I Gave Up My Notebook For An Eee PC: Day 5

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eeepcfinalday.jpgSo this is it, the final day of the grand experiment. Over the course of the 5 days that I'd abandoned my Apple MacBook for the Asus Eee PC 4G Surf, I learned how to repair the system's wonky Wi-Fi connection, create a more work-friendly typing experience, and tweak the Xandros operating system so that it would display in full desktop mode - with a little assistance from the helpful and passionate Eee User community. Much thanks to all involved.

I thought I'd use my final day to try something a little more radical: installing a new operating system on the Eee PC. With Everex' Cloudbook set to arrive in-office any day now, we figured there was no better time than now to give the gOS operating system a preview.

Installing gOS on the Eee PC

Acquiring gOS was simple. I downloaded the iso from Think gOS, burned the file to disc as an image using a desktop PC, and popped it into an USB DVD drive. I then connected the USB DVD drive to the Eee PC, held the ESC key as I powered on, and chose to boot from the external drive. About a minute later gOS was running from the live CD and looking quite sexy, I might add.

I decided to install the OS proper, which I did by double-clicking the "Install" button. A few minutes later I was inside of gOS. It wasn't until I took a gander at gOS' dock that I realized jut how much I use Google's products: Gmail, Docs & Spreadsheets, GTalk, Reader, and of course Search, are tools I use daily. It was nice to have them presented before me in a well-organized fashioned.

What wasn't quite as nice, however, was that gOS didn't recognize my wireless signal, and with mounting deadlines, I didn't get much time to search for a quick fix. Fortunately, connecting an Ethernet cable proved successful, and I was able to get all Web 2.0 within gOS. Hmm, maybe getting the wireless to work will be my next project with the Eee PC. Whatever it takes to get more hands-on with this small wonder, my friends.

Final Thoughts on the Asus Eee PC

I used to tote my MacBook everywhere with me in case I wanted to hop on the Web in a pinch, but in these 5 days with the Eee PC I discovered it to be the perfect companion. Weighing just 2-pounds, and with dimensions that rival a paperback book, the Eee PC makes my MacBook feel downright clunky in comparison; I even adjusted to the small screen quite nicely, although the keyboard's still a roadblock for me when trying to type with speed. But you can bet that the next time I travel to a big trade show, I'll have an Eee PC in tow; whether it's a loaner from Asus or one of my own.

If you're on the fence about purchasing an Eee PC, don't be. It's a marvelous little device that will fit excellently into your mobile lifestyle. Let's raise a glass in unison to the low-cost ultra-portable revolution.

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  • Mike Dancy Says:

    I'm typing this on a eee 701 2g
    Basically, I bought it for my 3yr old. I have a trusty IBM x40 for portable surfing and my IBM T60 is my main machine.

    I've but XP, gOS and Ubuntu on this little guy but keep coming back to Xandros for it's simplicty. My 3yr old can navigate to his favorite sites easily and my 1yr old is eyeing it up.

    This 701 has been dropped over 4' and we've had to replace the keyboard once but that's it. It's been unstoppable since day 1. Spilt orange juice, crumbs, being stepped and sat on, nothing has effected it.

    I sometimes take it to Starbucks with me in the morning to read the paper on their Wi-Fi network. It still gets about 45 minutes of battery life even though it's over a year old.

    Can't say enough good things about it.... I might even splurge for the 10" as a present for the boy and give this one to the youngest.

  • mimi Says:

    ok-trying the asus eee and want to listten live to my fav talk show!
    the listten live link won't open! what to do? i am puter illiterate

  • dyslexicfeet Says:

    Did you ever manage to fix the wifi problem? I am having the same trouble.


  • Stacey Says:

    I'm having troubles getting wireless on my Eee laptop, i've connected it to my PC, but unsure on how to get it onto my laptop.

    Any suggestions? [: I've followed the instructions exactly!

  • Carl Says:

    terminal wi-fi' code for ubuntu 8.04 ? anyone?? that's what gOS is based n,,, already got 7.10 gutsy but, 8.04 is what I need to be able to use the wi-fi

    sudo apt-get install build-essential == doesn't work n hardy.///?

  • Asus Eee PC Says:

    I purchased my Asus Eee PC for travel and love it - to this day my wife uses it daily!

