It is eleven months since I got my Eee PC, and I have never regretted it for a moment. Admittedly I now find myself coveting my girlfriend’s Eee 901, but my only real complaint with the 701 is the touchpad button is rather worn from over-use.
Unfortunately not everyone has been so lucky with their choice in mini-laptops. Kim has been lamenting his choice of the Acer Aspire One on his blog:
“It wasn’t quite stable on any flat surface.”
“The fan was so loud that I would be embarassed to use my Aspire One in some meetings or conferences.”
Admittedly I was lucky: The Eee PC was the only mini-laptop on offer when I bought mine so I didn’t have to make any tough choices. But as everyone tries to gain a slice of the budget-mini-laptop market some corners will be cut, so you are probably better off buying a brand that has an established reputation in the mini-laptop market rather than one of the newer entrants. If only Kim had listened….
Finally, after weeks of waiting, my girlfriend’s Eee PC 901 arrived this morning. First impressions of the 901 are that it’s very impressive; rather than a cheap budget laptop, it looks and feels like a small quality laptop. Whereas the 701 seemed to be a good way of Linux spreading out to the masses, the 901 with Windows XP is likely to slow Linux’s spread. Comparing the Eee 901 with my (rather aged) 701 finds that the 901 just about wins a boot-up contest.
Yes, the 701 has been around the block a bit, and the 901 Linux is likely to beat the 901 XP, but with the 901 XP booting in around 35 seconds, its seems likely that people will go for the operating system they are used to.
Already I have been writing codes in python that use the Twitter, Flickr and Digg API, programs that can form the basis of numerous articles that I will never get around to writing…it’s SO easy (with the possible exception of installing the simplejson library that the Twitter library relies on). Just wish some other sites would roll out APIs (e.g., Stumbleupon and Reddit).
So, do we all need to become top-class programmers? No. But if you can program, even to a basic level, the web becomes a lot more exciting and interactive place.
Until yesterday I hadn’t really thought about programming on the Eee PC, but once I started looking I was surprised how easy it was: Unbeknown to me, it has had Python 2.4 and 2.5 sitting there the whole time! Despite not being a particularly competent programmer, I found Python to be very user friendly, and look forward to programming on the Eee PC in a variety of settings in the future. My first Python program was used to find random Flickr users:
> import flickrapi > import random > api_key = ‘XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX’ > for counter in range (1,1000): >>> flickr = flickrapi.FlickrAPI(api_key, fail_on_error=False) >>> a=random.randint(1, 99999999) >>> b=random.randint(0,1) >>> c=random.randint(0,9) >>> d=str(a)+”@N”+str(b)+str(c) >>> photos = flickr.photos_search(user_id=d) >>> if photos['stat'] == “ok”: >>>>>> print d > print ‘done’
Webometric studies are always searching for ways of finding random users, unfortunately I have no idea how Flickr assigns its user_ids. O’Reilly’s “Flickr Hacks’ says:
“…a string of numbers, followed by an at sign (@), an N, and two more numbers (often 00 or 01)…”
Not exactly specific. The program calculates a number up to eight digits long before the ‘@N’ and from 00 to 19 after the ‘@N’. Whilst most may be 00 or 01, I found them as high as 08. If anyone knows of any user_ids not included in these parameters, please let me know.
Sending 1,000 queries, 10 random users were identified. Not exactly efficient.
The SDK is a welcome addition to the Eee PC, although it will mean that I have to learn another new language as it supports C and C++, but hopefully it will encourage a future generation of programmers in the same way the BBC Micro did. In fact it should be more encouraging, this time you don’t have to be locked away programming in a room on your own, you can sit around in the park sharing code with your friends. Maybe the BBC could get involved this time with some nice ‘how to program your Eee PC’ television programmes
The last time I had a large spike in my traffic was when I was privileged to receive a link on the BBC’s del.cio.us stream, resulting in a personal record high of 76 unique visitors in a day. Early indications, however, suggest that today may see a new record set as I receive a large number of visitors from Google searches. The reason seems to be a Guardian Unlimited article on the RM minibook.
Unfortunately (for searchers) the Guardian fails to mention the more well known name of the device, the ASUS Eee PC. As such there are middle-class lefties all over the country tripping across my blog rather than finding the more useful reviews.
So, a word of advice: If searching for information on the RM minibook, also search for ‘Eee PC’ Then go out and buy one.
***A little update The Guardian continue to post (this time on their blog)without mentioning that it is also called an Eee PC. Just one extra line would make it so much simpler for their readers.
How could you improve on the Eee PC? Give it mobile web (broadband quality – through which I could stream the BBC’s Flash programmes): Whilst it is important to check your mobile operator’s pricing policy (I needed to up-grade from T-mobile’s web ‘n’ walk, to web ‘n’ walk plus), the steps are fairly easy…once you find the right pages to follow on the web:
Whilst it is suggested that you need to be “fairly comfortable at the linux shell prompt” when it comes to adding the N95, everything you need to do is fairly intuitive.
How on earth did we manage before people posted everything online?
nb. obviously if I suddenly find I have a bill for hundreds of pounds I will change the post accordingly. It is worth noting that whilst I upgraded my plan online, I had to phone T-mobile to get the upgrade today rather than on my next billing date.