Computer Notebook Computer Notebook: Setting up the EEEPC

First Impressions of the EEEPC

Although I've handled a EEEPC before, I was surprised by its size. The best way to think about it is that it is just bigger in length and width (by about 1-2 cm) than a DVD case. In weight, even with the battery, it weighs about what a full 1 liter bottle of water would weigh. It does not feel heavy at all.

EEEPC Size comparison EEEPC Closed Size Comparison My Computers and Desk

My impression is that it is a compact computer that seems well-built. I also appreciate that the AC adapter is not bulky or too heavy.

EEEPC Keyboard EEEPC AC Adapter EEEPC Sleeve

Setting Up the EEEPC

The computer was easy to set up. Just follow the Quick Use Guide in the box. Put in the battery and charge it fully. I was using the computer in minutes out of the box.

Some Adjustments

More Memory

Purchase on Amazon

Instead of the installed 512KB of memory, I wanted to have more. So I also purchased 1 GB of memory with the computer.

I watched this video for an overview of how to install the new memory. This video is just a bit confusing (besides its hard-driving disco beat!) in that it shows the new (1 GB) card being installed twice. The bottom line: you need to (at our own risk, but not voiding the warranty) open the back panel, take out the old memory (512 MB), and put in the new memory (1 GB) card. I was confused by the video as it shows the new card being put in twice (I guess for emphasis--those French!).

I got the new 1 GB of memory and turned the EEEPC off and upside down.

The back of the EEEPC and the package of new memory memory 1 GB bought for the EEEPC

I opened the back panel, and then I took the old memory out and put the new memory in.

The 1 GB memory (left) and the factory memory (512 MB) in the case The factory-installed 512 MB of memory (left) and the 1 GB new memory in the case memory (1 GB) Installed in the EEEPC

After replacing the panel and powering up the computer, I went to Settings->System Info and could see that my memory size now stood at 1024 MB.

System Info Shows 1024 MB after installation

I think it seems faster, but I am also getting used to the computer itself and getting a better feel for its response. My desktop PC has 2 GB of memory and a 2.40 GHz processor versus the 1 GB of memory upgrade and a 800 MHz processor for the EEEPC. The EEEPC is going to seem a bit sluggish to me.

I was able to open several applications at once with no problem:

Several Applications Running at the Same Time

More Storage Space

Purchase on Amazon

The 4 GB hard disk on the EEEPC is pretty awesome. Many ancient Geeks remember a time when a 10 MB hard drive on a PC was something to drool over!

I also purchased 8 GB SD HC Card with the computer. To use this, I put it in the slot on the right side of the computer. When in the slot, the EEEPC will detect it. An SD Card icon appeared in the taskbar. You can then use it to store documents.

I wanted to transfer some plain text files from the EEEPC to my desktop PC:

  1. I inserted the SD card into the slot on the right side of the EEEPC. You need to push it all the way in until it catches and stays in. Once the EEEPC detects it is in, a window comes up to ask how to handle it. I clicked on OK to use the File Manager.

    SD Card EEEPC After Inserting SD Card

  2. On the EEEPC, I used Work->File Manager to copy the plain text files I wanted to transfer onto the SD Card. A simple copy and paste transfer worked.
  3. When the files were transferred, I did a right click on the SD Card icon in the taskbar and selected "Safely remove."
  4. I then pushed in on the card's edge a bit, and it sprang back out, and I gently pulled the rest of the way out of the EEEPC. This is similar to the way an SD card operates in my digital camera.
  5. I then put this SD card into the SD Card reader on my desktop PC (Windows Vista).

    SD Card Desktop PC

  6. On my desktop PC, I went to Computer and looked in Removable Disk (H:), and there were the files.
  7. I copied then and pasted them to my PC's hard disk, and they were fine.
  8. I then did a right click on the Removable Disk (H:) on my desktop PC and selected "Safely Remove."
  9. I then could take the SD Card out.

Back in ancient times (ask your parents or grandparents), something called "floppy disks" worked this same way: you could store things on them or transfer files from one computer to another. I'm glad this SD card file transfer system works so easily (the SD Card reader built-in to my desktop PC's chassis helps) as I simply want to use the EEEPC to write plain text files and then transfer them to my main PC. This is one alternative that does not use the Internet for transfer or storage. Note that I can reverse this process to get something onto the EEEPC.

