Weekly Notes #20, 2009

May 17, 2009 by Michael Szumielewski / 3 comments

  • The slim Asus Eee PC 1008HA official product page goes live, check it out here (via EeePc.net)
  • Also, the Asus Eee PC 1005HA gets official, a netbook similar to the 1008HA
  • Remember the stylish design netbook Samsung N310? It got reviewed
  • And least, this weeks Mac OS X upgrade seems to boost battery life on Hackintosh laptops. Nice, wuh?

Review: Mac OS X 10.5.6 on ASUS Eee PC 1000H

May 17, 2009 by Michael Szumielewski / 18 comments

Review: Mac OS X 10.5.6 on ASUS Eee PC 1000H

A quick review about my experiences with installing and playing around with Mac OS X 10.5.6 on the ASUS Eee PC 1000H. At this moment, I’ve run this setup for a few days and it’s been great so far.

Preparation & Installation

Before you can join the Hackintosh crowd, you have to get some stuff ready. First of all, you need iDeneb 1.4 with Mac OS X 10.5.6, download it from the usual sources.
Second, you will have to flash your BIOS with a customized one. This should be no problem, but to be save, flash the original BIOS back in case you delete Mac OS X and have to claim the warranty.

Also, an external optical drive is needed. While is seems possible to run iDeneb from an USB flash drive, I preferred the simplest approach and borrowed an external optical drive from my friend Adrian. I recommend a fresh installation if you have 10.5.5, although some users reported it worked for them. Upgrading to 10.5.7 may also be risky, I have no experience with that.

To install Mac OS X 10.5.6 on the ASUS Eee PC 1000H, I followed this excellent guide. Thanks to the community around the Eee PC at ipis-osx, almost everything works. After the OS X installation you will have to install some kext files to fix various issues. After that you should have a fully functional Hackintosh.

Review: Mac OS X 10.5.6 on ASUS Eee PC 1000H

Performing some common tasks

Since netbooks where primarily made for browsing the Internet, the first thing I tried was Safari, which turns out to be a great web browser. I also installed Mozilla Firefox, works perfect, too.

The basic Apple apps are amazing. Compared to Windows, you have a nice suite of applications after installing iWork and iLife. Of course, you can also install the open-source office solution OpenOffice. Performance can be compared to performance under XP or an other alternative operating system. Only thing that was quite new to me, is that almost all good apps cost money.

Another thing is the possibility to plug in an external monitor for additional screen size. Guess what, works perfectly. Despite Mac OS X has not been made for netbooks, all important things work.

Only thing is battery life, which is definitly shorter than on the preinstalled Windows XP system. While 10.5.7 seems to dramatically increase battery life, I haven’t tested it yet.

Bottom line

The possibility to install Mac OS X on netbooks has been the first hands-on OS X experience for a lot of Windows users out there. While many people consider Macs too expensive, they now can try Apple’s superior operating system on their own cheap netbooks. Might turn a lot of them into switchers in the long run.

I guess, it’s not advisable to run this setup on a productive machine due to the lack of updates and uncertainties regarding it’s a hacked system. I experienced OS X as a very stable system and despite only running on an Atom processor, it’s very responsive. Another cool thing is that I never have to shut it down, I just close the lid and put it to sleep. I hope the wireless card I ordered from Hongkong will arrive soon and improve the wireless experience.

So, everybody who has an Eee PC and wants to experiment, just check it out! Mac OS X 10.5.6 on the ASUS Eee PC 1000H is great.

How to mount ISO files with DAEMON Tools

May 5, 2009 by Michael Szumielewski / 10 comments

Daemon Tools In this article you will learn how to mount disk images like ISO files with DAEMON Tools. A lot of stuff you can download from the Internet nowadays comes in a disc image format like ISO or similar. Basically, it’s a single file that contains the complete image of a disc. Most people know that you can burn these disc images on a CD or DVD, but there is also the possibility to mount these files in a virtual drive on your computer without wasting a blank CD.

How DAEMON Tools works

DAEMON Tools basically creates one or more virtual drives and enables you to open and use your disc image in it. It’s just like putting a CD/DVD in your optical drive, same functionality.

