Life\’s Direction

Acer Aspire One vs HP 2133 Mininote

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on December 14, 2008


I dont know quite who reads this blog but I had an abnormally high hit-rate yesterday when I posted some thoughts about the netbooks I own and have owned in the past, namely my previous HP 2133 and my current Acer Aspire One (Which I am currently using to write this post).

I dont typically write any sort of hardware or software reviews on my blog but there seems to be an interest out there from my readers, lets get on with it shall we?

The Machines

HP 2133 – The model I had was the highest available, the 160GB hard disk bluetooth and 6-cell battery all with 2 GB RAM. VIA 1.6 CPU

Acer Aspire One – Staples demo model, 8GB SSD, 512MB RAM Intel Atom


I will talk about each machines short comings first, keep in mind that I am bias, and I will focus mainly on Linux, though I did run Windows XP on the mininote for some time.

HP 2133

The stupid battery (6-cell)  made the machine awkard to use because the battery came in the way of opening the LCD to a reasonable angle, that was annoying, The hardware was not linux compatible.  While they (HP) was able to cludge together a SLED install (Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop) which sucks because its old, unusable and difficult to maintain, the hardware at best was hacked together, I couldn’t not get compiz to work well, I did spend time downloading and compiling the drivers of the via website (which apparently have now been open sourced, hopefully someone can fix them). The CPU was ok but it didn’t scale properly (In Linux as well). HP is a bunch of cheapos, they didn’t give a case with their netbook and up until recently they were non-existent, thats just cheap when I could get an ASUS EEE PC for dirt cheap and get a proper envelope for it.

Did I mention it came with Vista?  That was stupid, REALLY STUPID, Windows Vista requires at least 2GB RAM and a dual-core 2.5+ to run reasonably, instead they tried to cram it on an under-powered machine as the result was a phenominally slow boot time and slow response in general from the machine.  Speed increased greatly with Windows XP, but if you want to run Vista hey, “Dogs to their vommit like fools to their folly”.

Acer Aspire One

It could just be the model I have but the keyboard on this thing sucks, it has the ‘7’ shaped enter key that is non-standard so whenever I get to hitting enter it looks like this\.   Much mockery from my friends on IM.  Another con to this netbook is the battery life, its not bad but it only gives me 2.5 hours.

* A note about the Acer Aspire One is that it was just under 4x the price of my HP 2133, I got it for 250CAD.

The Pros

HP 2133

Best Keyboard on the market hands down, this thing is great! its like a whole new world compared the the Aspire One.  The case was built quite solid, definatly a good peice of workmanship.  The CPU was also quite snappy in Windows XP (my unit came with Vista).  I have read reviews of people complaining about the speed of the VIA CPU but I dont know why.  This machine is definatly a winner if you run Windows XP on it.

The display was also very very impressive, the resolution was nice and the glossy screen made a definite difference, also I noticed Apple copied HPs design display in their new line of notebooks.

Acer Aspire One

This unit is great for linux users, I immediately removed Linspire so I dont really have any comments towards it, I opted for a Ubuntu 8.10 install with netbook remix (see my previous post for links).  The hardware is on a different level with regards to compatibility, the only thing that currently requires proprietary drivers is the atheros chipset but they work well with Linux anyway and, have been recently released into the wild.  No thanks broadcom, I dont need your crap, not here 🙂

Physcially the machine is more durable, it scratches easy but because of its light weight its less likely to happen and I don’t have to worry about scratching an aluminum casing, and Acer gave me an envelope with the unit, that is revolutionary way way way way better than what HP did for me (nothing).  The machine is solid but light weight.


I like both, but for a linux user the Aspire was best for me, though If I could choose between the two I would choose neither, I would go for the HP 1000 Mininote, its the like te HP 2133 except the hardware is actually Linux Compatible (Atom based).

I hope this post has helped some of you who are looking for infromation on Ubuntu and either of these netbooks, feel free to comment I will respond to your comments as soon as I am able.


