Installing Ubuntu Netbook on Acer Aspire One

I bought an Aspire One about a year ago, the intention being to surf and email from the comfort of my own sofa…so far, it’s been an unsatisfying experience due to the boot process freezing on startup if it’s previously died from lack of battery, and the interminable dropping of the wi-fi connection, not too mention the rather ridiculous Linpus operating system.

A year down the road, and I’m suddenly determined to turn this little thing into something useful, and after doing a little web-research, I’m going to attempt installing Ubuntu Network version onto my Acer Aspire One.

The starting point:

Acer Aspire One model AOA 150. Its an 8.9″ model with the Atom N270, 1GB RAM, and a 120GB hard drive, currently on the crappy BIOS version v0.3114, and the simplistic Linpus OS.

The process:

  1. First, I made sure the BIOS was up to date. There appear to be a lot of issues with the earlier version of the Aspire One BIOS, which I was still running. I followed macle’s excellent instructions, with the latest BIOS version v0.3310 downloaded from here
    • Failed at the first hurdle – turns out you need to make sure your USB drive does not have any spaces in it’s volume name….so, rename / remount…start again…
    • …Flash update successful – and yes, a quick system check shows that I’m now running with BIOS v0.3310 🙂
  2. Right, now to install Ubuntu Netbook
    1. Ok, an obvious step, but first I needed to download it – at 700MB, it took awhile, so I should really have downloaded this before I got started, to avoid thumb-twiddling….
    2. Then I had to root around for a 2GB-plus USB drive to copy Ubuntu onto, then followed Ubuntu’s instructions for creating a Ubuntu-bootable USB drive …which also took awhile..
    3. And finally, plugged in the USB stick into the Acer Aspire One, remembering to F12 to boot from the USB drive, and took Ubuntu for a test run…if I want to install it instead of run it off the USB, there’s a big fat “Install” button on the desktop…
  3. Things I’m going to keep an eye on
    1. Wireless connection
    2. Skype webcam – one main usage for my netbook is to Skype my kids in the UK, so it’s essential that the webcam works!
    3. Cisco VPN: sudo apt-get install network-manager-vpnc

Update: I managed about an hour before installing Ubuntu for good and wiping Linpus away for ever. My netbook has never been so happy!

This is a good reference for one man’s journey down this path.

Losing my faith in Joomla?

I’m a big fan of open-source software, and more recently of open-source frameworks running on open-source software. CMS of the month for me has been Joomla, but I have to admit that the shine is wearing off.

One of the big pluses of Joomla is the countless numbers of extensions, modules,  and plugins available. Wonderful…if only they were long-lasting. I’ve seen so many launch strongly, then fade away – either due to lack of funds, or due to the developer’s success leading him/her to pastures new.

sh404SEF is a case in point – recently they have had huge problem with pagination in sh404SEF, and it’s been lasting long-enough to cause a lot of problems. An SEO plugin that doesn’t work consistently is a huge no-no.

Maybe it’s time I moved to WordPress…

Being a parent – a job description


  • Long-term team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment.
  • Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.
  • Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities!
  • Travel expenses not reimbursed.
  • Extensive courier duties also required.


  • The rest of your life.
  • Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs a fiver.
  • Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.
  • Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.
  • Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.
  • Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
  • Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.
  • Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.
  • Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.
  • Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
  • Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.
  • Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.


  • None. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you


  • None required unfortunately..
  • On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.


  • Get this – You pay them, offering frequent raises and bonuses.
  • A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent.
  • When you die, you give them whatever is left.
  • The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.


  • While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.

Remember, even when it’s a disaster, you’re still the best person for the job because they are yours and they love you…

Does your USB thumbdrive/flashdrive have slow transfer speeds?

I recently bought a 16GB USB Flash drive, with the intention of running my desktop from it. I moved all my files over, set up my Thunderbird profile, etc etc etc…and then found it almost unusable as the data transfer speed was appallingly slow 🙁

Following all these steps did the trick under Windows XP:

  1. Right click on the USB drive and select properties
  2. Select the Hardware tab
  3. Under All Disk Drives, highlight your USB drive and select Properties
  4. Select the Policies tab and select Optimize for performance.
  5. Press OK twice, and your transfer speeds should increase dramatically

Note that when your drive is optimized for performance you’ll need to use the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the taskbar to eject the drive – otherwise you’ll risk corrupting your data by just removing the drive from the port.

I now happily unplug my thumbdrive from one laptop and into another 🙂

Hmm, perhaps I should write a post on running your desktop from a flash drive. Most important point is of course to back up that flash drive every single day

The joys of getting older

Three old codgers comparing notes:

The 60-year-old says, “I’m fine except I have a problem with the waterworks, I keep having to get up in the night and go for a pee but there’s nothing there, and ten minutes later I need to go again, and still nothing there.”

The 70-year-old says, “Well I don’t have that problem, but I’m a martyr to Number Two, have to keep going and straining away and can’t get anything to come.”

The 80-year-old says, “Well that ain’t my problem, seven o’clock in the morning regular as clockwork, I piss like a carthorse, shit like an elephant, and that’s it for the day.”

The others ask, “So, you ain’t got any problems then? That’s good!” The old guy replies, “Sure I got a problem. I don’t wake up till eight!”