Python Programming, news on the Voidspace Python Projects and all things techie.

Shiny New Asus Eee PC

emoticon:key My shiny new ultra-portable Asus Eee PC has just arrived. I would have bought an OLPC, but they aren't shipping to the UK, but I'm very happy with the Eee.

First image of the Eee PC

I went for the '8G' model, with an 8 gig flash drive and 1 gig memory. These aren't yet generally available, but I bought it from Taiwan via Ebay, for £280 including the postage. It took less than a week to arrive, and if you look at the photos you will see that the keyboard has Taiwanese characters as well as the English characters (the keyboard has a US English layout, which thankfully I am used to from my Maxbook). The keys are smallish, but ok for me.

Second image of the Eee PC

Like my boss, I had a problem connecting to wireless networks with spaces in the pass-phrases. Luckily, the instructions he links to work fine. Mine didn't have the English docs with it, or the English help files installed. Installing them was as simple as getting the wireless working and then doing apt-get install xandros-online-help, the manual I doubt I will miss...

The build quality feels very nice. It is small and light enough to fit in my jacket pocket! This device is unbelievably cute. Smile

Interesting specs and notes:

  • It comes with a mouse and soft case
  • It comes with speakers and a webcam (which is 'good enough')
  • The OS is Xandros based Linux with chrome to make it look as much like Windows as possible!
  • Software includes Firefox, Open Office, Skype (!), music and video player and quite a bit more
  • It has an SD/MMC card slot for expansion
  • Pressing Home-T brings up the terminal
  • The screen resolution is 800x480 which is enough for Open Office and most other things
  • It comes with a My Documents folder Surprised

Performance is OK. It boots up very quickly and Open Office starting time is acceptable. I doubt you would want to do video processing on it though...

Third image of the Eee PC (screenshot of Firefox)

The default OS 'skin' has a 'gumby' UI for quickly starting the built-in applications. My boss says that he has left it like this, rather than switching to advanced mode, and I am tempted to do the same as I will probably mostly use the built-in apps.

Annoyances:

  • Audio is generally fine, but very quiet from Firefox
  • The wireless networking UI doesn't remember keys
  • The 'F' and 'J' keys have tiny 'points' rather than raised slots, which makes touch typing more difficult
  • No tab completion at the terminal (probably just need to install readline?)
Third image of the Eee PC (screenshot of OS)

I haven't yet installed Mono on it, but I will soon just for the heck of it. It is nice to have a Linux device finally. It seems that the Eee comes with Python 2.4 and 2.5 installed, which is pretty cool. I wonder what the best Python UI toolkit to use for the Eee is? (Mono and Winforms perhaps - that should get some comments!)

I have a 3G modem, and a data only contract SIM (T-mobile) to go with it. It is a Huawei modem and I haven't yet tried to see if I can find Linux drivers. I don't expect to, but that would be a real bonus.

For more discoveries, read More on the Eee.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2008-01-04 20:31:09 | |

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IronPython and Conferences 2008

emoticon:eyeballz I'm already booked up for several conferences in 2008, all in March and April, and I'm speaking on IronPython at all of them.

I've also been invited to speak at a conference in Stockholm (which would be cool), but not sure if I can attend yet. It's called ExpertZone and not one I have heard of before.

There's another conference I will be attending, but it is an Open Spaces conference and not the sort of conference you 'speak at'. (Alternatively, you might say that it is the sort of conference at which all the attendees speak): ALT.NET UK Conference, February 1st-2nd.

ALT.NET is a movement amongst .NET developers who want to push beyond 'conventional development' and are interested in 'progressing the art'.

A definition of the ALT.NET movement from David Laribee who first coined the phrase:

  1. You're the type of developer who uses what works while keeping an eye out for a better way.
  2. You reach outside the mainstream to adopt the best of any community: Open Source, Agile, Java, Ruby, etc.
  3. You're not content with the status quo. Things can always be better expressed, more elegant and simple, more mutable, higher quality, etc.
  4. You know tools are great, but they only take you so far. It's the principles and knowledge that really matter. The best tools are those that embed the knowledge and encourage the principles (e.g. Resharper.)

So if you're a Python developer you're automatically part of ALT.NET (uhm... sort of). If you're an IronPython developer, then you definitely are. Smile

[1]Excluding Mix UK where they put me on the main track speaking to 500 developers (which I didn't realise until I arrived)!

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2008-01-04 19:16:02 | |

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