Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Now I know how King Arthur felt...

...when he pulled the mighty Excalibur from the stone.

For you see, that is exactly how I felt as I opened the package I got from Electricity crackled in the air. My knife found it's way into my hands, slashing through the box's tape as if it had a mind of it's own. There was something drawing me into that box, something mystical.

I opened the box, and what did I find, but a brand new Black Asus EEEpc 4G Galaxy! Bow down! Tremble before the awesome might of the mighty and awesome EEEpc!!
900 mhz (capable) processor. 7" screen. 1GB ram (upgraded). 250GB WD passport external drive. 8000 mah (theoretically 5 more hours) external battery. Touchscreen kit on it's way. That's right folks, I'm portable. And in a few months, when I upgrade my cell phone plan to include internet, there's no stopping me. NO STOPPING ME!!! There will be no more boundaries. There will be no more sounds save the crying--my cries of joy, and your cries of unimaginable longing.

I've had it a little over two weeks now, and I can report as to it's effectiveness:

I really can't express how happy I am with this. This type of device is something I've been wanting, literally, for years, long before Asus even came out with it. As long as there have been PDAs, I've been saying, "Yes, that's nice, but how about middling it out? Why not PDA guts in a super-small laptop form? That's not what this is. This is 5-year old desktop guts in a super-small laptop form. Roll call:

Max Payne-Works great
Max Payne 2-Check
GTA Vice City-You better believe it.

Those are the ones I had to have working. I'll eventually get to installing Diablo 2 and Jedi Knight, (both reported to work) but that's a ways off. The games are cool extras but this baby's purpose is writing, web surfing, and watching videos on the go.

As far as typing on this tiny keyboard, I just clocked myself in at 55 wpm, which I find shocking. The last time I tested myself on a full keyboard I kept bouncing around between 60 and 80. If I really pushed it, sat down at an actual desk and worked at it for 20-30 minutes, I'll bet I could hit 80 wpm at least.

I have some notes after the fold on the accessories and OS's I'm using, along with my success with them.

Okay, the 8000 mah battery I'm using is the Impact BPD-8000, i bought it from B&H Photo's web site. Got the cheapest shipping and received it within the week. I don't think it can handle charging the battery AND running the EEE, although I do constantly work off my external drive (WD Passport) powered by USB, and I overclock, and I play cpu-intensive games, so that could have something to do with it. It seems to die pretty quickly, but I haven't gone through very many full charge/discharge cycles yet. Anyway, even if it can't charge and run the EEE at the same time, it's still great to have in my bag to charge me back up when it's put away, and I've yet to use the EEE more than 3 hours, so no problem so far.

The same goes for the standard battery in XP, it seems to not last as long as I expected but like I said, I've played a lot of games lately, done a lot of work on the external hard drive, transferring files over, which I'm sure is battery intensive. The battery should last 3.5 hours, so I should lose...10% every 21 minutes? Maybe it's right on schedule, then, I'll have to keep a closer eye on it...

I first installed eeeXubuntu. Works okay, pretty fast, but I had to do some tweaking, then had to install XP (I was going to transfer the XP installation from the SSD to my WD Passport). I decided I don't really need any Ubuntu specific apps, not to mention I couldn't seem to get over clocking or any sort of resolution scaling to work. People have written two EEE-specific programs for XP, eeectl-for over clocking (it can also control the fan and access a super-bright display option--very nice), and Astray--for scaling the monitor to higher resolutions than the screen is actually capable of (I know, it's weird). Turn on Clear Type in XP, it's a little spotty but more than usable, I scale up to 1000x600 for my web admin dashboards, Thunderbird, and Celtx.

It's also worth mentioning that even though everyone claims they got hibernation to work in eeeXubuntu, I couldn't get it to work at all, but it works fine in XP. It's slow but still faster than booting, so XP is where I'm staying for now.

Another factor in sticking ith XP are the hotkeys. The Windows key works with other keys to perform many actions. For instance:

Win+D - Show desktop
Win+E - Launch file explorer
Win+R - Launch "Run" dialog

I just noticed Win+Z brings up an Astray dialog for changing resolutions. Cool.

These hotkeys are more important on a small device with limited screen space like the EEE than on any desktop pc, in my opinion. The EEE also has a bunch of built in hotkeys WHICH DON"T ALLOW ME TO USE WINAMP'S GLOBAL HOTKEYS. This makes me very sad. Using Winamp without the global hotkeys, (global hotkeys allow you to adjust the volume, track, position in track, etc. no matter what program you actually have open in front of you) is like...well, let me just say I might as well be carrying around all my fucking records around with me and playing them on a turntable. What is this, the dark ages?

No no, the EEE's hotkeys are actually pretty cool, I do not begrudge them that and I'll just have to look into remapping Winamp's global hotkeys in the future.

What else? Oh, I'm using an Xbox 360 controller, works great with Project64. It has a corollary for each of the N64 controller's buttons, and it's also good with ePSXe. PJ64 and ePSXe run okay on the stock EEE, but they run great with over clocking. I haven't tried any other emulators yet, nor have I read any comics (I can't believe that),

All in all I love this device. it takes a lot of getting used to, but once you adjust to it's space you begin to appreciate all you can do with it, everywhere you can do it. I do not plan on having this device or something very similar (i.e. it's successor) far from me at any time. Improve the boot time, add a touch screen, make the screen bigger (already done in newer models), fix the damn single-touchpad button quagmire, add a rolling third button for wheel simulation and...uh...increase battery life. I'm already your customer, Asus. Do those things and I will be your customer for life.


1 comment:

  1. :(
    I wish I had an EEE instead of all this fish and wine.

    PS love the site. YOU ROCK PIERCE!!!