[AI] netbook tips
ilovecold at gmail.com
Fri Apr 30 07:12:55 EDT 2010
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR NETBOOK
The latest buzzword in technology's ever-expanding lexicon, netbook,
a new breed of ultra-portable PCs. Netbooks generally look similar to
but are smaller, thinner and lighter. They're easier to carry and great for
surfing the web, or typing emails and documents on the fly. Often, they're
good energy savers, have a longer-than-average battery life and are
cheap - you can pick one up for around ukp250.
Squeezing down the price and the size comes at a cost, however. Netbooks
smaller screens (around 9-inches to 13-inches) and keyboards, less memory
disk space, and slower processors. Netbooks generally lack a DVD drive,
Many netbooks now come with Windows 7 installed on them but some have
while others have customised versions of an operating system called Linux
In this feature we're going to show you how to take full advantage of what
netbooks have to offer.
1. CONNECT TO YOUR HOME NETWORK
The easiest way to connect to a home network and the internet from your
is wirelessly. To do this, you'll need a wireless router set up at home.
your netbook has a Wi-Fi switch make sure you've switched it on.
To connect using Windows XP look in the Notification Area (bottom,
side of your screen) for a little icon of a computer screen withgreen waves
radiating out from it. In Windows 7 you'll see a different icon that looks
like a small bar chart.
In both cases, right-click the icon and select View available networks from
list of options. Under where it says 'Choose a wireless network', look for
the name (or SSID) of your wireless network. Double-click on it and enter
wireless network's security key or password and click Connect.
2. INSTALL NEW SOFTWARE
Most netbooks lack a DVD drive. This means if you want to install new
you're better off downloading it. Software downloads can be large, so we
recommend doing this when you're connected to a home networkor a free Wi-Fi
hotspot, rather than using mobile broadband. Alternatively, you could
anexternal CD/DVD drive via your computer's USB port.
3. BACK UP YOUR NETBOOK FILES
To back up in Windows 7, plug in a USB hard drive or a flash drive. Go to
and type 'backup' into the Search box. Click the Backup and Restore link
that appears atthe top of the program list. In the box that opens, click on
Set up backup link on the far right. Your USB flash drive will appear in
Backup Destination list that appears.
Click on your USB flash drive, and then click Next. You can either let
decide which files and folders to back up or tick the 'Let me choose'
optionto select specific locations. Click Next and choose Change schedule
you wish to set a different time of day or frequency. Click Save settings
Windows XP doesn't feature a backup application. Instead, you could use an
online backup service; Windows Live SkyDrive, for
example, offers up to 25GB of storage free of charge.
4. PLAY DVDS ON YOUR NETBOOK
Netbooks don't come with a DVD drive, so you'll need to buy and install an
external DVD drive if you want to watch DVD movie discs. External drives
around ukp40 (amazon.co.uk) and simply plug into a spare USB port. Neither
Windows XP nor Windows 7 Starter Edition will play DVD movies without extra
software. Some external drives comewith DVD player software; if not you'll
need to buy something like Cyberlink PowerDVD 9 Standard (ukp40,
As netbooks are lower-powered than laptops, make sure you check the
5. SECURE YOUR NETBOOK
The easiest way to protect the data onyour netbook is to password-protect
Windows user account. If you haven't done so already, in Windows XP go to
Start > Control Panel > User Accounts > click on your account name and click
Create Password. In Windows 7, go to Start and type User. Click on the
Accounts link that appears at the top of the program list. Select your
and click Create a password for your user account. A strong, secure
should be at least six characters long and contain a mixture of letters and
numbers - preferably random ones.
6. CONNECT TO MOBILE BROADBAND
You can connect to mobile broadband by signing up with one of the UK's 3G
mobile service providers: 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile or Vodafone either to a
monthly contract or on a pay-as-you-go basis. Most netbooks require a 3G
or modem. Some contracts provide a dongle for free; others may charge you
- Install your dongle: plug your dongle into a spare USB port and Windows
automatically install the necessary drivers. A wizard will guide you
the setup process. You may need to restart your computer to complete the
installation. However, be aware thatif you're using a Linux-based netbook
will be more difficult to set up your dongle and you may need to download
additional software from the web.
- Connect to mobile broadband: this will adda small utility to your PC that
allows you to manage your mobile broadband connection and may launch
automatically when you start Windows, or it might be available from a
shortcut. In either case, click the Connect (or similar) button to launch
7. USE AN EXTERNAL MOUSE
Some netbooks' trackpads can be awkward so you may wish to use an external
mouse, instead. You'll need a newer USB mouse and, if you're using your
netbook while out and about, a smaller mouse is more practical. To cut back
the tangle of wires, you may wantto consider a wireless mouse, such as the
Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX (pictured), which is available from
and costs ukp70.
