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Handhelds Software Hardware Linux

Just What is this ASUS Eee Thing Anyway? 401

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the been-asking-myself-that-for-awhile-now dept.
davidmwilliams writes "ASUS have released a cheap subnotebook. It is far from state-of-the-art tech-wise, with 512Mb RAM and a Celeron processor. It has a 4Gb hard drive and no optical drive. Its screen is 7" and runs at the odd resolution of 800x480 and the operating system looks like something Fisher Price might have designed. Why would you buy it? What on earth can you do with this?" I've been wondering this myself given the huge coverage in the media of this thing.
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Just What is this ASUS Eee Thing Anyway?

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  • Huh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Corporate Troll (537873) on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:14AM (#21865128) Homepage Journal

    the operating system looks like something Fisher Price might have designed.
    Just like the Windows XP default theme....
    • Re:Huh (Score:5, Funny)

      by cHiphead (17854) on Monday December 31, 2007 @11:46AM (#21866112)
      I just rtfa... actual quote: "A quick Google search ejaculates forth bold experimenters..."

      That explains a lot.

      Cheers.
    • by McDutchie (151611)

      the operating system looks like something Fisher Price might have designed.
      Just like the Windows XP default theme....

      No no no, the Teletubbies [theregister.co.uk] designed that one.

  • Tons of Potential (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:15AM (#21865138) Journal

    Just What is this ASUS Eee Thing Anyway?

    I've been wondering this myself given the huge coverage in the media of this thing.
    Well, you posted an article [slashdot.org] about the source for it violating the GPL (a fixed shortly thereafter [slashdot.org]). You might have learned something about it then. Or you could do a quick search on your site for it and you'd turn up the first review [slashdot.org] you posted and we discussed.

    Believe it or not, the "huge media coverage" that I've noticed of this thing has only been on Slashdot. Other than that, it's a big name manufacturer, in our world it's huge news.

    It has a 4Gb hard drive and no optical drive. Its screen is 7" and runs at the odd resolution of 800x480 and the operating system looks like something Fisher Price might have designed. Why would you buy it? What on earth can you do with this?
    That's not solid logic when you're speaking to a crowd that busts its ass trying to get Linux running on their microwave. I didn't see the reviewer giving any real specific applications of the laptop. Back in college, I used to work with pioneer robots in my classes. The damned things had a 15 lb. Dell notebook mounted on top of them. Ridiculous. Try hauling the robot and the laptop to a demonstration or presentation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by arivanov (12034)
      It is not just Slashdot - the Register and various other IT press outfits in the UK have covered it quite extensively including the pros and cons of running Windows on the thing and even one attempt to load MacOS on it.

      Frankly, it is a geek toy. I would have bought one, if I did not have a personal notebook, a company notebook, 3 working computers doing different things around the house and enough parts to assemble 7 more in my loft (obtained for free or nearly free from dot-bomb and post-dot-bomb craters).
    • Re:Tons of Potential (Score:5, Informative)

      by shani (1674) <shane@time-travellers.org> on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:52AM (#21865470) Homepage
      Believe it or not, the "huge media coverage" that I've noticed of this thing has only been on Slashdot. Other than that, it's a big name manufacturer, in our world it's huge news.

      Really? I just saw it in one of the big Dutch newspapers Saturday:

      http://www.parool.nl/media/2007/DEC/122907-eeepc.html [parool.nl]

      Looking at Google News shows it in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Independent, the New Zealand Herald, and so on. Googling for specific newspapers shows articles in the Washington Post, New York Times, the Sun, and so on. It's referenced in an article in the Wall Street Journal. This is all outside of the IT press, mind you!
      • Looking at Google News shows it in the Sydney Morning Herald
        While the others you quote are all mainstream media, the SMH is generally a very good source of tech news.
    • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:57AM (#21865512) Homepage
      Since another article claimed we had forgotten about it, Google Trends claims [google.com] the eee have surpassed ThinkPad, and close to but not still on par with MacBook. If we look at Google News instead, the advantage over ThinkPad is even greater, and even "asus eee" has have more than three times the number of hits than ThinkPad, and half the hits of the MacBook.

      I'd consider a position between two of the most recognized brands pretty good.

      On the other hands, if we were to believe Internet statistics, Ron Paul would be elected president with the greatest margin in the history of the country.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by G Fab (1142219)
        Precisely, if Lenovo came out with some sort of new thing the thinkpad brand would likely skyrocket for a little while too.

