Asus EEE-PC better then Mac Air?

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.

There are a lot of sites and articles around the net about the EEE-PC, because it is a very new article in the IT consumer world.

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 Software…

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.

…the ideas

Because 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.



Software Trends1

The trends of this october are about some upcoming products.
A clear analisys of QuarkXPress failure si sketched in roughlydrafted site.
I do not think the same consideration can be applied to Vista.

As Joel said, M$ can throw away much money before only starting to see its market reduced.

This lead me to the (hoped?) big fear of M$ for open source.
It is a dream, baby.

Open Source in Italy has success because of high costs of developement library.
When I tried to look for a commercial application to delivery some web graphic stuff, the prices was crazy.
The Open Source solution needed us only to buy a book(!).
Open source deliver a sufficient quality at low mantenance costs.
A smart developer in a 3-people team can set it up and deliver a small project.

If really M$, Sun, IBM’d start fear open source, they can cut their prices of 70% and all the drama will end quickly.

But the truth is Linux is not evloving: it is growing in the SysAdmin area only, popping out old dinosaurs like Sun Servers, replaced by cheap PC.
Sun Servers needs custom monitor and mouse (!) and their price is high compared to equally fast high-end pc.

The server segment is so over-priced that even Apple has succesfully proposed its over-priced servers (this is very fun!).

In the last five years I have seen no new on operating systems, or strong standard evolution.
EJB specs seems quite dead, hibernate is old, and the only “new” ideas are RubyOnRails and… PHP5.

On programming languages python seems growing well.

By the way there is much hypo on Ruby, but its base class library is very small compared to python or perl.

Ruby community is very well organized and can eventually bring Ruby to success, but for the meantime I see more success on PHP if you need a rock solid road.

Finally I have started to work on Squeak Smalltalk Weekly News, and I suggest you to look at it sometimes.