Jolicloud saved my 5-year old!

So the airport antenna on my 5-year-old son’s PowerMac G5 (coincidentally also 5 years old) has been gradually degrading over the past couple of weeks, deteriorating into complete failure this weekend. This isn’t good, because without his Airport antenna, son has no Internet, and without Internet son has no Spongebob Squarepants on his computer, and without Spongebob, he keeps bugging Mom to use her computer, which upsets Mom, which then eventually means that I never hear the end of it.

Rather than spend $30 on a second-hand Airport antenna on eBay, my temporary solution was to set up my son with my Asus EeePC 701 running Jolicloud, connected to an old 17-inch VGA display. Son gets access to internet, Spongebob and other flash games (via Friv), therefore doesn’t bug mom, and everyone’s happy. I would never have thought that my EeePC under previous OSes such as EeeBuntu or CrashBang Linux would have been usable by my five-year-old, but Jolicloud is very accessible.

Eee PC as Personal Media Player

One thing I really like about using my Eee PC as a Personal Media Player (PMP) as opposed to what I’d erstwhile been using, my 5th-gen iPod with video, is that I no longer have to use iSquint (a tremendous piece of software, don’t get me wrong) to convert each and every one of my DivX files to mpeg-4 or h.264, the only video formats that the 5G iPod understands.

With VLC installed on my Eee PC, I can view pretty much any video format ever devised.

Having no limitations on what video formats will work on my PMP?

I could get used to this.

Installing EeeXubuntu on Asus Eee PC

I’m currently in the process of installing EeeXubuntu on my Asus Eee PC, and I got stuck very early in the process because the “Forward,” “Back,” and “Cancel” buttons at the bottom of each installation screen were located below the viewable edge of the display (thanks to the Eee PC’s strange 800×480 display). I had been limping along by blindly pressing Tab to move the selection to what I had to imagine was the “Forward” button to move my installation along, but this method stopped working right after the partitioner portion of the Xubuntu installation process — no matter how I tabbed, I could not select the button to move to the next screen. I thought I was dead in the water until I read this tip on the Ubuntu forums: hold down the Alt key to click and drag a window around the screen. This nifty little tip allowed me to proceed with my EeeXubuntu installation – the installer is currently copying system files to the 8Gb SDHC card inserted into my Asus Eee PC. Coolness!

My Life With My Asus Eee PC: Day One

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.

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