February 26th, 2009 — 8:36pm
I’ve had my Acer Aspire One netbook now for about 3 months, and while I initially thought I’d rarely use it, it turns out I use it quite often. It’s small enough that I can throw it in just about any bag that I carry and I otherwise just keep it in the car so I have a computer with me anywhere I drive. Being able to tether it with my cellphone means I have internet connectivity anywhere I go, so for long trips when I’m not driving, I can browse the web, or find directions or reviews for restraunts quicker than I could on my mobile browser.
The battery life is decent, and I can bank on about 2 hours of usage per charge. The size and weight are ideal and I can use the keyboard quite effectively. The mouse buttons on the side leave something to be desired, but I usually just use the double click feature of the touchpad, and only use the buttons when i have to right-click. The Aspire One is pretty durable. while I haven’t dropped it from any great height yet, it’s been bounced around in the drunk and thrown in bags that aren’t given the greatest of care. I haven’t had any problems with the hardware.
I have Windows XP on my machine and it runs at an adequate speed. The lags would probably drive me insane if I was using it as a primary computer, but the size, full featured OS and low price are worth the trade off. What I thought would be a novelty has turned out to be a productive (and novel) tool that I use daily.
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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!
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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.
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