January 21st, 2009 — 8:39pm
While the Acer Aspire One and other netbooks are small enough to take just about anywhere, the problem is that WiFi isn’t usually available unless you’re at a hotel or coffee shop or a place that specifically provides it. Almost 80% of the time that I’m using my AAO, I’m on the web, or at least using something on the network, like chat or FTP, so without wireless access, the netbook is somewhat pointless.
I have an iPhone which is great for looking up directions or checking movie times, but the Safari browser is pretty limited, and it’s inability to render Flash makes so much of the web inaccessable. But now there’s a way to get the most out of your iPhone’s network and your netbook’s power: tether them.
Now this is something that’s frowned upon by mobile carriers, because you can obviously use quite a bit more data if you’re browsing the web on a full-fledged computer. I’ve heard reports that your “unlimited data plan” is actually about 5GB, and I’ve also heard of people staying under the 5GB and still getting a warning from their carrier that they aren’t allowed to tether (not sure how they’d know). In any case use this at your own risk.
Since tethering isn’t officially permitted on the iPhone data plan, there are no official apps to support it. Netshare was available for a little while and was quickly pulled for violating its contract with the carrier. So if you want to tether, you’re going to have to jailbreak your iPhone. I won’t go into detail about the jailbreaking process, but a quick search on the web would leave you with all the info you need. Through Cydia (which will be installed after you’ve jailbroken), download an application called PDAnet. This program will make your iPhone act as a wireless router. You don’t need to install any applications on your netbook, just set up an adhoc wireless network on your netbook and then connect to it on your iPhone through Settings > WiFi. That’s it! You’re surfing the web on your netbook through your iPhone. The PDAnet application also shows how much data you’ve transfered and received so you can keep an eye on your usage. Happy surfing!
20 comments » | Uncategorized
January 20th, 2009 — 1:24pm
While the SSD in the Acer Aspire One has very fast read times, it suffers from very slow write times and many of the tweaks that you have to make when installing Windows XP is to reduce the amount that the operating system is writing to the drive. The AAO’s that come shipped with XP have 120GB HD’s that don’t suffer from these slow writing times. While there are many ways to speed up Windows XP on the Acer Aspire one, it may be better to just replace the SSD with an HD if write times become a problem.
This hack, like the Acer Aspire One bluetooth mod, comes from the netbook hacker Tnkgrl. Instead of using the standard 2.5″ laptop drive that most netbooks use, she’s found that a 1.8″ PATA HD, like those found in an iPod or Zune will plug directly into the connector used for the SSD. It requires almost no fabrication to fit, and the BIOS auomatically detects the drive. eBay is filled with used 20GB and larger drives in this format, so this modification can be relatively cheap to perform.
Here is a link to the site, which includes video with step-by-step instructions.
16 comments » | Modifications, SSD
January 14th, 2009 — 6:24pm
One thing that the Acer Aspire One lacks that most other netbooks include is an internal Bluetooth module. The very handy netbook hacker ‘tnkgrl’ has provided very detailed instruction on how to install an internal Bluetooth chip in your AAO.
The process requires intermediate soldering skills as some of the points are very small. You will definitely need some type of magnifying glass to make sure that your soldering points are strong and accurate. One of the downsides to this mod is that you can’t turn the Bluetooth off, unless you disable it in the control panel. I’ve noticed that I get almost half an hour less now that I’ve installed this mod than I did before, so you may want to consider just using a micro external dongle that you can pull out when you’re not using it. The disadvantage to the external Bluetooth is that it will take up one of the three USB slots, stick out about a quarter of an inch, and isn’t as cool. It really comes down to how frequently you require Bluetooth.
check out the step-by-step instructions here:
229 comments » | Bluetooth, Installs
January 6th, 2009 — 6:49pm
If you have an earlier version of the Acer Aspire One and are still running the original Linux Linpus operating system, you can use a couple of scripts to quiet it down and still keep your computer cool. The image of having a small, sleek netbook gets a bit ruined when it’s the noisiest machine in the coffee shop.
- first download the acerfand script here.
- then download the acer_ec script here.
- copy both of the files to /usr/local/bin
- make the acerfand executable using chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/acerfand
- open /etc/rc.local as root and add /usr/local/bin/acerfand at the end of the file
That should do it. Enjoy the quieter fan.
2 comments » | Uncategorized