Monday, March 8, 2010

Red Flag Linux on an American Nettop

Maybe this is a mistake, or maybe this was intended for the Chinese market, but I find it funny that an American nettop by Asus is being sold with Red Flag Linux (the Chinese government's official Linux distro.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

HP's "Ultra-Portable"

Hey HP, a 5.3 lb (2.4 kg) 14.1" laptop is hardly what I call an "Ultra-Portable."
To be fair, it does look like a pretty good laptop. It has good user reviews on their site and it always comes with 802.11n wi-fi, hdmi/vga output, and a USB/eSATA port. Still, get your labels right HP.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ubuntu Lucid (10.04) Alpha 3 Reactions

I've been trying out (Gnome) Ubuntu Lucid (10.04) Alpha 3. Here are some notable changes:

-It boots up extremely fast in VirtualBox 3.1.4.
-The highly technical Xsane image scanner has been replaced with "Simple Scan," developed by Canonical. I say this is definitely a good idea.
-There are now only 6 games included by default. I read one user story where a grandma was amazed to see all the awesome Gnome games included by default.
-You can update the installer (during the installer wizard.) If this can increase the changes that ubuntu will install, it sounds awesome.
-No more installer option to participate in the package popularity survey. You can enable it under the synaptic options.
-Virtualbox guest editions, both Lucid's 3.1.2 OSE ones and the official 3.1.4 proprietary ones, cause the mouse cursor to not be shown.
-Browsing my (always difficult to browse) network is either not working or extremely slow.
-The new Palimpsest Disk Utility 2.29 version seems nice, but it doesn't work with an 800x600 screen.
-I'll have to try out the included pitivi video editor. I like the idea of including a simple video editor by default. I wish I didn't have to install the whole windows live package to install windows movie maker on Windows 7.
-Although tsclient is still the default RDP front-end/client, I am glad that Remmina is in the repos. It is a great gnome RDP (and other remote desktop implementations) client. However, it should not default to 256 colors (8-bit color.)
-System Testing didn't work. I contributed to a bug report.

If you want to try this ALPHA on something non-critical (like a VirtualBox test machine,) you can download it here:
Remember that we are past the feature freeze, so it will only get more stable from here until its release on April 29th.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I just thought of something funny.

If I ever create an operating system and have a big enough ego, it will be named "Michael Swinick DePaulo Operating System." MSDOS

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Connecting to Penn State on Linux

I have mostly completed a guide to connecting to penn state, both for wi-fi and network resources. Screenshots included.

My Recommended Ubuntu Packages

I'm preparing a list of Ubuntu Packages that I recommend. These are the specific package names, but they should generally translate to the names in add/remove or in the software center.
I have them listed by category too.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good Options and Categories for Netbooks

There is no shortage of netbook models now. NewEgg alone has 65 choices. But which ones to buy? I have some suggestions.

1. Value Model on Sale

Price: $200 to $260
Availability: Now when on sale
A 9" or 10" model (if 10", it will have a 10" keyboard but most likely a 9" screen) with the Intel Atom N270 CPU. Most likely 1GB, but if it has 512MB, you typically can easily upgrade. May come with XP or With Linux. Either a Solid State Drive (usually very fast like Dell's are, but avoid the acer SSDs) at 8 GB or 16GB, or an 80GB to 160GB HDD. 3 or 4 cell battery.
Good Examples:
1. This rebranded Dell Mini 9
2. This acer
How to find: Follow dealigg, show all deals

2. Basic Model

Price: ~$300
Availability: Now
A 9" or 10" model (if 10" phsyically/keyboard-wise, it will have either a 10" or 9" screen) with the Intel Atom N270 CPU. 1 GB RAM. Comes with XP. Has a hard drive, 120 to 160 GB. 3 to 6 cell battery.
Good Examples.
1. This Asus 9" model with a 4-cell battery.
2. This MSI 10" model with a 3-cell battery
3. This Asus 9"-screen/10"-keyboard with a 6-cell battery
How to find: Any Online Store (especially newegg) May be able to find a deal on

3. Slightly-Upscale Well Rounded

Price: ~$350 (on sale), $390 (regularly)
Availability: now
There really is only one model for this category due to it's amazing battery life, faster Intel Atom N280 CPU, and all around quality. This is the Asus 1000HE. It is a 10" model. 1 GB RAM. XP. 160GB. 6-cell battery. Upgraded 802.11n wi-fi
Everyday Link:
Sale Link:
How to find: any online store, or find it on sale on (search for 1000HE)

4. Larger and/or Thinner Model

Price: $500 to $700
Availability: Coming out now
These tend to vary more. They can have other processors, such as a faster Intel core solo or the Via Nano. 10" to 12" screen. Often very thin and light, such as the macbook air. Assume XP, 1 GB RAM or 2, 160GB, and who knows what for the battery. Likely to have upgraded 802.11n wi-fi.
Example Link:
1. Samsung VIA 12" model:
2. Asus Super-Thin and a little-bit light: 10" model:
How to find: Many online stores

5. Nvidia Ion Netbooks with great graphics.

Price: $500 to $550
Availability: June
The highlight of these models is the Nvidia Ion graphics processor. It does not use up much more power, yet it enables 1080P video playback (when run properly) and far better 3d game performance. Games will be far more likely to not run because of the CPU rather (roughly a 2.0 ghz pentium-4 equivalent) than the GPU (graphics). Intel Atom CPU, prefer the Atom N280. 1 GB of RAM or 2. 10" to 12" size. 160GB HD, or larger if not using XP (getting XP at all and for cheap means max 160GB.) Likely a 6-cell battery. Likely to have upgraded 802.11n wi-fi.
How to find: follow and

6. ARM Netbook
Price: $250 to $200
Availability: June at the earliest
These are models based around ARM Processors/Systems-On-A-Chip. This ARM architecture enables them to be very low-power, thin, light, and even fanless. However, ARM can only run Linux (and android before too long) and not Windows. They will have a less powerful CPU and probably less RAM, but make up for it by being able to decode 720P video. Expect 7" to 10" screen sizes and flash memory.

Personally, I'm looking for a 10" Ion netbook for gaming. That 12" Lenovo is too large and heavy.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of good options right now.