Asus Eee PC update

I finally got a happy nice and stable version of  English WinXP up and running. BartPE  can boot from SD card, and I can run Norton Ghost from within there to backup my primary partition. Except... the keyboard doesn't work. Don't ask me why, it seems too silly to be even possible, but the keyboard simply does not work from within BartPE. Of all the hardware to support, how difficult can it be to support a keyboard? Damn. Well, I could still backup my partition, but I had to copypaste the characters of the backup file with my mouse. Now that's hard-core.

I ordered a 2GB SODIMM last weekend, and it arrived yesterday. After installing it, I found I could no longer use the highest performance mode in the power settings. I already knew that, because that's apparently a known problem. Many articles online speak about this problem: when you update the memory, you can only use memory modules that Asus has certified, otherwise the overclocking option is not available. The solution is simple: download the latest BIOS. Installation is simple: just press Alt+F2 on startup and the BIOS flash tool will start. Then just insert the SD card containing the new BIOS, and it installs automatically. Brilliant.

Oh wait. No it isn't! After installing the latest BIOS I can no longer boot from my SD card! In other words, it's now once again impossible for me to restore the backups that I finally managed to create with Norton Ghost. For other people who might get this problem: the BIOS version 0323 from 12/30/2009 for the Asus 1101HA cannot boot from SD card!

Incredible. New hardware doesn't work properly with old software, and new software disables some of the stuff that used to work before. Thank god these people don't build airplanes.

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Lessons learned installing an English version of WinXP on my netbook:

  • If something fails, it fails bad. The only easy way of recovering is completely reinstalling from the recovery partition.
  • Installing drivers for the mobile internet USB stick thingie is tricky: press the wrong button once and the driver installation dialog will never appear again. It seems that the USB stick automatically installs drivers on insertion, but it only works once. Forunately I had a copy of the driver from my old installation of XP, which I had backed up with Norton Ghost.
  • Windows XP automatic updates are evil. Don't install anything except the security updates. In my case I accidentally OKed the install of IE8, after which I got a blue screen during startup that could in no possible way be fixed. As a more generic message: always make a backup right before you make an important change  to your system. If you group a bunch of important updates together, you'll be very, very annoyed if the last update turns out to crash your PC.
  • The battery on the 1101HA does indeed last 8+ hours (tested under load by downloading and installing updates, backing up harddisks and installing Windows...)

Lessons learned trying to cycle to the seaside on a cold January night:

  • January nights are cold
  • Seriously! Cold!
  • Dress properly. There is no excuse for this. I didn't wear enough and I felt very cold halfway through, despite pedaling like a maniac.
  • Always bring enough warm clothes with you on a trip!
  • For energetic cycling: listening to music helps greatly, but the selection matters a lot. In my case, listening to Eurobeat mixes is great cause the song changes every 3 minutes or so, which forces you to attention. The speed is high but in my case it matches my speed well. I tried listening to Dragonforce tonight, but the songs are too long, and the pace is too high and doesn't match my cycling speed. For cycling, Eurobeat == good, Dragonforce == bad.

And that nearly concludes my holidays. Tomorrow is the last day before going back to work. I'm certainly going to miss sleeping in. I think that recently my quality of sleep (QoS) has been absolutely perfect. It hasn't been this good since I attended university some five years ago :D

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