ASUS eeePC- initial thoughts

On the weekend I bought myself a new toy. It’s the ASUS eeePC. At around A$500 it’s one of the cheapest laptops on the market at the moment. It sports:

  • a 7in LCD screen 800×480,
  • 900MHz Intel CPU,
  • 512MB 667MHz DDR2 ram,
  • 4GB solid state hard drive (it is basically an SD card),
  • 802.11a/b/g WiFi
  • 3 USB2.0 ports,
  • 10/100 Network,
  • integrated stereo speakers,
  • 3½hrs battery life (I’ve had 3 hours at full brightness),
  • SVGA out (untested for max resolution), and
  • webcam.

It comes pre-installed with a myriad of applications and would be relatively friendly for most people to use… for a linux distro… Oh, did I mention… It’s NOT Windows based!. Rather it’s built on a very customised Xandros build. The interface is not too bad once you get use to it, but there is a quick install to go to a more full Xandros desktop:

  • drop to a terminal (CTRL+ALT+T)
  • sudo apt-get install kicker ksmserver
  • reboot

You can make this permanent by going to Settings –> Personalization and change the login mode to Full Desktop mode, but this is far from ideal. If you watch it boot up, the e actually boots twice, once into normal (easy) mode and then reboots into advanced mode.

So far I am very impressed with the unit, albeit that I am use to a more flexible linux distro, this interface does suit the eeePC perfectly.

This device lends itself to much modding, just google eeepc hack.

I will report more on this later. Stay tuned for my WiFi walk!

Day 049

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I am 49 days into my “new years resolution” and so far it is resolving quite well. This morning’s weigh-in was 94.6kg!!! ONLY 100 grams off making it a neat 11kg!

I have poker tonight, but I plan to be UNDER 94.5kg for tomorrows weigh-in, so I have to be good.

I had a plan today to grab some networking components, so I was supposed to be walking around Sydney to find where to buy them. But while on the walk one place I had left a message with contacted me back and indicated I could purchase it from them tomorrow. Their price was good, so I decided to leave it at that.

So, instead, I went for a walk involving lunch with a mate of mine, and continued a short walk as in the map on the left. The primary feature of the walk was to identify free WiFi access and a post on that will be coming soon. The teardrop pointers on the map indicate the points of test. Red means no connection, blue means a connection (if I had an account) and green was for totally free connection. Yellow (of which there were none) were going to be reserved for insecure networks that I could latch onto. There were a few I found, but none strong enough to maintain a connection. I will post more on this separately.

distance travelled and the road less taken

pic of sydney by air
Sydney by Air

I try to walk most days I have off. But it does become tiring and boring. I am VERY lucky I live in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in the world… (SYDNEY – if you had to ask!). I have often thought about ‘tuning’ up my walk with some music, but figure if I wait until I am dead-set bored of walking, then when I add the music, it may spark a little more interest… this is still under review.

I generally plan them to be for a purpose, which helps. For example, today I need some new networking equipment… Then, on the walk, I am thinking about that more-so than the effort needed to walk… Except that now that I have just made myself aware of this, that self-created illusion is just busted!

My walks are not quite as frequent as I would like, but generally the shorter ones are around 2-3km. The average ones appear to be between 7 and 9km. And twice I have ventured past the 10km with trips of around 12 and 18km. My favourites though are the ones around 8-9km.

I have thought a couple of times to work out how far I have walked so far, but have not done the sums yet. On a cursory level I would estimate that in the last SIX weeks I have walked around 80km. I didn’t realise it was that far myself, and that is only including my mapped walks

I sometimes don’t work as hard as I would like since usually after I had put in so well, I just dawdle the remainder of the trip home. But I am of the opinion 2km dawdling is better than a 10m sprint :-)

I have got to the stage now that my weightloss is stagnating. It is coming off much slower now, much slower than I would like. But since my health and indurance are most certainly getting better, who am I to complain.

Day 44

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My feet are much better today after last night having thrown them into a vibrating foot massager with hot water… I topped the water up (to make it hot again) twice and by the end my feet were like jelly :)

Today I went off with a vengeance again. First, off to get my hair cut (north towards the city), then east and south to Moore Park shopping center (I’m after a particular computer component – and decided specifically I was going to let my FEET do the walking, not my fingers*). I had spurts of jogging in there, nothing too great, but enough to get the heart rate up.

The better part of the journey was the trip back to work (I wasn’t working, but went to the work gym to jump on the rowing machine). What I did was alternate my walking and jogging such that I started jogging for 30 seconds, walked for 30 seconds, jog 45s, walk 45s, jog 60s, walk 60s, jog 60s, walk 45s, jog 95s, walk 45s… Then continued off in some arrangement like that until I got to the gym. It was good cardio work and got me working hard.

