Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Originally uploaded by statto1927

Having a great time in Zakynthos. Very hot - 35 plus today. This is Ag.
Nikolas on the south eastern penninsula.
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Friday, July 18, 2008

Long Day

Long Day
Originally uploaded by statto1927

It's been a long day today. This picture was taken at 5.30am on Cardiff Central station, and I'm blogging this at gone 7pm from the train on the way home.

It's been a good day though, useful seminar with our system supplier followed by a nice (free) lunch and then some networking with other clients.

That's it now for a couple of weeks. In the next few days we're off on hols somewhere sunny and warm, and I can't wait.

Posts will be infrequent probably to the point of non-existant for the duration.

See you soon...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Herding Ferrets

One of the hardest jobs in the world is organising a sports team. Any team.

In my case, it's trying to get 11 junior cricket players to turn up at the same time to play a match. Or rather 22, because I'm doing it for two Under 13 teams! Blimey it's hard work.

A typical weekend for me goes something like this....

You speak to someone on Saturday.
"Can you play on Tuesday, we're away at such and such?".

"Yes" they say, "what time?"

"Be there for 5:30" says I, "same as every match".

Monday I get a call.

"Is there cricket tomorrow?"


"It's 6:30 isn't it?"

Err...no, 5:30 like I told you on Saturday".

"Oh right. Where is it?"

(And this is the parents....!)



Ranger want Glen Loovens.

In exchange forKris Boyd - striker we've been after for ages plus - get this - we pay Ranger another £800,000 to seal the deal.

I know Loovens only has another year left on his contract, but no, no, no, no no!

His partnership with Roger Johnson at the back was one of the reasons we did as well as we did last year. Don't sell him. Pleeaase!

Why I won't be getting an iPhone just yet

I'd really like an iPhone. I don't NEED one, I just want one! But I won't be getting one - at least for the moment, and here's why.

I'm currently on a T-Mobile contract. It's one of their "Flext" plans which gives me an allowance of £34 monthly on any mixture of voice or texts, but costs me £22 (actually it's only £17 because I have a £5 monthly discount as a "valued user". I also use their unlimited Web 'n Walk plan, another £6.38 a month (all costs here exclude VAT) bringing me to a total of £28.38 (exc the discount) a month. Or £340.56 a year. Or £510.84 over 18 months.

An iPhone 8G version would cost me £99. Let's ignore that for the moment.

The cheapest contract I could get is £30 a month (£360 a year or £540 over 18 months) - more than my T-Mob contract and although that's unlimited data acces it's actually a stingy 75 mins talk and 125 texts. Like for like I can get another 32 mins or 65 texts out of my current T-Mob contact whilst paying less than I would on 02.

If 02 were to lower their tariff a bit, I'd be there like a shot.
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Monday, July 14, 2008

Bent for Birmingham?

With the sort of inevitability that only Cardiff City can muster, the great new hope in front of goal, Marcus Bent, has apparently turned down The Bluebirds for Birmingham at the 11th hour.

By all accounts he'd agreed to sign, and it was only a matter of a medical at Ninian Park today, but he didn't turn up (like a lot of our strikers), and this evening reports were linking him to Brum.

Well good riddance I say. If he's got that level of commitment let him go and stuff him. To be honest I wasn't that excited about the prospect of him anyway - easy enough to say now he's turned us down I know, but true.

It leaves us with serious problems though, with 3 weeks before the start of the season, and the absence of a top quality striker not yet resolved. Coming a few days after RF left, also at the 11th hour is a bit gut wrenching. What is it about Cardiff City? Erm, could be the lure of the Premiership. No loyalty in footie these days.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

City win, and striker on the horizon

Cardiff City got their pre-season off to a perfect start with a comfortable 5-0 win at Carmarthen Town. Paul Parry scored a hat trick.

In other news, rumour has it that City are closing in on a deal to bring out of favour Charlton striker Marcus Bent to Ninian Park, having had an earlier (cheaper!) bid turned down. The BBC website is reporting that the deal should be tied up early next week.

