I owe a big thank-you to Dale Lane tonight, since his blog entry on "Using a 3 mobile broadband dongle with the EEE PC" proved to be all I need to write my first entry on Blogspot using the Huawei E220 USB modem.
The dongle arrived in the post yesterday, sent recorded delivery and perfectly packaged from eBay seller 3g-fever, and despite my doubts (it's branded as a Three USB modem, but sold unlocked), it worked out of the box with my Windows XP laptop and Vodafone SIM card first thing this morning. And it is blindingly fast too, at least here in an urban setting using HSDPA - loads the BBC homepage in around four seconds with images.
I moved it to the Asus eee this evening and set about following some instructions on the Ubuntu forums for configuring it to work with wvdial - not a good idea, since within 10 minutes I'd managed to get the Xandros install on the laptop recklessly modified to the point where I could no longer log in, and the only option open was a complete restore from the original image on the machine using the F10 on boot. Yikes! Fortunately the restore was a five minute job, and everything is fine now (I was able to recover my home directory contents after the restore from a back-up made on my USB-connected 30Gb iPod).
Anyway, if you are in the same position as you read this, the good news is that Dale's instructions and the work done already on the out-of-the-box Xandros distro make installing the USB dongle a doddle - there's a wizard, you need to know your network provider, and if that happens to be Vodafone, everything works first time.
I think that's enough excitement for one day, I'm off to bed.