School’s out

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on December 14, 2008

Schools out so I have more time to blog,  a few notes on the tech side, I sold my HP 2133 because the hardware wasnt very good (Linux compatible) and work bought me a Dell D630 which works rather well.

I bought instead of an HP 2133, an Acer Aspire One which is a far better Linux PC tha tthe mini-note, the hardware is based on Atom and is all intel so I was able to successfully install Ubuntu Netbook Remix.  I will spare you the details just click the link.

I honestly think every netbook should come with this software an many people that have the compatible hardware are running this on their MPCs.  If you own an Acer Aspire one you can read the HOWTO guide here.  I was able to get my Aspire One for 250, it was sort of used as it was the staples demo model.

The HP 2133 is a good windows machine, to be honest, I  really miss the keyboard and wonderfull display (high resolution), if you are looking for a Linux netbook get the HP 1000.

More to come a little later, Paul is here think we are gonna do some geeking on opensolaris.

Comments on Heiddegger – Being and Time – Section #34

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on October 16, 2008

Despite Heiddegger’s best efforts to refrain from ending up with Da sein being existentialist in nature he fails, he during explaining language has to give some sort of means for language to project out of and thus adminst that ‘speaking forth’ or ‘saying’ have to come from a being, this is not an abstract concept as the point of origin for speech and language is ‘the being’ in its ‘disclosedness’ is after all an existential form.

Heiddeger then goes on to explain that having discourse or talking is equal to having a ‘state-of-mind’ as existing for the purposes of discourse thus placing both the concept of ‘to be’ and ‘being’ on the same level, not one before the other.

There are some concerns however that stem from Heiddeger’s breif description of disclosure, he claims that being silent and hearing are both possibilities of speech.

To this I would argue, you cannot say that the absence of something entails is presence. If a child is making alot of noise with pots and pans and yelling loudly, I cannot claim that they are in a state of silence as a means of communication because they are not silent, being silent is having the absence of speech or noise. It might be said that the individuals intent is to communicate but this form of communication or language is not discourse as it is the absence of communication originating from a being.

In Heiddegger’s description of communication, making assertions or giving information, being silent cannot be construed in any way to be this without knowing the context.

4th Reading and Response

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on October 2, 2008

Comments on Wittgenstein Philosophical Investigations (40-)

40.  It is nonsensical to present an argument that is redundant, we not tha the bearer of a name does is not limited to the existance of the subject.  This might be true of the definition is N, however definitions when used as names are not dependant upon physical space but upon logical space (not Philosophical Formal Logic).

42.  Why has Wittgenstein reduced body language to a joke, it is as much if not MORE of a language then written word.  It comprises 70% of communication and is universal.  Wittgenstien has missed the mark.  He really should be focusing on Languages that are more pervasive.  Perhaps them he could bring into account for the Logical Structure of the offensive gesture one of his students made to him.

44.  Excalibur was broken in peices only makes sense under the premise that Excalibur is the name for an object, not a proper noun, you cannot break a person or place into peices.

45. Wrong, this is an error in Grammar One can say “This proves it”.  There is no bearer of “this” because it is out of context,  The usage of this is not limited to a name.

47.  The rejection of this question is far simpler than outlined,  the more immediate issue is that judging an object to be composite is far to contingent on a number of things: education, intelligence, opinion, proper functionning of the senses…

65.  Hallelulijah Vindication!

67. The problem lies in the solution of Wittgensteins ‘playing with words’ while words might describe properties the dont describe circumstance or ‘state of affairs’  In order not to play games with words we would have to have a word for every state of affairs possible.  Absurd!

69.  Game – Equipment that aides and/or Structured behavior for the sake of entertainment.

70.  The same could be said for the common expression “Tell me something”  The problem with both of these examples is a matter of expectations management and not the use of language.  If someone wanted a ‘sort of game’ not that kind… then it is up to the requestor to qualify his request.