Asus Eee: The Play Tab

This tab by tab review of the Asus Eee's “easy” user interface moves on to the “Play” tab.

The first icon here is Games. Now I have to admit at this point that I'm not really that much of a computer games fan. An odd session of solitaire or Virtual Pool does me, so this is somewhere I'm unlikely to visit often. But tohers will, so what's here?

Solitaire is the first option, but rather than giving you just the usual Klondike or Yukon, you get 17 different games. Well not really. Three are Spider (Easy, Medium & Hard) and two are Klondike (draw 1 or draw 3), but that's still a decent number of games available, and they all play nicely.

Next up is Frozen Bubble, a game where as far as I can tell, the object is to shoot coloured bubbles at other bubbles until you clear the screen.

Crack Attack is the next offering, which is a block puzzle type game.

Penguin Racer is one the younger kids will love. If you've played Happy Feet on any of the various handheld consoles, this is similar.

Sudoko doesn't need any introduction, and should satisfy anyone who like doing these. There are a few game options in here to vary things slightly too.

Another one for the younger audience is Potato Guy, where the object is to create a Mr Potato Head type character using a range of differing facial and bodily characteristics.

Finally, Ltris is a Linux variation of the timeless Tetris.

So overall out of the box there's a variation of games for the younger audience, and some that will satisfy older users.

Back on the main Play tab, the next icon is Media Player which starts what appears to be an application that alows you to play DVDs or video files. I haven't had the opportunity to try this yet, but it looks functional rather than multi-featured.

Music Manager looks like a reasonably well featured music player. The sound from the Eee's twin speakers is actually quite decent considering the unit's size, so having some music files on your SD card or USB stick should make for some easy listening. Incidentally, the Eee has a standard 3.5mm audio jack, so you can use your favourite headphones.

Photo Manager allows you to mangage and display your photo collection, create albums, view via slideshows etc. Photo editing capabilities from the app appear minimal, though there does appear to the ability to use plugins. As I've mentioned in a previous post, I don't think I'd use the Eee for photo editing anyway - the screen size, processing power and memory limitations mean you're better off doing any serious editing on a desktop.

Video Manager presumably allows you to manage your videos, but looks pretty basic, and the aforementioned Media Player looks like it would do most of the things that Video Manager could.

Webcam opens the inbuilt webcam (note not all Eee models have a webcam). It works, ok but again as previously mentioned, it doesn't work with the deafult installed Pidgin messenger client. I've got it working ok with another messenger package I've installed, but that required some Terminal and command line stuff!

Finally on the Play tab is Sound Recorder, a simple app that allows you to use the built in mic to record simple sound files.

Some of the apps here are pretty basic, but some are more featured. What you need to remember though, is that all this comes as standard and works out of the box.

Friday, July 11, 2008

It's coming....

City kick off their pe-season tomorrow with a match against the mighty....Carmarthen Town. Here's a squad that won't have many Championship teams quaking in their boots.....

Cardiff City (from): Heaton, McNaughton, Dennehy, Loovens, Comminges, McPhail, Rae, Whittingham, McCormack, Parry, Kennedy, Matthews, Hudson, Evans, Wildig, Magennis, Kelleher, Smith, Cummings, Santiago.

You may have noticed that the City badge has changed. This is because this year is the last year at our Ninian Park ground before moving to our brand new stadium in May 09. The fans voted for the badge/strip for the last season at Ninian Park, and have gone with the old style crest and a retro style strip with an offset yellow and white stripe down the front of the shirt. Luckily I voted for both of those options, so I'm a happy man. Haven't seen the official kit yet though.

iPhone issues

So the iPhone 3G is out. If you can get one. Reading various website and blogs, it seems that a lot of people can't get one. Or they can get an 8G version, but oh no, deary me the 16G is in very short supply.

"Unprecedented demand" the 02 website says.

