Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Acer Aspire One / HTC Snap and Internet connection sharing

Its been quite some time since I have posted. Many things going on, and lots of work to keep me busy.

Today, I set up Internet connection sharing on my new mobile phone and the Acer Aspire One. It was actually quite easy, and I am blogging from that connection now. The accompanying screen shots show a simple speed test from While it is not blazing fast connection it is more than adequate for email and web browsing.

The test gave me a download speed of 528 kb down and 336 kb up. You must enable a PAN (Personal Area Network) between the phone and the netbook to enable Internet connection sharing. This in cases of no other access is better than nothing at all

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tweets for Acer Aspire One

Whether you are using twitter, or not, there is a incredible amount of data out there that can be used. Here is a twitter group Acer Aspire One that I created using Tweetizen that will allow you to find tweets about the AA1 and follow those threads.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Acer Support experience #1

Last week on March the 5th I contacted Acer support via their US toll free number (1-866-695-2237). The support call was relatively quick, lasting perhaps 10 minutes. The first few minutes were spent navigating their Voice response system, until I was brought in contact with a representative. I was calling to secure a system recover DVD CD set, in the event of a catastrophic failure. Their representative was friendly and courteous, but we must have not communicated well. I am certain I expressed what I wanted as clearly and concisely as possible. Acer's representative seemed to understand my needs and advised that they would send a recovery USB drive. I questioned this, but he assured me that this would allow me to recovery my XP operating system, which is what I was wanting.

One week later I received a envelope Fed Ex from Acer and it contained a 1Gb USB flash drive. The contents of the drive contained the fix for a known video problem with the AA1 where 1/3 of the display is blacked out. Obviously this is not what I had requested.

I will place a call to them again soon, and try again to secure the recovery DVD CD set. So my 1st experience with Acer support, while positive, was not productive.

Friday, March 6, 2009

CamStudio 2 on the Acer Aspire One

I have been using Windows Media Encoder 9 to do some screen recording on the AA1, but have not been all that pleased with the results after being uploaded to YouTube. So I sought out another freeware alternative. I gave CamStudio 2 a go, and have found that it does provide better output, in the form of AVI type files, as compared to Media Encoder and the WMV format. The AVI files start streaming sooner when viewed as opposed to the WMV files that need to fully buffer before the video starts. CamStudio can be downloaded from at this link, along with CamStudio Video Codec. The additional codec is optional. Installation went well, with no special considerations required during the installation. The CamStudio documentation is good, but hardly needed as most options will be self explanatory to users. Below is a short example of the video CamStudio can produce.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Always Innovating: Introducing the Touch Book

Always Innovating: Introducing the Touch Book

This could be a interesting new design for the netbook experience. Lets hope it comes to fruition.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Testing GPS on the Acer Aspire One

Today, after weathering a head cold, I once again feel human. So this morning I added a few things to the AA1. First I added USAPhotomaps, a program that downloads USGS aerial photo and topo map data from Microsoft's free TerraServer Web site. This is a very nice freeware program, and can be downloaded from the authors site, along with his other work right here.

I tested USAPhotomaps with my two GPS devices. One is a Ambeon Bluetooth GPS receiver the other a Microsoft Pharos USB GPS receiver. Both receivers worked with USAPhotomaps with out a hitch. Here is a sample screen capture of this program focused on a local near by park.

After this test I went on to download Google Earth 5.0 to see how it would work with these same devices. Once again, both devices worked right off the bat with Google Earth, and the new version or Google earth also now encompasses Land, Sky and Sea. It keeps getting better with each revision.

Google Earth does warn you that the screen resolution of 1024x768 is less than optimum but it will let you continue and it will run just fine on the Acer Aspire One.

