How to: boost the display resolution on an Asus Eee PC

January 14, 2008

From JKOnThRun- “I haven’t tried this yet since I’ve just returned from CES, but Joel popped me a note on increasing the resolution of the Asus Eee PC. The native resolution of this sub-notebook is 800 x 480, the same as many first generation UMPCs. If you’re running XP on the Eee, Asus provides a software utility that easily switches you to 800 x 600 on the 7-inch display, but you’ll be panning, i.e.: you won’t see that resolution on the full screen.

Joel tells me that Eee User has a solution to gain a higher full-screen resolution on the 800 x 480 panel. This approach looks very similar to what I’ve used on the Samsung Q1 series: it’s a combination driver & software method to simulate display resolutions higher than native. You’ll need to have Windows XP on your Eee, which I still do since I needed XP for the CES…” More at JK.

QuickTip: keyboard shortcuts

December 19, 2007

Several people have asked me about mapping shortcuts on the keyboard in Advanced mode, as things like Ctl+Alt+T no longer launch the terminal.

To map key shortcuts using a GUI, use Launch / Control Centre / Control Centre, and select General Settings / Key Assignments.

If you want to map a shortcut to a particular application, select the middle tab in Keyboard Shortcuts, called Command Shortcuts, and then follow the tree to whatever application you want.

Select the application, and, in the box below titled “Shortcut for the Selected Command”, change the radio button from “None” to “Custom”. In the ensuing pop-up window, press the key combination you want to use. That’s pretty much it 😉

QuickTip: Printing to PDF

December 9, 2007

I often find myself needing to print webpages, and one of the most convenient ways of doing so is to print them as PDF files. Now, as I’m sure you’ll be unsurprised to know, this is possible without too much effort on the EEE, but, you might like a bit of hand-holding whilst you set it up. So, I took mkrishnan’s guide on, and added some of my own steps to prevent overwriting of previously-printed files. As such, if you want to be able to print to PDF, and have each output file assigned a unique prefix to the name so that you never need worry about accidentally overwriting existing documents, then this guide is for you…

1.) You will need a standard repository available for adept (your package manager), to allow you to install the necessary printing software. If you have not already done so, you can add extra repositories directly to the sources.list file. You can get the relevant software for this QuickTip from the default Xandros repository, so, what you’d need to do is:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

And add the following line:

deb stable main

Then, save your changes (Ctl+O, then Enter), and exit (Ctl+X)

2.) Install cups-pdf from the repository

sudo apt-get install cups-pdf

3.) Now it’s installed, you need to configure it, so that it creates a virtual printer for you:

  • In FireFox, open http://localhost:631/
  • Select “Add printer”
  • Enter some text into each of the three fields. You can enter anything you wish- I’ve just used “cups-pdf”, as it seemed neat. Select “Continue”
  • From the drop-down list, select “Virtual Printer (PDF)”. Select “Continue”
  • From the drop-down list, select “Postscript”. Select “Continue”
  • You will only have one option on this screen, so, select it, and then select “Add Printer”

Now, you have installed a PDF printer- if you hit Ctl+P, you can print directly to PDF. The output file will be stored at /home/user/PDF. In order to change the settings to give each printout a unique identifier, you will need to edit the cups-pdf configuration file. If you wish to take a backup of the file first, which is good practice, type:

sudo cp /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf.bak

Now, edit the configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf

Look for the setting “Label”

Uncomment it, and change its value to “1”, so that the line reads

Label 1

Save the changes (Ctl+O), then exit (Ctl+X)

You should not need to restart cups for the changes to take effect, but, if you want to:

sudo /etc/init.d/cupsys restart

In cups-pdf.conf, you can change output path etc if you should wish to do so.

Printing PDFs on your EEE… enjoy 🙂


Emulate the OLPC or Eee PC operating systems in Ubuntu

December 4, 2007

Maybe the Eee PC interface has interested you enough to want to try it on another machine. If so, check out this link at downloadsquad.

“Say you’re intensely curious about the stripped down, customized versions of Linux that are running on the tiny laptops like the Asus Eee PC or Nicholas Negroponte’s OLPC project, but you don’t feel like spending $400 to pick up a new toy that you might never use. As luck would have it, there are (relatively) easy ways to emulate both the OLPC’s Sugar OS and the Eee PC’s “easy mode” Xandros Linux interface using Ubuntu Linux. You can probably pull off the same feats using different Linux distros as well, but the best tutorials we’ve found are written for Ubuntu.

Tom Hoffman has posted some pretty simple instructions for running the OLPC’s Sugar OS on Ubuntu. Essentially all you need to do is add a repository to your sources.list and install the Sugar emulator. Odds are the display will be too large for your laptop, but you can follow these instructions for changing the resolution…”

QuickTip: do not type “sudo rm -rf /” at the terminal

December 2, 2007

Now, I know you’ll be wondering why you’d ever type what looks to the uninitiated like a random collection of letters, but, the point is a serious one – by leaving the root account without a password, it would be possible to wipe you machine, without any prompting at all, by typing this one command. This is a bit contrived, as (a) you need to switch to the root account (sudo), and then force silent removal (f), but, if Asus had done the job properly, and made it possible for there to be a root password, rather than forcing sudo to run on boot, reliant on a NOPASSWD file, things would be far more secure, and also far safer…

(If you do want to use rm for removing things (and, let’s face it, it is useful), you might want to be on the safe side and use switch i, forcing you to accept each deletion, at least until you’re comfortable with what you are doing.  (The whole string would be rm -ir [file / directory name]) Although, of course, some would argue that you make the most mistakes when you are comfortable with something, as you can get a bit blasé…)

QuickTip: saving battery

December 1, 2007

I am doing fairly well in terms of battery life- I tend to get around 3 hours off one charge, generally with Wi-Fi enabled, which is very good indeed, in my opinion. However, by dimming the screen’s backlight, I can get even longer indeed- I’ve no scientific evidence for this, but, dimming to level 4 seems to increase battery life by about 30 minutes, which is not to be sneezed at…

To change backlight level, use the Function key and either F3 to decrease or F4 to increase. 

QuickTip: make more of the screen

November 28, 2007

If you want to make more of the EEE’s 7″ screen, you’ll have already followed the tips about using the AutoHider add-on to FireFox. But what about the OS in general? Well, if you select Launch / Control Center / Control Center, and then Display / Panel/Tasbar / Panel, you can select the Hiding tab.

If you select the lowest radio button in the top frame, “Allow other windows to cover the panel“, your word processor, email application etc will be able to benefit from the full screen. Of course, you’ll want a way of accessing the panel again, so, the checkbox below should be ticked – I have it set to “Bottom Edge“, so, all I need to do to bring up the panel is touch the bottom of the screen with my cursor, and, there it is…