Ubuntu on Toshiba NB200 / NB 205 Netbook
Here’s an update on my experiences with Ubuntu Netbook Remix (v 9.10 Karmic) on the Toshiba NB200 so far:
Sound: it’s working through both the headphones and speaker now!! Thanks to the kernel patch that is being developed by Leann on the bugreports thread. Installing the .deb was very easy. It’s not perfect yet, but the latest patch for Jaunty has the mic working as well! I’m looking forward to using skype with mic and camera on this netbook soon!
Wireless: I still find I need to run this command in the terminal after resuming sometimes, or wifi grinds to a useless halt.
$ sudo ifconfig wlan0 down
All it does is force the wifi to shut down and it reconnects automatically to my wireless router and we’re back at full speed. It’s a tiny bit annoying, I’m sure it could be put into a script for resuming from sleep mode.
Windows: I wish setting up a dual boot Windows and Ubuntu, “just worked” as is often said about Ubuntu, but not this time. After installing Ubuntu, I needed to modify my grub2 scripts in order to add the windows partition to the grub menu. It works now, and I can boot into windows or Ubuntu. I’d read many people’s experiences who had ‘destroyed’ their windows partition installing Ubuntu, and was pleased to find that didn’t happen!
To set up a dual boot involves editing some code, and it turns out Ubuntu v 9.10 Karmic is using grub2 now, which is quite different from what the old grub. There is no menu.lst in /boot/grub/ like there was in the old grub. Now it’s autogenerated and at /boot/grub/grub.cfg It’s not ideal to manually edit this file, because it will be overwritten by the scripts which generate it each time grub2 is updated.
A solution posted by editing /boot/grub/grub.cfg is posted here
This not recommended as it is temporary and will be overwritten on the next automatic update of grub.cfg
Another solution (I’ve not used) that’s posted to get it to autodetect is on bugreports here
Here’s a guide that’s posted on Erics blog (but change your entry to Windows XP instead of Windows 7)
Case: I found a perfectly sized slip case made by Targus at Walmart for $25 CAD. It’s called the “NETBOOK Slipskin Peel mini-notebook case, lightweight slim case. Fits up to 10.2 widescreen compatible”. The code at the bottom reads TSS111CA. I didn’t want anything bulkier than than, or a separate bag for it, so I can slip it into my work bag, protected from bumps, but taking up the least bulk possible.
Battery life: At first I thought the charger was annoyingly big, but I find I can leave it at home during the day and charge at night when I get home. Battery life on this netbook is mindblowing, and unlike anything I’ve ever used before. I can use it all day without needing a charger.
There are a few things that can be done to extend the battery. With heavy use, the battery life is less than the advertised time of 9 hours at max. I’ve been experimenting with powertop in the terminal, and with a fully charged battery, running only the terminal, screen dimmed to min, wifi off, and other tweaks recommended by powertop, the ACPI estimate went down to 9 hours power remaining and something like 7.5 watts power use estimate. In reality, I’d be sucking up the power much faster with wifi on, screen brightened up to be seen in bright light, running Firefox and multiple programs at once. The other factor that helps to give the all day computing is how I can close the lid, and instantly it’s in sleep mode. And then upon opening the lid, resume is instant (after entering my password for security).
Bluetooth: I’ve read in the dedicated thread on the forums here that people now have it working. I’ve not much use for it currently so I’ve not personally tried messing with it yet.
Going paperless: I can see this netbook replacing the multiple binders I’ve been using at work every day, and carting a ton of paper to and from home. This netbook will weigh the same no matter how many ‘pages’ I store on it. I have been using multiple binders that increase in weight with every page added. This netbook weighs about the same as a light binder with 200 pages of standard copy paper in it.
This netbook should replace my pocket filofax, my notepad journal too record daily events at work, and my binder of documents. These days 90% of the info distributed to staff at work is posted online in our groupware or sent via email. Printing to PDF to store on my netbook is better than printing to paper and storing it in a binder.
For anything that is sent to me in paper, I will need to type it into an app on the netbook or perhaps scan it to pdf or something
I’m setting a goal for myself with this netbook to become more ‘paperless’ than I’ve ever done before–and I think it may more possible than ever before. I’m sure to blog about this more later.
Ebook Reader: Why would anyone buy a Kindle or Sony ebook reader when for about the same price they can get this netbook, which is a full computer and beautiful ebook reader. After installing the latest adobe acrobat reader, I’m loving the ability to fullscreen and rotate pages using keyboard commands.
If you haven’t yet, try reading an pdf ebook with your netbook oriented on your lap like a regular book (with the keyboard on the side). CRTL-L for fullscreen and CTRL-SHIFT-+ for rotate. Use CRTL and numbers 1 to 4 for adjusting the size of the page onscreen. The left and right mouse buttons (or page up and page down) flip pages while reading. In the preferences you can set page to black and text to white for easier on your eyes in the evening. You will find many great novels are available in pdf for leisure reading (on bittorrent).