Here is a screen capture of the first screen on Google Earth after the initial startup.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Woot Sellout

Woot Sellout

Not only has it been busy at work, but now I'm a bit under the weather with a cold. But today you might want to check out the reburbed Asus Eee PC 2G Surf 800MHz Netbook for 159$ and 5$ shipping.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Netbook Effect: How Cheap Little Laptops Hit the Big Time

The Netbook Effect: How Cheap Little Laptops Hit the Big Time

I can already tell it's going to be one of those days in the office, so I doubt I will much time to write today. But here is a good article for anyone interested in netbooks.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

DSLR Raw Image with my current load

I was curious if Picasa 3 from Google would handle Raw image format from My Pentax K100D. I was not disappointed. Picasa reads the images fine from my 8Gb SDHC card from the mulitcard reader slot on the right hand side of the AA1. Picasa has only the bare minimum of manipulation tools, but thats OK for intentions for this netbook. This is a sample photo I took today with a fresh light dusting of snow.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dyson game test and evaluation

Yesterday evening I ran across a very nice little game called Dyson. Its design and game play are unique and pleasing in a minimalistic way. Installation requires about 30 megabytes of space and went with out any problems.

Game play, though pleasant suffers on the tiny screen of the AA1. I played the game on my desktop with a 26' display and was much happier with it. Though playable on the AA1, I have decided to remove it after my test... and as the game is still in development, I will continue to watch for updates and keep it installed on my desktop computer.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Toshiba Portable External Hard drive

I picked up a Toshiba external hard drive today (160Gb) model HDDR160E03X to try out one Acer Aspire One. It was at a good price, and the only one left so I grabbed it.

Unfortunately, the Acer Aspire one has insufficient power output via the USB ports to use this drive. The AA1 will detect the drive insertion, and it appears momentarily, but then goes away with the message there is a problem with the USB device. Subsequent tests on other full size laptops shows that the drive is good, and will function. So if you plan to use and external portable drive, you would probably do well to look for another model rather than the Toshiba.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Truck Dismount Game on the Acer Aspire One

I have yet to add any games to the little AA1 yet, so I thought I would try something. A odd little game that I have played off and on over the last few years is Truck Dismount. The physics of the game are quite good, and the game is a fun little game to play in a twisted sort of way. You crash a truck into a wall, and with the presence and positions of ramps, you try to damage the crash dummy as much as possible for points. The crash dummy can also be placed inside, outside, on top or in front of the truck. Anyway, the game play is simple and game is small download, that can provide hours of mindless entertainment. The game Truck Dismount can be downloaded here

And here is a sample video capture.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Using Ultra VNC on the Acer Aspire One

One of the programs I have used pretty consistently over the years is VNC. It is open source, and works reliably. There are several variations of VNC but I prefer Ultra VNC. It can be downloaded from here.

The installation went smoothly, choosing all the default options. With VNC I can connect to workstations in my home network either locally or across the internet. Below is a short demo of Ultra VNC on the AA1.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Enabling L2 cache on the Atom processor

I found a interesting registry edit at the awesome netbook to enable L2 cache on the Acer Aspire one.
Here it is in a nutshell:
Using regedit locate the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\SecondLevelDataCache

Edit the value changing the 0 to 512. A reboot is required before the change is effected. This should provide a slight boost in performance.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Windows Media Encoder 9

I've been looking around for a video capture utility to try on the Acer Aspire One. I decided to first test Windows Media Encoder 9 to see what results I might get. I'm familiar with Media Encoder already as I use it to stream scanner radio feeds at my site Scanner411.

The download and installation went without a hitch. By default when launching Media Encoder it starts in Wizard mode. I selected Capture Screen, and picked the medium quality output. Here are the results with just some sample navigation as test.

I think this will be acceptable, and Media Encoder will also allow you to just capture a portion, or specific window on the screen.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tiger TV's video review of the Acer Aspire One

A nice review of this unit.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Webcam

There isn't much to say about the Webcam on the Acer Aspire One. It's a .3 megapixel device, that will result in fair quality snapshots and video conferencing. You can see a sample of a snapshot here, under normal house lighting. As I stated early on in this blog, that was not a driving factor in purchasing the device. I suspect even though it is of only fair quality, it will suffice for my purposes.

And below is a short video clip recorded with the Quickcapture mode of YouTube.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Video with Netflix and Slingplayer

I recorded a few video clips today, using a Kodak EasyShare One digital camera. The quality of the video from Slingplayer and Netflix streaming video both pleasantly surprised me. Audio output though is disappointing with the internal speakers. External speakers, ear buds, or headset are a must if you want to enjoy audio.

