Author Topic: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...  (Read 11969 times)

hogesar

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Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« on: March 24, 2009, 05:30:52 PM »
Hey all, first i'd just like to let you know i'm a 17 year old teen with only a GCSE in ICT and an A-level in Computing behind me so far, so if i appear not to know half the stuff i should, i apologise ;]

Basically, i just bought a CnMbook from ebay, which should be delivered tomorrow. I'm simply interested in what i can expect really. I've only ever really used linux as a secondary operating system for an old laptop - as it ran quite a bit faster. Other than that i've never really used it.

The spec's on these are very low, i mean a 400mhz processor and 128mb ram isn't going to set the world alight. All i really wondered is how slow these things are - i'll only be using it for instant messaging, music and web pretty much, maybe some document typing.

Also, i've read up on all the modifications etc, and i wondered if the 3MX distro slows down the CnMbook, or speeds it up? I'm only going by the assumption of all the add-ons it includes that it would reduce performance significantly.

Thanks (:

Whiskers

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2009, 07:52:21 PM »
I haven't given mine much of a test yet as a media player, but I don't get much 'bass' from the tiny built-in speakers - although high notes such as bird-song sound quite good.

The web browser isn't fast, and I wouldn't expect it to be too good with sites that rely heavily on 'javascript' or 'Flash'.  Read these forums for tips on how to get as much speed as possible from it.  (3MX includes 'Dillo', a much smaller and lighter browser than the Firefox-derived 'Bon Echo' of the standard software; that is a lot quicker at what it does - but it does a lot less).  You'll probably find yourself having to scroll horizontally rather often.

The keyboard is rather too small for rapid accurate typing, but it is useable with patience.

The hardware seems to be perfectly adequate for the software installed (apart from the web browser, which is rather over-large for the machine).  The 3MX system doesn't in itself slow the machine down - it may even be slightly quicker at some things.  But whichever system you decide to use, don't expect to be able to have very many user programs running at the same time.  There isn't much point anyway with the original software, as only one 'desktop' is provided; 3MX provides two, which is certainly useful and more comfortable for Linux-users used to having several 'desktops' to flip between.

This is not a machine for learning much about Linux with.  It's very restricted and 'locked down' and ideosyncratic.  But a little Linux knowledge is helpful for tweaking it somewhat.  This is quite close to being an 'appliance' rather than a conventional laptop - it does what it does out of the box, and that's about it, there's limited scope for adding 'functionality' or customising things.
CnMbook user since March 2009; Linux user since about 2003.

hogesar

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2009, 09:19:41 PM »
Thanks Whiskers.

I'm not expecting much - im just questionable as to if its usable. In my case, for example, i would tend to use the browser for general sites, but also such things as forums and blogs. I'm hoping it'll deal with it fine.

I learnt to touch type from the age of about 11, so im hoping despite the size it'll still be pretty usable - in the reviews i've read the keyboard on this mini-book appears to be seen as rather good.

In terms of Linux, i'm not expecting to learn a great deal - infact i don't really intend to. Always been an XP user (albeit customized and modified versions). I'd like to learn some basics for tweaking etc however.

I was very tempted to go for an Asus Eee..one with 512mb RAM and a 900mhz processor. Thing is, they seem to go for quite a bit more - and i only really intend to use this in college etc when the network at college is being incredibly slow and i cant get work done. Not just that, the size and look of it appealed to me; in terms of the physicality of it, is it fairly solid? I understand there would be no moving parts within the laptop so impact damage shouldn't be too bad?
Thanks.

alsaf

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2009, 10:32:38 PM »
Hi hogesar

I am quite impressed with the engineering of minibook. It is a sturdy wee machine. It feels solid but I haven't tried any damage testing although I nearly launched it a few times when I first got it until I realised it doesn't recognise MMC cards (long story!!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MultiMediaCard

Whiskers

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2009, 11:21:46 PM »
Thanks Whiskers.

I'm not expecting much - im just questionable as to if its usable. In my case, for example, i would tend to use the browser for general sites, but also such things as forums and blogs. I'm hoping it'll deal with it fine.

It's perfectly useable - and very portable, of course.

I learnt to touch type from the age of about 11, so im hoping despite the size it'll still be pretty usable - in the reviews i've read the keyboard on this mini-book appears to be seen as rather good.

For it's size it is quite good.