There is a free version of DAEMON Tools that is more than enough for the average user, download the latest version. Be sure to uncheck the toolbar option during the installation, that’s just an unnecessary advertising plugin for your browser.

DAEMON Tools supports the following image file formats: cue/bin, iso, ccd (CloneCD), bwt (Blindwrite), mds (Media Descriptor File), cdi (Discjuggler), nrg (Nero), pdi (Instant CD/DVD) and b5t (BlindWrite 5).

Of course, this is Windows software, Macs and Linux operating systems have the mount feature built-in, no extra software needed.

How to mount ISO files

After installation, you need an image of a CD/DVD. To demonstrate the functionality I will use an Ubuntu CD image with comes as an ISO file.

How to mount ISO files with DAEMON Tools

First, you should see a new icon in in the system tray, right-click it.

How to mount ISO files with DAEMON Tools

To mount our ISO file, click “Virtual CD/DVD-ROM”, then on the first menu point, in my case “Device 0: [ E: ] No Media”. That’s how your virtual drive is called where the image will be mounted. Finally, click on “Mount image” to select the file.

How to mount ISO files with DAEMON Tools

Awesome, it works! Now you can do stuff with this drive just like with any normal optical drive.

How to mount ISO files with DAEMON Tools

To unmount the image, simply go back to the menu again and click on “Unmount image”.

That’s it, very easy procedure. All in all, DAEMON Tools is a light weight and easy to use program that I recommend from personal experience at home and work. Go, get it!

Weekly Notes #18, 2009

May 4, 2009 by Michael Szumielewski / 1 comment

  • The long awaited seashell-like ASUS Eee PC 1008HA is not far away from finally setting foot in U.S. online stores. A little patience, please.
  • According to NetApplications, Linux passed 1% market share for the first time ever in April. World domination, here we come?
  • Interesting poll at Liliputing about netbooks and what preferences users have. For example, only 4.5% of participants consider larger screens than 10.2-inch optimal for netbooks.
  • Do you have a brand new ASUS Eee PC 1000HE? Here is a quick guide on “How to Fix Your ASUS Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard Flex”
  • And some fun stuff at the end, check out this 13 super cool computer keyboards!

Weekly Notes #17, 2009

April 27, 2009 by Michael Szumielewski / No comments

  • NotebookNotes.com now has a coupon category with discounts and coupons on notebooks, at the moment there plenty Dell discounts available. Other manufacturers will be added soon.
  • Microsoft makes $15 for every netbook sold with Windows XP. It seems like future netbooks will have Windows 7 Starter Edition preinstalled featuring severe limitations. Awesome as ever, Microsoft?
  • LaptopLogic.com has a cool article ever geek and ambitious computer user should read: 64 Things Every Geek Should Know
  • Apple reports best ever March quarter with a $1.21b profit and still calls netbooks “junky”. Tim Cook states that Apple will not develop a netbook as they exist today.
  • Last but not least, Ubuntu 9.04 has been released this week!

Ubuntu 9.04 released with cool new features

April 24, 2009 by Michael Szumielewski / No comments

Ubuntu 9.04 released with cool new features

The latest version of the popular Linux distribution Ubuntu has been released. As usual, it has a crazy nickname, Jaunty Jackalope, and offers significant changes with solid features and better performance.

You can download Ubuntu 9.04 now from the official download site or help the community a bit by downloading the torrent and seeding the ISO file afterwards. Most likely, the correct image file is the PC (Intel x86) desktop CD which is suitable for almost all PCs, including Macs.

Updated GNOME, Kernel and much more

As always, Ubuntu includes upgraded versions of GNOME and X.Org. This will make video and graphics performance better. GNOME 2.26 features new versions of its applications, including the Brasero CD/DVD burner, e-mail client Evolution or music player Rhythmbox.

Ubuntu now uses the Linux kernel 2.6.28-11.37, the latest Linux kernel with improved disk performance, better SSD support and superior virtual memory scalability. You get noticeably quicker performance from your storage drives.

If you are a very impatient computer user, you will be happy to hear, that the boot time is a lot faster now. Some Ubuntu users even report boot times of 17.5 seconds. Pretty amazing.