  • victoria Says:

    I just got a E3 2GB Surf as a high school graduation gift and I must admit I was very put off at first. I had never heard of this computer before, and it was so small and toy-like it kind of freaked me out. I've been using it for a few days now and for the most part I like it. The keyboard is a little squished and my space bar has to be pushed kind of hard to work...Also, the space on it is worthless, it came 78% full just with its own programs and couldnt hold even two pictures from my camera. But overall it's a great little computer and once I figure out its quirks I'm sure I'll be very happy with it.

  • archie Says:

    beebee - gotomypc site says there is a universal viewer and I saw someone else on another forum say that they were using it. So far, I've not been able to get it to connect. Will reply here when I've had more time to mess with it. from what I've read, it should work.

  • mmj Says:

    I think I'd rather have 5 EeePCs than 1 MacBook Air.

    It'd cost me a bit less. Having 15 times the number of USB ports would sweeten the deal ;)

    And they won't try and restrict my choice of operating system.

  • Bob W Says:

    I bought an EeePC (7" / 4GB) within days of its announcement. Don't bother to confuse or compare this entry-level computer with a high-end MacBook or ThinkPad. I have both, and they are different computers (hardware / OS / applications), for entirely different purposes.

    I also have an ASUS R2H UMPC. The EeePC has for the most part replaced that computer.

    My EeePC observations:

    + Size and weight
    Boot Time
    Easy to use interface
    Small and lightweight AC adapter

    - 7" screen is blinding
    Battery life is poor
    Took an hour of fiddling / jiggling to get the camera to cooperate with Skype.

  • kampion998 Says:

    I've had a 4g eeep3 for 6 weeks. I have large fingers, but after a few days I was used to the tiny keys. I've used Pupee (linux), eeexubuntu, and I have xp. BTW, xp installed quite nicely, but I nlite'd it and reinstalled so it takes ~500megs. I've soldered in a usb hub, bluetooth, and a 8 gig flash drive, and I've never soldered before! I love this little machine!! Sadly, it will be gone soon, to be replaced by a eeepc 900! That tiny screen still gets to me! I use this on the road every day, replacing an aging presario. (don't be fooled by the cpu speed, the e3 is quick, thanks to its SSD) As for XP, anyone that has installed it knows it works just fine! All this fun, for so little coin! Just think, it's almost cheaper to buy another new eeepc than to fill up my truck!!!!!!

  • peewee Says:

    You do not need to tinker with a thing on the eee right out of the box. However, if you are the type who likes to learn new things, you might just want to play around with some different Linux operating systems- quite a lot of fun. This little baby is great for any level of computer user. No reason to fear Linux. If you can use a cell phone, you can use this thing. It rocks! I should also be getting a commission from Asus, because everyone who sees this little guy is ready to go out and get their own- one friend picked up the phone and ordered two from J&R on the spot! I love my little PeeWee!!!

  • Mike Says:

    To Fred Nerk: You can run a website off an EEE too. That's how I share files between it and my mid-90's PowerBook.

    Frankly, comparing an EEE to a MacBook Air is just...incomparable. I've been using Macs for over 15 years, and this is the very first time I'm not enthusiastic about an Apple product. Even a $400 device like the EEE seems to be better suitedfor the real world.

  • edward Says:

    you could carry one of those roll up silicon keyboards as a portable solution to the small keyboard

  • Lori Says:

    I need som info fast--I have a 3epc winging its way to me and am not sure if I can really use it. I normally work on a Toshiba Satellite laptop, using lots of microsoft apps like publisher, power point, and word. I travel a bit and am looking for something smaller to use for connecting to the internet, working away from home. Also, being able to leave the workhorse computer at home so the kids can use it. But, with the Linux system of the Asus, which is the one I mistakenly ordered, I don't know how useful it will be.

  • Lori Says:

    I need advice fast! I ordered a 3epc from Compusa, thinking I was getting the windows xp compatible one, but instead, it's the Linux that's winging it's way to me. I work on a Toshiba Satellite laptop--not huge, but a bit bulky to take with me on business trips and I have one coming up next week. I wanted the Asus to slip into a bag, be able to do work on the road (using windows applications such as publicher, power point, and word), and access the internet. Can I do that with this Linux-based os? I can refuse delivery of the computer, but will not have an easy one to take this next week and I'm kind of intreged by the idea of this computer.

