This weekend I decided to do a package update on my EEE PC. I’ve resisted adding non-official repositories and generally doing geeky things to it as I wanted to compare the typical end user experience with that of the Zonbu.
To date, I’ve been a bit underwhelmed with the lack of updates. Firefox is still 18.104.22.168 and various other apps are older as well. The update function in the “basic” interface is a bit confusing and didn’t seem to be working consistently for me, but I soldiered on.
I did decide to drop to a terminal (CTRL-ALT-T) and run
To update the package list and then install any upgrades, respectively.
Much to my great pleasure, Skype 2.0 downloaded and installed from the official Asus server. Anxious to see if it would work with the webcam without any further action on my part, I called my father (who is currently on a small remote island near Barbados) and asked him to fire up his Skype account.
Within seconds we were successfully Skyping, full screen, using the built in webcam on my end and his windows PC with built-in webcam on the other end.
I didn’t have to do ANYTHING to configure Skype once it installed. It just worked.
And the camera is quite a nice quality with good auto-whitebalancing and a fairly fast frame rate.
I am tempted to suggest that if you have a need to keep in touch with family or business associates on a regular basis, and enjoy full screen video chats, the EEE PC may be a justified expense even if thats ALL you use it for. Its long battery life and great portability mean I could chase my 2.5 year old around the house so Granddad could see him as well.
Way back in July I highlighted the fact that the lack of webcam support in the ZonbuOS was a major concern. In the last Zonbu software upgrade they made some moves to include support but it has not worked with my Logitech camera and I’ve seen various posts from others that it hasn’t worked for them either. In addition, the Zonbu notebook does not include a webcam by default, and it definitely needs to. Either way, I think Zonbu is seriously at risk of missing the boat on this.
In the mean time, while Zonbu works on it, I’ll keep using the Asus for family video chats. Good job Asus.
Now, Asus, while you’re in there updating Skype, would you mind updating most of your other packages? They’re woefully out of date.
The ZonbuOS + the Assus EEE hardware, that could be a really nice match. I’ve said it before, I think they need to co-opt the Asus hardware and ship a comparable product or offer an upgrade USB key or CD option so they can win more of these new EEE users.