Switching from MacBook Pro to an ASUS EeePC

December 3, 2008

Well, the display on my Macbook Pro finally decided to die on me, for no apparent reason (I was just sitting in bed, listening to some music when it died). So, I decided that rather than pay for a repair, I’d continue to use the MacBook as a desktop with an external display, and get a tiny netbook for day-to-day use (because I need a laptop to carry, go to coffeeshops with and generally use).

I ended up going with the EeePC (The 1000H model), because I could get the entire laptop for only a little more than repairing the screen of my MacBook (and a brand new Mac is terribly expensive). I’ve been playing with my new netbook for about a week now, and I thought I’d share some of my experiences.

The EeePC came with Windows XP preinstalled, so I promptly partitioned it down to 25g for Windows, 40g for Music and the rest (~90g) for Ubuntu-eee. I decided to go with Ubuntu-eee because of the custom kernel that supported the hardware out of the box without fiddling around. While I really really enjoy fiddling to get stuff to work, I don’t want to have to fiddle just to be able to get a working machine, especially when I’m somewhere I need to actually do some work. I almost immediately switched from the user-friendly Netbook remix interface to a classic Gnome interface, but I could see how it would be really nice for someone newer to Linux.

Here’s some of the key things (?) about my new EeePC (and Ubuntu-eee):

  • I like how portable this is, it’s definitely lighter than my MacBook Pro
  • It’s not ridiculously expensive like a Mac is ;)
  • I like Linux, since I tend to do all of my development on *nix systems, it’s great to have one as a main machine.
  • 1024×600 is very small, especially coming from 1440×900. This is helped by fullscreen mode in things like Firefox (with Vimperator for even more screen space) and Gnome Terminal.
  • Wifi and networking work great, this has always been shaky on Linux systems, I’m glad that I don’t have to fiddle for 20 minutes just to join a coffeeshop’s hotspot
  • Suspend and Hibernate work great, also a big feature, especially since Apple’s sleep feature spoiled me to never turn my Mac off.
  • I don’t like some of the trackpad stuff. It’s difficult to turn off the tap-to-click, attempting to install packages to manage it disable the vertical 2-finger scrolling, it’s _insanely_ sensitive (the pad, the buttons themselves are kind of stiff).
  • The keyboard is great, since I got the 10″, it’s not small enough to bother me during coding sessions, which I’m sure the 8.9″ would have.
  • This machine definitely has less power than I’m used to, but I make up for it by doing a lot of resource-intensive stuff on my home machine over SSH, which makes up for it.
  • Con: Linux twitter clients suck. Adobe AIR clients take a ton of resources also.
  • Con: Linux sound stuff still sucks, it struggles with 2 processes attempting to share the sound device using ALSA.

I would definitely _not_ recommend this device to anyone with ailing eyesight, I tend to use 8 or 9pt font for everything, and I could definitely see some eye strain for anyone who has vision trouble. Don’t get one for your grandparents unless you don’t play on much screen space being usable (or don’t do everything in the console, like I do :) ).

And, since I like pictures, here’s a few pictures of my new machine:

4 Comments to "Switching from MacBook Pro to an ASUS EeePC"

  1. Ivan wrote:

    Nice !

    But how did you underline that line in vim ? I can’t figure it out. Please tell, before I go crazy … :)

    All the best

  2. Lee wrote:

    The underline for the current line is part of the vim colorscheme I kinda hacked up myself. you can find the scheme here: http://github.com/dakrone/dakrone-dotfiles/tree/master/.vim/colors/ir_black_new.vim (it’s based off of the ir_black theme). Or, all of my config files here: http://github.com/dakrone/dakrone-dotfiles/tree/master

  3. herki wrote:


    Nice Desktop but I have a question what kind of font You use in second screen (Vim). THX

  4. Lee wrote:

    The font I used is called “Proggy”, you can download it free here: http://www.proggyfonts.com/index.php?menu=download

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