I’m more or less of the same mind

Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.

matthew posted this link about a week ago or so, as a note to a discussion about another staff member’s desire to pick up an eeePC. I found it interesting as an owner of another “sub-notebook,” an OLPC XO-1.

A lot of what Shawn Powers has to say about the eeePC are my own impressions of the XO-1 — most notably, his re-perception of the eeePC as a “souped-up” mobile device, and not a miniature laptop.

I think my original problem is that I saw the interface as a stripped down laptop instead of a souped up “mobile device.” When I think of my EeePC as a Palm Pilot on steroids, it’s actually extremely useful…

I’ve come to much the same conclusion about the XO-1: Accepting it as an overpowered personal device, and not a full-fledged laptop, makes it much more interesting and capable. When I stopped trying to force-feed it full GTK2 environments with specialized kernels, it stopped seeming quite so obtuse and frustrating.

Sometimes the job fits the tool, and sometimes the tool fits the job.

I differ on Sugar, the XO’s default software. Shawn seems happy with the eeePC’s software, but I find the OLPC’s system a bit to heavy for the hardware. That’s just one person’s opinion though.

Right now I have the little XO running an Arch installation off a 1Gb USB key, and its sole function is to stream audio across the wireless network and pipe that into a leftover radio with RCA input jacks. All the software is GTK1.2-based, with IceWM as the desktop and all the audio files networked off another laptop.

The result is a computer I use on a daily basis, with a minimal overhead and a fantastic battery life; it’s something I can turn on and leave on for hours without sucking power or threatening the environment, and when I am done with it or leave the house for a while, I give it the sudo halt command, and walk away.

It’s a very clean, very attractive, very space-conscious music relay system.

I don’t compile on it any more, or test graphical systems or twist it to constantly poll Gmail for new mail. It’s got a role, it has a desktop to suit it, and there’s nothing else that I need to worry about with it. One a week I update it, once I month I clear the cache, and life goes on. It’s sweet.


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