241. Surely Wittgenstieng is not claiming that there is no absolute knowledge?  Find two people that will agree on something and all of a sudden that dictates its truth value?  Sureley not!

257. Oh come on!  Tell me is an academic really going to beg the question of accessibility of language!  Surely he puts his education at stake by questioning its use!  Can a word exist it if is unknown to someone, surely a child can name his pain and he does understand the word.  Using the word does not constitute knowing the pain or accuratly descrivbing the pain but one cannot question vocabulary as it is understood.  Consider the word “post-modern”  find a layperson that does not understand this word.  It is very easy! yet academics use it all the time in he post-modern era!   Do you understand the vocabulary that is limited to your vocation?  Certainly you do!

HP 2133 Mini-note with Xubuntu and Windows XP

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on June 4, 2008

My dearest wife helped me save up for an HP mini-note and so for my birthday we bought one.  These are my experiences so far, I would like to hear some of yours too.

I first got the machine with Vista, my patience quickly ran out as I waited for this bloated operating system to fire up over and over and over.

I then thought to myself, I should put Xubuntu on this machine, the process for xubuntu was relatively easy, I had to use the xforcevesa kernel option to get the display to work and use ndiswrapper for the wireless card.

I was running all find and dandy for a few days then I noticed I had a problem.  my battery was EXTREMELY slow to charge (33 hours) charge time.  This was obviously an ACPI issue and I have not been able to solve it.

I then settled for WindowsXP, I installed all the stock drivers available at HP, and the machine runs well I have to say.  I would have liked to run Xubuntu on the machine but I need good power managment.

I have yet to try OS X on this machine but because of the processor, chipset, display and other quirky hardware I assume it will fail dismaly.

The screen and keyboard have been good, they are probably the most enjoyable parts of this machine.  I didnt get an Eeepc because the keyboard to me was unusable.  I am still making more than the normal amount of typos on this keyboard but it is pretty good for its size and application.

The screen has been a bit challenging, I run it at the full 1280×768 resolution but crank up the DPI and the font settings on my applications, this allows me a crisp display with large typeface.

The most educational part of this whole thing was getting an ubuntu install ISO and a Windows XP install base onto a USB key.  I used pendrive linux and modified the boot params (syslinux.conf) to allow for boot options, this allowed me to pass the xforcevesa kernel option at boot.

I can write up some instructions if there are those interested.

mini-note users?  What have been your experience?  Did anyone get the SLES model?  I dont understand why they wouldnt give me the linux option on the top of the line model.  I think HP is a little backwards with regards to this, they must think that Linux is for the cheap I would disagree.

Activities on Firefox

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on March 12, 2008

A way cool feature I found in IE8 beta 1 is available for Firefox. Very usefull:

I’m just waiting now for a “Share on wordpress” activity 🙂

JDarkRoom update!

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on January 20, 2008


I have mentioned a few times about this word proccessor that I use for blogging called JDarkRoom. We’ll I wanted to post quickly and let you know that there is a new version available. This new version is especially freidnly if you are a OS X user.

There is a new OS X download that will allow you to use JDarkRoom like a normal .app icon, instead of having to horse around with a .jar file. Also in the new version as per popular request is the ability to widen the margin of the editor, this makes the utility especially usefull if you have a widescreen display (macbook, macbook pro, powerbook or external).

I usually write my blogs using JDarkRoom, you can see it in the image above in the banner I am using for my blog. I have also mentioned it in this post.

Check it out! Really, its small, lightweight and very usefull!


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Why I want a ‘Want Book’

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on January 12, 2008

Personal Reflections

I’ve been reflecting and struggling with the consumerism that is rampant in my life, this has come as a result of partially being a technophile but as well always tinkering and trying to restore things.

Recently I was reading on “Zen Habits” which is a blog I frequent (not that I subscribe to the ‘spiritually’ related content) about the entropy of clutter.