This first clip is from Netflix streaming service 'Watch now'. The movie is Six String Samurai. The stream comes in very good, and I had no skips or dropouts. Duration is a little over 6 minutes long.

The second clip is a short take from CNN using Slingplayer.

Picasa 3.0

This morning while in the office, I came across my FlatFoto 1.3 megapixel camera. I haven't used it in quite awhile, so I snapped a picture. It is still working. I pulled the SD card out and it had 20 or so images on it in RAW format. I could download the software from Radio Shack for it, but I decided to try Google's Picasa to see if it would read the files. Sure enough, it does. Since I am already heavily into the Google stuff, and have been using Picasa for sometime with its web albums, I moved those photos there. I expect I will throw this little camera into my Acer bag, and carry it around with me.

The original software can still be found at the Radio Shack site. The model is catalog number 16-3820.

Netstumbling to work

This morning I installed Netstumbler. This app will let you examine the WiFi signals around you and even map them if you use it in conjunction with a GPS. I have used Netstumbler on other machines over the last few years and have always been happy with its results. So on my 10 minute commute to work I ran netstumbler to dectect the access points I would pass on the way to the office.
I saved the summary of its log and posting to my Google docs for sharing. Its not a pretty log file but it will give you and idea of what it looks at.

Netstumbler preformed well on the Acer Aspire One, no problems found.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Weekly Wrap Up

This morning marks the first week of use. My impressions so far are good, but a few things take adjusting to, such as this keyboard. But I work at different keyboards all the time so its no big deal. Speaking of keyboards, use of the keyboard shortcuts is something you will probably want to do. FN F6 combo is becoming a favorite of mine, to toggle the display back light on/off. Handy for conserving power. Since I use Firefox as my preferred browser, the Ctl - or Ctl + zoom functions are handy. Depending upon how you use this little netbook, will determine what is most useful to you.

A few other pieces of software has been installed and will probably be kept. These are some Windows XP powertoys from Microsoft.

The MS Virtual Desktop Manager is pretty useful to me, and the Aspire One seems right at home with it. You can use up to 4 virtual desktops independently of one another and run different apps on each one.

I've used TweakUI before and like it so I also downloaded that along with WebCamToy and SyncToy for future use.

I probably will also have a portable mouse but I am unsure yet what I will choose. I have tried two I had on hand already and both worked fine. The logitech wireless took right off with out any problems, as did the little wired logitech with leopard print. I'm leaning toward the leopard print mouse just for the aesthetics and the fact it doesn't require a battery.

The on board touch pad is good, but the button location is a little hard to adjust to especially cut/paste type stuff.

I am also contemplating using the USB U3 smart technology. This lets one carry around portable apps and documents on a thumbdrive and save some space on your hard drive and usable on multiple computers.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A few more software additions

Since I won't be carrying a printer around, I would like to have a virtual PDF printer installed. A little searching and I found a open source tool at call PDF Creator.
PDF Creator installed easily, and tested good with Windows Test Page. Another item I will need is a software screen capture utility. For this I have chosen Easy Capture.

Now I can print to a virtual printer and grab screen captures for whatever the need might be. The PDF files can be sent to my Google Doc's account, and the Screen Cap files to my Google Picasa account.

First couple of days evaluation

I took this netbook to work Monday. My intention to see how I can incorporate it into my job. My day job is of a computer technician supporting a corporate base of individual clients. I observe that in the included sleeve that came with the Acer Aspire One, it will actually slip into my tool bag that I always carry to and from the office. This would work in a pinch, but there are to many things rattling around in there so I need to find another way to carry in my work environment. I remember I have a canvas case that came with and very early Everex 286 laptop. It was very small also compared to todays standards, so I think it will work just fine.

