[AI] netbook tips

Sanjay 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,
describes
a new breed of ultra-portable PCs.  Netbooks generally look similar to
laptops
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
relatively
cheap - you can pick one up for around ukp250.

Squeezing down the price and the size comes at a cost, however.  Netbooks
have
smaller screens (around 9-inches to 13-inches) and keyboards, less memory
and
disk space, and slower processors.  Netbooks generally lack a DVD drive,
too.
Many netbooks now come with Windows 7 installed on them but some have
Windows XP
while others have customised versions of an operating system called Linux
instead.

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
netbook
is wirelessly.  To do this, you'll need a wireless router set up at home.
If
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,
right-hand
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
the
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
your
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
software,
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
connect
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
Start
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
the
Set up backup link on the far right.  Your USB flash drive will appear in
the
Backup Destination list that appears.

Click on your USB flash drive, and then click Next.  You can either let
Windows
decide which files and folders to back up or tick the 'Let me choose'
optionto select specific locations.  Click Next and choose Change schedule
if
you wish to set a different time of day or frequency.  Click Save settings
and
run backup.

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
cost
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,
cyberlink.com).
As netbooks are lower-powered than laptops, make sure you check the
requirements, first.

5. SECURE YOUR NETBOOK

The easiest way to protect the data onyour netbook is to password-protect
your
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
User
Accounts link that appears at the top of the program list.  Select your
account
and click Create a password for your user account.  A strong, secure
password
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
dongle
or modem.  Some contracts provide a dongle for free; others may charge you
for
the hardware.

- Install your dongle: plug your dongle into a spare USB port and Windows
will
automatically install the necessary drivers.  A wizard will guide you
through
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
it
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
Desktop
shortcut.  In either case, click the Connect (or similar) button to launch
the
service.

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
on
the tangle of wires, you may wantto consider a wireless mouse, such as the
Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX (pictured), which is available from
www.logitech.com
and costs ukp70.

8. Increase your battery life

Netbook battery life varies wildly from model to model.  Three cell
batteries
usually drain after less than a couple of hours.Six cell batteries can last
up
to eight hours but have the disadvantage of being slightly heavier.  Here
are
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
brightness,
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,
mobile
broadband dongles and even mice all drain power, so it's worth unplugging
them
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
your
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
use
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,
we
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
pay-as-you-go allowance.

STEP BY STEP - INSTALL EXTRA MEMORY

As with laptops, most netbooks allow you to install extra memory or RAM as a
way
of boosting performance.  Doing so can provide a noticeable performance
increase, particularly on models with less than 1GB of existing RAM.  Before
you
buy, however, you must establish what type of memory your netbook uses and
find
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
and
conditionsbox and click Download the scanner.  Save the file
CrucialUKScan.exe
to your Desktop and double-clickthe program.  A web page will open telling
you
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
of
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,
switch
it off and remove the battery.  Memory is usuallyheld in place by
spring-loaded
clips at either end; gentlypull these apart and remove/insert memory as
required.

4. CHECK YOUR SYSTEM

Screw the panel back into place, re-attach the battery and start your
netbook.
If the upgrade has worked correctly, Windows will launch as normal.  To
check
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
of
RAM listed.

STEP BY STEP - EBOOK READER

Having bought a netbook you may not want to buy a dedicated ebook reader
(see
later in this issue).  The good news is that it's relatively easy to use
your
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
(www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/).

2. BUY AN ELECTRONIC BOOK

You can buy ebooks from many of the same outlets that sell paper books
(right).
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
Degrees.
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:

 Waterstones www.waterstones.com
WH Smith http://ebooks.whsmith.co.uk

AND SOME FREE ONES....

 Project Gutenberg www.gutenberg.org
The eBook Directory www.ebookdirectory.com
Free-eBooks www.free-ebooks.net
PlanetPDF www.planetpdf.com/free_pdf_ebooks.asp
e-Book.com Australia www.e-book.com.au






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