Asus Eee PC 1001ha Wireless Fix

I’m typing this using an Asus Eee PC 1001ha running Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04. It took a wee bit of struggling to get the wireless working but thanks to an article on the Ubuntu Wiki, I was able to get it working.

However, there is a further issue that occurs every time there’s a kernal upgrade. Having had a working wireless network connection, the Network Manager ceases to work when the new kernel is installed.

One solution is, of course, to stick with the previous, working kernel.  However, I have discovered the following (relatively) easy fix, that needs to be followed when a new kernel is released.

‘lspci’ from the command line informs that that the 1001ha has an onboard RaLink RT3090 Wireless 802.11n 1T/1R PCIe card.  After much Google-ing, I found that the following command will rebuild the offending kernel module:

dpkg-reconfigure rt3090-dkms

This will take a wee while. Then, to activate the change, you need to:

modprobe rt3090sta

You don’t need to reboot the machine – you should see the Network Manager come to life in the top-right of the screen.

Et voila!

I must admit that I find it strange that this is necessary at all, on one of the most popular netbooks, using a netbook-specific netbook distribution of Linux. But anyway, there you have it, problem solved!

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The myth of mobility

Lately I’ve been considering the reality of mobile computing.

As someone who spends in excess of 10 hours per week commuting between Glasgow and Edinburgh, I’m very interested in the possibilities for the productive use of this time.

Indeed, I’m composing this post on an HTC Legend, an Android phone using a WordPress app.  This enables me to write blog posts, moderate comments etc on the move.

This is great but is not reflective of all mobile ‘apps’. The wonderful work of the marketing depts of smartphone manufacturers would have you believe that pretty much anything that can be achieved with a desktop computer can now happen ‘on-the-move’ with the simple use of an ‘app’.  We’ve all seen those iphone ads on the telly where the subtitle says ‘sequence shortened’, as it shows some task like booking flights happen over a period of seconds.

Not real.  My experience of mobility is of weak (or no) mobile signal – far less a 3g one, poor battery life, and the limitations of typing on a touch screen.

Ok, rant over. Any similar/different experiences?

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What not to do when promoting your business online

I discovered the Copyblogger site after I installed their WordPress theme on AdvoCard’s intranet. However, I started reading their blog, which gives some great ideas for marketing your business online.  It’s particularly useful if you’re struggling to get your blogging off the ground.  In this article – which caught my eye – Melinda Brennan turns it all on its head and tells you what not to do…

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Portable Apps

I do love the fact that I can use of many of my favourite apps from a USB memory stick (such as Audacity, Firefox, Filezilla etc).  Portable versions of many popular open source and freeware apps are available for download at

All this can happen without installing anything on the local (windows) PC.  In fact, usually no trace is left at all.  This is especially useful for IT professionals who find themselves using/troubleshooting a variety of PCs during the working day.

My tip for this is to make sure that you use a fast enough USB device.  I frequently find myself waiting (too long) on Portable Firefox starting up from a slow USB memory stick.  I find that I get very good performance from apps installed on my ipod.  And when you’ve got an 80gb Classic, there’s always space to spare… and it saves you carrying around more than one device… ok, so you need a cable – I nearly forgot about that small (but vital) detail.

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Apple Mac appreciation

In contrast to my other post, I have had some positive experience using Apple computers recently…

I decided to set up a small, low-power server in one of our offices at AdvoCard.  It’s not our main server (that’s a PowerMac G5 on the other site), it simply has to serve files to an office comprising eight PCs and one printer.

I hit upon the idea of using an old Apple Mac Mini G4.  As I say, they are small, quiet, have low power consumption, and can be picked up cheaply on Ebay.  Debian GNU/Linux is an available distribution which is still supports the PowerPC processor (unlike Apple itself, which stopped supporting PowerPC on its last but one release of OS X (10.5 – Leopard) – see rant.

There’s even a site dedicated to this kind of set-up:

I set up the server 50 days ago and according to the logs on the system, it’s been running smoothly ever since.  Here’s to the next 500 days!

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