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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Netbook!

A new addition to my menagerie of computers at home, I have gotten myself a netbook.  I haven't had a laptop since I sold my Mac Powerbook G4, opting instead for a Mac Mini: I had been using the PB effectively as a desktop anyways, on a pedestal with an external keyboard and mouse.

On our last trip to the in-laws in Kitchener, this created a problem, of course: I was still working on my thesis, so I used Madeline's Macbook, much to her annoyance; she has been pushing me to get a portable ever since.  I maintain that the primary purpose of a portable is to be portable - if I need power, I use a desktop, or connect remotely to one!  Thus a netbook is the best choice for me.

I just bought a Asus EEE 1000HE, used but effectively new - let someone else pay the initial depreciation!  This was chosen in part for its Linux compatibility, but the EEE's also have a pretty good reputation as far as netbooks are concerned (without being super expensive).  I named it Earendil (it should have an umlaut on the a).

There is very little that needs to be done to make it all work: I found I had to disable a few modules from being loaded to make sure the wireless resumes after waking from suspend. A fix was posted here: http://www.twentyways.com/2010/11/ (basically a few lines to add to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf)  It's a bit noisy, since the fan effectively runs all the time, but not excessively so.

I did manage to mess the install up once already though, losing the ability to suspend.  Trying to get the CPU to truly idle (such that the fan can turn off), I installed eee-applet, powertop, and some other packages - and something messed things up.  Even apt-get purge in reverse order didn't fix it - I ended up reinstalling.  I might try again with more care (and backups!)