  • Tom Says:

    # Robert Vassar Says:
    February 13th, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    "I’ll stick with my Mac Book Air - great screen, light weight and keyboard and when I need to really travel light, just use my iPhone."

    I would have to agree with Bob and Fred Nerk. I would rather use 3 - 4000 dollars of computer than 349 dollars of computer. I mean,,, It's gotta be cooler!! Right??

    And I want to enlarge the belly of my Learjet so I will have room to put my Ferrari inside.

    I would really like to stick with my Ferrari and my MacBook when I travel. Like Bob.

    I'm cool.

  • Q Says:

    I have had my eee pc for about a week. I could not be happier!
    I am a total linux novice (no prior experience) and only average computing experience over all. I was an extremely nervous buyer who read too many comments such as "harder than windows", "only for hobbiests and geeks" etc. These comments had me really scared that I could not make the eee pc work for me.
    But I have had no trouble getting wireless to work or adding new programs. I have even learned to use repositories (and pin the system) and enable enhanced desktop mode. But I never have use it.
    I found both of these easy to do. All I had to do was look up the instructions and follow them. I have had to do the same with windows. Nothing new!
    My 10 year old also finds the eee very easy to use. Although I won't let him install programs, he can manage any other task on the eee as easily as he does on our desktop windows pc.
    I bought it because the price point was affordable. But I am keeping it because I love it.
    I think this is really a "peoples computer".
    I even speed type on it. But I do have small hands.

  • Cal Says:

    I use a firefox addon called IE Tab for using Logmein software (which does roughly the same job) and have no issues.

    and the gotomypc site says it is compatible with firefox

  • beebee Says:

    Being totally seduced by the size and lightness of the machine, i was about to buy the $399 one, 4 gig, in black. Then I tried to access "Go To My PC" -- and although I was able to call it up and enter my name and password, it wouldn't connect. The salesmen in the store had two different explanations for this:
    1.) Go To MY PC is not compatible with Mozilla Firefox browser.
    2.) Linux can't access it .
    Does anyone know if either of these is true, and if so, whether it's insurmountable? Also, has anyone been able to connect wirelessly to their PC by this or any other means? Thanks in advance!

  • ilikethings Says:

    Really, I'd rather buy one of the MB or MBPs that will be orphaned by the 'Air' and posted on 'bay and craigslist. Also the SSD version of the 'Air' is just a waste of money. Give me a MBP with an LED screen and I'll be happy. I don't need a laptop so thin I can cut myself on it's edge...

    As for the eeePC not being "designed" for XP, that's the stupidest thing I've read all day. It's all commonly used laptop hardware! Asus didn't 'invent' anything new when they built the eeePC, they just tossed a bunch of UMPC HW in a case and called it good. It has been (repeatedly) reported online that Asus includes all drivers on a disc in the package, and probably also has them on their site. Good God, Asus sells a version with XP preloaded on it overseas! Not designed for it, my foot.

    What's really funny is that you say it's not designed for XP, and then talk about Ubuntu... Where's The Feet? Asus includes XP drivers (or at least on their site), they never said anything about Ubuntu. It will obviously run fine (see eeebuntu), but if you're going to throw stones about not being 'designed' for something, Ubuntu is a much more logical target of such claims. At least it comes with XP or Xandros preloaded.

    Srle, check the forums at eeeuser.com they've already responded to your problem with several good suggestions. (http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?id=16844)

  • Ron S. Says:

    I have no idea why your LAN port does not work under Win XP but I would be happy to buy yor EeePC from you and reload the Linux operating system. The machine was not designed for Win XP and for my part Ubuntu or Xandros is a much better operating system for it.

  • OldElfin Says:

    I guess the fanboys have spoken.

    If I don't get my hands on one of these soon I think I will die. I've been watching and reading everything I can about this computer and am really close to getting one. I just wonder if I should wait a little longer and see if there is a 8.9" or at least a higher resolution one in the works.

  • Fred Nerk Says:

    You simply cannot compare the EEEPC with a Mac Book Air! As anybody who is a true Mac fan will tell you, Macs are the best computer ever, for any purpose! The Mac Book Air might cost five times as much as an EEEPC, but that's because it's five times better, at everything!

    I heard about one company that bought a computer from Sun, I think it was the Sun E10K computer. They wanted to run a website off it or something. Ha ha ha, those suckers paid like a million dollars for a Sun E10K to run a website! You can run a website on a Mac Book Air!

