Finally I managed to buy a Asus EEE PC 700 this week. I would thanks a lot Next Store and its kindly clerks, which I will prefer in future to Mediaword :)
If you are at Milan and you plan to buy it, Next Store is a good choice.
The EEE PC is the First full featured PC sold at 300 euros. The Register tries also to compare it with the Mac Air, and we'll see why this is not a so crazy idea.
In these days in Italy was launched an overpriced version (320 euros) with Windows XP preinstalled. We are waiting also the more powerful version (EEEPC 900) at 400 euros. Anyway, what do the product is the 300 euro price: powerful and richer model at an higher price are no so stunning as the EEE PC 700.
Introduction: the hardware
The Asus EEE PC come with 3-usb 2.0 ports, and one SD Card reader. It is expandable a lot, considering it has the same usb ports of my Lenovo Thinkpad R60. It has no DVD reader, but it is very small and tight. The battery charger is similar to that of a GSM phone, and it sounds great because of its reduced weight.
The screen is tiny, but very very bright, so it can work if you are not too much greedy as me.
Even if the keyboard is too small, and the fan is noisy, for the rest EEEPC looks well.
With an external monitor&keyboard attached, your trouble are reduced, at least at home.
You can compare it to a Mac Mini, sold at 600 euros, which has a similar but powerful hardware: so having half the ram for the EEEPC is not a surprise.
But the EEEPC 701 is easy to expand, and on Internet some guys managed to install 2Gb of RAM.
And it is not shipped by deafult with windows but with a linux operating system… another big news, isn't it?
I code every day. So in my spare time, at home, I have two priorities: my girlfriends, and games.
And EEE-PC come with some funny games like Frozen Bubble, so it is definitively a very good machine.
Vodafone & EEE-PC
In Italy, Telecom Italia sells a branded version of EEE-PC, with its USB connect key. If you have a Vodafone Connect Key, I have found an italian article to try to connect it. I will do some tests, and then translate it in English if it is worth of it.
The operating system is a commercial version of Linux. Anyway it is well packaged, and it is reasonable fast. The File Manager does not start in a snap, but it could be worst.
Because ObjectsRoot.com is heavly focused on software development, I am searching a set of article to how build a small cluster of EEE-PC, for doing small distributed computing. The cluster should be easy to set up, with no installation of new operating system, and should have decent performance.
I will report my experiments in the next month.
Hacking it [Update on 11 june 2008]
Ubuntu has relased a specilized version of ubuntu linux
Conclusion: Why it is great
All these stuff fit in about 300 euros, and there is no decent PDA at this price…even a good Nokia GSM phone is difficult to find for a such price. The EEE-PC weights less then 1 Kg, and it is very easy to carry on. The webcam is good if you have sufficient light to give it, and you can record at 44.1 khz your voice.
Skype comes preinstalled, giving you a lot of freedom with its VoiceOverIP technology.
We read in wikipedia:
"Mac OS X is the successor to the original Mac OS, which had been Apple's primary operating system since 1984 […] The first version released was Mac OS X Server 1.0 in 1999, and a desktop-oriented version, Mac OS X v10.0 followed in March 2001"
The funny thing about MacOSX launch was the huge hype on the retail box: it was named "The world's most advanced operating system" and really it was very huge leap ahead.
I won one of the original box of the v10.0, and the vectoriazed PDF interface was one of the most powerful even.
Windows has obtained a similar GUI only at the end of the 2007, more then five years later
For more information also see
- The first O'Reilly manual at http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/mac/2001/11/09/missingmanual.html
- Inital Announce
This is the sad true: parsing is boring. And writing parser is even worst.
If you can choose a scripting language for parsing you can think to do it in perl.
For this way, take a big breath and go in the black sea of perl's funny regexp. They are funny only if you have that special love for the regular expressions.
But if you are more confortable with python, pyparser is a better solution.
Pyparser is a library written in Python, for building parser described with a BNF (Backus-Naur Form).
O'Reilly has just published a "Short Cuts" e-book written by Paul McGuire; in less then 70 pages you get a very good insight of pyparser.
Even if you are new to python, the book is very easy to read.
And if you do not know nothing about parser and Backus & Naur, you will find an easy path to understand it. Parsing is a tricky topic because of the grammar theory behind it, but for all-day work, you can follow the McGuire introduction.
After some simple example, you'll dive into a small web page parser.
It is very amazing how you can do extraction from web pages without a complex Sax parser, and using only a very compact grammar.
After this intro examples, the manual take us to a more complex task: a lisp-like expression language parser called S-Expression.
This example is important because complex data structure are oftern recursive as S-Expression are.
The last chapter, "Search Engine in 100 Lines of Code", is a well-written example, and show us how to build a small search-engine-grammar.
So this e-book is a "must" if you need to do even simple parsing and you… do not want to become crazy with too regular expressions :)
Let the Zend Framework introduce itself as a Borg would do:
"Hi dear RubyOnRails. Hi all. I am the Zend Framework, a small work (about 5 tons of code) done by IBM and Zend to destroy you. You think php is not able to build big project?… do you?
So you have dared to develop RubyOnRails or Perl or Python, thinking you can own the web in your way… Dear nerds you are so funny and young!!" in a lamp of light the borg duplicate itselfs in 100 indians programmers, saying together
"Resistence is futile.
Eh eh, we have just emitted a small set of stuff as a demo:
We have cache engine, memory manager, acl, configuration, pdf support, lucene support, all with documentation and examples (!).
Yeah we are also thinking to integrate php as a WebSphere Frontend, and javalize it. Yeah you now we are already working on it and it is a secret… in a couple of year, you will forced to use our PHP. As Borland destroyed its JBuilder in favour of our small Eclipse Framework you will be absorbed soon.
And yes, http://www.basecamphq.com/ is still closed source!"
PHP is still well supported and a tons of apps are out of there.
PHP is "insecure by design" because of its type juggling system which allow you to inject data in a very easy way. But ruby is not much more secure at the time of writing….and php code library is five times bigger then ruby.