Unprecedented my *rs*. I suspect Apple knew full well the demand and have deliberately held back stock. The O2 website goes on to say "everyone should be able to get one by the end of the summer". Err, is that end of July, August or September? October's quite summery sometimes too.

And then to top it all the software that lets you activate the darn thing seems to have been falling over all day. Bit of a bummer really. Bad for you if you want one (Murray over at Palm-Mac couldn't lay his hands on one), and bad for Apple with the media coverage about activation problems, though overall the usual media hype probably means Apple remains in the spotlight.

How come Palm can't do so well from something that goes so wrong?

I still want one, but won't be getting one unless I can get an unlocked one. I can't tie myself into a £35 a month contract (minimum). Shame.

Nice story too from Shaun over at PDA247 who tells a story about one punter who was a little miffed to find she couldn't get one in pink!

Asus Eee: Learn Tab

It's at this point that the Asus Eee starts to look like it's more intended for the younger audience. But wait....is there anything here for us oldies?

First comes the Science icon. Clicking this takes us to a screen with only two further icons on it.

Periodic Table sounds, and should be boring. But it's not. It'll be brilliant if you have kids doing science/chemistry at school, but I found myself intrigued as I got immersed in the program. Not only does it display a period table, but gives you loads of info about each element, including where possible photo's or pictures, drawings of the atomic model, and loads of other data. For instance, did you know that Orbits (whatever they are, relating to Mercury (Hg) are "Xe 4f14 5d10 6s2". Nor did I. Or that it's atomic radius is 160 pm. Or that it's density is 13.55 g/cm3. I knew that one. Err.....Ok I didn't. Seriously, I found this quite interesting. Yes you could look this up on the 'net, and it does seem an odd inclusion, but it's neat.

Then there's a Planetarium program called KStars. You know there's a lot of info in here bacuse it takes about 20 seconds to load. You get a setup wizard to set your location and time etc, then you're off, gazing into the night sky. Excellent for getting kids (or adults) interested in the heavens.

Back on the main Learn screen Language takes you to two options. Typing is in fact "Tux4Kids" a program to help them improve their typing via some games. I didn't dwell too long here, but my 11 year old daughter found it fun for a while.

Then there's Hangman Game, and old favourite that helps with spelling and letters.

The Math icon gives you four options. Fraction Tutorial and TuxMath are aimed at making maths fun, the latter using games to achieve that. Geometry and Function Plotter appear at first to be a little more involved, and may be things that schoolkids particularly could find useful in assisting them with their maths homework. I'm not sure they'll be something I use too much!

The Paint icon takes you to Paint and Tux Paint. The latter again is aimed at the younger audience and has predefined stamps, images, brushes etc to make "fun" images, whilst Paint looks like a Linix version of the Windows Paint program. If you wanted more serious image editing you'd probably want GIMP or similar, but I'm not sure the Eee (at least mine) with 512mb RAM and 4G SDD is up to serious image editing anyway. I'd leave that to my desktop machines.

Finally, Web Learn takes you online to www.skoool.com. If you want more info on what this is about, check out the link!

In summary then, I reckon the Learn Tab will mostly be used by younger computer users, and is ideal for getting learning going in a fun way (I guess). A couple of the options may prove occasionally useful to the older audience, but I rather suspect most seasoned computer users will be steering clear of this tab.

Asus Eee: Work Tab

Ok, so the next part of my review of the Eee takes me to the "Work" tab (pictured).

The first icon is "Accessories", and clicking this takes you a screen which gives you 3 further options. Calculator does what it says on the tin. It calculates. It's got some flexibility and looks the business is you need to claculate electromagnetism, Gravitation, Atomic & Nuclear and Thermodynamics (seriously!)

PIM fires up KDE Contact, a sort of Outlook look alike - in fact the help manual says it looks like Outlook. It looks as though it could be pretty decent, and on it's own for most people fairly comprehensive. I haven't been able to establish whether there's a way to import and keep in sync from, say Outlook. so someone using the Eee as a partner to a desktop/smartphone not using Google calendar for instance may find some limitations.