        My real question is: what can I do with this that I cannot do with a $250 used thinkpad, a can of air, and a new battery? Thinkpad is cheaper, has a better everything, and I can actually type on it without shrinking my hands. I guess this eee is a lot smaller and doesn't smell like cabbage yet.

        Love the idea of this computer, but the cheapskates have always had the refuge of obsolete c
        • Well, my old laptop was a Thinkpad X40 (last IBM generation), which is only slightly heavier (1.1 kg). It still has a much larger screen (12") and faster CPU (1G Pentium M). Same RAM. Battery time is only about 1 hour though, so that might be the deciding factor.
          • by G Fab (1142219)
            Other commenter has a similar answer for me.

            Fair enough. I know that there's no way a large screened machine will ever compete with a small screened one, but thinkpads can have large batteries. And getting a new battery isn't too expensive if it keeps you truckin'

            x40s are great machines.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by tomz16 (992375)
            Agree on everything except the battery. My x40 gets about 6 hours on the extended battery. I paid $400 for the laptop on e-bay a year ago, and it really outspecs the $400 4GB eee. Faster cpu, bluetooth, larger screen, 10x the storage, double the ram, and is built like a tank. Best of all, as one of the smallest ultraportables, it's only a teeny bit larger/heavier than the eee.
    • by drapeau06 (1010311) on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:59AM (#21865532)

      Back in college, I used to work with pioneer robots in my classes. The damned things had a 15 lb. Dell notebook mounted on top of them. Ridiculous. Try hauling the robot and the laptop to a demonstration or presentation.

      What's ridiculous is that the robot made you carry it! I guess they're already smarter than us.

    • Thanks for the info. I checked pricing, which is really the most revolutionary thing here. At Amazon, they want $399 for these things, with free shipping. Other sites charge for shipping, but lower the price to as low as $350. I compared that to Dell's cheapest offering - currently a 15" Insprion 1520, with 1 gig RAM, 80 gig disk, and DVD player/CD writer. The Dell is a solid machine most people could use as their main computer. I think I'm not that impressed with the value of this new entry. We can
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday December 31, 2007 @12:34PM (#21866688) Journal

        The Dell is a solid machine most people could use as their main computer
        Most people could use the EeePC as their main computer. I visited my mother over Christmas and had a look at her computer. She is using less than 4GB of her disk (no music, and her digital camera is old and only takes small photos). She browses the web, edits photos, checks email and uses a word processor and spreadsheet. All of these are possible with the EeePC. She is currently using a 1GHz Athlon, which is only marginally faster than the EeePC's CPU and she doesn't really tax it; the bottleneck is hard disk speed.
        • I agree... If the thing were $200, or maybe $250, I'd get one. At $400, I feel like I'd rather push for the $612 it takes to get the Dell. I strongly suspect prices in this category will come way down. It probably can be built for $100.
      • Re:Tons of Potential (Score:4, Informative)

        by bgfay (5362) on Monday December 31, 2007 @01:35PM (#21867454) Homepage
        Bias warning: I'm typing this on an Eee PC 8G.

        The thing about this machine over that Dell is that if I buy the home edition of such a machine I'm stuck with Vista which will need way more overhead than this, will require antivirus software, uses software that is not free, and will slow down starting the first time I use it. That was what happened with the last Windows PC I bought (and I mean the last one I'll buy).

        I was going to get a MacBook but it too is pretty big and portability was a big factor for me. I got this on a whim thinking that if it wouldn't work I could give it to my six year old (who is now trying to pry it out of my hands). It works. It works very well and the keyboard is pretty easy even for a guy with giant hands like mine.

        Running Linux (pre-installed) is great. It has worked better for me than my Windows laptop. And even when the screen is a bit small, I hook up a monitor. Simple. For the price, and for my tastes, it can't be beat.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hack slash (1064002)
      "Believe it or not, the "huge media coverage" that I've noticed of this thing has only been on Slashdot. Other than that, it's a big name manufacturer, in our world it's huge news."

