The EEE does lots more fancy multimedia stuff. One great program that is on board already is Amarok (although it has been renamed Music Manager here). This has got to be one of the greats of the open source world. Through this application you can listen to your music collection, listen to internet radio, subscribe to podcasts and it integrates with last.fm (so you can listen to streams and scrobble tracks).
Now you might find that a machine with only a 4GB disk may not have enough storage to hold your music collection - no problem - just plug in your iPod (or another MP3 player) and you can play your music directly from there. Amarok will also manage your iPod so you can transfer music and podcasts to it. No need for iTunes. Like most Linux machines the EEE will recognise the iPod as a hard disk drive too so you can use it for document storage if you like, a very useful feature as top end iPods have about 60-80GB storage space. It was also possible to get the Last.fm client software installed from the Debian repositories and this worked perfectly. If you plug in headphones into the unit you get quite decent sound quality too.
You can watch video files with the supplied SMPlayer, which played files in mpeg4 and WMV format with a problem. I tried to install the excellent Miro onto the unit, it installed and launched perfectly, but I couldn't get it to play videos in mpeg4 format. Not sure why this is, if anybody reading this has a clue then please leave a comment. Interestingly, installing Miro created an extra icon in the easy mode, perhaps Asus are thinking of including this in a future version?
Sadly Google Earth was a bit of a no go on the unit as well. I used the Linux download from Google themselves, and it did work on the unit, but was painfully slow. I'm not sure if something is amiss with the graphics drivers causing slowness or if it is a physical restriction of the unit itself. I did see some similar Debian bug reports describing these same symptoms, but unfortunately didn't get chance to get to the bottom of the problem.
The bad news stops here though, the new social web browser Flock works on the unit, this is a browser designed for a full Web2.0 experience and definately worth trying out regardless of the machine you are using. After all that you might fancy enjoying a bit of arcade fun, the good news is that Tux Racer is included, a game where you race a fat penguin down a hill and collect herring. Despite that description it is really good fun.
Well we've had quite enought fun now! In part 3 I'll look at what the EEE can offer as a productivity tool for the busy executive.
*** UPDATE *** Trevor Collins has found a fix to get Google Earth working:
*** ANOTHER UPDATE *** I tried the fix above on my new EEE and it works! Google Earth is actually very usable after this fix has been applied.