Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Asus EEE B202

Marc Fleury (of Jboss and now OpenRemote fame) was kind enough to get my hands on a Asus EEE (model B202). So I spent part of the day trying things out. This usually means experimentation and doing things the hard ways. This turns out to be the easiest way to learn anything! Well today I learned all sorts of stuff! ;-) First this computer is pretty small. It's about the size of my O'Reilly Perl book. It's very quiet and runs pretty cool. It does have a fan but you won't hear it unless you put your ear to the box. The operating system on the one I received had Windows XP but it was in Taiwanese. I've had no luck with getting past the registration screen. I tried to put an Ubuntu image on the machine via a USB Flash key using Unetbootin. That worked out really well. I ran into problems installing Ubuntu. I tried to save the Windows partition by juggling the partitions but that didn't work out too well. I'll just wipe the partitions and put Ubuntu server on it via a net install. The net install method is slow but it only needs a flash drive of less than 32M (not G). I tried to copy the Ubuntu 8.04 lts server image to the flash drive to install it to the machine but I ran into all sorts of problems. First it couldn't find the CD (Duh! it's a USB stick ;-) then I bypasses that but it got upset with one of the restricted drivers. One of the cool things I found on the machine is Splashtop. It turns out to be a very small Linux partition that boots up really quick. It gives you access to the USB so a drive can be connected (I don't know what else you can do yet). In addition it has a browser and a few other applications. This might be useful in grabbing a rescue image should your partition go south. It would be really cool if it were in flash but I don't think it is. I'll have to investigate that further as it may be useful to installers. The end result of this computer is that it will be the central Smart Home (home automation) server. This looks like it will be an excellent box for this purpose.

 OS Microsoft Windows XP Home (but I'll upgrade to Ubuntu Server ;-) )
 CPU Intel Atom N270 (1.6 GHz)
 Chipset Intel Chipset
 HDD 160 GB
 Card Reader SD/SDHC/MS/MS Pro/MMC
 WiFi 802.11b/g/n
 LAN 10/100/1000

Update: Hmm, I was incorrect, Splashtop is in flash, at least according to the folks at Phoronix


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