Close but no cigar for me and Ubuntu on my Eee PC.

Mark Evans’ idea for a BlogBook is a great one—How About a BlogBook? | Mark Evans—, but you don’t have to wait for marketing geniuses to create one, it’s pretty simple to just DIY it.

Having a mobile blogging station was the primary reason that I bought my Eee PC (which has already been surpassed by later models, sigh) and I really put it to the test on Saturday at both The Vancouver Health Show and Media Democracy Day.

I was really impressed with how it faired really. Funny thing, it turned out that I only used a few apps to get things done.

Here were my main tasks I needed to deal with on the machine: get pics (in RAW) from camera to web and write.

Yeah sounds simple, eh? Umm, well, yeah it actually was.

First problem are the freakin’ RAW files. They are huge and by default XP doesn’t render them with previews. I found this nifty utility called “Instant JPEG from Raw” (IJFR) which let me pull the JPEGs out of my RAW files (I did CF card to USB drive), check them out, then…

Go to Picnik, edit them and post to Flickr.

From there I used Windows Live Writer to write the post.

At Media Democracy Day I was more in the the shoot like no tomorrow mood and live tweet, so I just used Chrome to do the live tweets.

It was great, just ducky, then I had to mess with it. I had to try to install Ubuntu on it.

I think my brain was in the right place. I didn’t really need Windows per se. I’ve been dying to really give Linux/Ubuntu a try and I thought, hey maybe I can repartition the drives to make one large drive install Ubuntu and be really cool.

Uh huh.

Truth be told the Ubuntu installing process was freakin’ cake. Ubuntu Eee is tuned for the Eee PC netbook, well sorta.

Here’s my problem. First I hate, like with a passion, tap to click on touchpads. It’s the first thing I turn off on a laptop I’m going to be using for any period of time. Unfortunately it seems that turning that off under Ubuntu isn’t easy. Great.

Next is the whole drive partitioning thing.

Maybe there are two separate physical drives, but I’m pretty darn sure they are just partitions of one. I want ONE drive. ONE. And I want to be able to see it in some kind of file manager so I can see what’s on it.

I must be missing something under Ubuntu, cause I just can’t.

So, yes, Ubuntu is cool. Yes my Eee PC does run really fast with it. However, it ain’t easy and it isn’t ready for mainstream.

Where am I at now?

Well Since my Eee PC recovery stuff is on a freakin’ DVD and the bootable USB key I made isn’t (booting). I am just going to have to figure this bugger out.

Yeah Ubuntu geeks in Vancouver? I’ll be looking around for you.

Update: Okay staying up until 5:30 AM does have some benefits. First I figured out that I was a moron and that there are two physical drives, 8GB and 4GB (for the total of 12GB). The next problem was the whole device mounting thing. I got it sorted out with this forum post. Now USB sticks, SD cards and the internal flash drive all show up nicely and can be used. Only remaining problem: the trackpad. That’s going to be chore for another day, because using the trackpad on that bugger all night has sent my wrist into fits.

Okay Ubuntu and Ubuntu Eee geeks, ideas?

© Tris Hussey, 2008. Vancouver-based event and portrait photographer. Please see my photography portfolio for examples of my work. Contact me at tris [at] trishussey.com for a quote.

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