I really need bluetooth so I can connect my 3G phone to netbook. I look around and the best local deal I and find is at a Target. I purchased a Targus ACB10US for 23.99. Installation of the bluetooth device required that I copy the installation CD to thumbdrive and install via that method. The installation went smoothly, with no problems. I sucessfully marry the laptop to the phone (HPC-6700) and can know use the phone for a wireless modem. Now I should be able to connect virtually anywhere. Initial modem speed shows 115 kB.

One of my associates at work, admires the little Acer, and comes in with one of his own the following day. He did not get the upgraded hard drive as did I, and he purchased from the same location. He also got the white model.

... and I was right about the Everex canvas case. It's just oversized enough to include the AC power supply, some papers, some cables, some SD cards and thumbdrives.

I am succesful in using the Acer Aspire One with my corporate VPN account. This will allow me to access the company network and work just as if I was connected to the company network, albeit somewhat slower.

A few tests and config changes

After getting the Acer Aspire one to my first configuration level, I decided to test and perhaps change a few more things. I have a Slingbox player in my home, and use it often, so I downloaded the newest slingplayer software. It installed, configured and ran without a hiccup. Quality of the video image is good, very small in windowed mode, a good quality full screen mode.

I have always made backups of my DVD to large external drive on my network, so I copied a 4gb DVD video folder down to it using a usb drive. Opening the DVD folder and the DVD index launched the included version of InterVideo WinDVD. The files play with very good quality, no problems what so ever.

The volume even at full is as expected, only fair quality. External speakers, earbuds, or headphones will be required to watch video or play music and enjoy it.

A Fan control application found at Welcome to Ralf´s Freeware Page caught my eye. I have installed it and seems to work as described. I will probably keep it, and donate to the developer, after a reasonable test.

First Boot

Upon arriving back home, un-boxed the Acer and took a quick look through the guide. I installed the battery, and powered up for the first time. The initial boot took probably about 2 minutes and the hard drive was very active. I went through the standard fill in the blank stuff for Microsoft Windows XP home. I observed that the battery was now at about 83%.

At the first opportunity I rebooted again. This second boot was much quicker, coming in at about 45-50 seconds.

I looked around to see what OEM software was installed, and picked the ones I was going to delete. First up was Microsoft office trial version. My intentions for this machine is to use as much good freeware and open source software on this as possible.

Next on the chopping block was McAffe anti-virus/anti-spyware. I do not want the re-occurring charge for this software, when there are good freeware alternatives.

I download AVG from Grisoft, Firefox Browser, Open Office to a thumbdrive for installation to the Acer Aspire One. All three installations to the little device go smoothly with no problems whatsoever.

Satisfied with this first configuration, I now connect it to my home wifi network. I put in the wireless key and connected with no problem, and could see 3 networks available which is normal at home.

On this maiden voyage I now downloaded the AVG virus definitions updates deferring the full virus scan at this time. I tested Firefox and configured to my liking and it was good to go. A quick run through on open office also confirmed it was OK.

Now on to the windows online updates. Since the OS is already at SP3 only a few security updates are needed right now.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I purchased my Acer Aspire One on Feb. 2 2009. I have been looking for a netbook for sometime now and decided that now was the time. I picked mine up from a local Walmart for 298$. The following are the specifications as per the package:

AOA 150-1777
Model No. ZG5
Intel Atom processor N270
8.9" CrystalBrite WSVGA
120 GB HD
Multi-in-1 card reader
10/100 base T
802.11 b/g
Manufactured Year 2008
Made in China
System BD/BIOS 35/3305
Windows XP Home

The color was Sapphire Blue. Contrary to the label on the box, this unit has a 160 GB HD. I did some reading in the Acer user forums prior to the purchase, and a lot of posts indicated that some units are being sold as 120 GB units but are actually 160's. It also appeared by the forums that the blue might be the most commonly upgraded unit, so thats what I went with. It looks like that little gamble paid off with a slightly larger hard drive. Not that the drive was the main consideration, as I probably won't use this netbook for large amounts of data.

This unit also comes with a .3 mega pixel webcam built in. Most netbooks that include cameras come with a 1.3 mega pixel, but once again this wasn't the most sought after feature for my needs.

My intentions, that this will be a simple, minimal, portable workstation. I have many computers and laptops, but this will be my first netbook.