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Unboxing the mini-v

I don't really do unboxing posts and this is pretty much - take the little notebook out of the box. No sliding drawers or pop-up hands or anything. But without actually turning it on, typing on it or anything like that, the mini-v seems pretty sweet. I swivel the screen to tablet mode and think 'ah, this is what the Eee PC is trying to be'. Must check the price before making comparisons: £700-900 depending on spec. Not in the Eee PC ballpark but not out of the ballpark, especially once you consider how much the extras you need to beef up the Eee add up to as autopope was just saying.

But the real reason for posting is to share the joy brought to me by the screen having two little buttons, side by side, labelled Launcher and Shutter.

(Yes, I know - shutter as in take a picture with the built-in Webcam, but it amuses me to think of an app launcher and an app shutter, for all those people who thought Start was the wrong place to look for the shutdown command).


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
1st Feb, 2008 21:37 (UTC)
the Eee bezel is to stop you thinking 'why am I only getting a 7" screen in a 10" notebook?'. At least the mini-v buttons are the ones you may need when it's in tablet mode - with the screen folded down over the keyboard, I don't have the usual trackpad and function keys and you always want a rotation button for a tablet. Not yet sure how functional they will be in use as I've been on phone interviews or in the car since it arrived.
1st Feb, 2008 18:43 (UTC)
That would be the English-language import version of the Kohjinsha SH-6 (or SH-8), right?

I picked one up in Japan last August. Utterly unimpressed by Windows Vista, the digitizer is appallingly hard to calibrate (mine's off by almost a centimetre all the time) and due to a BIOS firmware bug, ACPI S3 resume is borked (at least under the current kernel that ships with Ubuntu 7.10).

The battery life is dreadful, too. Luckily I bought a long-life battery at the same time, but then it weighs ... not so little.

Right now I've got it dual-booting. It runs Ubuntu happily, except that it can't sleep (or rather, it sleeps fine: but it hangs while trying to wake up, which makes figuring out a fix rather difficult). Vista is a disgusting lump of grotesquely ugly bloatware, and although it can wake from sleep, it takes a couple of minutes to stabilize afterwards before you can actually do anything with it. Neither situation is entirely satisfactory.

I'll be keeping it for a while yet -- hopefully 8.04 will come with a kernel that's better at dealing with dodgy laptop ACPI -- but it's fundamentally too slow to run Windows Vista (even with 2Gb of RAM) and by the time you compensate for the poor power handling by adding a bigger battery it stops being a portable.

This afternoon I stuck my name on the waiting list at my local Mac dealership for a 1.6Ghz/80Gb Macbook Air. I gather I'm #2 on the list for six machines, and they're due in stock next week.

Edited at 2008-02-01 18:45 (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
3rd Feb, 2008 11:11 (UTC)
I've looked at vlite. Couldn't deploy it on my Kohjinsha because the English Language pack was installed by the grey-market exporter, and while I've got a licensed copy of Vista if I want to do the reinstall, it's in Japanese. (And the backup/restore disk uses some weird disk imaging system that I don't have software for.)

From what I've been reading, Microsoft officially disapproves of vLite. And my guess is that while vLite will strip out some of the bloaty extras, it won't do anything about the real underlying problem, which is Vista's insane level of DRM support in device drivers which make file copying activities feel like 1986 all over again -- on a sluggish Amstrad PCW running CP/M on floppies.
4th Feb, 2008 13:22 (UTC)
MS will disapprove of anything that interferes with the Vista packaging (although the image-based install makes it much easier to package up whatever combo of Vista files you need).

I believe the file copy perf is less DRM and more Clever Programming Gone Wrong (HDCP and the protected analog path are at a different level from ifilters); certainly the first KB fix helped and SP1 RC2 makes a big improvement for dealing with networked drives). That's not to say Vista is for everyone, but few OSes are.
4th Feb, 2008 21:33 (UTC)
You are, of course, assuming that one needs to beef up the Eeeeee. I think the only beefing up it needs is the addition of one of these extremely cheap things so it can talk to my phone. The mini-v costs *three times as much*. That's not just out of the ballpark, it's in the next county.
5th Feb, 2008 14:40 (UTC)
I didn't find the Eee adequate for real work, and I refer you to autopope's sums on what he needed to add to make it enough for him.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


full steam ahead
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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