I’ve earned a bit of extra money recently from some web ventures, so I’ve been able to buy some thing that I’ve planning for a while.

First of all, it’s my wife’s 30th birthday in a months time. I’d planned to get her an Asus EEE PC. Stock seems to be quite variable, so when I saw one in stock at a reasonable place I ordered one.

I’ve also been after a new scanner too. My eye was on an EPSON V350, which has a film loader built into the lid.

After cocking up delivery, and accidentally ordering next day, instead of free (and a cock-up that cost me £8. Grumble) I received both yesterday (the former now hidden away, naturally).

So, what do I think?

First of all, the EEE PC. It drew quite a crowd and work and everybody loved it. I have no intentions to install Windows on it, but leave the standard Linux install on it instead. I’ve performed updates to the existing software and set up the default settings. It reads all my USB keys and SD cards (including SDHC), including the Windows files that are on them. To my surprise it read a key formatted as NTFS (this is not usual in Linux). So, once home, I tried to get it to access my NTFS formatted NAS drive… it worked! She will now have access to a half Terabyte drive wirelessly, including my entire CD collection. Fantastic.

The Asus is easy to type on and incredibly easy to use. The only gripe is that every time you restart the machine it doesn’t automatically re-connect to your wireless network – you have to go and select it again and re-connect. After such a quick boot up time it’s disappointing that you’re then way-laid by such a simple thing.

The box doesn’t have a huge amount in – CD’s and DVD’s with manuals and Linux builds on, a really smart power supply (with the transformer on the plug, rather than a box half way along the cable), and a black slip-case.

Recommended? God, yes.

Now onto the EPSON V350 Photo scanner. What can I say? It’s a scanner. However, it does have a neat film feed in the lid which will perfectly scan 35mm film. I’ve not tried it yet but reviews say it’s excellent. However, I did get a chance to scan a single item – something my previous scanner struggled with. It’s a certificate in a sealed frame. My old scanner had problems with reflections in the frames glass. The EPSON? Perfect. And damn quick too.

Lots of software too including a copying facility that, matched with a printer, will turn it into a photocopier.

My only bug-bear (and there has to be one) is the amount of power it consumes when not in use. The alternative is to have it turn off with the PC, but that means the scanner making a noise and calibrating each time I turn the PC back on again. My solution was simple – leave it unplugged. But I’d like to think that manufacturers can think of better alternatives to this.

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