    Also, you people need to realise you've been brainwashed by the Asus EEE, or E3 as it's known. Think about this, the E3 (EEE) has only three Es in it. The Sun E10K has TEN THOUSAND Es, and a K! That means that the EEE is about this good |---| whereas the E10K is about this good |----------ok I'm not going to put ten thousand minus signs in here, you'll just have to try to imagine how good a Sun E10K is!!----|

    So to summarize, a Sun E10K is about 3333.333 times better than a Asus EEE, and a Mac Book Air is better than a Sun E10K. Which proves exactly what all the smart people already know. MACS ARE THE BEST COMPUTER EVER INVENTED FOR ANY PURPOSE!!!

  • Srle Says:

    Ok. I have bought this PC because in EeePC specifications there were explicitly written:” Windows XP compatibility". I was following instruction manual step by step and I have installed XP instead of Linux (where everything was working fine). All drivers in Control Panel are recognized BUT when I plug in my LAN cable there is message:” Network cable unplugged". The cable is fine and Internet connection is o.k. (checked on other Notebook), so I assume there is driver problem. I downloaded new drivers from this site but - still not working!!! I assumed that there could be some hardware problem but when Linux is back (from supported DVD) LAN is working without any problem ... so that is not hardware. I use WinXP with SP2 original CD. Please help because I have no use of this EeePC without LAN connection.

  • cnn from eeeph.com Says:

    hello from manila... Glad to know that the ASUS 3EPC got good ratings from you... Here in Manila, we too have a small but active eee pc community that is "eeepc" crazy about the unit.

    Cheers and more power. :)

  • mookiemu Says:

    I love my eeepc! put in a 2gig ram chip for 48 bucks from newegg and i stuck a 16 sd card in the slot 40 bucks on newegg and I am a very happy camper. changed the default os to eeebuntu too. I tkae my eeepc everywhere I go!
    Can't say enough good things about it. I've grown accustomed to the keyboard. The only complaint I have is that I wish it came with a ten inch screen instead of using up all that screen real estate with the speakers and camera.

  • Koors Says:

    So you'll stick with your 'Air' Vassar? Hahaha... most wasted $2000 ever!

  • Alan Davey Says:

    Three weeks with my eeePC now, and it is great. Skype with video is easier than I have ever known on big PCs. Everything works fine. I use Xandros in full desktop mode. For students, for people on the road, even for schoolkids - it's just great. I confess that I do quite fancy putting ubuntu on it though...

  • Dragonhunter Says:

    Nice review with a different approach. I'd like to see more product diaries int he future!

    I too am a happy Eee user for about 2 weeks now. I agree with one of the other posters, it's solid out of the box. But, most of us who feel the need for a computer 24/7 are gonna tinker with it....;-)

  • harp Says:

    you don't have to do any tinkering...the eee works fine out of the box. Comes with most of the software you would need to meet your daily computing requirements. People just like to supe it up lol

    if you have no computer skills at all and want something you can use right away, I think this works out just fine!

  • Robert Vassar Says:

    I'll stick with my Mac Book Air - great screen, light weight and keyboard and when I need to really travel light, just use my iPhone.

  • David Huston Says:

    I have been using the EEE for the last two months.

    I have nothing but good things to say about it. I also have left my iBook at the office.

    The two pound EEE isd great for email, web surfing most sites, and light typing.

    I have even used it successfully on a video call over Skype.

    I use lots of cloud computing tools, so the lack of hard drive and DVD-R is no big deal for me.

    My only wish: a FIVE hour battery. I get 2.5 hours on average. Acceptable but not ideal.

    Try it out. I bet you'll really like it. The EEE is very solidly made and assembled. Quite impressive quality F&F for $400.

    I store it in a DVD case I purchased for $15. Works like a charm.

    David H

  • jbelkin Says:

    Yes, the Asus E is a fun machine if you enjoy tinkering and writing your own OS ... some/most of us do not have the time nor interest, there are other solutions but nothing wrong for hobbyists and people who enjoy tinkering with a DIY kit.

  • David Gil Says:

    Thank you! I'm thinking about buying one and these reviews are very interesting to know what I'm going to purchase.

    Sadly, I'm living in Barcelona and it's not available yet. I'll have to wait.

    Take care

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