Once at the gym, I jumped on the rower… Normally I’d do 2km in around 10 minutes. The next setting up was 5km… Hmmm… should I do it? YEP! I decidedly slowed the pace a little (from 32 strokes per minute, to around 29 spm) and that did help. I started with the resistance on 6, but soon put it up to 8 after about 1000m. I took a 30 second breather about the 2.7km mark and got back into it. For the last 1000m I thought I’d try a little harder and got the spm up to about 35, but soon died in the ass. I slowed back down again. Then with 200m to go I really put in. 39 spm and then I thought I was going to die. I didn’t make it 100 metres before I had to cruise in the last 100. All in all, a GREAT workout and I completed the 5000m in around 27 minutes. I forget the exact figure, but it was well under the half hour.

Then, when I was happy with that and about to go home, the gym instructor came over and we started talking and he ‘convinced’ me that we should do some abdominal work. I’m sure they get off on pain, and having someone there watching you does give you that little bit of incentive to really put in and “be tough”. I was tough, but not before failing some of the exercises miserably. Ahh well, I have no idea what you would call half of these, but they were good. And most of them I can do at home. So I probably won’t. :-)

* There was a television commercial in the ’90s that promoted the public telephone system, and the yellow pages. It’s slogan was “Let your fingers do the walking, not your feet” or something similar

Day 43

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After this mornings weigh-in, I was pretty happy especially after so much hydration last night… It was a good feeling. So when I knew I had a few things in town today to take care of, it was without much-a-do that I set off on another walking expedition.

I hate a specialist meeting in town and I was running late, so I caught the bus into town (otherwise I would have walked!). As can be seen from the trip, I travelled from Macquarie Street, to King Street for lunch (chicken schnitzel and gravy sandwhich – a fav of mine from a particular shop there), then onto capital square (just up from Central Railway station. They didn’t have what I was after and so I decided to go for a walk out to Moore Park and see if they had it there, but a friend of mine called me and said he was on his way to Entech…

Audio, Video and flashy LEDs, who could resist. Although there weren’t many scantily clad women there, there was enough to keep the inner child excited for the afternoon, before heading off to Broadway to do some final shopping.

I got to Broadway only to find the whole shopping centre was shut-down with police crime scene tape and fire brigade tape sealing off all the entrances and people lined up for miles… Apparently they had a power problem there, or something and had to evacuate the building… Whatever, I just walked on home.

I didn’t hit 8 km today (which has usually been the benchmark I have noted), but 7½ is just as good. Not a hard walk today, my feet are still recovering from yesterday.

FOOD for the day: Chicken Schnitzel on brown bread, no butter – but with gravy. A curry beef pie from harris Street, 200g or so of egg and bacon pie (like a quiche without the pastry) and a protein shake. And about 3 litres of water.

It’s official, 10kgs in 42 days

One of my main goals at the start was to have a dressed weight of under 80kg. My ideal weight for height is 75kg. I can’t remember when I was last under 80. It was probably 5-6 years ago… Maybe longer.

I was just talking to a mate about the weightloss, it seems that I work easier when there is an ulterior motive. For example: yesterdays squash, I wasn’t keen to go outside until I remembered there was something to do… The squash. Then I needed a way to get there and I came up with the idea of walking. And I was keen to do it. 10 minutes earlier, I did not want to leave my comfy computer chair.

Using rough figures, half way is 92kg. I should be there in another week or so. I know the first half is easier than the second half, but I do have a bottle of wild turkey riding on it. I have to be under 80kg within this financial year. Which brings me back to my last point… I have an ulterior motive (other than just weightloss and being healthy).

Day 42

Can you get arrested for abuse of your feet?

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Well, it does take a lot to get me motivated, but when I do… There’s not much stopping me. After a pretty bad weekend (alcohol Friday night, a bowl of wedges and a recovery hamburger and chips on Saturday) I really had NO inclination to do any exercise for days.

I promised myself that today I would, but it was still a challenge… I didn’t want to.

Then I was reminded of a squash game I had today in North Sydney. Immediately I pulled up the location on google maps and mapped out my walk (see right). I did my usual Ho Chi Minh shuffle most of the way to the harbour bridge (stopping twice to repack my backback and answer my phone)… Walked the majority of the bridge and finished off with walking the rest of the way to the venue, North Sydney Leagues club.

We played a solid hour and fifteen minutes of hard paced squash (this guy is far superior to me and runs me ragged). We then walked back to North Sydney railway station and I caught a train home. I didn’t do my usual weigh in this morning (due to not going to bed last night), so after a shower when i got home I jumped on the scales. I was a bit worried that the 4-5 litres of water I consumed today was going to put me over yesterdays weight, but shock horror…

I BROKE the 10KG mark!!! I weighed in at 95.0kg.. A whopping 10.5kg since I started about 42 days ago.

