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Nerd Overload - 4 months later

In July, I removed the wonky, shonky OS from my Acer Aspire and installed the sexy new Chrome based Jolicloud instead. I said then that it was ‘awesome’, but that was my 2 hour old first impression. It soon became apparent that a lot of things didn’t quite work as they should; flash playing was jerky, video was clunky, connections were hit-and-miss. 

Luckily though, Jolicloud are still beavering away with updates to most of these issues, and despite a short time of flash simply not working at all, most of the above issues have been resolved. 

4 months ago my Aspire was ready for the bin, I never used it, the installed OS was dire. Having replaced with Jolicloud I was halfway there, but these updates have sealed the deal. I can now watch movies on the screen from USB (a simple terminal fix has allowed me to use 4GB sticks) and I can watch football through it on the big TV as Sopcast works (kind of, you have to stream the, er, stream through VLC as Sopcast shows no picture) now. 

As I type this, I have BBC Iplayer streaming Radio 1 into my ears, and have A USB stick full of films to watch should the mood take me. It’s brilliant.

I seriously recommend this OS for the Acer, anyone that has’t tried it yet really should. As I said 4 months ago, it’s not the usual tech-nerd-fest that OS installs can often be, and the improvement is dramatic.

Hopefully, one or two of the remaining things can be sorted out, but these could be due to running Windows software on this OS (Spotify is a bit up and down, and a memory hog) but it still does the vast majority of the things you really need.

Nerd Overload

After work today, instead of playing Xbox or flopping in front of the telly as I am wont to do, I installed a new operating system on my netbook.

No! Come back! 

Acer’s much vaunted Aspire One netbooks come pre-installed with Linux, which for those who don’t know, is like Windows but much, much more terrifying and counter intuitive. Imagine driving a car, and every time you want to change gear you have to get out and rebuild the gearbox, blindfolded and wearing boxing gloves. That’s what Linux is like.

I hated it. Even installing something as simple as Google Chrome (a literal 2 click 2 minute job in XP) requires the entry of approximately 45 different command lines into the ‘terminal’. Any of these lines are slightly wrong? Even one character? Back to the start for you son, with an error message that might as well have been written in Swahili.

Something needed to change. The netbook is made for the man in the street, who considers Windows to be a complex and magical thing, so it has to be as user friendly as possible. Typing anything that even thinks about including a colon is wrong.

I found out from Lifehacker today about the recently updated Jolicloud OS. It looked the bees knees, but having tried and failed to get a version of the new Google Chrome OS off the ground earlier this week I had pretty low hopes. It seemed simple enough, download the OS and a USB stick tool, plug it in and away you go.

And indeed, away it did go. Jolicloud is Linux based, but has been simplified beyond recognition. Applications (such as Chrome) are installed with the click of an ‘Install’ button, and they install silently in the background. Apps can be run from the ‘launcher’ with a single click, and all of the nitty gritty of drivers, settings etc are dealt with in the install by the OS.

All in all, splendid stuff. I can only think of one downside at the moment; the apps are selected by Jolicloud themselves, so if you want to try the beta test of something new you’ll have to wait until Jolicloud add it to their list of apps (as far as I can tell). Jolicloud appear to to be quite geeky though so they will probanly know about the good stuff before most of us anyway.

I’ve only been fiddling for 2 hours or so, but it’s awesome. If you have an Acer Aspire One, get this, and it becomes a genuine tool for work and leisure, rather than the geeky freak in the corner next to the big shiny proper Windows laptop.