8. Increase your battery life
Netbook battery life varies wildly from model to model. Three cell
usually drain after less than a couple of hours.Six cell batteries can last
to eight hours but have the disadvantage of being slightly heavier. Here
some tips for helping to keep your battery running as long as possible.
- Adjust brightness: if you run your netbook with its screen at full
your battery will wear out quickly, so turn it down. Screen brightness can
usually be adjusted using the 'Fn' key in conjunction with apair of other
keys marked with the brightness icon.
- Turn off Wi-Fi: When you're not using a wireless connection then turn off
your Wi-Fi switch. This will conserve a significant amount of energy.
- Unplug USB devices: USB devices such as music players, thumb drives,
broadband dongles and even mice all drain power, so it's worth unplugging
if you're not using them.
- Set your power options: In Windows XP, go to Start > Control Panel > Power
Options. In Windows 7, go to Start, type Power Options and press Enteron
keyboard. In both cases this will bring up a dialogue box where you can
customise how long before your PC automatically turns the screen off and
goesinto standby if you haven't used it in a while.
9. WATCH TV ON YOUR NETBOOK
USB TV tuner add-ons, such as the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-900 (around ukp45 at
www.amazon.co.uk) allow your netbook to receive live digital (Freeview) and
analogue TV broadcasts, but this can be a bit unwieldy on the move, since it
involves the use of a portable aerial.
If you have access to a Wi-Fi internet connection, however, then you could
on-demand services from the BBC (www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer), ITV
(www.itv.com/itvplayer/), Channel 4 (www.channel4.com/programmes/4od) and
Channel 5 (http://demand.five.tv/) to view selected TV programmes. Again,
don't recommend doing so if you're using a mobile broadband dongle, since
video files can be quite large and you will quickly use up your monthly or
STEP BY STEP - INSTALL EXTRA MEMORY
As with laptops, most netbooks allow you to install extra memory or RAM as a
of boosting performance. Doing so can provide a noticeable performance
increase, particularly on models with less than 1GB of existing RAM. Before
buy, however, you must establish what type of memory your netbook uses and
out the maximum amount of memory that it can take. Here's how to find out
these details and install the memory once you have bought it.
1. CHOOSE YOUR MEMORY
Go to www.crucial.com/uk and click Scan my system. Put a tick in the terms
conditionsbox and click Download the scanner. Save the file
to your Desktop and double-clickthe program. A web page will open telling
the type of memory you can buy and the maximum your PC can take.
2. ORDER YOUR MEMORY
Compatible Crucial memory products will be listed on the company's website;
you can buy one of these or shop around to see if you can find the same type
memory for cheaper elsewhere - in our case we found a compatible 2GB SO DIMM
module for ukp7 cheaper than Crucial at www.play.com.
3. INSTALLING YOUR MEMORY
Most netbooks have a panel on their underside you can unscrew to access the
memory slot(s). Before opening this, unplug your netbook from the mains,
it off and remove the battery. Memory is usuallyheld in place by
clips at either end; gentlypull these apart and remove/insert memory as
4. CHECK YOUR SYSTEM
Screw the panel back into place, re-attach the battery and start your
If the upgrade has worked correctly, Windows will launch as normal. To
that your PC is recognising the correct amount of memory go to Start >
right-click on My Computer and select Properties. You will see the amount
STEP BY STEP - EBOOK READER
Having bought a netbook you may not want to buy a dedicated ebook reader
later in this issue). The good news is that it's relatively easy to use
netbook to read electronic books and have the best of both worlds.
1. DOWNLOAD EBOOK SOFTWARE
There are several free ebook reader programs available, including Microsoft
Reader (www.microsoft.com/Reader), Mobipocket Reader Desktop
(www.mobipocket.com) and Adobe's Digital Editions
2. BUY AN ELECTRONIC BOOK
You can buy ebooks from many of the same outlets that sell paper books
Once you've bought and downloaded one, you may wish to rotate your screen to
make your reading experience more book-like (see step 3).
3. ROTATE YOUR DISPLAY
Right-click on your Desktop. Select Graphics Options > Rotation > 90
If you don't see this option when you right-click, go to
http://vk.edward.li.googlepages.com/ eeerotate and download EeeRotate.
WHERE TO BUY YOUR EBOOKS:
WH Smith http://ebooks.whsmith.co.uk
AND SOME FREE ONES....
Project Gutenberg www.gutenberg.org
The eBook Directory www.ebookdirectory.com
e-Book.com Australia www.e-book.com.au
More information about the AccessIndia