Mostly about my amusement

Aspire One Netbook

After I returned my defective Dell MINI 9, I shopped around for a replacement. I found a better deal with the Acer Aspire One AOA110-1588 from J&R Music. It was on sale for $229.99 and had free shipping.

From the product web page

  • Intel Atom N270 1.6 GHz Processor
  • 512 KB L2 Cache, 533 MHz Front Bus speed
  • 1024 MB DDR2 (PC2-4200) RAM
  • 16GB total Memory (8GB Solid state Drive & 8GB external SD card)
  • 8.9″ diagonal WSVGA (1024 x 600) Acer CrystalBrite Display
  • Integrated Acer Crystal Eye Webcam with Microphone
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
  • Built-in Stereo Speakers
  • Acer InviLink 802.11b/g Wireless
  • 10/100 Ethernet LAN
  • Multi-in-1 Card Reader SD, MMC, RS-MMC, MS, MS Pro, xD
  • 3 x USB 2.0, Headphone/Speaker/Line-Out, Microphone-in, VGA, RJ-45 (LAN)
  • Approximate Unit Dimensions: 9.8″ (W) x 6.7″ (D) x 1.14″ (H)
  • Approximate Unit Weight: 2.5 Pounds

It’s tiny. It rained yesterday and I fit the netbook into a zip lock bag to keep it dry.

Once I unpacked it, I downloaded all of the required XP updates. That took over 2 hours. Getting the McAfee 60 day trial updated and registered took another 30 minutes.

No matter how I kicked it around and configured it, I could not get it to work quickly. Applications ran but the netbook would pause for seconds at a time. Something in Windows XP was causing it to stutter. I removed McAfee and installed Norton 360 (it comes with 3 PC licenses and I have a spare) and that seemed to made the netbook more responsive but the stutter would come back whenever XP accessed the 8GB SSD drive.

So I fixed it by installing Ubuntu 8.10 via a USB stick.

I wiped out the whole XP install, hooked up the ethernet to my LAN and ran the install and then the update. The update refreshed 291 packages. The whole process is documented at and is very straight forward. Once the updates were applied, I was able to get the ath5k wireless driver working in no time.

Now I have a Linux netbook just like I wanted and no stutter.

The 1024×600 is a little constrained but viewing web pages and hitting the F11 key makes it all better.  The keyboard took some adjustments on my part but it’s all good. I did hook up a wireless mouse to it but on the couch or in bed the touch pad is very usable. Overall I am very satisfied with how it performs.