Everyone’s looking for mobility in new gadgets, but there’s one frontier few manufacturers have sought to expand – the path to the dark side.
Sometimes you just have to take things into your own hands, and that’s just what some hackers at HackADay have done. By adding an LED light into the lid of the netbook, the keys will be illuminated for a very low cost.
While USB powered reading lights accomplish the same thing, hacker Vikash didn’t want to carry around another device to light up his machine – a Dell Vostro, or Dell Mini 9.
To get this one done, you need to hook up the LED to the Ctrl key with a small programmable chip, controlling the LED light independently of the OS. He’s got the code for that, if you want to go all out.
Check it out here.
Image via HackADay.
It’s decked out with the OPhone OS and looks like a pretty clever (though enormous) replica of the original Dell Mini 3i, which you can see below.
Be sure to check out Shanzai’s video of the modder at work.
We’ve seen some pretty clever and professional Hackintosh netbooks out there, all likely a product of Apple’s unwillingness to join the netbook industry. Unfortunately for those with enough time on their hands to make one, a recent update to Leopard – OS X 10.6.2 – is undermining their hard work.
The culprit is a number of CPU-related changes that render the OS incompatible with Intel Atom CPUs. The Atom runs on the vast majority of netbooks, including the MSI Wind many hackers are fond of for this particular project.
Anyway, if you’re reading this from your Hackintosh just as your Leopard update downloads on Firefox, I suggest you wait for a full release of Leopard to see if Atom compatibility comes your way.
Creative netbook mounts can be an effective way to boost the mobility of your new machine. Not all of us have a car in which to mount our netbooks, so why not hitch one onto a bike?
Instructables has instructions for mounting an ASUS Eee PC 701 on a netbook. Some refurbed versions are available for under $200, and it uses an SSD. Little knocks and bumps can mess up a moving hard drive but solid state storage is a lot hardier.
Check out the guide if you are confident working with wood and want to trick out your bike with everything the internet has to offer.
This is insane. Some guy over in the Czech Republic hacked a battery from the MSI Wind netbook, turning it into a USB charging port. Believe it or not, he can charge his iPhone twice in a row, and the battery still works in his netbook!
Luckily for you hardcore modders out there, this guy made a how-to video (underscored by European techno) showing you how to mod your netbook to have a USB charging port as well. Check it out.
Amazon has just dropped the price of their Kindle 2 by $60 to $299. But this price still isn’t quite so tempting, especially since you can get a decent netbook for around the same amount of money. You know what would be tempting though? A “Kindlebook,” a combination of both a Kindle and a netbook.
Yes, the Kindle is lighter in terms of weight and more compact in terms of size and the battery can last for days (way longer than that of a netbook), but a netbook has colored screen displays and far more functionality.
You can actually turn your netbook into a makeshift Kindle though. Here’s how.
Amazon has a massive library of 275,000+ electronic books that are available for purchase at the touch of a button and can be downloaded in under 60 seconds, but there are also other sellers of electronic books. Some examples include eBooks.com, eReader, Fictionwise, and Mobipocket. eBooks.com offers roughly 168,000 titles.
Project Gutenberg has tens of thousands of books, many of which are free to download. Google Books also offers a large number of electronic books (1.5+ million), although some of them may not be complete versions.
Different electronic booksellers require different software to view their texts. For those who like to view their e-books vertically instead of horizontally, you can download EeeRotate for free here. It’s especially designed for Eee PCs, but should work with all computing devices.
And if you want an even more portable device and don’t mind a (much) smaller screen, you can just read e-books on your iPhone.
Want to go all out? Replace your screen with a Pixel Qi display once they’re available commercially.
While many have extolled the virtues of Hackintosh netbooks, not everybody exalts them so. While Brian Chen of Wired likely struggled long and hard to mod his Hackintosh, he’s finally retired it (after 6 months of use) to the quiet life of a pet webcam.
Deeming the Hackintosh impractical, he decided it would be better suited to monitoring his “five-week-old kitten Cuddy” using a $5 iPhone app – iCam – allowing him to remotely access the camera feed. And while hundreds of netbookers are out there struggling to hack MSI Wind netbooks to run Mac OS X, Chen is busy spying on his cat.
Hey, if it works, it works. Now will Apple hurry up with its netbook already?
This new Acer Aspire One mod by UFO-Hayashi, a famous Japanese artist, is covered bottom-to-top with Zen motifs and rivals even the Vivienne Tam HP Mini 1000 for good looks. Naturally, with the sleek exterior comes an ungodly price tag – around $3000. One quote by Gizmodo sums up our feelings about it:
“Now don’t get me wrong, I want ten of these things, but the art is so slick and the final result so expensive, that this would never leave the custom, hermetically sealed glass case I’d have to create for it. And, should it leave the glass case for travel purposes, I fear I’d need white cotton gloves, a bodyguard and a portable padded room just to have peace of mind.”
Check out this video for more on UFO-Hayashi’s Acer Aspire One:
You can get the new netbook on Ebay.
TechRadar recently published a step-by-step guide on how to transform the interface of any Acer Aspire One netbook running Linux. The guide involves a few simple changes to the theme and layout that make your netbooking easier and maximize space, and concludes by guiding you through some more complicated changes involving Xfce to ease up access to programs.
Customizeability is a big pull from Linux, and guides like this one show how simple and useful the exploitation of a few features can be for netbooks. Be sure to check out the guide here.
The birth of netbooks was an entirely pragmatic one – cheap Linux devices, meant for pure mobility and efficiency. Since their birth, however, they’ve gone through all kinds of transformations, and people are starting to have a lot of fun with them.
