Jan 19


I’ve had my Acer Aspire One netbook running Easy Peasy Linux for just a year now. During that time I’ve always run Firefox as my browser mostly to trawl through my feeds in Google Reader. Up until about a week ago I found I got an error message about an unresponsive script in Google Reader at least once during every session and often when scrolling. Easy enough to clear but quite annoying. I thought this was probably due to memory issues and Firefox – I guessed the Reader webpage was heavy going for a netbook.

So I thought I’d try Google Chrome on the Linux powered netbook to see if it would be any better. I figured that the Google Reader/Chrome combination should have better luck – you’d think that Chrome should have been well tested on Reader by Google.

So I installed Chrome (version easily using instructions I found here. Absolutely no problems with unresponsive scripts when browsing – but as with Firefox, occasionally when scrolling it would lock up for 5-10 seconds and then proceed without problems. So I thought I’d write a post singing the praises of Chrome and slating Firefox for its errors. Problem is that when I went back to check if Firefox was still issuing those error messages, I found that the latest version of Firefox (version 3.0.17; for Ubuntu) which downloaded last weekend seems to have cleared the problem. Both browsers are now running fine on my netbook.

So what about browser speed? Is there a difference there? Well, I set up both browsers with Google Reader as home page and with no other tabs and checked times for clean loading of Firefox and Chrome separately just after booting the netbook. I have 257 Google Reader subscriptions at the moment. Firefox took 48 seconds and Chrome 24 seconds to load the page. Then to reload Firefox again, that took 33 seconds, while Chrome reloaded in 13 seconds.

Google Chrome has gained considerable momentum recently with a growing number of extensions available. Even though Firefox is better than it was in terms of browsing on my netbook, it’s much slower than Chrome for me. So I’m going to move over to Chrome on my Linux netbook and give it a thorough work out.

Incidentally, for anyone interested in keeping up with the latest at Chrome, Lee Mathews at Download Squad has been doing a weekly Chrome Corner post since the end of December last year.

Dec 31
Top posts of 2009 on Tech and Life
icon1 techandlife | icon2 Blogging | icon4 December 31, 2009| icon3No Comments »

Most visited posts

Here’s a list of the most visited posts on this site throughout 2009. Site analytics are from Woopra. I’ve only included those posts with over 500 hits. As you can see I had a phenomenal response to my slow Firefox post. If you’re new to this site you should find some interesting older posts listed below. If these aren’t of interest, have a look around – there are about 90 posts to choose from at the moment.

Is Firefox slow for you? Here’s some tips to try which might speed it up – 11736 visits

Installing Easy Peasy Linux on my Acer Aspire One netbook – 2880 visits

Finding lost bookmarks in your info archive – 2037 visits

Send free SMS reminders to your mobile phone -1128 visits

Some Ubuntu resources for beginners – 776 visits

Uploading files to your website with Notepad++ – 649 visits

What is the best time to tweet? – 599 visits

Useful links: A to Z of search – 543 visits

Most retweeted posts

What is the best time to tweet? – 29 tweets

Is Firefox slow for you? Here’s some tips to try which might speed it up – 19 tweets

My top 15 useful bookmarklets – 13 tweets

Installing Easy Peasy Linux on my Acer Aspire One netbook – 9 tweets

Some Ubuntu resources for beginners – 5 tweets

Quick tip: Disable or remap the Caps Lock key in Windows and Linux – 5 tweets

Can I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has visited this blog throughout the year – hope you found your visit was worthwhile and thanks too to all who’ve taken the time to comment on the posts. Please subscribe to the RSS feed if you can – I blog in my spare time and it’s blog comments and rising subscriber numbers which are a great encouragement to keep blogging. Link back to any of the posts if you can and retweet any if you like them. And if there’s anything you’d like me to cover, or like to see more of, drop a comment below.

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2010!

Mar 9

Acer Aspire One

I bought an Acer Aspire One ZG5 netbook a few weeks ago. This model has the 120GB hard disk, 1GB RAM and runs Linpus Lite Linux, a Fedora-based Linux distro. Reading around various forums, it seemed a number of people were having problems installing software on their Aspire One running Linpus so I thought I’d install a Ubuntu distro as I already have an old desktop PC happily running Ubuntu 8.10. I had seen a blog post by Knightwise some weeks ago on his favourable experiences installing Easy Peasy Linux on his Acer Aspire One so I thought I’d have a go with this too. Easy Peasy is the new name for the UbuntuEEE distribution. It’s a Ubuntu Network Remix (UNR) of the standard Ubuntu release to enable it to work better on devices with small screens such as netbooks. It installs Firefox with Flash and Java, Skype, Google Picasa, Songbird etc. out of the box and Knightwise had no problems with the installation on his netbook and seemed quite pleased with it.

easy peasy

I’m going to go through the steps I took to install Easy Peasy, aimed at the new Linux user, like myself. I believe quite a few inexperienced users will be ‘sold’ this netbook/Linpus combination because of its price (somewhat cheaper that the Windows XP version) and the straightforward user interface and then may well run into problems when they try to install software. So here goes. It might look a bit daunting but it’s quite straightforward when you work through it.

