Problems connecting to Zonbu online storage?

October 30, 2007

I’ve been having problems all morning logging in to my Zonbu and then once in, connecting to my online storage via the Networking wizard.  I’m writing this from the Zonbu, so my IP connectivity is fine.

Is anyone else seeing any issues connecting to online storage?  I’ve had some WiFi issues lately but clearly that is resolved, since I’m here.  This is the first problem I’ve had with accessing my storage account in three months.

-Mr. Zonbu

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Linspire review – running on a Koobox affordable PC

October 29, 2007

Koobox MiniDesktoplinux.com is carrying an interesting review today of the Freespire 2.0 release of Linux.

The tester installed in on some low-end PC hardware from Koobox which is based on a mobile Pentium chip (lower power, lower heat) and also uses an Intel 915 graphics chip (if it used a newer chipset like the 945 it would mean things like Compiz should work on it and the video challenges Zonbu has been wrestling with won’t be present). In fact, the MiniKoobox looks like Zonbu’s big brother, with a built in DVD drive and a faster processor (but less memory): http://koobox.com/minikoobox.php

It’s a great review and it goes to show that there are many roads that will lead to the same place – affordable desktop linux running on low power devices…

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Next Zonbu Update? It’s that time of the month…

October 29, 2007

Zonbu Beta LogoIt’s that time of the month, around the 30th, when Zonbu pushes out their software updates. At least if history is any indication.

As we understand from their commentary during the last update, the next update we see should be the final “stable” release version (whereas we have been in beta up until this point). In addition to the historical timing, I’m thinking we may see the final stable release in the next few days as they’ll need to get it out to garner some press momentum going in to the key Christmas selling season…

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40K Mr. Zonbu page views and some stats…

October 29, 2007

Just a quick note to let all of you readers know that we hit a milestone mid-last week; the site crossed the 40K page view mark. A substantial achievement for a personal blog about such a specific topic.

Also of note, we are now part of the page one results for a “zonbu” Google search, as well as ranking highly on Technorati and various other sites.  We are the number one site for independent Zonbu info and discussions.

If you want to see what interests our readers, I’ve included a list of the most accessed pages in the last 30 days after the jump…

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Timezone database incorrect?

October 29, 2007

I just noticed that my clock was reading an hour behind actual time (which was a change, it used to be fine).  I manually reset it to current time and then it occured to me that the timezone (TZ) database may be out of date on the Zonbu.

Has anyone else noticed their clock jumped back on them already?

-Mr. Zonbu


Zonbu’s Firefox kicks butt against Ubuntu Firefox

October 21, 2007

Just a quick observation: It’s easy to dismiss how much subtle tweaking and optimization is present in the Zonbu Firefox config. The layout, the icon sizes, the fonts being hand picked to make web pages look as “normal” as possible for someone coming from the Windows world… the colours, the extra plug-ins. Everything.

Go ahead and try and use Ubuntu Firefox for a few days and you’ll find yourself constantly interupted by requests to download and install add-ons, codecs, plug-ins or other piece of software. Over and over again. Ditto for Firefox and Internet Explorer on Windows…

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Should Zonbu ditch the VIA processor/graphics for Intel?

October 21, 2007

Intel LogoThe more I dig in to the Zonbu the more I like it. However, the more I use it, the more I run in to the frustrating wall of the relatively weak performance of the Via processor and the lack of quality drivers and acceleration for the Via CX700 graphics chip under Linux.

Don’t get me wrong, for most day-to-day stuff, it performs acceptably well, but (for example) if you start visiting any PC gaming sites that make heavy user of flash and embedded video, expect stuttering and 100% CPU load.

I’m starting to wonder if Zonbu may not have the right idea about the over-all end-user experience, but that the Via based hardware isn’t the right way to deliver that experience…

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Flash Video Performance

October 21, 2007

I played with Ubuntu 7.10 for awhile today and found myself longing for the “everything just works” experience of the Zonbu, so I put the Sandisk CF card back in and booted back in to Zonbu land.

One of the sites I wanted to test on the Zonbu OS stack was the embedded videos from 05.07.07 at http://www.needforspeed.com, in particular the video about vehicle dynamics research and the work done with Porsche in Germany.  You can find it here: http://www.ea.com/prostreet/media.jsp?locale=us

The video stuttered under Ubuntu so I was curious to see if I had the same problem under the Zonbu OS which has a more optimized video driver.  No such like, it stuttered in the exact same way and made it unenjoyable to watch.

If the Zonbu is going to become more mainstream then they need to make flash video (and all video) playback performance their #1 priority.  The web is rapidly becoming all about embedded video for corporate, personal and recreational sites and right now the Zonbu strugles to keep up with playback in this arena.  Some of this blame is probably to be lumped upon the lack of efficiency in the Linux flash code, but the end user isn’t interested in WHY it doesn’t work well, they just want it to work.

-Mr. Zonbu


Zonbuntu: Gutsy install update

October 21, 2007

Just a quick update. I installed Ubuntu 7.10 from CD yesterday.

I used the Zonbu supplied external USB CD drive and a Transcend 8GB flash card, putting my Sandisk card with the Zonbu OS on the shelf for safe keeping. It took quite a while to complete the install due primarily to the relatively low speed of the CD drive (24x).

Other than a problem with strange behaviour around my USB/Keyboard when running from the LiveCD, the system installed smoothly. I accepted all the defaults, setting only the timezone.

To my great pleasure, when I rebooted and loaded the full install direct from the flash card, all the drivers worked out of the box (except video which defaulted to VESA mode). The sound worked properly (although I did have to drop to the console and use alsaconf to turn up the master volume as it was far too low), the NIC worked and even more impressively the Belkin WiFi dongle worked out of the box. The only thing I had to do was enter my encryption key…

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Delays at login/boot after crashing

October 19, 2007

I left my Zonbu on at home today to download the latest Ubuntu ISO.  Since its almost 700 MB, and in high demand, it took around an hour.  I headed back to work before it was done.  As I’ve said before, the Zonbu makes a really energy efficient download host.

Only one problem.  When I got home at the end of the day, my machine was frozen.  Odd.

I rebooted it, and when I went to login it took about 1.5 hours to take me to my desktop.  I wandered over and did an ALT-F1 to read the console and it appeared to say something about corrupted S3 cache, but it wasn’t at all clear.  The main graphical window actually had no update at all.  I’m still not sure what was happening or why it couldn’t let me on to the desktop and do any data synch post desktop initialization.

If there is a process that needs to complete in the event of a previous crash, then some kind of percentage progress meter needs to be displayed to say what is going on, and ideally after the desktop is started.  Average end users are going to think their device is bricked with the current approach.

These are the kinds of rough edges Zonbu needs to polish off before the Christmas season.

-Mr. Zonbu