      The Register [theregister.co.uk] have been covering the Eee quite a bit, particularly a certain scantily clad busty beach babe [regmedia.co.uk], there's a theory going around that she's using an Eee but no matter how long I look at the picture I just can't see any computer - even when I'm using my own Eee!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:16AM (#21865156)
    Like any sub-notebook, you put it in your man-bag/briefcase, and then carry it about with you at all times, so you always have a computer on you.
    • by darjen (879890) on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:40AM (#21865382)
      That's exactly my problem with it... you have to carry it in a bag/briefcase. As it says in TFA:

      Perhaps it may not suit you as your primary workhorse but there's no denying that the Eee is king of mobility.
      I honestly think that title belongs to the Nokia N810 tablet. After all, you get a screen with the same resolution with a built-in keyboard in a form factor that fits in your pocket. I don't work for Nokia... just a fan of that particular product. Sure, the N810 might have about half the processing power (clocked at 400 mhz compared to the EEE PC's 900 MHz), but if we're just talking about mobility, isn't the EEE is about as mobile as a typical subcompact notebook? Which I admit is pretty mobile... but in the end it still requires a carrying case.
      • I'd agree on the N810. I have a 770 with a foldable bluetooth keyboard, and both fit in a jacket pocket. The 770 is slightly underpowered (an extra 64MB of RAM would have made it a whole lot more useable) but runs vim and a web browser, which accounts for a good 50% of my computing needs. The N810 is faster, has more RAM, and has a keyboard which is usable, if not ideal, when I don't have enough pocket space for the external one.
        • by afedaken (263115) on Monday December 31, 2007 @11:31AM (#21865934) Homepage
          I've done an N810, and a EEE. The EEE wins for me hands down. Larger screen, and keyboard instead of a thumb board. I'll take a thumb board over T9 predictive entry, but I'll take a touch type-able keyboard (even one as cramped as the EEE's) over a thumb board any day.

          I can text message with my phone (ATT Tilt), but the EEE makes slashdot doable, and the web in general a lot more pleasant than it was on the 810.
      • by ericrost (1049312)
        It doesn't require a carrying case, my lady just slips it in her purse and she has a school capable notebook wherever she may roam. It was the best xmas gift she's ever gotten. And at $300 (for the 2GB w/512 MB of memory) it beats the pants off of anything comparable. Also, I've used the OLPC, and this keyboard is just a bit better. I had to have my fingers not on the keys on the OLPC to pseudo-touch type, this I can keep my fingers just a bit squished and I can really touch type, plus, the OLPC's pushbutto
      • by DingerX (847589)
        Hey, the Eee looks cool, and it's making waves, especially since Microsoft announced they'll be supplying an OS for them. They're scared.

        It's praiseworthy, since effectively people use their computers for a limited range of tasks, and that range hasn't changed much in the last ten years. So a cheap, portable laptop fills many niches.

        Of course, I left my desktop in the other hemisphere for a few weeks. I rolled outta bed, checked my email; went downstairs, fixed breakfast, read the newspapers
  • It's great (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MrDoh! (71235) on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:17AM (#21865162) Homepage Journal
    Spent 40 bucks on a 2gb ram upgrade, chucked on an nLited winXp. Now I've got a little utility machine that's /REALLY/ tiny and cute, and didn't cost the earth.
    Keeping it light, in both weight and bootup times means it's a great companion to my main dev laptop (Dell M something) that takes an age till it's usuable with all the dev tools/sql servers it loads up. It barely takes up anymore room in my laptop bag, so if I need to check something quick, that comes out, boots in 30 seconds and is good to go on a wireless connection rather than dragging out my main machine.
    I love it. Screen is a /bit/ of a pain, and just a smidgeon more screen space would have been great, but it works for what it does.
    Tempted to get a white one for the kitchen area, just to have vids playing whilst at the breakfast bar, music playing whilst cooking, or whatever.
    9.5/10
    • by wes33 (698200)
      How much extra for the xp? $150 maybe. Doesn't seem worth it for what you get ... but I suppose the buttons and icons are where you expect them.
    • I'm thinking of doing the same and using it for astrophotography. I currently use an older Dell C400, which is small AFA notebooks go, but still a pain to setup in the field.
  • by IANAAC (692242) on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:19AM (#21865180)
    I can see the allure of a device like this.

    I personally have a PepperPad 3 that I use while travelling. It came down to weight and the apps available (such as OO.org, Thunderbird/Sunbird, etc.).

    I do a lot of travelling and lugging a 6 pound laptop w/accessories through airports sucks. With a fully functional Linux distro on my PP3, I can now use a much smaller messenger bag, and everything, including full-sized external keyboard and mouse, weighs in at less than 3 pounds. And it does everything I need it to while travelling.

