Linux Blog

Review: Acer Aspire One

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Hardware — TheLinuxBlog.com at 11:00 am on Friday, September 9, 2011

Acer Aspire One LinuxEarlier this year, I was shopping around for Netbooks and purchased the Acer Aspire One Netbook. I was specifically looking for a Netbook that was fairly small and portable, but with a keyboard that was actually usable. BestBuy had a few, a nice HP with an awesome keyboard…but it only came in hot pink… Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but as I’m not a 13 year old girl, it wasn’t really for me. The oh so helpful sales clerk informed me that, if I really wanted it, I could pay the extra $100 for the exact same thing in blue, but I’d have to wait for as it was out of stock. No thanks. There was a Toshiba with decent specs, but the keyboard wasn’t that great so I skipped on that one too.

The next day I checked out another BestBuy store since that’s all we really have around here, no Fry’s, Nothing! While I was out, I had to pick some stuff up from the nearby Walmart. Yes, yes, I know, I’m fueling the destruction of small businesses, but there are incredibly few options around here. After watching some People Of Walmart candidates, I decided to check out the electronics department. It seemed rather small for a Walmart, tucked right at the back or the store with a TV to employee ration of 50:1. I found the Netbooks, well, one Netbook, The Acer Aspire One, near the other computers. It was $260 which seemed pretty reasonable. When asking the clerk if I could get one unlocked, he told me they had the same one but in black in the storage area for $199. Sold! Most Helpful Walmart Employee Ever.

After removing it from its lunch box sized container, the first thing I noticed was how it looked like Acer had taken notes from Apple with their fancy packaging. That’s cool I suppose. It comes with Windows 7 starter. You’ll probably want to fix that. I tried calling Acer about the refund (hey I didn’t accept the EULA guys) but they didn’t understand my question and tried to step me through reinstalling Windows without a CD Rom. Apparently you have to request the CD from them and buy an external optical drive. I should have messed with them and asked them how to plug my parallel CD burner in, as there is no parallel port.

After booting up and getting thoroughly frustrated with Windows 7 Starter (What the hell, only 3 processes and you can’t change the background), I decided to give that Ubuntu Netbook edition a go. It was only slightly more bearable than Windows 7. Once it was installed, I booted and gave it about five minutes before deciding to install a non netbook specific distribution.
For the size and price, the specs are pretty decent:

10.1″ LED (1024×600)
Intel Atom N450 1.66Ghz, 512KB Cache – Dual Core!
1GB Ram
160GB HD
Intel Chipset
Atheros AR9285 PCI-Express Wireless network adapter

These serve me well for its intended purpose and actually exceeded my expectations. It is perfectly capable of running Virtual Machines with VirtualBox without any noticeable decrease in performance. Pretty much everything worked right out of the box with two exceptions. First, the Ethernet adapter (with Linux) and second, the built in microphone doesn’t work with Skype (on Linux), however an external does. Suspend and Hibernate even work!

Battery life is amazing for the standard 3 cell battery that comes with it. You can buy one with more cells, but I can normally find a power source in the four or more hours I manage to squeeze out of it. Powertop FTW! With the stock battery, it doesn’t weigh too much and is perfect to carry around all day without being a burden. The charger is somewhat small and has a click/snap plug on it. You can position it so that the adapter goes left to right, or top to bottom. The changeable tips also means you can swap them out to use the adapter in different countries (you have to buy them separately though.) Since I couldn’t find the tips I didn’t buy any, but to be honest I didn’t really look. After travelling with it I think the interchangeable tips would be well worth the investment, as it just doesn’t work well with a travel adapter. In England, it worked all-right as long as it was plugged into a surge, but if you plugged it into the wall, it would fall out of the adapter. In France, it didn’t fall out of the travel adapter but rather the travel adapter fell out of the wall. It wouldn’t charge via the adapter in a regular wall outlet, but if I propped it up in the bathroom into the shaver plug it would. I could blame this all on the plug, but to be honest the click/snap tips probably would have fixed it all.
Really, the only things I don’t like about it are the microphone and Ethernet issues (though I think those can be fixed), and the touchpad is entirely too sensitive when typing. You kind of have to type palms up, or be very careful not to touch it or you’ll end up typing somewhere else. You can fix that by getting a USB mouse or by turning the touchpad off temporarily (FN F7). Overall I’m very happy with it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a decent reasonably priced Netbook that can pack a punch.

Lego Tux

Filed under: General Linux — TheLinuxBlog.com at 10:57 am on Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lego Tux Penguin

As many kids do, I grew up playing with Lego’s, there is something magical about building  with the little plastic bricks. One day I was bored so I Googled Lego Tux’s and found an awesome Lego Tux. It has been around for a while but is still really cool. I don’t have enough bricks to build one and even though there is a Lego store near by, I don’t think that I have the skills to make one without an instruction manual.