The third icon in Accessories is Screen Capture. It works in a slightly odd way - I can't find a hotkey function to capture an image - looks like you have to run it and it captures the screen under the it's own window. Still, works OK as you can see from the shots I'm suing for these posts.

Back in the main "Work" tab, next up is Documents. This opens up OpenOffice.org 2.0, the well known, well featured and free opposition to the Microsoft Office Suite. Nothing much to add here. OpenOffice is a damn good application, compatible with MS Office. That pretty much therefore covers Spreadheets and Presentations too.

PDF Reader is a......PDF reader.

Mail opens Mozilla Thunderbird, another open source, free and highly capable application which would fit most people's email requirements.

File Manager does just that, and certainly appears sufficient for most file management needs. The only thing I'd add here, and it's totally down to lack of experience, is that as I'm not used to Linux, I'm unfamiliar with some file names/structures and don't know without further research what are system files, package files, repositories etc, so best to leave alone rather than go deleting stuff willy nilly.

Dictionary opens up an 85,000 word version of the Longman dictionary. Not sure how useful this would be in practice. If you need access to a dictionary, there are plenty available online, and when this one opens, there are some strange Chinese looking characters on some of the buttons. The first "glitch" I've found so far on the Eee.

Notes is a strangle little application. Meant to replicate the yellow post-it type of note on screen (in much the same way as Outlook's Notes does, it's not immediately clear where notes are saved - I certainly couldn't find any option to save one, so just ended up clicking the close (x) box. Turns out, they are available via a little icon in the task bar tray at the bottom of the screen. Basic, but useable.

And that's the "Work" tab. Next time up, working logically from left to right will be the "Learn "tab.

Robbie's not a Bluebird!

Robbie Fowler will not be at Cardiff City next season after signing for Blackburn in a dramatic turn of events.

It seemed certain that City bosses had negotiated a pay as you play deal for the aging striker, who suffered from injury last season which curtailed his appearances for us.

Word on the street was that Fowler wanted to stay and take up the one year option, and the only issue was sorting out the deal, but his old pal Paul Ince, now Manager at Blackburn stepped in and offered him one last shot at Premiership level.

I can't say I'm surprised he took the offer - who wouldn't, but it would have been nice to see a fit Fowler in a Bluebirds shirt.

I'm not sure where that leaves us striker wise. Hasselbaink is clearly not wanted by Jones, Fowler's gone, and Feeney's gone to Dundee for the season. That leaves the goal machine that is Steve Thompson (jest of course) and new signing Ross "Who?" McCormack.

Peter Ridsdale says he's close to tying up a deal he's been working on for a while, and that now Fowler's gone it frees up some cash...

City had an offer for Marcus Bent of Charlton turned down earlier last week - maybe that's who PR's chasing? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

The other newcomer recently, is Mark Kennedy, a wide midfielder formerly of the borough's of Crystal Palace, Wolves and Liverpool. At 32 he's described as an "experienced pro....".
That's what they said about Fowler, Hasselbaink and Sinclair. What they meant clearly was "past it".

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Eee overview

There are lots of sites out there giving the glossy brochure on the Asus Eee, not lest the Asus Eee site itself. There are also loads of reviews. Well here's another one.

Before I start though, it's perhaps worth pointing out where I'm coming from. Ultimately, I'm a technology user. I'm not a programmer, coder, Microsoft qualified/certified engineer, I don't work in IT and I certainly don't understand things like BIOS settings, command lines etc except at the most basic level. I am though prepared to get stuck into stuff, and despite everything I'm not, I've opened up PC's, upgraded them, downgraded them, broken them, even taken soldering irons to them.

These days though, I want my technology to work, and I'm less fussed about getting "dirty" in the inner workings, either at a hardware or software level.

I have two desktop PC's at home, one running XP Home and one Vista Home Premium. I have two smartphones - a Palm Centro and Windows Mobile HTC Vox. I've wanted a laptop for ages. One because it's portable and would give me a little more than the smartphones can, and 2 because it means I wouldn't be tied to the study/office desk.

