Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Asus EEE 1005HA review Pt 2

As I posted earlier, My friend D got me a really nice Asus EEE 1005HA Netbook and up to this point I was really happy with it. Yesterday (2009/10/27) the power supply died. I search for power supply problems and I found a few but not enough to suggest an overall problem with this line of computers. What I did find was that the RMA process was filled with horror stories. So I went and ordered a replacement and we'll see how well that goes.

Other than that I really love working with this machine. I put Ubuntu Netbook Remix on an SD flash chip and everything works. On the Windows side I put Safari, Opera, Firefox, IE8, Open Office and FBReader. The machine is great for reading documents and I put a boat load on the machine (including a bunch of PDF and CHM files). I hadn't attempted to do any development work on the machine as I think the small screen and keyboard would have gotten in the way. The keyboard is fine for general use and use as a dumb terminal (I work on network equipment). I've only had it for a week and I already miss this machine. I've been toting it everywhere an that's what I miss most. So if I can resolve this power supply problem I'll be happy again. We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My head is swimming (misc. rants)

Yes my head is swimming! I just finished my bachelor degree and I should be winding down a bit from learning, but I'm not. Okay, I don't every really expect to stop learning but a little time off would have been nice. :-) I decided to get back to coding and I've been working on a lot of HA stuff. A good portion of it for OpenRemote. This entails learning more about Java/Groovy (I'm reading Thinking in Java 4th Edition). Then I'm also doing a bit of reading on concurrency (using Java of course). Lastly I need to find a graduate program with the requirements of 16 credits of advanced math (Calc I & II, Differential Equations, Statistics for example), 8 credits of science and of course the main degree in engineering or computer science. I need this for my position at AT&T Labs. Don't worry I'm not being threatened to do this, it's my choice. I'm looking into computer science as I have an interest in it and I have a strong background in computers. I already have at least 12 of the math credits. The search is a bit interesting in that I am uncertain of the full graduate requirements. I guess I'll just have to ask.

While all of that is a bit much and I think it is enough to cause my head to spin, I think most of the spinning is being caused by the technology related to Java. In addition to all the general reading I'm currently learning about WSDL and the Universal Devices Insteon interface, the ISY99i) I've removed a large chunk of my X10 devices but not all. So it's a mostly Insteon network. I am having a bit of an issue with Insteon Wireless Access Points. The commands get send but responses don't make it back across. Other than that my Misterhouse PLM and the ISY PLM are working nicely.

My friend D (one of the biggest trouble makers I know, good job D ;-) ) gave me a nice new Asus EEE 1005HA Netbook. It is small and it's convenient to tote around. One of the fist modifications I did was to put dimples on the mouse buttons. I put 2 on the left, one on the right. I wish they'd mark the keyboards a little better. I could also use something on the escape key. This would help with touch typing by giving me the outter limits of the keyboard. I haven't done much with the installed OS other than install some Windows apps (Firefox, Opera, Safari, IE 8, Open Office, FBReader and TeraTerm). I've also selected Ubuntu 9.10 Beta UNR on the netbook. It seems to be the only Linux distribution that has everything working without any troubles. It also fits really nicely on the 2G SD card that I can boot from. I've got to work on the power settings under Linux so I can get a similar battery life as I get under XP. Linux's IPV6 is working better than XP's and oh is XP's name resolution annoying. It works one moment and fails the next. I'll properly install Linux later when I figure out what's on the hard disk (it's partioned odd). I'll leave XP on the system as I do need to test with XP from time to time. The netbook actually works really nicely as a document reader (PDF and now CHM files). I'm thinking about putting NoteLab on the netbook to try out note taking. I could work with Open Office but I like to scribble notes and I haven't received my touch tablet yet (it's on back order) so I don't have any touch interface other than the mouse pad.

I've actually picked up a number of boards to work with but I hope to get to the Digi XBee boards from LadyAda (and it's online store) soon. I intend to give these a try as part of a wireless multi-drop network. They look promising though I've heard they can mess with a B or a G WiFi network. We'll see. At the moment I had to pause on my electronics work as the budget was eaten by major home repairs.

The other night I was sitting in front of the TV late (I wasn't feeling well) and I kind of ignored a commercial about something called the power pad. It was a wireless power station (a flat pad) for your rechargable gadgets. You take a flat device and connect it to the back of your gadget, such as your phone (also plugging the device in to the power jack on the gadget). The pad is plugged into the wall and you can take your gadget and place it on the pad so it can recharge. You can place more than one device on the pad at a time. This should reduce the number of wall warts you have plugged in. At the time I dismissed the ad as the usual late night junk mainly because these devices tend to be rather ineffecient at recharging. But it would allow for one common place to put the recharging station. If they can make the recharging pad more efficient then it might not be a bad thing to have in your house.

I guess I'm not the only one who questions the validity of the current Smart Grid business plan . Eba, over on Recalls )Open Source ZigBee project) has a blog post about his thoughts on Smart Grids called: Smart Meters: Not So Sharp For Consumers. I'm not the only one to see the nickle-and-dime business plan.

Now I think it's time to post over on my other blog (General Fluff) about cycling this last week. It's been a good couple of weeks for a bike ride, other than the weather.