Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Hacking the Aspire One

I recent acquired an Acer Aspire One, this little device is fantastic, but is severely limited by the default software it is delivered with. After spending an evening opening it up and dismantling it, in order to stick in a spare 1G ram module that I had knocking around, to take it to 1.5G,  I then spent a further evening loading it with the latest release of Ubuntu, and wiping out the linspire linux it arrives with by default. 

Software updates include hacking the VodaPhone linux 3G card driver to work with my "3" 3G usb modem, spending hours tinkering with the madwifi wifi driver until it was able to connect to the network at home and at work. and playing with compiz and the Intel 945 video drivers until i had the 3D effects working at full speed.  

The Aspire One is an incredible machine, fast, small and compact with very very good performance. Small enough to slip into the poachers pocket in my barbour jacket. 

But the best hack I did to this machine, the one that transformed the device from an interesting toy into a usable portable machine, was the simplest, cheapest and fastest to implement. 

Sticking two rubber "feet" strips salvaged from the bottom of an old hard drive enclosure onto the two mouse buttons on the trackpad, has transformed the machine, I can now accuratly contol the mouse and click and double click, without having to feel around for the right spot to press down on. 

The Aspire One weights in at about £220, and delivers near desktop performance in a small portable package, with good 3+ hour battery life. 

1 comment:

Ged Carroll said...

A step-by-step guide to this hack would be nice :)Looks like a better option than a MacBook Air