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92 posts

Master Geek

#36515 26-Jun-2009 17:40
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I want to get wireless internet in Auckland, something very cheap/slow, just for s**t's and giggles a few times a week when I'm out and about... but my Eee PC 701 laptop has no PCMCIA (only USB) and only Linux.. I had the default Xandros Linux installed at some point, but then followed instructions on a website to unlock/expand it, so it was more like a traditional desktop, and not just a GUI to lauch apps..

What do you guys suggest I do for hardware? I googled, but I was struggling a bit.. I get the feeling its a good idea to buy something usb and linux friendly before they become extinct in 2 years.. if they're not already.

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228 posts

Master Geek

  #229543 30-Jun-2009 13:35

I've looked into using the XT mobile's USB device with my eee.
Thou it is *possible* very few (I daresay none) of the local players are willing to commit to supporting GNU/Linux, but if you're patient & willing to do a bit of legwork, you can get it going.

First off, drop Xandros.
Sorry to say, but it's a second-rate GNU/Linux OS, and you may have issue getting driver for it. Rather go with something like Ubuntu or Mint, or even something like CentOS or mandriva (it's a matter of taste)

Get the spec of the device. I saw that the XT device wasn't obviously cmopatible, but with a bit of googleing, was able to get the skinny on it. You may have to manually download & build the drivers, even go as far as running it in an NDISWrapper, but that's not rocket science.
Chat to your local LUG it you get stuck (next AuckLUG meeting on Mon, 6th Jul, AFAIK)

Many of the devices are actually Hawei's, which are make in China (the Co's actually a military dept), so you may expect to see more of the Chinese-manufactured devices being supported on RedFlag, but that's a topic for another day.

An alternative that mey better appeal to you is to do "bluetooth tethering": connect your current mobile device to your eee via a USB dongle, and then "dial out" that way.
The upside of this approach is that you're not defendant on any particular manufacturer's driver or proprietary protocol, and MANY mobile support this.

Hope this info is handy

- J


92 posts

Master Geek

  #229561 30-Jun-2009 13:58
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that sounds very promising. I wasnt keen on reinstalling an OS, but it would give me a good excuse to upgrade my tiny 4gb hard drive haha.

can you provide links for the exact device I need? I wasnt really able to find what you meant by "xt wireless usb".. it'd be great if you could show me one in New Zealand too.

How simple is it to install ubuntu onto a Eee 701 PC? Put it on a USB stick, then boot off it? (or similar)?


92 posts

Master Geek

  #229564 30-Jun-2009 14:08
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Ahh whoops, I found it.

that is quite cool to know its supported. The pricing is a little pricey for me though, although the coverage and speed sounds excellent. Thanks for your help. I will bear your AuckLUG group in mind in future, will google you guys when I have the hardware and the funds together. It's free to come along, eh? No membership fees?

228 posts

Master Geek

  #229576 30-Jun-2009 14:37

LUG's are free, but you may have to pay for your own beer ;)

What I've done with my own eee, is go to DickSmith's & buy a cheap-ish SD flash card (I think you can get an 8 or 16 GB one for about $40-50), and then store your "/home" directory on it (that's where your docs & personal settings are stored, usually). That way, if you break your system (which I do on a VERY frequent basis; just because I can), you can simply pop out the SD card, install an OS of you choice & the simply mount it again, and you should be up & running in almost no time at all.
While you're at it, you can buy a few USB flash drives, and load a distro on each to run on, or just try out.
Cheap as chips, easy as pie!

A "typical" Ubuntu installation weighs in at less than 2G's, and that includes your OpenOffice & most of the tools & apps you're likely to use.
There are a couple of Ubuntu-"flavors" that are customized for netbooks (see some of my earlier posts), such as eeeBuntu, OpenGeeeU, or simply the the Ubuntu NBR. The great thing about having your home seperate, is that you can try them all (free of charge), and not drop a stitch

If you plan on getting a 3G USB device, pick one & do a bit of homework first, before forking out the cash. Many devices moonlight as something "fancy", but are actually something else under the hood, so check for hardware compatibility. I do not expect most of them to work off the bat, as many networks only provide windows diver, or mac if you're lucky.

That's the other really FANTASTIC thing about the Ubuntu's :
Odds are, there is someone else out there that already has that device, so you may be able to get pretty quick help on that forum for almost any troubles you run into.
Otherwise, there are some VERY nice & helpful people on the IRC channels: #ubuntu, #ubuntu-nz, #ubuntu-eeepc, #ubuntu-netbook, #ubuntu-mobile

If you're in town, come join us @ the AuckLUG for Monday's meet, and I can give you copies of whatever you want (check the AuckLUG mailing list for details)


228 posts

Master Geek

  #229578 30-Jun-2009 14:48

A quick search for support for this device (Telecom MF636)
is detailed here:

...just as an example...


92 posts

Master Geek

  #229585 30-Jun-2009 15:09
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(duplicate post)

228 posts

Master Geek

  #229587 30-Jun-2009 15:15

jahc : watch those repeats of posts. (3rd one now)
is your browser crashing & you're re-submitting the same info over & over again?



92 posts

Master Geek

  #229588 30-Jun-2009 15:18
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Hey. that link is awesome! It's very simple to follow, even for me. I just need to find some $$$ for my gear.

I already posted a hello message on the mailing list. Maybe we'll meet up and you can make me go nice and crossed eyed in person (as is usually the case when a higher powered computer being explains computer things to a lesser powered computer being).

92 posts

Master Geek

  #229592 30-Jun-2009 15:32
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freakalad: jahc : watch those repeats of posts. (3rd one now)

is your browser crashing & you're re-submitting the same info over & over again?

I was using a beta web browser (OrigynWebBrowser).. I didnt realise it was submitting repeat posts. I just reloaded in Firefox3 and it looks like someone has cleaned it up though. Was that you? Sorry about that! I wont use that browser anymore for this forum. Just that my clunker PC was going a bit slow, so I was using a different machine.

228 posts

Master Geek

  #229598 30-Jun-2009 15:42

no worries. we where all n00bs once, and in MANY respects I still am.

I'd caution against forking out $$$ just yet.
Rather spend a bit of money getting that SD card and a few little USB flash drives (1 or 2), and maybe get a USB bluetooth dongle.
That way, you can use your phone to connect to the 'net via your mobile phone (you'd be amazed what you can do with existing technology & a bit of "hacking").
Some mobile operators don't like that too much, since they miss the chance to dupe you into another extended contract (I think Telecom/XT have pre-paid data rates too). Doing it that way, you can also use VoIP to make cost effective international calls (which is also "frowned upon" by the various operators). Consider Skype (or something similar)


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