Before you start, you will need two USB sticks or thumb drives and access to a desktop PC with a DVD optical drive because the Acer Aspire One doesn’t come with an optical drive. The USB sticks must be configured to use the FAT32 file system. If necessary, to change the file system of the USB drive, you just need to right-click on the drive icon in the My Computer screen and select Format, then choose FAT32 for the file system. Of course, reformatting your drive means nuking any data on it, so save whatever you need first. You’ll need a 2GB USB drive for the Linpus recovery drive and another 2GB drive for the Easy Peasy install. Once you are happy with the new Easy Peasy install, you can overwrite the USB stick with the Linpus install. You can always recreate it again from the DVD if required.

So first, we have to create the Linpus recovery USB stick should we run into problems with the new Easy Peasy install. You may have already done this when you bought your Aspire One, if so skip to the next section.

Creating the Linpus recovery USB drive

Your Acer Aspire One should have come with a Recovery DVD. Put this in your PC’s DVD drive and plug in the first USB stick. Reboot the PC. Your PC should boot from the DVD (if it doesn’t, you’ll have to change the boot order in the BIOS so that the PC boots from the DVD first). To enter the BIOS, you’ll need to press the Delete or F1 key (depending on your PC) while the PC is booting.

Once the PC has booted off the Linpus recovery DVD, choose the option Create USB recovery drive. Follow the on-screen prompts to select the USB drive. Takes about 3 minutes to create the Linpus recovery USB drive. Then remove the DVD and press Exit. Leave the USB drive plugged in. The PC then reboots back into Windows.

Check the boot order on your Aspire One

To check the boot order so you can boot your netbook off this USB stick, plug the Linpus recovery USB drive into one of the USB ports on your Aspire One. As the netbook is booting, press the F2 key for the BIOS setup. You’ll see the prompt on screen as the netbook boots. Go to the Boot menu, select your USB drive and use the F5 key to move it up to position 1. Press F12 to save this set-up and exit.

The netbook will now boot off the USB drive and you can reinstall Linpus Linux onto the netbook hard drive from here should anything go wrong. If your USB drive is unplugged, your system will boot off the hard drive.

Creating the Easy Peasy USB drive

Now we’re ready to create our Easy Peasy install on the second USB drive but first we have to download the Easy Peasy iso file. Boot your Aspire One with no USB drive attached, open your browser and go to the Easy Peasy website. Download the iso file to your Downloads folder. It’s about 860MB so may take a couple of hours to download depending on the speed of your internet connection.

To install a bootable copy of this iso file on your USB stick you will need a bootloader program. I’ve used UNetbootin and you can download it here. Make sure to download the Linux version. Again, download to your Downloads folder. You’ll need to make UNetbootin executable. In the File Manager, highlight the file and go to Properties, Permissions tab and check the box against Allow file to be run as a program.

Now, when I double clicked UNetbootin, I got the message: UNetbootin must be run as root. Use:

sudo /mnt/home/Downloads/Unetbootin-linux-319

But when I tried this command in the Terminal, I was advised I needed to install the programs mtools and p7zip.

To add these programs, I first enabled right click desktop menus by clicking on the desktop, selecting the Behavior tab and under menus, checked Show desktop menus on right click. Then right clicking on the desktop, I chose System and then Add/remove programs. This runs pirut which needs your admin password. I searched for the software I needed to install: mtools and installed it, then p7zip and installed it. I found I also had to install p7zip plugins before UNetbootin would run.

So back to the terminal window and type:

sudo /mnt/home/Downloads/Unetbootin-linux-319


Click Disk Image, keep ISO in the drop down box and browse to the Easy Peasy iso file in the Downloads folder. Select your USB drive from the drop down box then click OK. Easy Peasy Linux will now be installed on your USB drive. Once installed, close all windows and restart the netbook with the Easy Peasy USB drive in place.

The netbook will boot off the USB drive and you can now install Easy Peasy Linux. On the partitioning screen I chose Guided – Use entire disk as I didn’t want to retain the old Linpus install on a partition.

easy peasy screenshot 1

I’ve been running Easy Peasy for a couple of days now with no problems. Connected to my wireless network without problems and straightaway I could share files with my Windows PC over the wireless network. YouTube videos play without problems and Skype is loaded ready to go.

And that’s about it. Hope this guide is clear enough to get you through the install. If you found problems following it, let me know and I’ll update it. Although I’ve used an Acer Aspire One, the procedure should work to install this Ubuntu distro on any netbook. If you found it useful, please Digg, Stumble, tweet or bookmark on Delicious using the links below.

Related articles by Zemanta

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

` `