The Beauty doesn’t like the sound controls

December 31, 2007

Zonbu Volume AppletI sent the beauty a web based flash video clip last night.

It played no problem (smoothly etc.), but without audio (she had it muted).

The beauty wanted to replay the clip with audio and found it a bit confusing to un-mute things and turn the volume up.

She was able to use the Fn key to unmute the volume (as she would have on her Acer laptop) but the lack of on-screen feedback was irritating to her (Acers have a nice lime green OSD that shows mute/unmute and volume level). When she unmuted it, or thought she had (she indeed had) she couldn’t understand why she couldn’t hear anything (the audio level was about 10%).

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SpiceBird = Thunderbird + Outlook tools?

December 29, 2007

Synovel LogoI just watched a very interesting web demo of a new open source email client that adds many of the collaboration and calendaring functions that office workers need.

Spicebird, from Synovel looks like a potential contender to replace Outlook for Windows users or Evolution for Linux users. It could be perfect for a device like the Zonbu.

You can catch the demo here: http://www.spicebird.com/demos/spicebird.html

-Mr. Zonbu


40+ Plug-ins for the Gimp

December 27, 2007

I recently came across an excellent list of plug-ins for the Gimp Photo Editor which is included with the Zonbu.

While not all of these make sense for the Zonbu, and some may not even run well on the lightweight hardware, others, like Red Eye correction are perfect for the target audience. Anything that puts the features at hand that a typical home user would be interested, should fit the Zonbu philosophy.

In that vein, I really miss the ability to right-click-and-resize-to-email feature I had in my Windows XP power toys. Should be an easy one I add I expect…

Hopefully some of these will make it in to the next Zonbu update: http://www.techzilo.com/gimp-plugins/

-Mr. Zonbu


Some more Beauty feedback on the Zonbu laptop…

December 27, 2007

Beauty & the Geek LogoA few more small items that the Beauty and Grandma have had to say about using the Zonbu laptop:

-The lack of thumbnails when viewing a directory of photos is problematic and needs to be enabled somehow

-When returning from hibernation often the wireless doesn’t seem to come back to life. The wizard says it is connected, as does the signal strength meter, but it is necessary to re-run the connection wizard to get back online.

-The printer offering to install every time it is powered on is also still a problem, and equally annoying…

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Skype Video calls work on Asus Eee PC

December 22, 2007

Skype LogoI haven’t tried this personally (yet) but there is a nice how-to over at LaptopMag.com that details how to install Skype 2.0 on the Asus Eee PC and make video calls with it.

While we have Skype 2.0 support on the Zonbu, the Zonbu hardware currently lacks any built-in camera. More annoyingly, the Logitech family of Quickcams (one of the most popular) does not currently work either. As I’ve noted for months, this is a key area Zonbu needs to progress rapidly.

You can read the LaptopMag.com post here: http://www.laptopmag.com/features/Skype-with-Your-Webcam-on-the-Eee-PC.htm

-Mr. Zonbu


The Beauty on the Zonbu Laptop

December 21, 2007

The Beauty told me at lunch today that she is finding the Zonbu fine for daily use but finds it very slow to boot and that after multiple hibernations it doesn’t always come back.  She then presented me with the laptop, after 20 minutes of waiting, trying to recover from hibernation.

Definitely a few things to work on.  But so far, no major complaints.   Well except for the wireless not persisting on reboot (part of the reason for the hibernation constantly), and the printer insisting on being re-installed each time it is powered on.

-Mr. Zonbu


DW Desktop Linux: 2007 – The year that was

December 19, 2007

Distrowatch has a piece summarizing the world of Desktop Linux distributions in 2007. It’s worth a read to get a quick snapshot of where things stand with the various major distributions, and developments in the space over the course of the year.

Of interest to Zonbu users is the observations about Gentoo (the distribution upon which the Zonbu OS is based):

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My Asus 3e PC has arrived…

December 18, 2007

Asus 3eee PCMy Asus 3e PC unit has arrived.  In fact it arrived at my tropical island lair looking like a forklift skid had been driven clean through the shipping box.  Said skid then severely maimed the box the Asus unit was in, but managed to miss the unit itself, thankfully.

I’ll do a full review in a few days, but a few frist impressions:

-Very nice build quality, looks and feels expensive and well put together

-It’s small, very small, but stylish (mine is black) and you can tell it was put together by people who have been building laptops for a long time and keep a list of what works and what doesn’t for port layout etc

-The touchpad properly supports double tapping

-Keyboard is too small for my regular sized man hands

-It had a nice little “first run” wizard, but didn’t seem to save my WiFi encryption key (however I was able to easily pull it off a flash key

-Screen is nice but 800 x 480 quickly becomes a problem, but its perfect for quick “on the go” tasks

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Just the fax, Ma’am

December 17, 2007

OpenOffice.org logoMrs. Zonbu had some feedback for me this morning – there are almost no templates included with the OpenOffice install on the Zonbu. In particular, she wanted a stock fax cover sheet for something she was doing, and none were to be found.

I had a quick look and there is an official template package available, and I think it should be embellished and included.

You can find the package here:
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Zonbu Releases 7.1066 upgrade

December 17, 2007

Zonbu LogoA new release is out. The changes are listed below. It looks like a significant and important release, with many applications being moved to the newest versions, including the instant messenger, Skype, Firefox, Gimp (Image Workshop), F-Spot and more!

Version 7.1066 – released 2007-12-16

New features

  • New Public Feature
  • Vector Drawing software: Inkscape
  • Sleep for Desktop Mini
  • Desktop Clock widget: Cairo-Clock

Improvements