Sunday, 21 June 2009

How to install Easy Peasy on a bootable 8GB SDHC card

Well. It had me up till 3 o'clock in the morning, as these things are wont to do. But I got there in the end.

I have an Eee PC 900 which I wanted to use with Easy Peasy, a netbook version of Ubuntu. But I didn't want to touch the original Xandros installation. After much fumbling and surfing, I worked out how to do it. The solution is to install it to an 8GB SDHC card which you can then leave in the card slot and conveniently take around with you. It's also persistent, so files, settings and updates all work as one would expect with any standard install.

Here are the (currently) pertinent links. All I can say is this worked for me. I take no responsibility if it doesn't work for you!
  1. Go to geteasypeasy.com and click on the download link
  2. Download the iso file to your computer of choice
  3. Follow the instructions to create a USB stick installation. The instructions you follow will depend on which computer you're using to create the USB stick in question. If it's Windows, you'll need to download this helper application (unetbootin). If it's any flavour of Linux, then you'll need to click here
  4. Run the helper application with an empty USB stick plugged in. Install the iso to the USB stick
  5. Once everything is installed on the USB stick, cancel the reboot on unetbootin, safely remove the USB stick and go to your Eee PC 900 (I assume it works with 701s - but I am awaiting feedback on this)
  6. Make sure your Eee PC is switched off
  7. Plug in the USB stick. Turn it on. At the first grey start-up screen, press the ESC key. Choose the USB stick to boot from. Wait a bit - it takes a little longer than the normal Xandros installation to boot up
  8. If you haven't already, put your 8GB SDHC card (I used a Maxell Class 4 - I'm sure other cards by reputable manufacturers will however work) into a USB card reader. Do not put it into the card slot itself - if you do, you will probably not be able to install Easy Peasy to the card. Then plug the card reader into one of the other USB ports
  9. On the Easy Peasy screen, go to the Administration tab and click on Install. Follow the instructions until you get to the page which asks you how to partition the hard drive. Choose the second Guided instructions radio button and then ensure you select the drive option which says something like "sdg" (in my case, it was the third in the list) - this will be the external card reader
  10. Continue by following the instructions on the Install program. Ensure that the booter is installed to the same "sdg" (or equivalent) drive
  11. The program may take between half an hour to forty minutes to copy the files from the USB stick to the SD card in the card reader. The Eee PC's own hard drives should only be accessed right at the end as grub looks for other operating systems. If the hard drive light lights up during installation, something is surely going wrong! But it may be too late to do anything about it ...
  12. Once it's installed, you can quit the USB version of Easy Peasy, power down the Eee PC, remove the USB stick from the USB port, the card reader from the Eee PC and the SD card from the card reader. You can now put the SD card directly into the Eee PC's own card slot
  13. Go through the same process to boot up as before - wait for the first grey start-up screen, click ESC, choose the SD card option to boot from and you'll now be booting up Easy Peasy from the card
  14. You can now configure your wireless connection by inputting the passphrase or passkey by clicking on the network icon at the top right of the screen. Once configured, go to Update Manager and update your software. I haven't gone as far as updating Ubuntu itself but I was able to install all other 69 packages that required updating with no problem whatsoever
Yes. It runs a little slower than Xandros - but it's a safer way of migrating from one system to another and it can allow you to keep your options open. It worked for me anyhow.

I ran unetbootin under Windows Vista and installed Easy Peasy from the USB stick to the SDHC card via the card reader under a live version of Easy Peasy running on the Eee PC itself.

As always, the only caveat you should really keep in mind is to back up any important data before you try new installations of operating systems. If in doubt, back out!

Comments and rewrites of the above most welcome.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Mobile blogging

I've got a simple smartphone between my thumbs and I've just discovered the joys of mobile blogging. Over at smokedapplewood.blogspot.com I've just posted some photos and a video. The potential and technology involved is astonishing. This is true self-publishing by the end-user. All you need is mobile Internet and you can publish to you heart's content. Words and pictures and ebooks for free. I never realised smartphones could be so smart.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

ISP boss on file-sharing and downloading

The Guardian provided us with this report on Friday:
Trying to stop people sharing copyrighted material over the internet is a game of cat and mouse in which the pirates will always win and calls for internet service providers to halt illegal file sharing are "naive", according to the boss of Carphone Warehouse.

Instead, Charles Dunstone said, the solution is education about the benefits of respecting copyright coupled with services that allow consumers "to get content easily and cheaply".

YouTube premiere of "Home" (closing date 14th June)

I've only just stumbled across this story, via El País today. You've got until June 14th to watch a major film, just premiered in the cinemas. I imagine this is a first - but it's clearly the future of feature film distribution.

The film is called "Home". History is being made. More from YouTube - but only until the 14th - here.

When not all Twitter worms are bad news (or how to review a book in 140 characters)

140 characters is all it takes these days to get people scurrying to buy a book. You do of course need visibility - you need to be famous for people to want to take note - but anything which encourages readers to read more is definitely worth our support.

More here as Twitter's bookworms definitely find their niche.

The pros and cons of (il)legal downloading

An interesting handful of responses to a letter on the subject of file-sharing and downloading. The original letter can be found here. The responses, published today in the Guardian, can be found here.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Futuroom

A Czech journalism project which aims to cover all the bases in modern multi-channel journalism. It even has a section devoted to helping members of the public become more communication-savvy.

An overview of current courses here, whilst the Guardian provides more background here. Something like this for progressive distribution and publishing would be a mighty fine idea indeed.

Paid versus free content models

Buried amongst all the comments at the end of this overview of Google's Wave is a discussion on the merits of paid versus free content models.

The whole thing is, in fact, worth a read.

More on the subject of embeddable newspapers

An interesting article on the subject of making newspapers embeddable. There's a lot of thought going into this form of digital publishing at the moment, and how it all shakes out in the end - whether, indeed, it becomes sustainable - will depend very much on how effectively the distribution pie is carved up.

Blog distribution via Kindle and how to get paid for doing it

Income-earning distribution models for blogs sounds an extremely interesting idea. There's a fascinating article which has just come my way which tells us exactly what Amazon's Kindle proposes.

Via a comment left by John at Zebra Red's beta magazine.