Flesh’s new Acer Aspire One

My  frenzied acquisition of technology continues apace. I’d been dithering around trying to choose the best sub laptop for months – there was nothing that had everything. I wanted it to weigh as little as possible, be as small as possible, have a 10″ screen, long battery life, good keyboard, web cam and mic, integrated connectivity including 3G, big processor, don’t mind about storage but want plenty of USB slots and a storage card slot with SD compatibility. I eventually chose the Acer Aspire One. Matt bought it for me and when it arrived from Amazon he gave me it – I’m writing from it right now.

There’s a more in-depth review on Trusted Reviews.

Mine’s pearl-coloured (£10 off the price) and cost c. £200.

I decided a new computer was going to be a turning point – I would do the decent thing and move to linux (which is why I thought 512Mb would be OK, and it seems to be). The AA1’s a dinky little bit of kit and the hardware is really pleasant to use. But getting to grips with the software has been all-consuming so far. I seem to have a better awareness of what is possible  with linux than my technical acumen would indicate, so I tend to arrive at How-To type pages which perfectly fit the bill of what I want to do, but miss out crucial information – like this one. (I’m certainly not complaining – these people aren’t providing services, they’re blogs and I’m grateful). The AA1’s user community is smaller than the Asus Eee’s.

Ever since acquiring the thing I’ve been blundering around in the terminal (command line) interface following instructions found on the Web. This is not the best way to learn but what the hey.

So far I’ve installed Firefox, enabled a kind of start-button thing on right click (but not yet sorted out a desktop), got myself onto our wireless network at work, set up dual monitor (but not managed to fix it so I can have different resolutions on each nor move out of clone mode), installed Skype (left off to keep prices down), sorted out all my add-ons in Firefox and made some small theme adjustments. Haven’t managed to install software which plays AVIs, or install GIMP properly (but I have half an inkling about how to). I think the best thing I’ve done was find out about and enable circular scrolling which actually works as expected. I think I can sort out the fan-speed which might be nice – currently sounds like a fly in a jar.

Setting up these things requires using the terminal. Web browsing, blogging, multimedia-viewing, creating standard documents are all absolutely perfect, easy, intuitive and straightforward, though.

I can see that doing anything more sophisticated in linux as a novice could be pretty consuming. I inch along. Macles* and Acer Guy in combination with their commenters has been helpful. Time will limit what I can do so it’s going to be slow going. But despite my early apprehension it’s proving to be quite satisfying in an in-at-the-deep-end kind of way. Having said that, I can’t tell you what I’ve learnt. Problem solving and simple replication is what I’m doing right now.

No regrets.

Update: Thanks to Macles* and his/her commenters (they flag problems and carry out troubleshooting), I’ve just installed VLC media player and can now see the AVI format that my Samsung NV6 camera records. Fabulous.

14 thoughts on “Flesh’s new Acer Aspire One

  1. great stuff, been looking at them, nice and cheap.

    I was thinking about the Asus 900A.

    here’s an idea, get a few 2 Gb USB sticks and on another machine, copy over a small linux disto of your choice (antix, arch linux, wolvix, zenwalk even slax are good), make the USB stick bootable

    plug into Acer and boot.

    you might look at Mandriva’s stuff too.

    PS: you’ve reminded me that I should post more on technology and my tinkering about with Linux 🙂

  2. Yeah, those were two more things I missed from my spec – cheap and quick boot time.

    Re posting more on technology, yes you should (but in a more noddy, jargon-free way – ‘disto’ does not compute – there’s a reason I’ve used Winders so long) 🙂

  3. sorry, distro – Linux distribution, a complete packaged Linux, eg. Suse or Red Hat

    a whole host of smaller Linux Distro came out as a response to the bloatware in larger Linux releases.

    so you have Slax, which is principally a LiveCD that means it boots from a CD, uses a RAM disk and not the hard disk, at all. It is quick and offers a compact range of apps.

    It also comes in USB format, basically you download the USB version, shove it on to a USB stick and boot up.

    see http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=slax
    and http://www.slax.org/documentation.php

  4. hooray! a fellow linux “victim”!
    I’ve learned a lot about the command line, user permissions (“sudo”) and so on since moving to Ubuntu on my desktop and buying my Xandros-powered EeePC. I will be moving to Ubuntu Netbook Remix as soon as I can be bothered.
    I assume the Aspire comes with OpenOffice. I also recommend Inkscape, Pidgin, and Warzone 2100 Resurrection (I suspect you may not be into that though…)

    • My thanks to you both for these words of encouragement. I am morally relieved to have made the stagger to linux. It was high time I stuck my neck out again, technologically speaking – and I’m sure foss is the way forward. I might experiment with some of what Mod suggests and decide on the best OS in good time. But for now, I’m still stuck with trying to password protect startup in linpus… fffffuh. Trying to do one thing per day minimum.

  5. as a seasonal present, I’d consider buying an external DVD burner, Maplin do them for £40-£60, a simple way of burning and booting up any testing of Linux Distros that you might want to do

    I find burning a cheap CDs much quicker than using USB stick and you might want to use them later too.

    and it is very secure, using a USB stick means that your data goes with you, not left on the laptop, just make regular copies

  6. Pingback: Petty. Me. Uk. » Ubuntu On The EeePC, Part 2

  7. Having bought an eeePC 701, I just gave up on linux, went with Windows. The linux was just tooo much challenge! – – maybe find the courage again in the future.

    • hiya morris – fair enough, luckily i’m not relying on linux – we have a windows machine if i really get into difficulties (or have to do something in a hurry). But for now i’ll crack on.

  8. I’ve had the Aspire one netbook for a few weeks now and I am pleased with it. I only use it for fun, not work. I got the one with Windows XP, 1 meg ram and 160 meg HD. It was really frustrating getting the wireless connection worked out but don’t give up. It comes with way too much junk pre installed and pre starting. Dump McAfee and get Trend or one of the other less resource hungry protection. I could have bought a lap top this week with same HD, more Ram and Vista for the same money. If you need the small size, its great. If you’re used to Vista or speed, get a laptop. http://www.aspireoneuser.com is a great resource for this item

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