  • by wehe (135130) <weheNO@SPAMtuxmobil.org> on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:21AM (#21865196) Homepage Journal
    There are at least two hardware modifications aka moddings for the ASUS Eee PC [repair4laptop.org] mentioned at Repair4Laptop. One explains how to add an internal USB Bluetooth port to the sub-notebook without affecting the built-in wireless or using the empty mini PCIe card slot. The other describes how to install an internal 3G Card.
  • by bl8n8r (649187) on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:25AM (#21865228)
    It's hard to type on if you're used to regular sized keyboards, but it gets the job done. Three hours of battery life isn't that great considering the OLPC gets about 12, and better protected from the environment too. ftfa: "It's endless world of hardware modifications that smart people worldwide have embraced" Um.. what the hell is that supposed to mean?
    • Regarding the whats that supposed to mean comment... The writer of this article has some issues in regards to vernacular: another example is the way he describes how Google returns searches to you; I'm not even going to repeat it. It made me puke a little in my mouth when i read it.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)
      It means these aren't the lame hardware mods that only dumb people embrace.
      Whatever that might mean.
      Besides being able to change software and hardware, what use is the Eee anyway?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by (H)elix1 (231155) *
      ftfa: "It's endless world of hardware modifications that smart people worldwide have embraced" Um.. what the hell is that supposed to mean?

      Translation: Cheap fun for people who are willing to work with a soldering iron. There is not much room inside, but folks are already modding the laptop to add more 'disk' in the form of hand made USB adapters to SD cards internally! The laptop is small, but the mainboard is not so miniaturized that one can't measure/modify the circuits. As a bonus - it cost so little
    • by Dan East (318230)
      "It's endless world of hardware modifications that smart people worldwide have embraced" Um.. what the hell is that supposed to mean?

      That the author failed their English grammar classes.

      Dan East
  • A Misconception (Score:5, Informative)

    by alanw (1822) * <alan@wylie.me.uk> on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:26AM (#21865244) Homepage

    you can also remove pre-installed items you do not need. I removed the Chinese language dictionaries ...

    The Eee PC uses unionfs to merge together two partitions: sda1 (/mnt-system, 2.3GB, read-only) and sda2 (/mnt-user, 1.4GB, read-write)

    There is a grub boot option "Restore Factory Settings" which wipes the user part.

    Deleting installed applications doesn't free up any space - it just marks them as deleted on the user partition.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you remove unionfs, or boot without unionfs (busybox in the initramfs or a live distro on a flash stick) then you can mount /dev/sda1 by itself and delete things in a way that does free up space.

      But the restore capability is a good idea in a consumer marketed linux machine. Actually, it would be a good idea in windows, too!
      • Most Windows machines have a restore facility, in the form of a hidden partition containing the Windows install files. The nice thing about this is that it's relatively easy to update, so restore can be to the last version of the OS, not the factory default and that it gives you a nice undelete mechanism for any system files (just remove the whiteout file from the top union filesystem).
  • by CodeShark (17400) <ellsworthpc@@@yahoo...com> on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:30AM (#21865274) Homepage
    Is faster than anything I owned in the 1990s with a bit less permanent memory.


    Seems to me I remember the day when a 640K operating system and a 40Meg disk were king, so having 1.5 Gig left over to play with after the OS is loaded --that's like luxury space. Oh, and I can go back and get more permanent memory if I delete some stuff if won't ever use, can add and subtract multiple versions of multi-gigabyte portable (SD) memory, and if I use a USB Wifi stick, I can connect even to the web at pretty good speed?


    What this thing is is portable. Medium powered. Flexible. Ideal for a Linux person like me who would like to have a road warrior unit he can live with -- without the backache.

  • by devnullkac (223246) on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:32AM (#21865300) Homepage

    I think Mr. Williams needs a better thesaurus. From page 2:

    A quick Google search ejaculates forth bold experimenters...
    • by techpawn (969834)
      HE keeps using that word... I don't think it means what he thinks it does...
  • by Stu101 (1031686) on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:36AM (#21865344) Homepage
    Having actually used one, I can say, it rocks. Ok so I wouldn't like to use it as a main machine (not what it was designed for) but if you are an avid note taker, or like to have internet on the run it is all you could want. It is *exceptionally* light, even compared to the JVC mini note range that I look after every day.

    Also, its pretty much instant on. So your not hanging round for things to happen. It's ideal to check mail, a few letters whilst in the wifi coffee shop. Its an ideal meeting toy I suppose.