The HP Mini 1000 netbook underneath the flashy veneer is the same as always – a 10.1″, 1.6 GHz, 60GB HDD, 1 GB DDR2 machine running Windows XP Home with a 3-cell battery.
The top cover has flowers in eight shades, with “a vibrant design of peony blooms that signify good fortune and prosperity.”
Inexplicably the new Vivienne Tam edition of the netbook comes with a hand strap for… we’re not quite sure. I hardly think anyone wants a few pounds of computing machine dangling from his or her wrist like a camera.
The keyboard looks amazing too. The contrast between the lettering and the keys isn’t fantastic, but for most people it shouldn’t be an issue. The new keys don’t have a matte finish like the original version, however.
You do have to add a hefty $245 to the price for the designer name, but that’s what fashion’s all about, isn’t it? If you’ve got the cash for it the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition will look great under your fingertips, and we can’t complain about that.
If your wallet really needs emptying, consider investing in a 6-cell battery for your netbook as well.
We’ve seen some entirely excellent netbook mods over the past few months, most notably the Hackintosh netbooks, Super Mario Eee PC, and the TechCrunch CrunchPad. The latest in the line of modded netbooks involves some serious surgery on a Samsung NC10 to make its 10-inch screen touch-sensitive.
The culprits this time are over at Netbook Mag and threw together a guide for doing it yourself. It kind of looks like some kind of 90’s infomercial, but if it does the trick it’s good enough for me. Check it out below.
While many of us may profess love for the original Super Mario Land game, few can assert the godlike devotion of the true devotees. Can you say you took a laser to your Eee PC netbook in the name of Mario?
I didn’t think so.
Chris Maguire has brought a whole new meaning to awesome modding by laser-blasting “everything from the familiar layouts of 1-1 to the climactic battle with Tatanga in the clouds at the end of 4-3” onto his Eee PC.
And he means everything. The entire game has been surgically inscribed onto his netbook by the laser masters over at NYC Resistor, a Brooklyn-based custom etching company.
Maguire even provides the etching pattern here if you have the confidence (or cash) to zap your netbook as well. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t worry – Maguire suggests you set the laser at “raster mode at 70 percent speed and 40 percent power to achieve this look.”
Best of luck to you. Here’s a round of applause to Chris for his epic victory!
More pics after the break.
EDIT: Turns out this is from the Game Boy version of Super Mario, not the NES one. Thanks to the posters over at Overclock.net for the correction!
TechCrunch is in the mood for some modding. Perhaps they’re sick of waiting for new netbook announcements after the rush of CES 2009, or perhaps they’re always this impatient.
Regardless, in the spirit of innovation, the dissatisfied but capable masses over at TechCrunch have announced the CrunchPad, a netbookish tablet-style device. Here’s a pic of the concept…
…and here’s one of the first prototype from back in August:
Gotta love the Red Bull and Cheetos thrown in there. Don’t be too bummed by the turnout just yet, though. The device is far from finished, and should look a lot better in the near future.
They initially developed the idea with high things in mind – to “get a new type of device into people’s hands for as cheap as possible, for around $200.” That number was later bumped up to $299 for the sake of realism but it looks like the CrunchPad has some cool features anyway.
It’s intended to be a web tablet that boots right into a browser. It should play videos, lay in your lap comfortably, connect to the internet, and do it all swiftly and ergonomically. Sounds like… a netbook?
Since they’re designing the CrunchPad in netbook style, that means the CrunchPad won’t include the heavy duty parts of the OS it selects. Hopefully it should drive down the price by running on low-end hardware, and do so without sacrificing too much performance. They announced Prototype A back in August but now they’re out with a better, higher-functioning one: Prototype B.
Now that’s more like it. We may have a few months to go before we can get our hands on the CrunchPad ourselves, but for now, we offer the best of luck and wait with bated breath for more info.
Be sure to check out this video of the CrunchPad in action.
Recently, some tinkering netbookers decided to overclock an MSI Wind U100 to see if it matched up to its European counterpart, the U90, as well as some other netbooks out there such as the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 and ASUS Eee PC 1000H.
The results? As 25% increase in performance in terms of bandwidth, as well as some admirable boosts to memory latency. What does this mean for netbooks? Overclocking an MSI Wind U100 now makes it “the fastest netbook currently available”, according to the experiment.
Check out this graph from the experiment, in which lower scores indicate better processing power:
These numbers are astounding, and definitely earn the Wind U100 some respect. Be sure to check out the full article at HotHardware.com.
Though 2009 is only a few days old, big predictions are being made about 2010.
The possibility of Android netbooks has been hotly debated, but one guy went ahead and hacked his own ASUS Eee PC to run it.
Some writers at VentureBeat are predicting Android netbooks by 2010, and expecting Google to make billions off of the move. It’s a far-off prediction, but an interesting one nevertheless. Check out the article here, as well as our own articles about Android netbooks here.
Don’t feel like waiting for Apple to get around to making its own netbook? Do it yourself!
Despite some recent hints that Apple will be in the industry soon, some impatient users have gone ahead figured out how to run Mac OS on their netbooks. To help, Wired.com recently featured a tutorial on how to get an illegal copy of the OS and the tools required to use it. Not that we’re encouraging that, of course. Mess with Apple at your own risk!
One writer at Wired successfully installed Mac OS X on his MSI Wind. Check out the video:
If you’re going to go all out you’d also need a Mac-compatible headphone jack, USB port, and Wi-Fi . Wired has some stuff posted for that too.
Their post is available here.