28 February 2010
I bought another Mini 9 netbook.
After using Windows 7 on the older computer for a while, I swapped the SSDs between them and installed Linux Mint, which is a Ubuntu build aimed specifically for netbook users and all around Linux beginners. After playing with it for a few weeks, I wiped the drive clean and attempted to dual boot Ubuntu and OS X on it.
Long story short, it was a success. In fact, the netbook has been my primary computer for the last two weeks, with me carrying it almost everywhere I go. I am in fact typing this post in Ubuntu. The OS is certainly not as well polished as Windows or OS X, but it's been a learning experience figuring out where things are and what it can do.
14 August 2009
13 May 2009
12 May 2009
Dell Mini 9
Let's revive this blog with a passion of mine: technology.
I bought a Dell Mini 9 earlier this year (January/February? I was never good at remembering dates, which by itself should be a strong case for keeping a personal blog/journal) with the intent of turning it into a Hackintosh, a non-Apple machine with a Mac operating system. The events leading up to the purchase was worth a note: I went through every Dell distributor in Brunei, and found out that they actually did not sell the model there, and eventually had to get it online through Singapore's Dell website.
The technical specs for this B$700+ machine: It comes with an 8GB solid state drive (Yes, 8GB. I'll come back to that later), no CD/DVD drives, 0.3 mega-pixel web cam, 9 inches of screen space, 3 USB drives, a multi-card reader, bluetooth, wifi and my favourite: a WWAN data card.
A w-w-what, you say?
It's a broadband card you can use to connect to the Internet through a mobile network. Local examples of such a service is DST's offering of Go! Broadband or B-Mobile's ZOOM! Broadband, although here in Malaysia I'm using Celcom Broadband. The speeds are much faster than land-line based offerings, although in Celcom's case the speed is severely throttled once you reach its 5GB monthly data transfer limit, which results in a tedious exercise to monitor your Internet usage.
Back to the 8GB issue: with limited space, it has lead me to try and creatively manage said space while maintaining the functions I needed it to have. The first thing I did when I received the package from Singapore was to turn it on, reformat and reinstall a customised, slimmed-down version of Windows XP (courtesy of a free little program called nLite), which I managed to squeeze down to a respectable 1.ish GB--I've read reports that have managed to go many steps further and reduce the size to mere hundreds of megabytes, but again: I was trying to maintain function.
Once that was done, I tried to find replacement programs for applications I've been using for years; having been on a MacBook since 2006, free apps such as Transmission and Vienna have been pretty much kept my wallet safe. It took a while, but I did manage to find such free alternatives on Windows, with some obvious answers like uTorrent, and some less so like FeedReader. Maybe I'll detail on another post which programs I have installed, but suffice to say the final tally amounted to just under 500 MB of hard drive space consumed.
Of course, 6 GBs (technically 5 GB, since there's a discrepancy on how disk space is calculated) isn't really enough, so I ingeniously bought a 16GB SDHC card, which now resides semi-permanently in the multi-card reader. The card is where all my downloads and documents are kept (I've pointed the My Documents folder to the card to reflect this), as well as a limited number of MP3s. To also be able to download and keep bigger files, I also bought a Western Digital My Passport external drive, where I keep videos and some more music files.
You might remember how I mentioned earlier that I was going to convert the computer into a Hackintosh. I had put it off while waiting for a new stock of 64GB solid state drives from an online retailer, and within those few weeks, after installing all the software and playing around with Windows, I decided I was quite happy with my current set-up, and decided to leave it that way. In fact, I'm typing this post in a hotel room on the aforementioned netbook right now, while my MacBook sits at home-- this computer is much smaller and lighter to lug around than the MacBook, and it suits my needs just fine.
08 February 2009
05 April 2008
30 March 2008
25 March 2008
Firefox to Safari
After having used the Firefox web browser for years, even before jumping OSes from Windows to Mac, I have switched to Safari. Lately, the former app has been taking forever to load on my laptop, and with the recent release of the 3.1 version of Apple's web browser, I decided to give the "fastest, easiest-to-use web browser in the world" a chance.
Initial judgement is that it does the job well. It does feel faster to load pages, tabs and windows in Safari than in Firefox, although to be fair I do have a fair amount of Add-ons installed (including AdBlock Plus, Adblock Filterset.G Updater, and StumbleUpon toolbar, among others). I have Inquisitor and SafariBlock running with Safari.
I've heard that Firefox 3 is going to be a step up in many ways from the current iteration, but I'll just have to wait and see.