Note that another choice is to use docs.google.com and work with all your documents online and avoid this old-fashioned SD card stuff.

A Hard Case for the EEEPC!

Purchase on Amazon

I like to carry the EEEPC, but I don't want to carry it around in my backpack loose. I want to have some sturdy, water-tight container for it. After searching for a while, I found one!

I bought a plastic food container at a Target department store that is just the right size to hold an EEEPC. The container is made by Snapware® and is called the "MODS™ (Modular Organized Durable Storage) Food Container - Large 8 Cup Rectangular by Snapware®." Its dimensions are 2 inches x 10 inches x 8 inches with a volume of 8 cups (this is 5 cm x 25.4 cm x 20.3 cm with a volume of 1.8 liters). I paid $5.99 for it in the store. You can buy a case like this in a set of Modular Organized Durable Storage (MODS) Food Storage Containers by Snapware. I also use other containers in this set to hold my camera and lenses in my backpack. These cases provide a waterproof and crush-resistant carrying case which help protect the electronics. People tell me you could carry food in these containers, but not food and electronics in the same container at once.

EEEPC in its MODS case with label on it

Put the EEEPC in its protective neoprene sleeve and then inside this MODS container. I can also fit in a small mint tin that holds my earbud/microphone (for skype calls).

EEEPC in its MODS case with cover off

With the cover on, there will be no rattle. Most importantly, the airtight seal keeps your data fresh!

A hard case for the EEEPC!

Note that this container cannot fit the power adapter also. I carry that in a separate plastic container.

Installed Operating System

Note that I have updated the operating system from what came installed on the EEEPC. See the Updates. The information below is kept for reference.

The operating system interface that comes installed (called the Easy Mode interface) is a window manager with big, colorful web 2.0-style icons:

You can install a full desktop mode as an alternative interface.

EEEPC Internet EEEPC Work EEEPC Learn
EEEPC Play EEEPC Settings EEEPC Favorites

Full Desktop

Although the Easy Mode interface that comes with the EEEPC is fine for most users, I prefer to have a desktop that looks more like the Unix workstations or windows interface on a PC that I've been using for decades. You can get a full desktop on the EEEPC fairly easily (the K Desktop Environment (KDE)). I followed these instructions for setting up the full desktop. There are more instructions at EEEUser, but cannot understand them--there is too much information, too many steps, too many options, and it is too confusing to follow. If you prepare or know of a clear, concise, cogent, comprehensible set of instructions, I'd love to link to them. In the meantime, here is what I did to get Full Desktop mode on my EEEPC:

  1. I connected to the Internet by plugging the Ethernet cable from my DSL modem into the side of the EEEPC.
  2. I went to Work->File Manager and hit Ctrl/T to get a terminal session
  3. To gain root access, I entered sudo bash, and then I entered apt-get update

    snapshot1

  4. I entered apt-get install kicker

    snapshot2

    I responded "y" and pressed return.

    snapshot3

  5. I entered apt-get install ksmserver

    snapshot4

    I responded "y" and pressed return.

    snapshot5

  6. I then entered exit to exit root mode and exit again to exit the shell.

At the end of entering these instructions, I restarted the computer.

Then, when the Easy Mode interface came up, I went into Settings->Personalization and clicked the box next to Full Desktop mode.

snapshot6

I then restarted the computer. When I start the computer again, it enters full desktop mode to start.

EEEPC Full Desktop Mode

Tweaking Full Desktop

I have my own little customizations that I made to the Full Desktop mode:

You can update the system using the Synaptic Package Manager (Launch->Applications->System->Synaptic Package Manager). But, use caution. I tried some updates, but then I had to do Factory Restore twice because the computer got locked up! I have resigned from adding anything more until I can figure out how to do it properly. I am satisfied with the simple tasks this computer does, and I am reluctant now to make it too complicated.

Updating the System

See the Updates Section.

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2017-05-16 · John December · Contact · Terms of Use © December Communications, Inc.