Radical Stewardship and my ‘Want Book’dsc00074.jpg

One of the ways that was suggested to combat materialism was a ‘want book’. Basically you want to buy something you write it down in your ‘Want Book’, if you still feel that it is a legitimate need after 30 days then you have the ammunition to pursue it. This idea should help me with my impulse buying. It should also help me to save money and be a good steward of the rescources I have been entrusted with.

Intentional Community

One of the conditions I would like to put on my ‘want book’ is Small Group involvement for items that are over 100 dollars. To some of you this concept of ‘approval’ is uncomfortable, to make oneself in a sense subject to a group of people with regards to the way I spend my money.

I am asking the members of my Small Group to hold me accountable to this system for the next year. I am sure that my gracious wife whom has started me on this journey will also help as well.

Why such a big issue?

And that is just the problem isnt it, If I believe in Jesus, and I believe that He has purchased me at a price (1 Cor 7:23), then who am I to make only parts of my life that are conveniently comfortable subject to this scripture? What is it about us that causes us get offended when people question the way we spend our money? Why be slaves to the empire, slaves of money, slaves of men.

In some sense I get offended because I am a spiritually depraved consumer. I subscribe to the world owes me something when in reality, if Christ bought me at a price then is it not I that is indebted to Him? Surely I can never re-pay him but I can respond to His acts.

If I believe he paid a price for me then act contrary to this Grace, I am making Him out to be a liar. Then I am a hypocrite! Please help me not to be a hypocrite, the less amount of us hypocrites in the church the better 🙂

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My [new, old] Powerbook G4 15″

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on January 2, 2008
(below) Monitoring the installation proccess of ubuntu linux on my powerbook.


Powerbook Specifications:

1.25 Ghz G4 Proccessor
15″ LCD (1280×854 native resolution)
80GB Hard Drive
OS X 10.4 & Ubuntu Linux 7.10 – Operatig Systems

    Well after much research on Powerbook G4 laptops I was able to restore a PB G4 15″ to working order. Now I can concentrate on more important things like blogging with my geeking time. The unit is a 1.25Ghz laptop with a 15″ LCD and currently 2GB of Ram. I am hoping that the machine will at least be able to stand up until or even through my (MIS) Program that I will bepossibly starting in about a year and a half.

    Putting away my PC’s

    I have been an PC advocate for a long long time and I am starting to realize that the reason Apple Computers are so expensive is because the hardware is better. I have comming into contact with more users that have had their Apple hardware last many years without giving them much grief. I have a few friends that have had their apple hardware last them 7+ years, the hardware has actually stood up until it was no longer supported by apple.

    Secondly, what is the fastest Windows Vista laptop when it came out? You guessed it, a MacBook Pro. This is a testament to the quality of hardware seeing as it was never Apple computers intention to build a windows PC but because the MacBook Pro will run windows it was included in many tests, this goes to show that their standard of hardware is alot higher than their competition.

    Because I can still Geek on a mac

    I had reasonable pleasurable experience setting up AMP platform as well as FreeRadius and OpenLDAP from source when I was activley developing on the OS X platform. Because OS X is fully UNIX certified and they seemed to have gotten rid of the horrid NeXT configuration database it looks like I’m totally sold.

    Why a mac?

    Macs seem to be just easy to use. What I mean by this is that they are very efficient and streamlined in design. Programs are very task-oriented as well.

    I just want it to work!

    I found myself tinkering a whole lot with my PCs trying to get them to do things and waiting as Windows crashed, failed flakey hardware issues etc… this mainly came as a result of always trying to get an optimal setup working, always seeing what combination of hardware worked well, getting PCs running for other people as well as the fact that I couldn’t say no. If a friend had a problem with their PC I would often replace the part with one of my own and then take the old one or replace the peice in my computer with a used old flakey part.

