About Anything

The personal blog of Al Stevens. Focus is overrated.

My New Netbook — an Eee PC

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For father’s day, I was given my choice of netbooks. With very little though, I chose an Eee Pc. It’s small, not too expensive ($299 at Best Buy) and cute. I opted for the dark blue one.

I’m setting it up, with the goal of have as few apps as possible running locally. Ideally, I’d like to have only a browser and, until single signon actually works, a password vault. So here goes. It came with Windows XP home — I made sure I wasn’t going to get stuck with Vista. ideally, I would like to try Ubuntu, but I’m sharing it at times with my spouse and she’s more comfortable with windows. Perhaps when Chrome really is an OS, I’ll replace Windows.

The setup wizard was only a few clicks. It found the LAN fine, then asked be if I wanted to connect to my wireless. That was easy too.

Skype was preinstalled, so I signed in. It was the older client, which I like a lot better than the new one.

IE was preinstalled, with Bing as the default search engine. I took a small amount of pleasure in making my first search “Firefox”. It was odd that the results page pointed my to an older version of Firefox. A search for Firefox 3.5 landed my on the right page. Firefox offerred to import the IE bookmarks — whatever they were — but I skipped that step.

The first Firefox extension I installed was Xmarks . I’ve been using it on my development laptop for a few months. It promises to synchronize all bookmarks across PC’s, so here’s my first test. After the install, the Xmarks wizard appeared and asked if I had an account. Once logged in, it offered several synch options. I chose ‘keep the data on the server, discard data on this computer’ since I wanted my netbook to mirror the bookmarks on my laptop. I was also given the option to save passwords. I declined. Still too paranoid. One warning and a click later, followed by a 10 second I had all of my laptop bookmarks on my netbook. Nice!

After getting nagged a few times, by different sites I visited, I installed Flash.

Next was Seesmic Desktop — there’s just no web client that I like as well for using Twitter. Seesmic Desktop is built on Adobe Air, so I had to install that as well. Added my bit.ly api key so I could post short urls and track them. And, right after doing this, I discovered that Seesmic has a web app. So far, not able to configure my own bit.ly api key, so for now I’ll stick with the desktop app.

Next step was to reset the windows start menu and controll panel to classic mode. Much nicer than the XP versions.

The Eee comes with a trial version of Microsoft Office preinstalled. Opening the control panel, selecting add/remove programs, scrolling down to MS office and selecting “remove” almost took care of that. After removing office, I was left with a vestigial Power Point viewer that I had to remove as well.

So after about 45 minutes, I’ve got Firefox 3.5, with all of my bookmarks, my password vault and Seesmic desktop.

It’s time to actually use it. I’ve got a presentation scheduled in a few days and have a dozen slides drafted in Powerpoint on my laptop. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to complete tham and do the presentation on my Netbook. I’ll describe how that works in my next post.

Written by Al Stevens

July 18th, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Posted in Technical Things