Webometric Thoughts

December 12, 2007

BBC iPlayer Flash streams: Linux friendly

Filed under: BBC,Eee PC,Firefox,Flash,Linux,RM minibook,iPlayer — admin @ 11:17 pm

The Beeb have been promising flash streams for a while, and when I went to download some programmes on the iPlayer tonight, I found it had already rolled out. This should go some way to placating the linux hoardes who have been complaining. As the picture below shows it now works on firefox/linux, even on the much maligned Eee PC/RM Minibook (the rather poor quality is because I sent the picture to myself via MMS rather than messing about with a wire or bluetooth).

(nb. its Peggy and Phil in the Queen Vic kitchen).

PCMag v. Eee PC: PC Mag gets it wrong

Filed under: Eee PC,PC Mag,RM minibook — admin @ 10:57 am

Asus Eee News, Mods, and Hacks highlights PC Mag article about what not to buy in the computing world. The Eee PC (a.k.a. the RM minibook) is lucky enough to be singled out with a nice shiny photo:

The Asus Eee PC, which suffers the misfortune of being inexpensive, having integrated graphics and running Linux on a flash-memory hard drive.

Trying to sum up what not to buy in a single article is always a difficult task, and some would say that it is best not attempted as there will always be exceptions, but by picking on the Eee PC the article deserves to receive readers’ wrath, totally missing the laptop’s purpose. My opinion, despite having mine totally dying on me last weekend, buy an Eee PC as a second computer and it will be your favourite computer purchase ever.

As for “Don’t buy: Linux”, whilst I’m not its biggest fan, it is definately ready for the middle-of-the-road tech consumer. They only time I have ever attacked my computer with a screwdriver was to give the innards a bit of a dust.

December 10, 2007

Eee PC: I never had this much trouble with Windows

Filed under: Eee PC,RM minibook — admin @ 9:37 am

Whilst everyone else seems to be doing really exciting things with their RM Minibooks and Eee PCs, I somehow managed to completely crash mine at the weekend with it refusing to restart properly. I must, however, admit that the problems only occured after I had played around with the settings and messed about with downloading millions of bits of software.

Luckily I didn’t lose any work, and on the brightside:
-The Eee PC’s factory reset is brilliantly quick and simple, a couple of minutes and it was as good as new.
-I now have a much better idea of how to use Linux.

Whilst I wouldn’t recommend that people deliberately crash their RM minibooks, I must say that the minibooks are a great opportunity to mess about with Linux with few problems with resetting the system.

November 23, 2007

4G Surf – The Eee PC that stops you looking like a girl

Filed under: Asus,Eee PC,RM minibook — admin @ 11:51 am

Engadget note that there is now an even cheaper version of the Eee PC available, with a smaller battery and without a web cam. Whilst they note that this new version is only available in black, for someone who is constantly getting the sort of looks that suggest I have just stolen some child’s toy I think this is a blessing.

November 20, 2007

Electric Etiquette

Filed under: Eee PC,RM minibook,laptops,wifi — admin @ 3:24 pm

Whilst laptops allow you to work on the move in numerous different locations, not all laptops are created equal, and whilst the RM minibook (aka the Eee PC) allows for the most mobile of movement, it doesn’t have the greatest battery (just two or three hours). So once my battery is dead, or on its way out, can I syphon off electricity from the premises I am in? Rather than a one rule fits all situation, it seems to depend on numerous different factors: the role of the premises; whether it offers wifi; whether the wifi is free; and whether the plugs are easily accessible.

Whilst certain public institutions such as some public and university libraries actively make plugs easily accessible, thus encouraging laptop use, others have made no such accommodation, just having one or two scattered around the walls as if the laptop revolution had never occurred. But what about those places where they are aware of users laptop needs, where they advertise their wifi access as a selling point? If I am paying to access wifi in Starbucks can I plug-in? But what about if I am in one of the increasing number of places that offer free wifi? Do I have the same rights?

As always rights come with responsibilities, and laptop users have a responsibility to not cause accidents by trailing cables across gangways or play video or music without headphones, but do we always have to ask about our rights or can some be assumed?

In a climate where more and more places are offering free wifi, actively advertising the fact that the institution doesn’t mind you using their plugs would be enough to persuade me to use one place over another. I would love to know if there had been some sort of survey of attitudes to electricity use.

November 10, 2007

RM Minibook (a.k.a. Asus Eee PC) improvements suggestions

Filed under: Asus,Eee PC,RM minibook — admin @ 10:24 am

Engadget have posed the question “How would you change Asus’ Eee PC?” Since getting my Minibook (a nicer term than Eee PC) on Tuesday I have given this subject a lot of thought, but in truth, in the spirit of a stripped-down basic mini-laptop the Minibook does a great job. A lot of the suggestions on Engadget reflect a wish for something other than a stripped-down basic mini-laptop.

The most popular suggestions seem to be giving it a bigger screen, faster processing chip, longer lasting battery and (unsurprisingly) making it even cheaper. Obviously all these additions would be welcome, but do seem to be moving away from the market the Minibook is aimed at (with the exception of the price), making it more expensive and probably larger. The one suggestion that I thought most lost the point of the Minibook was the addition of a DVD player/recorder! Personally that one was lost on me.

However there were some additional suggestions that I did like the idea of:TV out (the Wii has taught me that YouTube on the TV can be a much more sociable experience), and the introduction of a swivel screen (surely that would be both simple and useful).

As for my own suggestions, well, after a week I would have to say that the one thing I really miss is a physical volume control. The best thing about the Minibook is its portability. Which means I often find myself in crowded libraries or coffee bars only to realise I haven’t turned the sound off when sound starts blasting out from a web page! A physical volume control is far quicker and more user friendly. But all in all, a great product.

November 7, 2007

RM Minibook: The extremely portable computer

Filed under: Eee PC,RM minibook — admin @ 7:31 am

Last week I crossed the line from being a normal person with a healthy interest in computers to a computer geek. This was based on two purchases:

1)A ‘TV Box’, basically £70 so I could plug my mobile phone into the computer monitor (for streaming sky sports).
2)The Eee PC (advertised as the RM minibook in the UK).

The Eee PC is not of itself very geeky, but it has only just come out, and I did find myself wanting it as soon as I heard about it. As yet you can’t just walk into your local PC World and buy one, rather it is necessary to have it delivered, a fact made worse by having millions of Eee PC posts appearing in my RSS feeds over the weekend. All taunting me with “I’ve got one and yours hasn’t arrived yet!” (e.g., engadget)

Previously I have never found myself particularly drawn to getting a laptop. They are usually either too large to make them useful for carrying around all the time, or very expensive. However, the size and price of the linux-based Eee PC blows away my previous objections, and after messing about with it yesterday I can say that it is a welcome addition to my growing family of computers.

It basically fulfills the average users laptop needs: Wi-fi enabled, web cam, microphone, Open Office, etc. Whilst you probably wouldn’t want it as first computer, for a second one (or third) you can’t go wrong.

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