Installing Ubuntu on an Acer revo – Low-end HTPC

IMG_20110130_115534.jpgI’m installing Ubuntu 10.10 to an Acer Revo (R1600) today. I’m thinking Ubuntu will perform better as a HTPC operating system than Windows 7. Ubuntu tends to have less overhead. Meaning, performs better on slower hardware.

IMG_20110130_115927.jpgThe Acer Revo is a Nettop PC. It features an Atom N230 single core hyper-threaded CPU running at 1.6 GHz. The performance is similar to the old Pentium M Centrino processors. The Revo has a trick up its sleeve, dedicated graphics (or GPU). There’s an Nvidia ION chipset on board that handles Audio, video and some chipset interconnects. The Nvidia ION in the Revo is similar to the Geforce 8400 chipset from Nvidia. Between the CPU and GPU, the system should playback 720p video. Also depending on the encoding of the video it may handle 1080p.

On the software front, I’m using Ubuntu 10.10 and Boxee. Ubuntu is a GNU/Linux Distribution created by Canonical. Boxee is a Media Center style media manager based on XBMC. Ubuntu provides a fantastic base operating system. I don’t have to worry too much about hardware support or configuring it, as Canonical has done a lot of it for me. Boxee is the same way, it’s ready to go right after install. Most of the needed video and audio decoders are included in the package. Ubuntu and Boxee are a great match-up and did I mention their free?

More to come!






Pentax Online Support Chat Rocks

There I was, scrounging for my Pentax K-7 manual. It was no where to be found. Luckly, Pentax publishes all of their manuals online. However, today the support site was experiencing an issue with the manuals. I could not download the one I needed.

A top the page they have a link for live chat support. Honestly, Dell and HP online chat support reps have poor reputation in my book. It often takes much longer to resolve simple issues via chat rather than calling.

However, in the case of Pentax, the support was quick, efficient and best of all in clear English. The rep I interacted with did not respond using a prescribed script. He honestly read my question and responded concisely and effectively. The full chat is copied below.



Edit: Link provided by Pentax support for the Pentax k-7 Manual:

Please wait while we find an agent to assist you...
You have been connected to Edward.
Edward: Thank you for contacting Pentax Chat Support. I'm Edward,
and how may I help you?
Stephen Wilson: I'm attempting to download the english manual for
the K-7 however, it's not working. I've tried two different browsers
and checked other sites to ensure Acrobat is installed correctly.
Everything seems to be fine with my system. Is the site having
Stephen Wilson: If the site is having issues, is it possible to get
the manual a different way?
Edward: It may be at the moment. Let me get you a different
link to try.
Stephen Wilson: ok, thank you
Edward: Try this one.
Stephen Wilson: That worked perfectly, thank you!
Edward: You're quite welcome!
Edward: Will there be anything else?
Stephen Wilson: That was it
Edward: Thank you for contacting Pentax, If you are in need of
further assistance, call our technical support center at 800-877-0155.
Edward G.
Pentax Imaging Technical Support
Thank you for using InstantService. You may now close this window.
Your session has ended. You may now close this window.

Light Trails – Photo

I took this photo at about 7:30 this morning. I’m standing on the Yesler overpass that I-5 run under. I’m looking north towards the city center.

Camera: Pentax K-7
ISO: 100
Exposure: 2.5 seconds
Focal Length: 8mm