The Linux distro now support the ext4 file system. By default, Ubuntu still uses ext3, however ext4 is supposed to be faster, offering faster boot times and better read/write performance.

Also new is a design element called notification area which is quite similar to the one on Macs. Good first step to improve the GUI, more design improvements are planned for the next release in October 2009.

Live CD, bootable USB flash drive or virtual machine

After downloading the Ubuntu image file, you have several options how to run the Linux operating system. First, you can burn it on a CD and thus have an Ubuntu Live CD.

A more advanced but still pretty easy way is creating a bootable USB flash drive with Ubuntu on it. Follow the instructions in my USB article, it’s really nice if you don’t want to waste a CD.

Another way to try out Ubuntu is to install it in a virtual machine. You will need a special virtualization software for that, I recommend using VirtualBox.

Whatever way to try Ubuntu, the nice thing about it is that you actually don’t have to install it right away. For all users of previous versions, I highly recommend the upgrade, as always, Ubuntu made huge progress with this release.

Windows 7 touch screen videos

April 21, 2009 by Michael Szumielewski / 3 comments

Windows 7 promises some neat touch screen gestures as you can see in the two demo videos above. While the actual versions of Windows pretty much suck at touch screen navigation, the new touch screen gestures look more promising.

Both videos show the Dell Latitude XT performing multi-touch gestures in Microsoft Windows. The demonstrations show the interaction in several applications like a photo gallery, maps and a piano program. Especially the map application looks very interesting.

When it comes to touch screen technology and software, one has to mention Apple who have made huge progress in this field and brought touch screen devices to the masses. The question with this Windows 7 touch screen gimmicks is, if they will actually be useful, add value to the user and increase his productivity. Personally I think, in the way the software is presented in the videos above, kiosk systems would be a more suitable application area for this multi-touch features.

Do you like the touch screen demonstrations above? Do you think they would positively contribute to your productivity?
Please share in the comments!

Weekly Notes #16, 2009

April 19, 2009 by Michael Szumielewski / No comments

Macbook Air survives airplane crash

  • A look at the fast-changing netbook market with an overview of models released in the past 18 months by PC World.
  • Since the latest Intel Atom N280 processor is showing up in more and more netbooks, here is a benchmark. No big difference to the older Atom N270.
  • Do you need an e-book reader? Check out the Amazon Kindle 2, it seems like the device sells pretty good.
  • Check out this spoof on the new Microsoft “Laptop Hunters” commercials: Homeless Frank
  • This made my week: Macs do crash, literally! Check out this MacBook Air that survived a airplane crash!

Laptop Hunters: Homeless Frank

April 18, 2009 by Michael Szumielewski / 2 comments

Finally a spoof on the new Microsoft “Laptop Hunters” commercials: Homeless Frank by LandlineTV. You find it, you keep it!

As Homeless Frank, the star of this commercial, isn’t allowed to buy an Apple laptop, he is outraged: “I’m poor, but I’m not retarded. Alright? These computers suck!”

Then he looks at some Windows PCs and says “Windows Vista Home Premium? This is bullshit!” Frank goes on to ask, “is this plastic?” while picking up one of the other PCs. Besides Windows Vista and plastic, he also discovers anti-virus software and is not at all amused.

All in all, very funny and nearer to the truth than Microsoft’s ads. Apple should do a commercial with the Mac and PC guys themselves as a response. It would rock a thousand times harder than the actual lame Microsoft Laptop Hunters ads.

Get a Mac!

Asus Eee PC 1000HE wins Netbook Madness Finals

April 14, 2009 by Michael Szumielewski / 6 comments

LaptopMag Netbook Madness Finals

The Asus Eee PC 1000HE wins the Netbook Madness Finals powered by LaptopMag. After a series of one-on-one fights, the 1000HE got the most votes against the Samsung NC10 and wins the competition.

While you can argue if this was a fair battle, the winner is still a great netbook. There are different opinions, but in the end the superior hardware including the N280 processor and longer battery life got the most followers. The 1000HE is also cheaper than the NC10. Congrats!

Additional information about the Asus Eee PC 1000HE can be found in our product database.

via Netbook Lounge