My main computing needs are browsing the internet, email, office (Word & Excel stuff), blogging, and keeping 3 websites up to date. No really heavy stuff there then, and definitely no need for a £500+ laptop.

A couple of weeks ago I had an offer through this blog of a secondhand, virtually new Asus Eee, a machine people have been raving about. Why? It's small - very small, and therefore light. It's well featured, has a small solid state disk (no whirring bits) and just works out of the box. The version I have is a 701 4GB model. I won't go into the specs here - they're found easily enough elsewhere on the web - just Google. Would it fit the bill for me? Well I hope so because I bought it.

The operating system (OS) is Linux, an open source OS - which means it's available for anyone to tweak and develop further, and the particular flavour of Linux here is Xandros, which means absolutely nothing to me.

When you switch it on it boots and is ready to use in 28 seconds. It might have been quicker than this natively, but I've already added a few bits that might have slowed that down a bit. It's still very quick to boot though - to have a machine ready to use in less than 30 seconds is far quicker than either of my PC's by a distance.

The default interface on my 7" screen model is "Easy mode". The Eee is designed to be easy to use, and it is. The interface is a fixed, tabbed one, unlike the tweakable desktops we're all used to on our Windows and Mac machines, and the icons are big, colourful and almost childlike. Don't let that put you off though. They are clearly labelled and it's (pretty much) obvious what every icon does.

A 7" screen sounds small, and it is compared to my 19" flatscreen on my Vista setup, but this isn't meant to be a desktop replacement. It's meant to be an ultra portable, and if you accept that the screen's just fine for the job. It's certainly a massive improvement over my Palm's 320x320p screen!

Navigation is via a trackpad with a single button on a rocker switch, and it works very well. When I knew I was going to get the Eee I planned to get a laptop mouse, but I haven't bothered - the trackpad works fantastically well.

The first thing I did was use the wireless network app to configure the Eee to my home network. In fact the Eee found the home network (and another couple nearby) without prompting, and I just had to change the default WEP security setting to WPA, enter my key and off I went. The signal reception has been strong all around the house, showing at 100% most of the time.

The task bar shows wireless network connectivity, battery status, volume, time, the shutdown option, a link to EEE PC tips and an "SOS" icon which as far as I can work out opens the Xandros equivalent of a Windows Task Manager.

What I'll do now, or possible in a couple of installments is walk you through each of the tabs.

The first icon on the Internet tab is "Webmail", and clicking this takes you to shortcuts for Hotmail, Yahoo and AOL. As I don't use any of these, I don't need to go here.

Next up is the "Web" icon, and this opens the default Firefox browser. On my device it's running a 2.x version. Firefox is my preferred browser on my desktops, so I am right at home here. The only thing to be aware of is that due to the screen resolution (and I'm not sure this can easily be changed) on some sites you may have to scroll horizontally, but I have to say I've yet to find that particularly onerous.

Next up is "iGoogle", which unsurprisingly takes you via Firefox to the iGoogle homepage. You could of course bookmark this in Firefox and go via the "Web" icon, but I suppose this takes one action less.

Then comes "Messenger", and here's the first inkling that this isn't a Microsoft box. It's not Microsoft Messenger, but "Pidgin", a Linux messaging client. Cleverly though, it's set up to be able to access your chums through various other systems including AIM, Google Talk, Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MSN, QQ, Simple, Sametime, XMPP and Yahoo - which is a pretty impressive list and most of which I've never heard of. I used the MSN option, entered my details and was messaging in no time, so that works OK. However, there is one caveat. The Eee ships with a webcam (or at least this model does), but Pidgin cannot be configured to use the webcam. How odd. I've got round this by installing another messaging client that does support webcams, but more of that later, and it does seem strange that a mobile unit shipped with a webcam and a messaging client can't get the two to work together, which would have been a pretty obvious requirement I'd have thought. Not that I use messaging much - my daughter does though!!

