Mr. Zonbu takes a vacation

August 26, 2007

Hello loyal readers.

Just a quick note to let you know that I’ve been away on vacation but I will be returning with some more updates later this week.

In the mean time, thank you to all of you readers that have shared various comments and insights, including the update regarding the removal of the latest software update in favor of a new update due soon.

More to come later in the week.

-Mr. Zonbu


Excellent Ubuntu & Linux Documentation Wiki

August 16, 2007

Ubuntu LogoI wandered across an interesting post in another blog on WordPress today.

I’ve talked a fair bit about how far desktop Linux has come, and how far it has yet to go, both in terms of operation and ease of use for new users.

For those that are dipping their toe in the water, or making the full dive in with a large scale distro like Ubuntu, I thought the following would be of interest…

Read the rest of this entry »

S3 Update III

August 10, 2007

S3 LogoI have been conversing with support today.

It looks like my problem may be related to a race condition, where I downloaded the file in question on to my Zonbu before I fixed the caching problem, thereby causing a timeout on upload.

Apparently, and to my surprise, it does eventually give up, silently. I indicated it would be good to let the user know if uploads fail, and prompt to retry.

I’ll confirm the situation when I get home tonight and post here accordingly.

I am told that renaming the file should kick off a retry on the upload.

This seems like an area that needs a bit more vetting to survive the average end user and broadband imperfections.

-Mr. Zonbu

Nokia exec speaks about Linux in embedded systems

August 10, 2007

Ari JaaksiWhile the Zonbu isn’t technically an embedded system, the fact that the software stack is meant to be “locked down” puts it in the same camp.

Ari Jaaksi, who is intimately involved the the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet (which is Debian Linux based) recently spoke at LinuxWorld in San Francisco. is carrying a good summary of his talk.

Jaaksi makes some interesting points, many of them relevant to the Zonbu’s development cycle.  For example:

Another challenge is to interest community developers in the final fit, finish, testing, and integration phase of software development. “Once the basic application service is working, a developer is happy with it. It’s only about 50 percent done, though. You still have to do internationalization, make sure it doesn’t use too much power, and other things.”

-Mr. Zonbu

S3 Update II

August 9, 2007

I’m going to let the Zonbu run all night and see if my files synch.

It looks like some of the transparent caching and web magic that we do at the data center was impacting the Zonbu’s ability co ommunicate with the S3 server.

We’ll see in the morning. 🙂

-Mr. Zonbu

USB KVM comes in handy with the Zonbu

August 9, 2007

IOGear USB KVM switchI use a USB keyboard and mouse on my home system.

I recently picked up an IOGear 4 port USB keyboard, mouse, video, sound switch – and I love it.

Basically, it allows me to share one VGA monitor and my keyboard/mouse/sound amongst four machines. So I have my XP box and my Zonbu on it, and two spare ports…

Read the rest of this entry »

The Zonbu & power outages

August 8, 2007

Electricity Warning SignA few minutes ago I wanted to reboot so I could continue my Skype testing.

Instead, to simulate the all-to-frequent-here power outages, I decided to just hit the master power switch (the rocker on the back) while I was in full swing.

[EDIT: It is worth noting, that given its tiny power draw, the Zonbu could last 6-10x longer on a UPS than an equivalent desktop PC.  Likely outlasting most common outages.]

At the time, I had the IM client (Gaim) open, as well as Skype running and an IM going in there. I also had about six browser windows open, Rhapsody playing music and I was testing the Evolution E-Mail client, and had that open to my test mailbox…

Read the rest of this entry »

Freespire 2.0 is now available

August 8, 2007

Freespire LogoI just saw this over at

Freespire 2.0 has been released: “Freespire 2.0 is immediately available; the latest version of the free desktop Linux operating system. Building on the best of open source software using Ubuntu as its baseline, Freespire 2.0 adds legally licensed proprietary drivers, codecs, and applications in its core distribution, to provide a better user experience. Freespire is able to provide improved out-of-the-box hardware, file type, and multimedia support, such as MP3, Windows Media, Real Networks, Java, Flash, ATI, NVIDIA, WiFi, and many more. Freespire is also the first desktop Linux operating system that will include a CNR plugin for the soon-to-be-released new CNR Service, providing free one-click access to thousands of open source applications.” Read the full release announcement for more information. Download: 2.0.0_full-feisty….iso (688MB, MD5); also available via BitTorrent.”

I think I’ll try this on the old Duron 1.1 machine and see how it compares.

-Mr. Zonbu

PS – CNR stands for Click-and-run which is a slick package manager that Freespire uses to help non-technical users install new applications.

DLS muses on the Palm Foleo

August 8, 2007

Palm FoleoDownloadsquad has a little piece today on the Palm Foleo.

This musing caught my eye:

“Well, as with any computing device, it turns out the Palm Foleo will only be as good as its software. And the more we hear about the software available or the Foleo, the more we warm up to this little device. First of all, the Foleo runs Linux, which means you might be able to slap some custom software on there in addition to the default applications…”

Read more over at

-Mr. Zonbu

Zonbu video output quality – VGA only, DVI needed

August 7, 2007

LCD MonitorI’ve been using my Zonbu aggressively, as my principal home desktop, for the last five days.

At this point, I’ve logged 40-50 hours using it with my NEC flat panel 18″ monitor.

By contrast, I may have used my XP machine for 3-4 hours over the same period.

One thing that I am disappointed with is that the Zonbu unit only has a VGA output.

The Digital Visual Interface (DVI) is not supported and is badly needed…

Read the rest of this entry »