Check out: http://www.ericharshbarger.org/lego/penguin.html for more pictures and details!

Linux Apps That Will Help You Graduate College

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software — TheLinuxBlog.com at 8:12 am on Monday, August 1, 2011

This is the second guest post written by Whitney from Technected. Whitney majored in journalism and has been using Linux ever since. She now works for a large automotive corporation in the Midwest. In her spare time she enjoys playing video games, gardening and watching Dr. Who.

Linux is a very powerful OS, many people don’t know that. With all the mainstream programs that Microsoft creates, most people remain ignorant of the awesome programs out there for free that are being produced by Linux developers. Many of the apps out there can help you reach your traditional or online degree. Below is a list of 5 that will help you graduate college.

Task Juggler is a project management program. It allows you to keep all your tasks in order. All you have to do is enter in the assignment for class and when it is due as well as any other details that you may find pertinent to getting the project done. It’s especially helpful for online university students, who have less structured classes.

Every college course will have a syllabus and on the syllabus will be assignments that need to be accomplished. Task Juggler can organize this information and keep you on track with your assignments.

Star Office or Oracle Open Office is a regular word program that offers spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, database and formula programs. It is a mirror of Microsoft office but with an original drawing program.

What makes Star Office better than Microsoft Office is its ability to open multiple file types. It can open Microsoft office files as well as Corel WordPerfect files, TXT and HTM. This program may not have the same popularity of Microsoft, but it is free. When having to pay up to $150 on a college budget, Star Office really saves the day.

LyX is a document program that can make several different types of documents. With it, you can make word documents, math documents, science document and many others. This program specifically focuses on the structure of the documents and allows for any type of structure whether it is for a math assignment sheet or a block paragraph science paper.

Obviously you can utilize this program for any class and it beats having to go to the library and using a very specific program. Instead you can download LyX and get all your documents done in one program.

Free Mind is a program that helps you make notes. It is a digital version of the old spider web note taking that many students use for various subjects in school. The main idea rests in the center and then sub topics sprout off of that and then points link off of those.

Another nice point in Free Mind is its ability to fold these sub topics and point back into the main topic, giving Free Mind the ability to reduce clutter. The application allows students to flesh out their ideas for all the papers they will write for class.

Speed Crunch is a powerful desktop calculator that can calculate advanced equations. This isn’t your sissy desktop calculator. This calculator comes with a large screen where you can input long equations as well as define variables for the calculator to produce the correct answer.

For instance, y = x + 41. Enter x = 18 and the calculator does the rest. Speed Crunch has many other useful aspects including syntax highlighting and automatic completion, both will help in reducing errors.

These five Linux applications are great resources for college students or graduates. It’s unfortunate that many out there still don’t realize the abundant, free programs out there that can help them in their daily life, and even help them graduate and better their future.

Open Source Tuning with RomRaider

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software — TheLinuxBlog.com at 6:30 am on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

RomRaider
This post features RomRaider, an open source software that is used for tuning. Not tuning or optimization in the traditional sense like optimizing shell scripts, but rather automotive tuning, specifically for Subaru’s.

It supports a lot of Subaru models and is able to tune supported ECU’s from various countries.

If you like living on the edge and can get over the risks it would totally be worth it. The consequences may not be for the faint hearted though:

  • An unreadable/unusable ECU.
  • A blown motor and its subsequent damage.
  • Unexpected behavior on the road or track that may cause injury or death to the user as well as others.
  • Violation of local and/or federal laws due to the modification of the factory ECU.

RomRaider is written in Java and is cross platform (Windows/Linux) Sorry Subaru driving Mac owners, you get no love. The interface, although clunky (I mean, it is Java after all) has some pretty cool graphs that display various information in a visually appealing format. If you own a Subaru and are interested in tuning, I’d give RomRaider serious consideration before other commercial solutions.

How to talk openly about open source software

Filed under: General Linux,Linux for Newb's — TheLinuxBlog.com at 9:42 am on Thursday, May 26, 2011

Today we have a guest post written by Whitney from Technected. Whitney majored in journalism and has been using Linux ever since. She now works for a large automotive corporation in the Midwest. In her spare time she enjoys playing video games, gardening and watching Dr. Who.

You already know Linux is superior. There’s a reason you downloaded it, even if you had to overwrite your pre-programmed OS. You painstakingly created partitioned files for your /boot, /swap, root and /home files. You even bought a stuffed penguin — the Jesus fish of Linux users — to proudly display on your desk.

