Here’s a picture of some gear I use to make music. In this photo are my netbook and a bunch of Korg stuff. On the left are my Korg Mini-KP and KAOSS Pad 2. In front of my netbook are my Korg NanoControl and NanoKey, and above the KAOSS Pads is a little old Yamaha MM-10 mixer I use from time to time.
Posts Tagged ‘computer’
After a lot of research and hand-wringing i finally bought a netbook. I chose the MSI Wind, primarily because the price was right, but also because it seemed to have the best combination of features. I’ve had it for roughly a month now and I’m pleased with this little computer, but it took a bit of work getting there.
The Wind is fairly typical of the netbook style laptop in that it is powered by an Intel Atom processor and comes with 1GB of RAM out of the box. The Atom runs at 1.6 GHz which isn’t fast by today’s standards, but it it more than adequate for most tasks. MSI equipped the Wind with an 80 GB hard drive rather than a solid-statee drive. I was attracted by the idea of having fewer moving parts in my laptop, but I also like to to have more storage than is offered by the current array of solid-state drives installed in netbooks, so I’m happy with MSI’s choice. Another feature that sets the WInd apart is the 10 inch screen. This makes the Wind a bit bigger than other netbooks, but that extra size also allows for a larger keyboard as well. The build quality of the Wind is quite good. It’s seems fairly solid for a small laptop.
When I brought the MSI Wind home I knew I’d have to perform some tweaks, both hardware and software. The software part was farly major, but quite easy to fix. The Wind has Windows XP installed, which is not the way I roll. Before I even powered it up I attached a portabble DVD drive and loaded it with the Ubuntustudio 8.04.1 install CD. The install went as smoothly as one could imagine. After performing all of the post-install changes that I usually do, I had Ubuntustudio installed and personalized.
The hardware tweaks that I performed on the Wind were very easily accomplished as well, but have warranty-voiding written all over them. The Wind has no little service hatches over the RAM slot or other areas of interest inside the chassis. One has to remove the entire bottom panel to access the RAM slot and the wireless card, the other device of interest. I easily installed anothe 1GB SODIMM, bringing the RAM complement to 2GB. The stock wireless card in the Wind is a Realtek 8187. It turns out that this card has abysmal support in Ubuntu 8.04. This led me to the MSI Wind wiki. The advice therein described compiling new drivers for the Realtek, and I did indeed try that, but the solution that I ultimately followed was the replacement of the realtek card with an Intel 3945abg wireless card. This card was immediately recognized by Linux and works very well.
The only thing I have a problem with on the MSI Wind is the touchpad. I’ve owned or used IBM laptops at work and at home and have gotten quite used to the trackpoint, that little thing that looks like an eraser in the middle of the keyboard. It’s not that bad, but it’s my understanding that MSI switched from using a Synaptics touchpad to a Sentilec, which means that scrolling with the touchpad is broken. C’est la vie, I guess.
Overall I’m quite pleased with the MSI Wind. it’s reasonably sturdy and has enough computing horsepower for all of my day-to-day computing needs. I’m in the process of tweaking my Ubuntustudio install in hopes of making the Wind a decent portable audio workstation. I’ll report on this later….
It would seem that Asus started something with their EEE PC. Mini-notebooks, AKA netbooks or MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices)seem to be all the rage among PC manufacturers. Some of the noteworthy entries are the MSI Wind, the Acer Aspire One, and, as revealed over at Engadget, the Dell E and E Slim. All of these should be available on North America by the end of the summer. Asus is still going to be in the game with their EEE 1000. The EEE 1000 boasts a 10 inch screen, keeping in line with the MSI Wind and the Aspire One. The Dell E will have an 8.9 inch screen, but will offer other connectivity options such as Wimax and 3G data. The E Slim will feature a 12 inch screen, and like the MSI Wind, EEE 1000 will sport a mechanical hard drive. Interesting to note that almost all of these devices come with a Linux-based OS as an option(the Wind comes with Windows XP). The Dell E and E Slim will even feature Blacktop, a Linux OS that will allow ‘always on’ capability. The Aspire One offers similar functionality with its Linux Lite OS.
Asus has already sold a few hundred thousand EEE PCs already, even though they’ve only got a 7 inch screen and a rather small keyboard. The attraction seems to split buyers in to two camps: those that are looking for a basic portable computer for web/email type chores, and those that see pontential in the EEE as a device meant to be hacked and extended, both with hardware and software. I’m sure this next wave of netbooks will garner the same attention. I know I’m certainly interested.
I’ve officially retired my Thinkpad T23. Linux ran well on it, even the old Prism II wireless card worked using WPA2-PSK, although I have to say the antennae weren’t the most sensitive. I quite enjoyed using that machine, but there are some bad hardware problems that have arisen, so it’s time to find a replacement. Some of the candidates are:
HP TX2108 tablet
Dell XPS 1330
I’ve even been considering a couple of the mini-laptops that seem to be popping up like dandelions on a lawn. Some of those are:
Hp 2133 Mini-Note
As you can see, I’m looking for a small form factor laptop. I’m not looking for a desktop replacement, but for something I can throw in my knapsack that doesn’t weigh a ton.