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Wifi working again with ath5k! 10 October, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Backtrack, Linux.
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Earlier this year, I bought an Acer Aspire 4315 laptop. It comes with an Atheros AR5BXB63, just like the Asus Eeepc. Initially, it came with Ubuntu Gutsy (7.10). It’s wireless was set up fine, using ndiswrapper. Upgrading to Hardy, I then lost wifi again. There was a method then, using madwifi drivers with a proprietary Atheros Hardware Adress Layer. That worked great for a time if you followed certain instructions. Then, unfortunately, that package dissapeared as the Madwifi team moved away from HAL, and focused on ath5k and ath9k. For some reason or another I reinstalled Ubuntu, losing the old setup. So, for about three months, I have resigned myself to having no wifi connection. It’s fine if you’ve just always had a cable connection.

Now, I’m pleased to report that I have been successful in installing ath5k drivers, something that failed before. The drivers are available from here. The best part of this is that the drivers are open source, so can be bundled by default.  Who knows, maybe someday we’ll have wifi working out of the box on all Linux distributions.  By the way, packet injection does not work, but Backtrack has always worked fine for me. Try not to get caught.

Aspire one: number one in bad marketing 21 August, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Acer, Aspire one, Asus, Cloud Computing, EeePC, Linpus, Netbooks, Uncategorized, XP.
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Poorly directed marketing

Poorly directed marketing

Many global corporations seem to like using different advertising in different regions. Acer has a good general marketing campaign that attempts to market the Aspire One as a wanted product. But someone decided to put this on the Australian site. And I thought that I might buy one(*sigh*). After getting through the cringeworthy presentation, what I thought was the intro, oh look it repeats. Great.

The focus on children is greatly misdirected. Originally Asus had a focus on children, childhood and learning with the EeePC. Crap version of Linux, crap hardware. Who would ever want to buy that? Unfortunately for them, all of the people that don’t want to shell out 2000+ for an ultraportable. Apple must not be happy. It seems that nobody expected that consumers would flock to the devices, eager to mod and hack, getting rid of the childish OS on it and putting on something decent (like Hackintosh ). Or, just putting up with it and using it as a coffee shop toy (cynically, that’s all the Mac book air is, too).

Better, more trendy, and perhaps more effective marketing

Better, more trendy, and perhaps more effective marketing

Coming round to the realisation that ordinary consumers don’t want to be sold things marketed as children’s toys, Asus has cleverly updated their UK site to better target the market. Hopefully other manufacturers will learn from the mistakes of Asus, and now Acer.

Edit: I think that I should also show good marketing from MSI.

"Love edition"
“Love edition”

Lenovo joins the crowd in not offering Linux 11 August, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Cloud Computing, Linux, Netbooks, Vista, Windows.
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Lenovo has unveiled a new series, the Ideapas S series. With two optionsa available, the S9 and the S10, sporting a choice of XP or Linux, Australain and US consumers will get the choice of the 10 inch model only and XP only. Why? There’s absolutely no reasonable explanation. Unlike the others, like MSI that just delayed the Linux model (but of course they had enough parts for the XP model to launch on time) or Asus, making the Linux version of the 900 series more expensive than the XP model, Lenovo has made up no excuse as to why Linux models cannot be offered here. But the US? That’s steep. They offer SLED versions of the Thinkpad there and not here. So does Dell with Ubuntu, again not here. And so does HP, offering a SLED mininote there, but I haven’t seen one here (probably available at an online retailer). Same with the linux version of the Acer Aspire.

And yet we keep applauding each manufacturer that joins the fray and offers a nonexistant Linux computer. I don’t think that the Linux netbook market really exists. Yes, there are low cost devices that are aimed at poor people, and education. But they aren’t available for retail.  Then there are the ‘consumer’ Linux models. But they suck, pure and simple. They are usually small, low speced seven inch models, with tiny screens and keyboards. Reviewers always seem to point out the difficult to use touch pad (especially the cloudbook’s), fairly short battery life, etc…

So, if you want a good netbook, you’ll be wanting an 8.9-10 inch model. And you’ll have to pay more, and that means that it’s that much easier to slip in the cost of a MS license. Manufacturers use dodgy pricing and confusing configurations to mask the cost of the Windows operation system, and to make higher margins. And the Linux versions that everyone is raving about seem to dry up. And I’m getting sick of another hyped up product that I’ll never see in a shop, or never consider buying.