Next on the list is a "Skype" icon. Now I've never used Skype to make free telephone callsvia the Internet (hey why do it free when you can pay?), and haven't looked at this app yet. However, various forums suggest this works well.

The "Network" icon allows configuration of networks - as well as wireless, the Eee comes with LAN and modem ports, though I don't believe there's actually a modem in the box - I may be wrong though.

Next up is a link to "Google Docs", again via Firefox. I haven't used GD much, but it works. Simple as.

Then comes "World Clock". It , err, displays a night/day view of the world based on the current time. Useful. If you find that sort of thing useful.

Next is a link to "Wikipedia" - again through Firefox. Getting the theme here - basically apart from the network config, the Internet tab is a set of links...however, they are a useful set of links.

Following on from Wikipedia is an icon for "Internet Radio". Now I have to admit I haven't tried this yet, but I will, just not sure it's my type of thing.

And that' pretty much is that for the Intenet tab. As the Eee is supposed to be ..... easy.

Next time up, I'll move on the "Work" tab.

Want a cheap smartphone?

Expansys are currently offering the Palm Centro for £170.95 with £30 cashback. That brings the price down to £140 beer vouchers. That's an absolute steal for a SIM free (unlocked) well featured smartphone.

Full details on the Centro can be found on Palm's website where the same device is selling for £199.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

More Eee news

I promised that I would bring you some more news on my Asus Eee very soon, and I will. I've just been very busy with other stuff, as well as getting into the machine itself.

So far as well as using the Eee for browsing, some document editing, and as a knee warmer (it does get a trifle warm after a while), I've managed to install a messenger application called amsn to supplement the default Pidgin - amsn supports the webcam, Pidgin bizarrely doesn't, and perhaps more spectacularly for me install, configure and get working an application called nvu which is a web authoring program. This means I can now edit and maintain the web sites I run on the go, rather than being tied to my desktop. Superb. I very impressed with myself.


One of the nice things about having a blog is that you can express you opinion to the world, or maybe not the world but the three men and a dog who read the darn thing (hey, I had a dog that could read once...!)

Anyway, I digress. Regular Lentilites will know that one of my favourite blogs is over at Palm-Mac, where Murray keeps a usually objective eye on things mobile. We've been having an exchange of emails tonight following one of his recent posts. Lately, it seems he's been getting exasperated at some of the inevitable digs towards the iPhone from people who perhaps either have never used one, or wouldn't on the basis that it's "Apple" and therefore not Win Mob, and therefore must be rubbish, and is definitely not a smartphone. Or maybe they just want a dig. Or maybe they don't but it comes across that way. Probably. Maybe.

I have to say I'm generally with Murray on this. The "my machine / platform / OS / car / console / postode" (delete as applicable) discussions, and I use that word in the broadest sense, that we see all too often on forums is painful, and has been going on for years and years - I remember it back in the days of the fiercest debates of Commodore Amiga v Atari ST - and no, that's not an invitation to restart that debate. After all, the ST was far better....

At the end of the day, no matter what we may outwardly think, we all have a little bias towards (or away from) something. It's human nature. But I don't think it matters. What's key for those of us that use technology, which is the audience that I'm primarily aiming this at, is "Does it work for me?"

So what if I use a Palm Centro that 99% of British people have never heard of, and those that see it think it's Blackberry? Doesn't bother me mate. It does what I want it to do, it does it pretty well, and I don't want the latest greatest next big thing running Windows Mobile 9.7 with a voice operated OS that doubles up as a toaster (well only a bit).

So what if my mate uses a Nokia N95 for nothing but phone calls and a few piccies. He's happy with it.

I'm always interested in the latest technology/gadgets, but I'd rather have informed debate about it.

My current orange box rant is the current debate in some areas about whether a device is a "smartphone" or not. If it's smart enough for you, good enough. It's doing my head in - Lord knows what Murray's making of it.

The World's Easiest Quiz!

Yes, I know it's a bit naff, but it made me chuckle when my son tried to "get" me with this one.

