Today was my first full day with my new Asus Eee PC (4Gb Galaxy Black, without the webcam, stock 512MB RAM, with an 8GB SDHC card and a 4GB flash drive). It was actually delivered yesterday, but I had to work until 7:00 pm and so didn’t get to unbox and start playing with it until around 9:00 pm.
Let me just get this out of the way right now: I love it. I love it, I love it, I love it. I haven’t been this excited about a new computer in a long, long time.
The first challenge was getting it to recognize my wireless network at home. I have two: one 802.11b network with no password protection (for guests), and another 802.11g network with WPA security enabled (for my machines). For some reason, the Eee PC repeatedly failed to connect to the WPA-protected network last night, so I was forced to use my slower unsecured network. Tonight, however, the Eee PC is inexplicably connecting to my WPA-protected network with no problem. Weird, but I’m not complaining. Continued after the jump.
Last night I tried to install Windows XP on the 8GB SDHC card with the intent to dual-boot the Eee PC , leaving the default Xandros OS on the internal SSD. This effort was a miserable failure. I also tried (and failed) to install EeeXubuntu. The net results of my alternative OS installation efforts so far are a) I slept at around 3:00 in the morning, and b) I ended up having to restore the Eee PC’s default software from the bundled DVD. One day old, and already I’ve had to restore from scratch. We’re having fun now.
This morning I loaded up my 4GB flash drive with different types of audio and video files to test the Eee PC’s multimedia capabilities. During lunch at work I sat down in the food court and played a few different file types. I found that in terms of video files, the Eee PC’s Xandros smplayer plays back DivX-encoded .avi files as well as MPEG-4 files encoded for my 5G video iPod. It does not display the video in .m4v files encoded by iTunes, although it does play the audio. This meant that I couldn’t watch any StrongBad email podcast episodes on my Eee PC. Bummer, but not a dealbreaker.
I couldn’t test the audio because for some reason, the Eee PC’s Xandros File Manager app couldn’t read items in a subfolder on my flash drive — I had placed the music files in a subfolder to better organize them. When I tried to access those files the File Manager appeared to bog down until I was forced to yank the flash drive out of the USB port while it was being accessed. I later found out that the music files had gotten deleted as a result. I have yet to figure out why the Xandros File Manager choked when accessing a subfolder. Maybe because it was created on a Mac?
I finished out my lunch break by watching the latest episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (which just keeps getting better, IMO), surfing the web and checking my email. I started my lunch break with a full charge on the Eee PC’s battery; after a 43-minute TV show and another 10 minutes of surfing and email, the battery still had 60 percent charge. Not bad.
After work today I followed these instructions to enable Xandros Advanced mode. The Xandros KDE Desktop environment looks promising, I feel like I should spend more time familiarizing myself with it, but I find myself coming back to the Xandros Easy mode most of the time. The default Xandros Easy mode tabbed interface is just well-thought-out and easy to use. I brought my Eee PC to work today, and everyone who saw it was impressed by a) the small size, b) the cool form factor, and c) the ease of use.
Tomorrow I think I’ll try again to install Windows XP, on the internal SSD this time, erasing the default OS. I want to see what the display looks like with the higher resolutions available under Windows XP. I’ll also try installing EeeXubuntu on my SDHC card.
In the meantime, I am really enjoying my first few days with my Eee PC.