    This Powerbook is great because it will also allow me to run Linux (which in many ways is superior to OS X, because of its ‘openness’).

    I will be posting instructions shortly on getting Ubuntu Linux up and running on this computer.

    Alternatives for Online Email and Application Service Providers

    Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on December 29, 2007

    Recently I have been getting a number of questions from various friends as to the reliability of online services such as Google Documents, Google Mail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail Scribe etc.

    If you are like me, these services that are offered to store documents, emails and other such fun things online come in very handy as I am frequently (although less of late) accessing many machines, including the multiple types of machines that I run at home. While it is intriguing to me as a hobbyist to run all kinds of systems and always look for the “best OS” or the “best Window Manager”, latest Linux distribution etc. I have always had a problem.

    My documents are sprawled across many computers and this makes them inaccessible.

    The simple minded (who scoffs at this point) says that I should use Google Documents, or that I should use Scribe or that I should use XYZ online service provider for all my documents and emails. While these solutions work most of the time, they are un-reliable at times, they are un-reliable at crucial times.

    I have heard of people never receiving email with their Google accounts and not having the email even bounce back as undeliverable. I have seen bugs with the way Hotmail handles content as well as people complain that Google Documents is ‘slow’.

    Well first of all most of these high-tech online services are making your web-browser consume just about all the CPU and RAM it can grab a hold of on your system and making your web-browser which was really meant to just ‘load a page’ run around like a football player.

    There seems however to be a good compromise however with certain services, that allow for synchronization with your desktop PC and the ability to load the files offline using a client program when you dont have an internet connection. This allows for the user to have a digital copy on their computer. A simple example of this is a program I have called ‘Stickies’

    Stickies uses a protocal called ‘web services’ this allows for the program to upload and synchronize my ‘Stickies’ (or post-it notes) with the amazon web services server. What this means is when I make a sticky note on my computer, the program will, go and create a sticky note on amazon’s web server, the same stickynote that I made on my computer in fact. So if I ever need to access or move to a different computer or use two computers with the same sticky notes (like home and work) then I can install the client on a different (or new) computer and it will go to amazon and download my stickies via the amazon web services.

    While this does not deal with privacy issues (U.S. Law to the best of my knowledge allows the gov’t to look at whatever they want if the servers are in the US) it does deal with the issue of being ‘stuck’ to the web.

    Amazon is not the only provider of web services, nor are they the creator, they are just an example.

    Many a times we use ‘web services’ because they are minimalistic and functional, for example ‘Google Documents’ we use the programs because they are well designed and simple and do not take a huge number of resources to install and run. Consider Microsoft Word. Who wants to load the entirety of Microsoft word the behemoth to type a simple document, sounds absurd doesn’t it? Need more RAM for your computer, thats probably why, we tend to be lazy so we use an axe to trim the hedges in the back yard. Why? because most of us only know how to use an axe and we think that learning a new program can be quite a task. It really is not that hard. Programs are very easy to learn, especially if you are on an Apple Computer. (the reason for this is apple interface designers always keep simplicity and efficiency in mind).

    Take a few simple windows applications for example:

    • Abiword
    • Rough Draft
    • Miranda
    • JDarkRoom

    These are very simple client applications. They are designed to be simple and designed not to slow your computer down to a halt. Various Office Suites and web-browsers load all kinds of bells and whistles that you probably don’t use, they also provide you with various visual distractions that prevent you from focusing on the task at hand. (JDarkRoom is a good example of a minimalistic editor, DarkRoom is the Mac alternative). Applications like “Think” allow you to focus on what you are doing! (btw if anyone ever finds a Windows version of Think then please please please let me know).
    In short, I am not convinced that web-applications will completely replace desktop applications furthermore, if you are not withing the reach of an Internet connection (some coffee shops like starbucks) yet you still want your information available there are some really good alternatives.

    What are some of the applications you use to get simple things done?

    What are some of the applications you would like to see?

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