Thursday, December 31, 2009

Free wifi on delta today

On my way back from Dallas...discovered that I can get a free wifi session on my Delta flight. Coupon code "deltatrygogo" expires today. Enjoy....tom

Thursday, December 17, 2009

C-64 Muse setback

I finished wiring the C-64 Muse keyboard, and it does not work. Actually, 5 of the keys work. I delved more deeply into the C-64 schematics and discovered that I can't piggyback a second keyboard matrix on top of the first.

What I'm planning now is to use the PC board from a C-64 keyboard and wire the matrix lines directly to the PC board. I'll remove the keyswitch tops for those keys that map to piano keys. I believe that I can still use one of the matrix axes to reduce the wire count. This will increase the wire count from 12 to (8+4) to 28 (24+4), which is not as bad as 48 (24x2). Just thinking it would be nice have this done by the time of my Dallas trip so that perhaps I can visit Paul Slocum while I am there.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bizarre "Mobile Computing News"

I'm not sure what to make of this "Mobile Computing News" site.

Mobile Computing News

Here are some review excerpts. Decide for yourself.

Sony Vaio VGN-P31ZK/Q (who thought up that name?) :
"For instance you can check out the all new Sony Vaio VGN-P31ZK/Q which has a unique rectangular shape which looks pretty cool."

Asus Eee PC MK90H Disney: Decorated Netbook for the Kids
"The processor is the soul of any computer that is why this netbook is installed with a very powerful Intel Atom N270 processor."

Sony Vaio VPCW12S1E/P: Definitely One of the Most Attractive and Suave Pink Netbooks Around
"The device is provided with a warranty which makes it a reliable product. The fantastic rechargeable battery installed in this netbook offers long battery back up as well.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Netbook operating systems - Back to Jolicloud

This past weekend I tried out some different Linux based operating systems for my Dell Mini 9. Going into the weekend, I was running the alpha of Jolicloud, which for the most part, I have been happy with.

First I tried Easy Peasy, which is a Ubuntu fork, originally developed for the Eee PC. Used Unetbootin to create a bootable USB key and installed. Discovered that wifi requires additional drivers to be loaded manually to support the Broadcom card in the Mini 9. Didn't notice a lot of difference from Jolicloud. Easy Peasy prompted me to upgrade to Ubuntu 9.1, which immediately failed due to lack of drive space. That's what I get for using a 4 GB SSD.

Next I tried Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) 9.1. Install went fine, but upon rebooting, I was greeted with messages of imminent drive failure. Some quick online searches show that the S.M.A.R.T. disk monitoring routines in UNR falsely indicate drive failure on Solid State Disks (SSD). My Mini 9 is running a 4 GB SSD. Just like Easy Peasy, the wifi did not work.

So, I reinstalled Jolicloud. This time, I left the default keyring password blank. Otherwise, the keyring password is required when connecting to wireless access points that require login keys.

Trying these 2 other systems made me appreciate Jolicloud even more. It just works.

Why not Windows? My Mini 9 shipped with XP, and I don't use it. Everything I do on my Mini 9 is in a web browser (Google Docs, Reader,, so Windows is unnecessary. And slow. I've been quite impressed by Jolicloud on my Mini 9, and it runs on a 4GB SSD with almost 1G to spare. If your netbook is supported, I would try it.