    Also a massive advantage of this for linux is that a) A linux company is getting paid to put an OS on hardware and secondly, the hardware and software fit well together, they were designed too.

    As for the interface, hell its good. It's simple and quick. What more could you need. If you want more advanced options, turn on the advanced options, its not hard.

    The really mad thing? It's not linux peeps buying it, its average shoppers and gadget freaks. Its providing an inroad to the masses that standard linux cannot because of the variety of hardware it must work on.

    Put another way, in the uk, you cannot buy one for love nor money at the moment, and probably not until mid April will there be sufficient stocks.

  • I want to give one to my mother to get her on the Internet. She only needs to be able to do some light email and web browsing on it.
    • "I want to give one to my mother to get her on the Internet. She only needs to be able to do some light email and web browsing on it."

      Then why not buy her an OLPC, under the "buy one, give one" plan. Better screen (readable in full daylight), much longer run-time (12 hours), included webcam, etc. People really like them [groklaw.net].

      Besides, the eee pc runs Xandros, and they're on our shit-list, remember?

  • Inexpensive Toy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by foxalopex (522681)
    Funny that you would refer to the interface as Fisher Price looking but the reality is for a lot of techies that buy it is that it is an inexpensive / mod-able toy that may eventually find some good use. After all why risk messing up your high end laptop / desktop unit when you can get a device that is designed to be messed around with and is inexpensive in case you do manage to break it. Just look at the Linksys NSLU2 for example. As a product it's nearly completely useless as a NAS. Load on the modifi
  • Why Eee? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeffehobbs (419930) on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:54AM (#21865490) Homepage
    Why the Eee? I reviewed one for the local alt-monthly newspaper [masslive.com], and even after I was done with the review, I wound up keeping it. In a nutshell: it's nifty to have an inexpensive, super light, teeny wifi laptop with a crisp, bright screen -- I've been using it primarily for a RSS/CBR reader myself. My advice is ditch the standard OS, which is lovely but would never fully satisfy most slashdot readers and install Ubuntu 7.10. It's easy enough to do [eeeuser.com] and works great after a few tweaks [eeeuser.com]. One caveat to keep in mind is that I can't seem to find any place that sells additional power adapters (yet) so the portability is slightly diminished by having to lug around the adapter too. but I'm sure that will be rectified soon, as Asus has done a great job so far responding to customer complaints and suggestions.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    An attractive feature of the eee is that its bios makes it possible to boot from anything, the internal ssd, an sd card or any storage devices connected to the three USB ports.
    I dont like loose appendices but the SD card slot is very good, I purchased four 16GB Patriot SDHC cards, and installed four different operating systems on each of them. True, I spent more on these cards than on the eee itself, but I have a functionality regular laptops do not have. My favorite is Ubuntu 7.10 with lots of physics and
  • by Cytlid (95255) on Monday December 31, 2007 @11:00AM (#21865538)
    I find it hilarious that the author says "the OS looks like something Fisher Price might have designed." It's sort of an (un)concious jab at Linux.

      Here's something I noticed for years:

      Do me a huge favor. Go to an XP machine. Go to control panel, look at the icon for "User Accounts".

      Look familiar?
    • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Monday December 31, 2007 @11:55AM (#21866212)
      The article is inaccurate anyway. Of course everybody knows that Windows XP has always had a Fisher-Price interface. The author therefore assumes that this Linux distro must be using the same thing.

      Not true: the Eee actually uses a Playskool interface, which has no connection at all to Fisher-Price. This is just another example of the typical superficial journalism you see in media today.

      • by Cytlid (95255)
        Ahh yes, thank you for correcting me!

          We must keep our preschool intellectual property accurate. We wouldn't want anyone taking our toddlers to court!
  • by TheCycoONE (913189) on Monday December 31, 2007 @11:00AM (#21865540)

    Sure, it's not state-of-the-art - but when it comes to laptops you have three competing demands - fast, cheap, powerful - but you only get to choose two
    I think the author confused laptops with some technology where fast and powerful weren't the same thing - like tractors. Personally I thought weight, battery life, speed, disk space, price, screen real estate, and durability were the competing factors in laptop design. This laptop chose weight, speed, and price over the others.
  • Aaaaargh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by exKingZog (847868)
    My boss plonked TWO of these bloody things on my desk just before Christmas, with a look of beaming pride on her face - one of them came in pink, y'see.

    "Look! It comes in pink! It's so SMALL and CUTE! Aren't they cool? Are they any good? I bought two of them..."

