2019.11.21 13.04


Isolated Day Off

Sandy Hook Shooting

Toronto the Orange

Winning Solitaire

Learning about Android



Father's Day 2012

Lockdown (article)

RIP Coralee Whitcomb

In Praise of Crap

In Praise of Idleness

Love After 70 (snapjudgment)

Thornhill Fair

Bees in the Garbage

Memories of the EeePC

Legendary Customer Service

to Newmarket and back

borrowing Ti Gar

the oatmeal

three songs

small towns

best dollar stores

KW day two

Waterloo via Galt

Facebook Humbug

august-september 2010

march 2010

december 2009

august 2009

june 2009

april 2009

march 2009

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back to 2003-2004

unmodified old essays and pix

110814 Memories of the EeePC

I still remember when I first saw this little computer. Oh, I can't remember the date, but the internet is always helpful to me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asus_Eee_PC

So some time after 2007-Oct-17 I saw it at a small computer store in the Pacific Mall. That is a very large building full of very small (closet sized) businesses. This particular store specialized in very small, small and full sized laptop computers. I don't know if they had a name yet for the niche, nor did they have a specific size. For example they had units just bigger than the palm of your hand (imagine something about the size of a Nintendo DS, but the bottom section is a keyboard, and the top is a six-inch display.

I was excited by this EeePc. It was bigger than most of the small computers this place sold, but not so big as to be heavy. It did not include an optical drive (a CD or a DVD drive).

It didn't come with Windows, but they showed a computer with XP running on it just to let the buyer know it was possible. It did include a version of Linux called Xandros. Many think that any Linux is a strictly free operating system, but the Xandros OS is actually a commercial product. I guess they invested some time in making it work with the ASUS computer.

The unit I am looking at right now is the original 701 with a solid state 4Gb hard drive. A drive that doesn't spin seems much safer to have bouncing around in your car than a normal spinning one. This particular drive is very slow, since they didn't have technology for faster flash drives at reasonable prices at that time.

In 1999 SanDisk, Matsushita and Toshiba started development on their multi-media card, or MMC. In 2000 people were able to purchase 32Mb and 64Mb cards. But in these early days the SD cards were primarily for developers (such as camera makers) who were still working out the details of the technology. So a large capacity 4G drive would not be considered small and cheap at this time, nor even later in 2007.

I consider ASUS and the EeePc responsible for the Netbook revolution we now live in. Something happened, and a few manufacturers realized that consumers would buy a $200 laptop that was light, had no CD/DVD, and just worked well. They were ideal for taking to the library or to Starbucks.

So I have Jeff's EeePc here because he doesn't like being stuck with a computer in Kiosk Mode. You see, Xandros, Easy Peasy and a few other Linux distributions default to a desktop mode which makes it hard or impossible to ruin the functionality. Such a mode also makes it hard or impossible to install different software on the computer. Besides, Jeff is a MS Windows kind of guy. Oh, he can use anything, but a little computer like this is a pleasure computer, and fighting with an Operating System to do something that is easy elsewhere doesn't seem like fun at all.

For the longest of time, I just kept his EeePc around. It has taken me months to get enough mental stamina to give this job a start. It required me to clean off the freezer as well as the top of the laser printer. Most important, it required a mental clarity for seeing through technical problems which made OS installation hard to do.

Last weekend we went to one computer liquidation place after another. At the last stop, I got a couple more 4Gb SD cards. I am using one of them now to complete this job.

When I was toying with Ubuntu, another Linux distribution, I was introduced to Unetbootin, a program which lets the user convert any ISO format file into a bootable USB device. Yay, that's what I need to use today. I thought that was what I needed to use. It fails- it boots up to the boot loader, and keeps restarting every ten seconds. I guess Unetbootin, while being useful, is primarily for Ubuntu and other similar Linux distribution CD images.

So last night, I read about different procedures and programs for making a USB drive bootable. I'm a technical person, but I found some of them hard to understand. I had to have some kind floppy disk with DOS on it to create my bootable drive. I didn't have that. I was looking everywhere (online) to find a replacement for the SYS command. Under DOS, you could say SYS B: and it would write the boot information from the hard drive onto the hidden areas of drive B. By now you must have guessed that I didn't find it.

I will skip the failed solutions, and proceed to the one that worked for me. You should visit http://wintoflash.com/home/en/ and download this program. It doesn't require install, just unzip it into a place where your programs go.

I have a download here that doesn't seem to be shared on the net any longer, called EeeXP2.iso, which is a MS Windows XP Professional build primarily for the EeePc, with drivers primarily for that little computer. This is what I want on the chip! Well, it's too bad, but I wasn't able to find a way to put an ISO file onto the chip, so it required an additional step.

I burnt the ISO file onto a CD. That was acceptable to the WinToFlash program.

At around 1120pm I started to make the USB drive as above. Just prior to midnight, I was able to get it working. I chose the text mode installer, and aimed the Windows installation at the internal Drive C. It is 330am and it's only 38% complete. As I suggested above, this solid state hard drive doesn't go as fast as hard drives. It probably doesn't go as fast as most SD cards!

I will post this essay to f1d0.com shortly. I'd rather give you something to read rather than wait until tomorrow with the final answers, and probably not bother posting it at all.

So tonight, seeing as the freezer was cleared off, I found a roast with a date of 2006 09, and decided tonight was the night. This was a blade roast, suitable for simmering in a pot roast, said the label. Note that yesterday (or the day before) we had striploin steaks which were properly tender.

This meat came out really nice, considering. I hacked it into 'fingers' 1 inches square and about 4 inches long. I didn't simmer it, but fried it until it was blue. The ones that were easiest to eat were striated with thick fat. The lean ones were tough. And the impossible ones had some kind of silver skin on them.

I like the animal feeling I get holding a tough piece of meat, and using my teeth pulling and tearing trying to get it to rip. I make a gentle growl. I feel like a big dog with a beef pull toy, playing tug-of-war with my hand.

Too bad Abie doesn't like that feeling. I suggested she growl a little as she rips it up. She declined. So for hers I found the most tender ones and sliced them thin. I lost these slices in some spinach-rice, and nuked it for a few minutes in order to cook out the pink colours. She approved, but still found it tough.

In other minutia, The Canadian National Exhibition opens this Friday. Yay! That marks the end of the summer. Sigh.

Gawd. Has facebook really taken over the personal web log? It's scary.