’ quite a few capabilities I’d like to use—e.g. a fair number of variables related to wireless networking—because the version is so old).

However, it begs the question for me: how many security issues might be outstanding with the Eee version of Xandros, because the OS isn’t keeping up with developments? (For instance, it seems the ‘openssl’ library in Eee/Xandros may be affected by the infamous Debian OpenSSL bug from a couple of years back, and hasn’t been updated. To be honest, I don’t think I should have to compile my own version of OpenSSL, to fix a problem which the distro maintainers should arguably have addressed by now as a matter of urgency. Or maybe they have—I’d better look into that… :))

I feel all this is unfortunate, because in my view Eee/Xandros has plenty going for it. The OS has been optimised and tuned for the 701’s hardware (i.e. for the most part, everything tends to “just work”), and I personally like the way I’ve been able to ‘tweak’ it with Fluxbox and other customisations.

That said, in the end there are Linux distros which are under heavy and regular development, and which can work well on the Eee 701, so in the end, if Eee/Xandros is just going to stagnate like this, I may well be forced to look at another distro (especially if it can be tweaked easily to run Fluxbox). At least 1-2Gb USB drives and SD cards are practically being given away in cereal packets these days, so installing a new OS on one for trial purposes shouldn’t prove too much of a problem.

Or maybe I’m just worrying too much about nothing?


Bits and pieces

Filed under: Blog, housekeeping — Tags: , , — Tim @ 19:58

Just thought I’d post back here quickly to let you know I haven’t given up on this blog, though it’s been incredibly busy lately so I haven’t had many chances to put anything up here. I’m preparing a few new items for E7P, but in the meantime, here’s a taster of what’s (hopefully) in the pipeline:

  • I’ve noticed that Flickr seems to have quite a few photos along the lines of “What’s in your (netbook/gadget) bag?”, so there’ll probably be a post along those lines in the next couple of weeks or so.
  • On that subject, I recently bought a Belkin 7″ padded netbook bag, and I hope to post a review of this coming up soon.
  • One of my main birthday presents this year was a 500Gb Freecom portable USB hard drive, and I’m already putting together a post about how I’ve prepared it for use with my 701 (this may well come first in the queue :)).
  • I’ve been tinkering around with the Fluxbox desktop I installed on my 701 a few weeks back, including creating a couple of new “styles” (desktop themes), so look out for a feature on this in the not-so-distant future.
  • Finally: I am hoping to find the time to make some more videos for this blog, and depending on how these go, I am thinking of starting a videoblog here devoted to the Eee 701. This would be a lot of work, so I think I would “start small”, and go from there.

Sorry: must dash, but thanks for watching, and there will be more here soon…

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