    She's now pestering me to buy one for every mobile user because their (dual-core, 2 GB, 7200 RPM, DVD-R, 1600x1280 Latitude D830) laptops are "too heavy". Except she doesn't like the operating system and wants XP on them all. I'm now in th
    • by mikeee (137160)
      If you're willing to depend on a net connction, you could use some sort of VNC pointing at individual virtual machines running on central hosts, and make them into portable thin clients. That could be a neat solution... I'm not sure it doesn't foil the point of having laptops in the first place, though, depending on user needs.
  • Can these use the SDHC cards? You can get a 16gb SDHC card for ~$80 here:

    http://www.meritline.com/a-data-16gb-turbo-sdhc-flash-card.html [meritline.com]

    • by RandoX (828285)
      To answer my own post, It appears that it is, at least by the 2G Surf model Newegg [newegg.com] has on hand:
  • by kilf (135983) on Monday December 31, 2007 @11:10AM (#21865656) Homepage
    I've had one of these for nearly two months now. It runs Ubuntu Gutsy just fine, with all your favourite apps. I'm typing this comment on it, in fact.

    It has everything a laptop should (except a CDROM), and plays music, browses the web, runs OpenOffice, etc. It's not helpful to think of it as a "cut-down" or "toy" machine. It's really a pretty standard PC. It generally feels very fast and responsive, perhaps because all the storage is solid state.

    It even runs Compiz-fusion flawlessly.

    I've been using it over the last couple off weeks as my main machine. My only complaint is that the screen res is low and up-arrow key and right-shift key are too close together, and they have a similar symbol on them.
  • If the unit is more in demand than can be supplied right now, then stoking the demand with more media attention is not a good idea.

    If it is stacked to the ceiling in warehouses, then throw fuel on the media fire.
  • I love mine. I bought the cheaper ($350) 4Gb surf model. Initially, there were some concerns that the Surf had non-upgradeable soldered on memory. Fortunately not, and I was able to upgrade the memory to 1Gb. I don't think I'll have any storage problems, as SD cards are now rediculasly cheap. I had a 2gb one laying around, and used that.

    I tweaked the standard xandros install to provide a full KDE desktop. I built a custom kernel with USB support built in and large memory support so I could replicate the
  • by jkrise (535370) on Monday December 31, 2007 @11:25AM (#21865854) Journal
    At a hospital I consult with; the IT penetration is surprisingly very poor among doctors. The hospital typically receives 600 patients a day; of which about 275 are diabetics - who require repeated visits over years. There are about 150 in-patients who typically stay for 4.5 days before discharge.

    IT usage is about 60% for the in-patients; but less than 12% for out-patients. The problem? Doctors are fed up with using PCs - Windows or Linux. Some of their biggest complaints:

    1. Long boot time; Linux is only slightly better here; and Vista is downright pathetic and consequently been banned. The EEE PC boots up in less than 20 seconds and the GUI is immediately functional. No need for any useless login, active desktop, active directory etc.

    2. Ultra portable - so the doctor can carry it to the wards and rooms; and dictate into it when necessary. Very cumbersome with laptops; tablets are better; but very expensive compared to the EEE (1:8).

    3. Wakes up from suspend in less than 2 seconds - unparalleled.

    4. The interface is very user friendly and makes sense without training - unlike Windows.

    Surprisingly, this is still not widely avbl in India. Ingram Micro is getting it in the 3rd week of Jan. as I hear. We are ordering about 120 units for our doctors; who are genuinely thrilled with a computer for the first time in their lives.

    ****

    A second appln. is for an e-governance system whereby citizens apply for assistance - there are about a dozen welfare schems like for handicapped, destitutes, old age pension, widow pension etc. The EEE PC is much more functional than a laptop and can be easily carried to the villages by trained self-help-group women assistants. The e-governance appln. is a web-enabled semi-offline-capable system; so even if there is no broadband; the locally installed LAMP appln. gives a very similar look-and-feel; once in a few days it gets synced with the main server.

    Being about 25% of the price and weight of a laptop makes the EEE PC very handy for both these situations.
    • 1. ...No need for any useless login, active desktop, active directory etc.


      No login, seams to be a bit of a security risk. A lot of sensitive information could get into the wrong hands
      if a somebody misplaces his eee device.

      • by jkrise (535370)
        No login, seams to be a bit of a security risk. A lot of sensitive information could get into the wrong hands if a somebody misplaces his eee device.

