computer science, math, programming and other stuff
a blog by Christopher Swenson


I finally convinced myself to buy a netbook recently. I am currently typing this post on it.

I got an Asus EeePC 1000HA – that is, it's got a 10" screen, 160 GB hard drive (regular, not solid state), and a 6-cell battery (4.5 hours or so battery life under real-world conditions, I estimate). I'm pretty thrilled about it: typing is fine (though the right shift key has some adjustment time), the screen is nice and crisp, and it is very snappy under Windows XP and in Linux. The 1.6 GHz Atom CPU is just enough to play Netflix Instant videos, which was the only thing I was worried about performance-wise.

My biggest complaint was the wireless performance in various types of Ubuntu Linux (the newest 9.04 Netbook Remix is by far my favourite). I'd see 500+ ms ping time to my router, and drop about half of my packets, etc. It was miserable, and pretty much unusable. It turns out that the open source Atheros driver doesn't support this particular chipset very well, and the proprietary madwifi-based driver from Atheros doesn't support it at all. The only decent solution was to use the ndiswrapper package with Asus's Windows driver, which makes me feel a bit dirty.

But regardless, with all that sorted out, I won't be booting up Windows much more.

Overall, I'm impressed and very happy with my purchase.