Hacking the Asus MiniBook – or Having some programmer fun.

I’ve been playing around with my new Asus miniBook and thought I’d share a few tips with you:

Tip 1:
This is basically a Linux build, so it must have a command line interface… and it does. Just press Ctrl-Alt-T to get it up.

Tip 2:
So if it’s Linux were is the interface then? It’s there you just need to install a few apps to see it. It will only use an additional 6 Megabytes, and you can always set it back later. Make sure you have internet access too – if you use a proxy server you’ll have to enter that before attempting this.. So: Open a command line (Tip 1) and type:

  • “sudo apt-get update” – To update your repositories of software to the latest ones
  • “sudo apt-get install kicker” – To get the first little app you’ll need, press ‘Y’ when asked.
  • “apt-get install ksmserver” – For the second little app, again press ‘Y’ when asked.
  • “exit” – to leave the screen.

Now if you press the power button you’ll see another option on the left, click this to boot into full mode. (Note, that it will only boot into full desktop the next time you start the machine, normally it will boot into the simple interface, this shouldn’t be a problem because it literally takes seconds to boot anyway)

Tip 3:
The camera. The built in camera is actually turned off by default to save battery power. Some software will realise this and turn it on automatically but others won’t and you’ll have to do it yourself. A quick way to turn the hardware on is with a quick text command, open a command line and type:

  • “sudo echo 1 > /proc/acpi/asus/camera”

Replace the ‘1’ with a ‘0’ (zero) to turn it back off.

Tip 4 :
Skype Video. There’s currently a beta version of Skype available for the Linux system, you’ll have to upgrade to this one to get video calls as the currently installed one doesn’t have it. You can get it from here:
select the xandros edition.

UPDATE: There is now a released version of Skype with all the video goodness already included. Get it from here:

When you’ve downloaded this installer (It should be in your “My Documents” folder) run it using the File Manager or through the command prompt. Now you can launch Skype from the same place as before. Don’t forget to turn on the camera (Tip 3) before you run it though.

If I think of any more I’ll post them here. If you have some of your own, please let me know.

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