Getting video to work in Moblin

November 6 2009

Desperate to entertain Tabby on yet another three hour drive to Brighton tomorrow, I decided to load some Charlie and Lola onto my Moblin powered Eee 901. The problem is that as ace as Moblin is, with its sub-20 second boot time, because it’s an Intel sponsored project all the common media codecs for MP3, DivX and so on aren’t in the repositories – unlike Ubuntu or Fedora, there’s no easy way to install them.

This guide helped – and also highlighted how painful it is to alt-tab between running apps in Moblin when cutting and pasting to the terminal. I say it helped, there’s a couple of typos (specifically in the lines “sed -i ‘s/10/11/’ /etc/yum.repos.d/fedora” and “yum install gstreamer-ffmpeg”) but sadly, being a Fedora newb, I’m not entirely sure how. Following the guide threw up an error when trying to install gstreamer-ffmpeg, but I also installed SMPlayer as per the advice in the comments. I don’t know if SMPlayer would work without the bits of the walkthrough that did, if I’m honest, but I’ll try and find time to uninstall everything and find out.

Still, many thanks to the author for making tomorrow’s journey a bit more bearable for the three-year-old.


Also worth mentioning

May 6 2009

Update on the Eee 901. I reinstalled Jaunty completely, as the ACPI scripts I’d been using stopped working, and the boot time slowed after an update to the beta package.

Now I’ve installed the 2.6.29 kernel on it (which gives you Bluetooth on/off), AWN’s dock and the same ACPI scripts by Elmurato. Everything is working perfectly, including all toggles. The only thing left to do is update the touchpad driver for zooming functions.

Boot time is good – from pressing the on switch to usable desktop in about 40 seconds. Not as good as the default Xandros still, though. Important point to mention is that installing another OS over Xandros often kicks out the boot booster, which skips through the POST checks quickly. There’s a guide to re-enabling it here.


Busy times

Woohoo. Asus is lending us a second Eee for the trip.

Woohoo. Asus is lending us a second Eee for the trip.

The last couple of weeks have been utterly insane. As much as I thought the Zambia experience was going to be just a couple of weeks, every spare moment between trying to cram four weeks work into a fortnight has been spent either writing press releases and blog posts for the LearnAsOne site or trying to secure some press coverage for the project.

I haven’t even bought half the stuff I need yet, like mosquito repellent, for example.

Still, the project is underway – Steve is out in Livingstone now visiting NGOs and buying things like local sim cards for our phones. Amusingly, although a few of the UK networks were very keen to donate some mobile broadband bandwidth, it turns out no-one has roaming agreements in Zambia, so they couldn’t help us. That led to a lot of last minute panic trying to secure dongles and whatnot – although expenses are very tight for the trip, GPRS and even 3G coverage is really good in Zambia, and especially in the area we’ll be visiting (near Kalomo). More to the point, a PAYG sim costs about £1 and bandwidth is just 18p (999 Kwacha) per megabyte, of which we shouldn’t need many.

The awesome Helen Ling at Asus has stepped up though and pretty much offered us anything we need for the trip. It’s almost insulting to her generosity that all I’m actually asking for is the loan of a 3G-enabled Eee for two weeks, just to make staying connected really easy.

More distressing is that I still don’t have my passport, visa and tickets. Hopefully a phone call this morning will sort that though, or it’s going to be a last minute drive to London tomorrow, which I can ill afford. By the way, Maureen at the Zambian High Commission is lovely. After months of being rejected by their phone system and speaking to no one, I managed to purloin her private number. Rather than call the police and report me as a stalker she was incredibly helpful.

Three days to go and counting…


Jaunty desktop

March 29 2009

This is the Eee now. Decided against a dock like AWN for a change, to try and keep things as low overhead as possible.

The Ubuntu wallpaper will change, obviously…

Overall, the new Jaunty theme is great. And can be cut down for a netbook.

The new Jaunty theme is great. And can be cut down for a netbook.


More on Jaunty

March 28 2009

Still the same. 10 seconds to Grub, 20 to login, 20 to desktop. Probably needs a full reinstall when the final version goes live to clear out the custom ACPI scripts and stuff I played around with in the Alpha.