Saturday, October 16, 2010

Acer AOD255 Netbook

Today I bought the Acer Aspire One AOD255 netbook. This is my first netbook. It has the new Atom N550 dual core processor, 1GB of DDR3 RAM (wish it has 2GB), 250GB HDD and integrated graphics. The interesting thing is that it has dual boot options (Windows 7 starter and Android). It cost me SGD519, they throw in 3 freebies, a headphone, a cheap cooling stand with two USB powered fans and a free one year subscription of Norman anti-virus suite.

I was a bit curious about the Android installed. So I boot the default Windows 7 Starter, ran the Acer Android configuration program, then reboot to Android. Apparently either Acer has done a poor job or Android is not really meant for netbooks, I played with the Android installed for about two minutes and I can only say it is really a crap. It can connect to the wireless network but the browsing speed is rather slow. It is also very awkward to use and took me a while to figure out that ESC key is the key to close an application. So I was back to Windows 7 Starter after two minutes. So far I think none of the Instant On Linux option installed in the netbooks (or some motherboard) are worth the time to play with. But this Acer Android thingy seems to be quite bad. But maybe Acer will update the bundled Android and I will play it a bit more later.

The first thing to do under Windows is of course to remove the trial software packages (McAfee Antivirus and Norton Online Backup). Then after installing some essential software (Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Security Essential, MinGW, etc), I am in business. I chose not to use Norman since I believe Security Essential takes less resource. I mainly use Firefox but I might want to use Chrome a bit more on this netbook. MinGW installation took quite a bit of time (using mingw-get-inst GUI) but finally it was okay.

The netbook is not that fast but still can run Windows 7 adequately. I actually upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate and it still runs fine. The upgrade process is rather long. Last time it took me much less time to upgrade from Home Premium to Ultimate on the Asus K40ID notebook.

Right now I am thinking I will use this netbook mainly for internet browsing and a bit of software testing (libusb-win32, libusb-1.0 and others).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ubuntu 10.10 Installed

Ubuntu 10.10 installation on my Acer desktop is rather smooth. I was using upgrade install for the 10.04 LTS release. Since there is an empty partition this time (giving up FreeBSD), I am using fresh install this time. Firstly I downloaded the ISO, installed it to an 8GB USB Flash Disk, boot the USB drive, played a bit with the live session. Then I installed it to the empty partition. It was a very smooth process.

Still the open source Nvidia driver is quite flaky (even the font it not clear) for my old shared Nvidia graphics card, so I opted to install the proprietary driver which is much more usable. After switching to a normal theme (to be able to close the window from the upper-right corner) and disabling the visual effect and installing a bunch of software packages, I am in business. Thanks to the fast broadband (16Mbps) and fast Ubuntu Singapore mirror, the whole process is actually not long.

As for the first impression, I have not yet noticed any real difference. It is just quite smooth.