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The air is feeling pretty autumnal out there. Finally.

I think I’m done researching UMPCs. I don’t think that they’re what I need. Originally I thought it would be great to have a small computer to take with me when I go out. The plan was to put Ubuntu or Mandriva on it and mess around with Linux. However I’m not sure where I’d take a laptop – certainly not to work where it’s likely to get damaged or broken; I don’t travel enough to warrant a “travel computer”; and when I do travel, taking a regular sized laptop isn’t an issue.

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Saw the Acer Aspire One (specs were identical to the one in the link) today in real-life and dropped it from my list of eligible UMPCs.

The keyboard was cramped was the bilingual version, not the North American version. The colour was nice (sapphire), but overall it looked kinda cheap.

I’ve been doing more reading about UMPCs. In actual fact, I think I’m a little obsessed. I’ve been awaiting the launch of the Dell-E, aka the “mini Inspiron”. It was supposed to launch yesterday, but now I hear it’s going to launch September 4th. For all the excitement around it – rumour is that is has a crappy slow SSD.

I’m leaning towards the EEE pc 1000H. I’m not keen on the SSD’s lifespan and heftier price. I wish the HDD version came with Xandros (it ships with XP) because Ubuntu doesn’t work all that great, even with all the kernel-hacking that’s being done. I’ve been reading about Mandriva, and from what I can understand it has the least amount of issues with the 1000. It works right out of the box for the EEE pc 700/701; the developers just didn’t realize that Asus was going to unleash a billion EEE pc models.

I have a lot of different interests that wax, wane, shift, and occasionally get replaced.

Right now I’m crazy about sub-notebooks. I wanted an eeePC 701, but decided to wait (well actually, was persuaded to wait by Paul) for the 900 or 901 series. And now, HP has launched its rival, the HP 2133 Mini-Note and next month the MSI Wind will be released. And other companies have releases unofficially scheduled for late summer.

Now I’m driving myself crazy comparing all of them. Argh.

I had to boot into Windows to get access to files that aren’t mounted to the Ubuntu side of things. I feel…dirty.

While I’m enjoying the quicker Firefox loading times, no browser crashes, and no flash or javascript problems (I’m having issues with these things, but I’m trying to be confident that I can work them out) I don’t miss seeing critical security update required from my antivirus software.

Some thoughts about using Ubuntu as a non-Linux savvy, but comfortable Windows user since I’ve been using it for a week or so (I ran it off of the live disc before the installation on the weekend):

The only thing that didn’t work was my monitor settings. I have a Dell 2005FPW wide-screen LCD monitor. Ubuntu wouldn’t display a resolution above 1280×1024. It was ugly. And I had no way of fixing it myself.

Sure, there were forum posts and articles galore about it, but as an extremely novice user, editing anything by command line is intimidating. (I haven’t covered the command line or terminal in my projects from the book, yet. I think it’s the next chapter). Until a few days ago, I had no idea what a “sudo” command was. Some of you might remember that the only thing a terminal is good for is the “secret internet”.

This is something that would be incredibly frustrating if I didn’t have someone to help me. It even took Paul a number of times to get the right modeline to fix my problem. This is something that would have probably eventually driven me back to Windows.

These are the types of issues that Linux and Ubuntu need to overcome if more users like me are ever going to be convinced to switch.

For the record, the fix is for the Xorg.config file is here. Let me know how it worked for you.

Things have been going very well with Ubuntu. We figured out how to fix the monitor resolution problem, so I can take advantage of my wide screen monitor again. I haven’t had to boot into XP at all.

The best tool for this has been the book Paul got for me, Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks: A Pain-Free, Project-Based, Get-Things-Done Guidebook. I can follow along with his projects, and I’m making good progress. The Ubuntu forum has also been a helpful place to lurk. Especially the “Absolute Beginner Talk” area.

I’m happy with my little penguin machine.

I installed Ubuntu on my machine (mostly) by myself…I’m dual-booting with XP for now.

Now I just need to figure out how to get my monitor to have a decent wide-screen resolution.

Like legions of people, I’m going to say “screw you, Microsoft” and switch (back) to Linux.

Some of you may remember back in 2001 or 2002 when I tried out RedHat Linux with less-than-stellar results. I ended up breaking my kernel. I couldn’t install anything on my own. My desktop crashed constantly. And so on. In desperation, I went back to Microsoft. But no more! This time I mean it!

I’m going to go with the Ubuntu, which seems like it can do everything I need it to do. This article is a very in-depth and unbiased account of Ubuntu’s usability.

I’m also going to order this book. Should be helpful.