Today’s meals have been a bit light on, consisting of copious amounts of water, pork crackling, a chicken “puff” (chicken filled pastry with vegies), a 2 protein shakes (with a possible third before I go to bed since I am a little hungry about now).

Anyway, tomorrows weigh in should be interesting… But I have no exercise planned. (Must think of something!)

I am going to be so sore tomorrow… but, recalling an earlier adage, there is an expansion on the idea:

nothing tastes as good as being thin feels…    even if it kills you

Day 31 Pt II

Well, I never really got any sleep today, and a mate of mine dragged me back to the gym this afternoon. I am thinking I have done a little too much for one day. I kid-you-not, I honestly don’t think I am going to be able to walk tomorrow. At this very moment my legs feel like jelly. Just standing is difficult, let alone walking. I feel like a toddler learning to walk. I can’t believed how much I have sweat today both this afternoon and this morning.

At the gym, I met with the instructor I first met when I joined. Her name is (I have no idea how to spell it, but sounds like Tire/tyre with a ‘K’). Kya? I have told her from the start that I am keen to lose weight and that weight training, or muscle building exercises are an after-thought. ie, not for serious consideration at the moment. I just want to work my heart and lose this flab.

She got me into compound exercises. Which is just a fancy way of saying “let’s work a few muscle groups together”. I worked these into a set which consisted of lunges to one side, lunges to the other side, squats, and then push-ups. (I need another upper body exercise to round this out – I’ll work on that).

Set 1:
10 lunges left
10 lunges right
15 squats
15 push-ups

Set 2:
10 lunges one side
8 lunges the other*
10 squats
15 push-ups

Set 3:
6 lunges each side, then
3 lunges each side
8 squats, and
10 push-ups

Set 4:
Are you kidding! There is no set 4! I actually wanted there to be 4 sets, but I was physically whacked. So I then wrapped the session up with 6-7 minutes on the rowing machine.

I didn’t realise at first, but I forgot to set the resistence on the machine and it was set to maximum, but I thought I would give it a go. I got to the 5 minute mark ok, got out 1100 metres, but couldn’t get any further. Took a five minute break and got back into it and died about 90 seconds into it.

I think I have done enough for one day — but only just!

Max detected heart-rate (at the end of 5 mins on the rower – 154BPM, which according to charts is about 85% of my peak.

Dinner: Bacon Omelet with curry.

Day 31


View Larger Map
Repost of old map. The three markers indicate where I made it to
on each of these walks so far attempted. The further left the mark,
the further I got (after having made it around the park itself)

Today has started off with a bang.

I did my usual (like third time) Centennial Park run. I got 7 minutes into it before I had to start walking, although that 7 minutes is more like a Ho Chi Minh shuffle for me. But a work-up, none-the-less.

I set myself a goal on this run, to get as far around Centennial Park in the hour as possible. I was meeting all benchmarks with flying colours (although I felt I was a little slow to Moore Park golf course). I hit my previous 1hr point on the run, at about 51 minutes, maybe less. And I could see the park gates in sight. 6 minutes to go… Then 5…. Then 4… I was through the gates…

3½ minutes, then 3 minutes… Getting a few steps further everytime. I hit one of the roads into the scg, and still had a minute left. I got past the traffic lights and felt like collapsing.

1 HOUR!!!

I then eased the pace right back, it was more a dawdle than a walk. I wanted to be truly rested so that I could get on the rowing machine for 10 minutes. The time to beat, 9m42…

The time I got… 9m52.

10 seconds slower, but I would have to say I was more rooted today than I have been in any workout in the last 15 years! Gievn the effort with the run/jog/walk this morning, I think I can let myself off 10 seconds! LOL…

Time for a shower and some sleep.

It’s 5 o’clock in the morning…

and wtf am I doing up at this hour? To be honest… NOTHING!!!

But I now I face the quandary: Do I go to bed (and sleep most of the day away), or do I wait a little longer and go for a walk? I had planned to get up early this morning and go to the gym, but I don’t think I can hang around that long… although it is 5am and the gym does open at 6.30…

I have done nothing all night. Actually, I have done a little (synonym for a LOT) of surfing. For nothing in general, and everything on the side. I have been really good lately, I have found that with my regular exercise I am generally going to bed at a reasonable time. I am trying to make it a rule that I go to bed before the next day (ie, before midnight). And generally I do.

Right now I am toying with the idea of going for one of my Centennial Park walks and finishing off at the gym on the way home for a 10 minute row!

I don’t believe I am about to do this… But I have just got changed into some walking gear and got my gym/work pass ready… (my mother will be proud!)