Friday, 24 July 2009

Playing with my Dell Mini 10v

I have been talking about getting myself a netbook so I do not have to lug my main laptop about when we visit family, or travelling to conferences. I have said I was going to order a Dell Mini 9 a few times. By the time I got round to ordering it the Dell Mini 10v had basically replaced it, sigh. Anyhow I really did order one. My 10v arrived a couple of days ago, and its prettier than I imagined. Say hello to Penfold.

So what is it like? Its very light and just that little bit bigger and more usable than the 9 I had seen. The keyboard is a decent size and the only keys which are not normal are the function keys which it seems I really do not use that much. A significant improvement over the 9's layout.

As a keen Ubuntu convert obviously I ordered the Ubuntu version which thankfully is still cheaper than the M$ loaded version, at least in the UK.
It had a Dell pre-install of Ubuntu based on Hardy. Although it seemed perfectly usable I wanted to see how well Karmic worked on this baby. A quick backup of the SSD and I was installing from a USB stick. Overall completely painless.

The only odd feature of this machine is the touchpad. The left and right clicks are activated by pushing down the corners of the touchpad. This has an odd effect as the buttons are in the active area of the touchpad and clicking tended to cause the mouse to jump, I will not even attempt to describe the gymnastics required to do a long drag.

I was resigned to getting a little travel mouse when using this thing but thought I would do a little googling first. This turned up a reference to an updates synaptics X driver from Alberto Milone. I have installed the xserver-xorg-input-synaptics package (only) from the PPA below:
That change seems to have sorted things out. The power of open source at work. Awsome.

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