        Logging onto the EEE PC - even the XP version; does not enhance security of the web service. And besides, security is really no big deal - when I came here last year; I found that many users share the same account / password; people don't logoff when their shift is over - instead the new user simply continues using the app to save time; etc.

        We track the mac a
    • by Nimey (114278)

      No need for any useless login, active desktop, active directory etc.
      Or access security. Do these things not ask for user/pass at all?
    • by repetty (260322)

      > 1. Long boot time;

      I've seen this mentioned elsewhere before. What is this "boot" thing you refer to?
  • by afedaken (263115) on Monday December 31, 2007 @11:27AM (#21865876) Homepage
    I picked up a 4G surf model.

    Can't speak for everyone, but mine is the laptop I actually USE on a regular basis. I'm hesitant to whip out my Toshiba R15 tablet, since it's heavy, and slow to boot. The EE is up in 30 seconds, and thanks to the SSD doesn't balk at being tossed around a bit.

    I'll grab it on the way out of the house and just drag it with me like my camera. I've used it in conjunction with my cellphone to check mail on the road, research products, or do a quick wiki lookup when conversation requires. It's also pretty hand for doing photo previews in the field. The SD slot makes reading my casual camera's card easy.

    With screen rotation, I can hold it vertically and read e-books and manga scanlations like I would with a paperback.

    I've done some coding and remote work with it, but I wouldn't recommend it. Keyboard is way too small for that sort of thing.

    About the only thing I haven't done on my EEE is gaming, which is clearly beyond the intent of the unit. That said, I'll bet it'd make a great classic game / emulator platform.

    Now that's not to say I don't have my gripes. As I mentioned, the keyboard is just a tad too small. I've had to learn to type with six finger and a thumb. The right shift STILL stymies me 4 weeks after my purchase. There's no capslock indicator, which has caused me no end of trouble when entering passwords. Can't do a middle button emulation click with the rocker style mouse button.

    But none of these are game enders. Annoyances yes, but given what ASUS is charging for this little beastie, I'm not expecting perfection. I'm expecting usable, with minor compromises, and that's exactly what I got. Really, the EEE was probably the most satisfying notebook purchase I've ever made.
  • Geesh, that's a nice image. I wonder if he normally speaks that offensively at work.
  • by Chess_the_cat (653159) on Monday December 31, 2007 @11:52AM (#21866176) Homepage
    What can you do with a small portable computer that runs Linux? I doubt anyone here would have any ideas. Try a site like Fark or something. I think they're into computers.
  • by MindPrison (864299) on Monday December 31, 2007 @11:53AM (#21866182) Journal
    You know what guys? I have a Toshiba Portege 3010 that I bought at a flea market just for fun, it was so cute and weights in the region of 1 KG! Its a full-fledged windows PC with 266 mhz speed, 64 Mb ram, 5 GB harddrive and a USB port. This thing is 9-years-old. Did ya get that folks? NINE-YEARS-OLD. Guess what I did with it? Thanks to some russian genious Windows 98 got USB support for general-mass-storage on it so it worked like a charm with todays USB memory stick, another smart person out there in the internet world figured out how to use CF (compact-flash) WiFi devices on it...so I could just insert that one into a pcmcia-cf converter and voila...I had WiFi on it as well. Now...this thing surfs with the speed of any portable today (exept flash videos that do require some cpu power)...but it boots in 17 seconds (yes folks - 17 seconds from the second you turn it on). The point I am trying to make here..is that my TFT-screen based 10.2 Inch portable 1 kilo laptop from yesteryear...does this just as fine as this "modern" device from Asus... cmon guys...I am sure they can do better than that? Or are we really stuck in time somewhere?
    • And you have a 9 y/o hardware package, with a 9 y/o CPU (and the processing power to go with it.) You can enjoy the wonders of the battery life of a 9 y/o ultra-portable's power management. Don't even get me started on 9 y/o hard drives, or yellowed 9 y/o LCD screens. I'm not sure I'd wanna run even DSL on 64mb with that kinda speed, much less Xandros or any reasonably modern distro. (XP is completely out of the question.) I refurbed a bunch of 3010s for a non-profit I volunteer with. They didn't sell
      • I think I was rather lucky with this unit, the screen wherent very yellow at all... looks bright and all, personally Id prefer to run Linux on it but I where baffeled on how fast it boots windows and how easy I got it up to speed (for surfing use). Heck...I even connected an USB-Microscope from Bresser just to use it as a portable microscope, and - yes - I did get the docking unit for it too (its a small dongle sort of thing) that gave me Serial and Parallel ports (which I used to burn Eproms on an older Ep
  • by k-zed (92087)
    I have one of these. The builtin linux is tweakable enough (like by adding standard debian 4.0 repos to the apt config) so you can install dwm [suckless.org] - and from there, you have a very light device that boots into a terminal in under 15 seconds, and you can do everything you usually do "online" (irc and mail through ssh, music through nfs or netradio with moc, web with firefox, etc).

