Acer Aspire One netbook – first impressions

After years of trying to think of reasons to justify it, I noticed that expansys were offering the Acer Aspire one (linux version) with 1gb ram and 120gb hard drive for about £150 (including VAT). That was enough to push it into the category of “impulse gadget buy”, compounded by the fact i’m planning on a fair amount of camping this summer and thought it would make a handy “disposable” tool to allow me to keep an eye on things and maybe even do some work without the risk of leaving my macbook hanging around in a tent or on the beach.

I already knew a few of the compromises to expect – the keyboard feels cheap, although i’m finding it very useable (yeah you guessed – this blog post is really just an excuse to try it out!) . The trackpad also takes a bit of getting used to, with the buttons on either side, but this is also partly because i’ve got really used to the trackpad on my macbook. It’s very twitchy – i’m finding scrolling particularly tricky..

I got the linpus linux version purely because it was cheaper. I knew before I ordered that I wouldn’t be keeping it on here for long, as I am a fan of ubuntu, and ubuntu netbook remix sounds like just the ticket. Also with a few legacy classic asp apps to look after I will probably install xp on it before long – probably dual boot to allow me to run either ubuntu or xp natively. However, it will take me a while to find time to sort that out, so i’m giving linpus a spin. First impression is that it is perfect for kids and non-tech savvy people as everything is hidden away – I had to do some googling before I could work out how to enable the advanced menu, so that I could open a terminal and synaptic package manager. In reality I can probably do almost everything I need if I have access to a web browser and terminal, so having worked out how to get to the package manager and install an ssh client, i’ve already got a useful tool. I think i’ve also installed a remote desktop client, but not worked out how to open it yet!