In terms of Linux, i'm not expecting to learn a great deal - infact i don't really intend to. Always been an XP user (albeit customized and modified versions). I'd like to learn some basics for tweaking etc however.

I was very tempted to go for an Asus Eee..one with 512mb RAM and a 900mhz processor. Thing is, they seem to go for quite a bit more - and i only really intend to use this in college etc when the network at college is being incredibly slow and i cant get work done. Not just that, the size and look of it appealed to me; in terms of the physicality of it, is it fairly solid? I understand there would be no moving parts within the laptop so impact damage shouldn't be too bad?
Thanks.

Mine has hit the carpet twice from waist height, with no ill-effects that I can see.  I wouldn't use it as a bat or a frisbee, but in normal use it should be fine.  It feels quite strong.
CnMbook user since March 2009; Linux user since about 2003.

Unhban

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2009, 01:31:56 AM »
Certainly 3MX distro is faster than the original, and I found that 3MX v1.1 zips along, the included Bon Echo v2 browser too after the about:config mods. Not so much 3MX v2.1 (don't forget to do the WPA mod with this), and with this Firefox v.3 is too slow. So..... for a newbie I'd always say start with 3MX v1.1.

Unh.

utd_grant

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2009, 10:09:32 AM »
I think I'm pretty much alone on this forum in preferring the standard OS most of the time. The one 'killer app' I've found with 3MX is the Dillo web browser, which is incredibly responsive compared to Bon Echo / Firefox. FF3 is just too slow to be useful, in my experience. Bon Echo can work with patience and the right plug-ins (AdBlock Plus and NoScript as a minimum). Some sites are better than others. Forums and webmail seem to work pretty well for me.

Be aware that Flash isn't incorporated into the browser, so YouTube and its ilk is a non-starter (with one exception, see * below). You can use the offline Flash player to play downloaded Flash games and so on, the media player will play downloaded Flash Video, and you can use the (*) VideoOnline app to stream stuff in real-time from YouTube. The user experience is somewhat variable.   ::)  - nothing like visiting YouTube on a browser on a desktop PC. You can forget playing Runescape and suchlike, too.

There is no Java implementation on this machine and it's unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future.

I've found the media player to be pretty good as an MP3 player (especially through headphones), and just about adequate for playing movies. I often let my kids use it in the car for this very purpose. The screen can break up if the images changes quickly but other than that, I find it quite acceptable. As ever, your mileage may vary.

Word processing is fine on AbiWord (you can import and save in Word .doc format). I have no use for a spreadsheet so I can't comment on that side of things.

I like the built-in games and there's a good selection of ready-compiled ones to download and install. A good way to waste a few minutes. I'd recommend the purchase of an optical USB mouse for fast and accurate gaming, though - the joypad's just a wee bit too fiddly and the buttons are just a wee bit too firm (and loud !  :o ). You can get one for under £4 at Asda currently.

It isn't the fastest machine on the planet but if you look upon it as a glorified PDA/appliance rather than a cut-down PC, you might find yourself amazed at what it's capable of. It is very sturdy and not having a moving hard disk means it's fairly resistant to shocks. I like the feel of it and my daughters' friends always "ooh" and "aah" over the 'cute teensy computer' whenever I take it along to pick them up somewhere.

Wireless connectivity seems to be a bit variable but version 7.0 of the OS solves a lot of woes in that dept. I've certainly never encountered any problems on my home Wi-Fi. Full disclosure: I recently stayed at a hotel where my Windows laptop connected to the Wi-Fi first time no problem but both the LLL and Puppy Linux (on the same laptop !) simply could not connect at all; They could see the network but could not negotiate a stable connection.

Overall, I'm pleased with what I got for my money. I suspect I'll upgrade to a pre-owned EEE PC or an Acer Aspire One in a year or so but the LLL fits my portable computing needs pretty well for the time being. Enjoy your purchase and remember that you're not alone - chances are if you run into any difficulties, it's been discussed to death on here first !  ;D
Elonex ONEt: user since Xmas 2008.
OS Version: ELX-V07 + extras
Ubuntu: user since May 2008.
Windows:  user/programmer since the dawn of time. :)
Linux Level: working towards 'Intermediate'.

hogesar

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2009, 10:57:17 AM »
Aha. Thanks everyone for your replies, it's given me quite an insight.
I think i'll use the 1.1 distro then, it seems to sound quite tidy.
I'm expecting it to be delivered today - hasn't come as of yet.
Many thanks again!

