Tag Archives: 3g

Eeepc with Linux and Swedish 3g

This is a follow-up on my “getting the new toy” from a week or so ago. An Eee PC S101.

I didn’t like easypeasy on it. It seems that distro is more or less Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) with a little EEE flavor applied. What’s not to like about it? They seem to think that because this is a netbook, normal UI guidelines no longer apply so therefore they’ve scrapped the ordinary main desktop (and its menu) concept and instead have a new full-screen “app launcher”. That’s not too shabby, but it comes with another idea that I can’t accept: they run all applications in full-screen mode by default.md400 And I couldn’t figure out how to alter that default.

Full-screen might be fine for some apps at some times, but then I’d like to explicitly ask for it instead of having to learn now to “unmaximize” each app (they’ve also removed/altered the window decorations so there are no standard three buttons on the upper right corner of the maximized windows). To top it off, it seemed that the latest easypeasy isn’t built with the latest ubuntu and thus it failed to connect with my 3g modem…

Instead I took the base version of eeebuntu for a spin and that is so much closer to what I want in a linux. It’s ‘base’ so it only comes with the bare minimum. It has no fancy alternative UI but relies on the traditional well-proven and by me liked X11 (gnome) desktop.

I inserted my Sony Ericsson MD400 USB 3g modem that I got from Telenor/Bredbandsbolaget and within a few seconds I was online. It couldn’t have been a much smoother ride.

I know people have expressed opinions that it’s a better idea to use laptops/netbooks with an internal 3g modem so that you don’t have to use any external devices so that it’ll be more slick and all. I think I was of that opinion as well until I got this usb thing in my hand. It’s basically just a tad larger than any ordinary USB memory stick (70 x 28 x 15 mm) so it’s really not much “in the way” or disturbing when inserted in a laptop and it comes with windows drivers on it (as it dual-serves as a usb mass-storage device as well). It makes it a perfect little device to move between different laptops. We have so far three laptops in our household and now I can get any of them onto 3g if I want to.

A little side-note on my eeebuntu install on the SD card: when I ran unetbootin I selected to install the “live/install” version on the hard drive (which of course is a SSD but anyway) to then install it on my SDHC card, but it simply wouldn’t work. I tried three times and every time it froze somewhere in the middle of the install. When I then re-ran unetbootin and made a boot usb stick, and then ran from there instead when I did the install, it worked perfectly…

Linux on eee s101

I got myself a new toy the other day: an Eee PC S101 with 16GB SSD, an extra 32GB SDHC and 2GB ram.

Asus EEE PC S101There’s already a bazillion instructions on how to install and run Linux on your EEE PCs out there, but they all seemed to miss one (for me) crucial little detail:

In order to boot from the SD card, you need to press Escape when the bios start-up screen shows.

But now: to get the bios screen to show, you need some extra magic: you need to press F2 immediately at start-up to enter the bios setup screen and then you need to disable “boot booster” as otherwise it’ll skip the escape checking entirely!

Using this trick, I’ve now installed easypeasy on it and I’ll dual-boot with XP for a while since it came factory installed with that.

I’ve fallen for the commercials and also subscribed to 3g broadband now (you know the blatant lying “up to 7.2mbit” which never in reality can even come close even if I would be alone sitting on top of a base station) and I warmed up my toy and connection the other day (still running XP then) by working on curl code and made a few commits etc, while sitting on a wooden bench next to the field where my daughter was having her soccer practice.

In fact, SSHing to my primary servers and editing code with emacs or reading email with alpine turned out a much better experience than I anticipated as I’ve read about how terrible the roundtrip times can be over 3g. It actually didn’t feel a lot more different than my regular SSHing from home over wifi.

3gp movies on Debian

Sony Ericsson w580iI recently shot a little video with my phone (SE w580i) and when I copied it over to my Debian Linux box I of course immediately realized I had no video players that would show a 3GP film. Or rather, they all showed it but none of them played the sound! It seems the phone uses the ‘amr_nb‘ codec for audio, which is a non-free thing that my “Debian unstable” players (not very surprisingly) don’t have built-in support for…

Anyway, if you close your eyes for the problems with closed proprietary evil, I got pointed to the cool site www.debian-multimedia.org and then I could add the following line to my /etc/apt/sources.list

deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org unstable main

… and do a plain plain “apt-get update” and “apt-get dist-upgrade” and wham, my mplayer could now show the 3gp video with sound.Film and Sound icon

The only slightly quirk remaining is that I didn’t manage to transcode the movie with audio nicely with mencode, but I didn’t really spend enough time to figure out why.