    It's easily powerful enough to watch movies, play flash (youtube of course), some opengl games. The keyboard is also very good; if you
  • I was particularly amused by the following quote:

    Sure, it's not state-of-the-art - but when it comes to laptops you have three competing demands - fast, cheap, powerful - but you only get to choose two.
  • by Xest (935314)
    TFA is quite the troll and I'd question if he's ever used one or even understands the idea that different people have different needs.

    For me it's the perfect device for making notes and reading eBooks. I've got a 15" widescreen Dell also but it's simply too big and bulky for most purposes, even smaller screen laptops are the same. This device though is just perfect for carrying around because it's small enough to be easy to carry but big enough that it doesn't suffer the problems that PDAs and phones do - i
    • Did you *read* TFA? While pointing out that it isnt suitable or meant to be ones primary desktop machine he showers praise on it for what it does do and is capable of.
  • I'm waiting for the Pandora! http://pandora.bluwiki.com/ [bluwiki.com]
  • "and the operating system looks like something Fisher Price might have designed"

    No, this distinction is the sole domain of a default Windows XP installation. I have seen the Asus subnotebook, it's not a bad little PC. It doesn't run Windows, and has just about everything you need for daily Internet life. It's bigger than my Nokia 770, runs the same screen resolution (800x480) and has a real keyboard. Aside from it's obvious limitations, it's destined to fill the gap between the keyboardless tablets and note
  • 1. Write an article about this interesting little sub-notebook thingie.

    2. Post a blag on /. about the thingie, and link to your article.

    3. ???

    4. Profit!

    Sheesh, I feel dirty... and used. No, wait, I'm pretty much always used on the Internet. Nothing new after all.

  • olpcbetter? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bfree (113420) on Monday December 31, 2007 @12:47PM (#21866852)

    So this story has been tagged "olpcbetter" but why? The olpc has 1GB flash while the eee has 2GB, 4GB or 8GB. The olpc has 256MB ram while the eee has either 512MB or 1GB. The olpc has a 433MHz Geode LX while the eee has a 630 - 900 MHz Celeron. The olpc is about 1.5kg while the eee is under 1kg. Finally the olpc is 242mm × 228mm × 32mm while the eee is 225mm x 164mm x 21.5mm~35 mm. So the eee is smaller, faster, lighter and has more memory (both ram and flash).

    So just how is the olpc better? You might argue that the "dual-mode" screen, or the mesh mode networking and the external antenna, makes the olpc more appealing to you, but unless you are in the olpc target market I can't imagine many would really prefer the olpc over the eee?

    The "flamebait" tag seems far more appropriate for this "story"!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hughk (248126)
      Horses for courses. As you note, the OLPC is bigger and heavier but it is a lot more robust. Would you take your Eee on the beach and risk sand getting into the connectors/keyboard? OTOH, if you were wanted something to whip out in the departure lounge befor your flight, then the Eee is fine. When you add the N810 in as well, the thing becomes a lot more complicated.
  • by DrXym (126579) on Monday December 31, 2007 @12:55PM (#21866924)
    The Asus Eee PC is small, very, very practical, comes decked out with lots of software and is extremely cheap, cheaper than virtually every other laptop on sale.

    That's the reason for the coverage. To buy an equivalent size laptop from Dell, Sony, Toshiba etc. would probably cost you 3-5 times as much.

    As an Eee PC owner I can say these devices are great. Some of the software is pretty irritating but I can live with the faults for the price and practicality. I used my laptop on a Ryanair cliptray yesterday. This is a feat barely possible or advisable with most laptops.

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Monday December 31, 2007 @04:53PM (#21869678)
    Why would you buy it? What on earth can you do with this?



    If you have to ask the last question (i.e. you cannot name at least five things you would do with it), then you geek license is revoked immediately. Have a nice day.


    Heck, the thing can run Nethack. Do you need _more_ reasons to buy one ?

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