Try it out yourself....

Get yourself a pen and paper

OK, here we go..., and as Terry Wogan used to say on "Blankety Blank" (remember that?), the clue is in the question....
  1. How long did the 100 years war last?

  2. Which country makes Panama hats

  3. From which animal do we get catgut?

  4. In which month do Russians celebrate the October revolution?

  5. What is a camel's hair brush made of?

  6. The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after which animal?

  7. What was King George VI's first name?

  8. What colour is a purple finch?

  9. Where are Chinese goosberries from?
Answers here

How many did you get?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I've just read an article on the Palm Addicts blog which is quite bizarre.
Basically the title of the article suggests it' s about how this guy uses his iPhone. But he then goes on about his mobile ham radio...and on. These are the key extracts about how and why he listens to his radio in the various shopping malls he visits. I kid you not.......

I had neglected to program a memory channel on my radio with the frequency of the mall security. I like to be able to listen in on the mall security to know if anything bad like terrorism or a mad gunmen is at some other part of the mall so I can get me and my family out as soon as possible..........

..........Most of the time listening like this is close to boring but I think it is worth it if it gives me an edge in times of danger.......

Blimey. What sort of shops does he visit?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

More eee stuff

Well, I'm getting on well with my eee (or is it Eee, or EEE?)

Using it is a cinch. The big, almost childlike icons lead you to all the applications easily and everything works so well out of the box.

Seasoned computer users though will want to know how to install other programs and this necessitates use of the dreaded "terminal" and command line interface

Worse, unless you're a serious "geek", chances are you've never used commands like this before. What's a "repository" for God's sake, and as for "apt-get update", what's that all about.

Luckily, there's a huge resource at eeesuer.com that includes forums and a superb and monstrous wiki, so that even complete Linux "noobs" like me can have a stab at doing stuff.

Today I installed a Linux version of a messenger program. The eee actually comes with one by default - "Pidgin", but bizarrely despite the fact the eee has a built in web cam, Pidgin doesn't support web cams. D'oh!

Happily, aMSN, the variant I installed today does. It took me several goes, despite following the wiki religiously to get both the program and the in built cam to work, but it does, and now I feel like I've entered another plane. Not a Linux guru or even a Linux anything, but I've been where some fear to tread, and I feel very pleased with myself - even though I didn't understand any of the commands I was using or where stuff was being installed to, or how anything was happening!

Nevertheless, I remain hugely impressed by this little machine. It can't replace a desktop machine, but it's just the job for computing on the go.

Friday, July 04, 2008



I sound like a Yorkshire drooling over his ferrets (apologies to any Yorkshiremen (or women) out there!

Actually I'm an Englishman in Wales drooling over his Asus Eee. I've been like a kid not allowed to play with his with a new toy in work today as I've waited to get home to have another go on my new mini laptop.

And firing it up, the excitement doesn't disappoint as I continue to be amazed by the simplicity of the interface, but the complexity of functions and applications in the machine.

I've already configured it to access my wireless network every time it boots, and to be able to print over the network.

I've stuck a 1Gig SD card in and managed to save stuff to it, and although I'm finding the Linux file system OK, it's a little different in terminology to Windows which is what I'm used to.

I'd like to explore the "Advanced" desktop, KDE Desktop I believe, but I think this requires a little tinkering with command lines, which I'll get around to, but it's a bit early just yet.

The other think I need to find out, so need to root around the 'net and user forums is how to capture screenshots if I'm going to do some reviews.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

My new toy

Oh yes, I've gone and bought an Asus Eee. Never one to jump on the "early adopter" bandwagon, I've waited a while but my previous post attracted an offer I just couldn't refuse!

Delivered today, I've already fallen in love with it (and so's my 11 year old daughter!)

It's a black 4G one rather than the white version pictured, but I'm not fussed either way - it's what's squeezed into the tiny form factor that I'm interested in.

You'll be reading more of what I think of this little beauty in the near future, but for the moment I'm logging off to go and play!