Unhban

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2009, 11:14:00 AM »
Hogesar, I pretty much agree with what utd_grant says, but then I do think that everyones experience is a little bit different!  ;)

One thing I didnt realise until I was put in the know by those who do know,  was that when you put any of the 3MX distros on they dont actually upgrade the kernel to v70 at the same time. So before putting any 3MX distro on, if it hasnt been done already, you need to upgrade the original OS to v70..... via the CnMLifestyle site.

(apols to those who have noticed no apostrophes in this text - Ive been trying to get my US keyboard to show £ signs on Ubuntu, which I can now, but have lost apostrophes!).... Cést la vie!

Unh.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2009, 11:15:31 AM by Unhban »

hogesar

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2009, 11:43:08 AM »
Hogesar, I pretty much agree with what utd_grant says, but then I do think that everyones experience is a little bit different!  ;)

One thing I didnt realise until I was put in the know by those who do know,  was that when you put any of the 3MX distros on they dont actually upgrade the kernel to v70 at the same time. So before putting any 3MX distro on, if it hasnt been done already, you need to upgrade the original OS to v70..... via the CnMLifestyle site.

(apols to those who have noticed no apostrophes in this text - Ive been trying to get my US keyboard to show £ signs on Ubuntu, which I can now, but have lost apostrophes!).... Cést la vie!

Unh.


Aha Cheers! You've read my mind so to speak, since i was about to ask that question!
I wish the courier would hurry up, i've stayed off college so i can sign for it!

Whiskers

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2009, 01:43:59 PM »
I think I'm pretty much alone on this forum in preferring the standard OS most of the time.

Not quite alone; I reverted after giving 3MX a brief trial.  I missed the battery monitor and booting directly into the GUI - but 3MX is a lot more 'grown up' and more like a normal Linux system, and tools such as htop and gkrellm and some of the others are nice to have.

Quote
The one 'killer app' I've found with 3MX is the Dillo web browser, which is incredibly responsive compared to Bon Echo / Firefox. FF3 is just too slow to be useful, in my experience.

Wicknix has provided patches to add some of his 3MX packages to the original system here.  Dillo isn't there, but Links is - that's a text-only browser that runs inside Xterm, and makes even Dillo look sluggish and bloated.  Surprisingly many web sites are perfectly usable without the fancy graphics etc, even if they don't provide versions tailored to text-only browsers or 'mobile devices'. 

Quote
Bon Echo can work with patience and the right plug-ins (AdBlock Plus and NoScript as a minimum). Some sites are better than others. Forums and webmail seem to work pretty well for me.
[...]

I agree that 'Bon Echo' is rather too much for the Little Linux Laptop.  As well as adding 'Adblock plus' and 'NoScript', I have disabled images (there's an option to allow specified sites to load images anyway), and edited about:config following these instructions.  That makes Bon Echo noticeably more responsive.
CnMbook user since March 2009; Linux user since about 2003.

utd_grant

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2009, 02:30:26 PM »
Wow, thanks for that info, Whiskers. I was going to look into a Lynx-style text browser compatible with MIPSEL and I didn't realise there was one already available. My first experience of the Web was via Lynx on a VT-100 over Telnet !

This forum kicks ass !   ;)
« Last Edit: March 25, 2009, 02:32:50 PM by utd_grant »
Elonex ONEt: user since Xmas 2008.
OS Version: ELX-V07 + extras
Ubuntu: user since May 2008.
Windows:  user/programmer since the dawn of time. :)
Linux Level: working towards 'Intermediate'.

hogesar

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2009, 07:13:59 PM »
Dam. The Guy Never Sent Off My CnM Like He Said He Would.
Now I Have To Wait For It To Come Tomorrow Morning - Supposedly.

hogesar

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2009, 10:10:19 AM »
Score ;] It finally came! Im quite surprised how sharp the screen is if im honest.
Also, the keyboard quite nice but clicking the mouse looks like its going to be my form of daily muscle exercises.

Unhban

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Re: Just Bought A CnMBook from ebay...
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2009, 10:21:37 AM »
Glad it arrived! We can all relax now! :)

But seriously.... I bought a Technik wireless optical mouse from Tesco for just over seven squid and it works well....

Enjoy!

Unh.