With great power comes great responsibility, though. Suddenly, everyone is asking you why Linux is so great, and if they should download it. Once you’ve worked with an OS for so long, it’s sometimes hard to simplify your answers for them, so here’s a handy list of answers for the masses

(Read on …)

Ikea Hackers

Filed under: General Linux — TheLinuxBlog.com at 6:41 pm on Friday, May 20, 2011

Ikea is a great place for affordable furniture that makes it an attractive resource for technology enthusiasts. IkeaHackers.net has a lot of interesting hacks that could be used by Linux users.

The kids shoebox dual computer cabinet looks like it runs Ubuntu. It also looks like kids would love it. I need to know where I can get a keyboard and mouse like that.

This may be old news but it is cool none the less. If you haven’t seen it I Introduce to you the LackRack mount your switches, or small 19″ rack mount equipment in a table. What another genius use for a piece of Ikea furniture! Here are the handy lack rack Ikea instructions in a handy pdf.

People who want to advance their knowledge sometimes look into an online PhD.

Mikogo Calling for Beta Testers

Filed under: General Linux — TheLinuxBlog.com at 9:32 pm on Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mikogo is calling for beta testers for their Linux version. The best way I can explain it is an alternative to webex, goto/live meeting or perhaps Bomgar. While not open source it is a free service and anyone making an effort to bring quality applications to the Linux desktop deserves a mention. I believe this is an application that Linux users could really benefit from using (I know I could) so sign up to be a beta tester and give them some feed back that will help them produce a great product people will want to use.
Mikogo

Linux Journal Print Magazines for Sale

Filed under: General Linux — TheLinuxBlog.com at 10:01 am on Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Due to lack of interest, they are now FREE!

If you want to pick them up, if not just cover shipping.

Since I got the Linux Journal archive CD (2007 edition) a few years ago I’m going to get rid of my old ones up to December 2007, Issue #164. I don’t have every issue and they vary in condition, but they’re all in decent shape. If you don’t see an issue listed, the chances are it was either a subscription lapse, I lost it or it was loaned / given away. Anyway here is what I have: April 2005, July – December 2005 (7 issues) January -  September 2006 (9 issues) January – December 2007 (12 issues) Make an offer! I’d rather sell / ship them all at once, but can part with them individually if needed. I have no idea how much shipping would cost but can figure that out. If you’re located in or near Charlotte and are willing to drive, even better we can arrange a pickup, although with gas prices it might cost the same to mail it :). I’ll adjust the list above when they’ve all gone. If I ever get around to buying the 2010 edition DVD my 2008 – 2010 will be up for grabs too. Once I get rid of them I’ll have some more room on my book shelf for future editions or maybe some new books.

Easy Keyboard & Mouse Sharing with QuickSynergy

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software — TheLinuxBlog.com at 6:30 am on Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I’ve written before about using one computers keyboard and mouse across multiple computers by using x2vnc and x2x, there is however another tool called Synergy. I never really messed around with it because of x2x and x2vnc but it is a valuable tool worth mentioning. QuickSynergy is available in most repositories that is a handy little tool to get your computers set up using Synergy and as the name suggests; quickly. If you apt-yum-get-fu it it will install all your dependencies for you and make setup a breeze.

Take a look at the screenshots:
(Read on …)

Remote SSH Port Forwarding

Filed under: General Linux — TheLinuxBlog.com at 1:00 am on Wednesday, February 23, 2011

SSH Remote Port Forwarding

SSH is an amazing tool, I often find myself finding new and interesting ways (at least to me) to use it. It is a great tool to have in your toolbox.

This may be hard to explain in works, but here goes.

Picture this: you have 3 hosts, Host A has outbound access only and is on the same network as Host B. Host B has port 22 open, accepts ssh and is allowed to ssh to Host A. Host C is the computer you are sitting at and on a different network. So, you need to connect to Host A from host C. The way to do this is with SSH port forwarding.

Lets say Host A is 192.168.1.2, Host B is 192.168.1.1 and Host C is 10.0.0.1 on the different network. Host C also has port 22 open.

So, in order to connect to Host A from Host C you can do the following with local port forwarding:

(Read on …)

Linux Server Management

Filed under: General Linux — TheLinuxBlog.com at 5:30 am on Wednesday, February 9, 2011

linux server management
Management… What more is there to say? Management has the ability to either make your life easier or make your life a living hell, server management can go the same way. With these utilities Linux Server Management doesn’t have to be quite as grim. In fact having the right server management software can be very rewarding. In this post we’ll cover some of the Linux Server Management software that is available. As always, feel free to contribute your favorite tools!
(Read on …)

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