May 17 2010

Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 May Feature Chrome Instead of Firefox

At the most recent Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS), part of the discussion revolved around the changes that would be coming to the default applications released with the Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 software package.

One item on the list of changes is in regards to the default browser that comes with the Ubuntu software.  Instead of using Mozilla Firefox as the default web browser, Google Chrome might serve as its replacement.  Whether or not this change will happen will depend on if there is enough storage space available.

The proposition is that Chromium will be used until the software’s Alpha 3 stage, at which point further decisions regarding which will be the default browser as part of Ubuntu Netbook Edition (UNE) will be announced.

Via UbuntuHQ.

May 9 2010

Turn Your Apple iPad Tablet Into a Netbook With the ClamCase

With the release of the Apple iPad tablet comes a whole boatload of accessories being released as well.  One that’s worth noting is the ClamCase (so named for the way it opens — like a clam shell), which basically serves as an all-in-one peripheral for the iPad.  Not only does it serve as a case/protector, but it also serves as a keyboard add-on and a stand as well.

In addition, once the iPhone OS 4.0 is released, maybe the keyboard add-on feature will significantly boost users’ productivity.  Unfortunately, there’s no built-in mousepad on this version of the ClamCase, but maybe that might be something the company considers for future versions of the accessory.

The ClamCase is rumored to hit stores this Fall.  We’ll be sure to keep you posted if we hear any further news and/or uncover some other stellar accessories for the Apple iPad.   Interested in learning a bit more about it now?  Check out the video below.

Via HotHardware.

Apr 19 2010

Light-Up USB Drive Tells You What File Types You Have Stored

Tired of remembering what types of files you’ve got stored on your USB drive?  Worry no more.  Mac Funamizu has created USB Memory Stick #6, which is essentially a flash drive that’s made of glass and uses colored lights to allow users to see what types of documents are housed on their USB drive.

Different colored lights that appear through the glass of the body represent different types of files.  For example, blue represents documents, pink represents images, and green represents movies.  The more documents are on the drive, the brighter (and the more populous) the lights get.  Useful device?  Maybe a little bit?  Maybe not so much?  What do you think? Either way, it’s a fun concept.  There’s not yet word on how much storage the memory stick would be able to hold, but if it ever got to production, I might consider buying one.

Via Slashgear.

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Mar 31 2010

Karim Rashid’s Pink Alligator Themed Eee PC 1008P Netbook Collection by ASUS

Asus 1008P-KR Case / Mouse

ASUS UK has put together a new ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1008P netbook collection with the help of designer Karim Rashid. We heard hints about the thing back in January, but the collection will go on display this weekend in London.

The 1008P netbook, based on the Eee PC 1008HA will be sold alongside a host of matching accessories, including a slim alligator-styled case and colored mouse.

Via NetbookReviews.

Mar 19 2010

More Netbook Accessories Coming To The Market

Just as there are a variety of accessories that men and women can adorn themselves with to make themselves look better, there are ones for netbooks to make the experience better. Scosche, a tech company specializing in mobile electronics and accessories, has recently announced their new netbook accessory lineup for 2010. The new accessories offered will enhance several netbook aspects such as audio, communication, and safety.

So what kind of products are being offered specifically? Well, here’s a few…


Audio:

  • We have the skyCASTER wireless RF Computer Headphones with USB transmitter. This cushy headset comes with an adjustable microphone, making it an ideal tool for programs such as Skype. The headphones provide a range of up to 100 ft and deliver excellent sound quality.

Communication:

  • Then there’s blueLIFE, a low profile Bluetooth® USB adapter, for Bluetooth savvy users.

Safety:

  • Scosche will be offering the netBOOK Protect line which includes the netSUIT PRO carrying case for both netbooks and iPads!

With such great products available, the netbook’s easy handling is only getting easier.

Via Liliputing, image via MaxBorgesAgency.

Mar 11 2010

Wireless Easy Dock Boosts Netbook Usability

Computers have evolved into more powerful and efficient processing systems, laptops and netbooks were designed for portability over the traditional desktop, and even cell phones are beginning to display computer-like qualities. As technology advances, the desire for convenience has successfully sustained itself.

Warpia’s newly released “Easy Dock” further continues the convenience trend. The Easy Dock enables the user to connect and transfer information to the monitor, speaker, keyboard, and mouse on a netbook or laptop to a conventional desktop setting.

Furthermore, through technology from Wisair, the process is done completely wirelessly. With the Easy Dock, any consumer can utilize both the portability of a netbook and the processing power of a desktop.

Warpia’s new product will be compatible with Windows 7, XP, Vista, Apple’s Leopard and Snow Leopard, and is currently on sale for $149.99.

Via Gizmag

Mar 10 2010

Pixel Qi: The Answer for Netbook Battery Life Woes?

Netbooks are renowned for their maneuverability; but not so much for battery life. Pixel Qi, an American brand company that manufactures energy efficient computer displays technology, may be destined to make a change. Mary Lou Jepsen, the founder of Pixel Qi, announced last Sunday that the company will begin offering display screens specially designed for netbooks.

These new displays function by utilizing traditional LCD’s, but become power efficient by being able to turn off the backlight and switch to a low-power mode. As a result, the power consumption can be reduced up to 75%. Another useful feature is how the screens are designed to reduce glare and maintain readability on screen in bright outdoor conditions.

Some people may be deterred by this product due to the need for manual labor in switching the screens. However, the operation is simple enough a 5-year-old could do it, and not even the most brilliant 5-year old either. According to Jepsen, “One of the reasons I’m personally committed to doing this goes back to my One Laptop per Child experience and girls in a poor rural part of Nigeria… An 11 year old girl decided to open a laptop hospital [and] she eventually recruited girls as young as 5 to help out in the hospital. This group of girls armed with screwdrivers starting taking apart the laptops and reseating the cables. Sometimes they’d change out a screen, or a speaker.”

If battery life and readability increases are important to you, definitely look into Pixel Qi.

Via ZDnet.

Mar 5 2010

Amplifying the Netbook

One aspect that netbooks and laptops are consistently inferior to desktop computers in is within the sound department. Due to the countless high-tech external speakers for desktop computers on the market today, the weaker internal speakers on the majority of netbooks seem insignificant in comparison.

But earlier today, Logitech released the external laptop speaker Z205. This new speaker model boasts an internal sound card and stereo speakers to augment quality of sound as well as projection. The slim efficient design is meant to sustain portability in the netbook and is meant to be simply inserted in a USB port and docked right above the netbook’s screen.

Whether you strive for a more immersive experience in gaming, less sound distortion in YouTube videos, or simply more thorough enjoyment when casually listening to music, Logitech’s laptop speaker Z205 will surely help get the job done. If you’re looking to boost your audio experience on your netbook, Z205 speakers should be a primary option.

Models are sold at a sensible $39.99 and should be available for sale in the next couple days.

Via EverythingUSB

Mar 1 2010

A New Security Solution for Portable Computing Devices

Just recently, a laptop in a hospital located in Gainesville, Florida, with personal information of over 12,500 patients was stolen. Names, addresses, medical records, and even social security numbers are all lost to an unidentified criminal.

Portability is what makes laptops and netbooks so efficient and attractive for consumers; however, this convenience factor can also create a pronounced disadvantage: lack of security. Although it is currently impossible to protect against the physical threat of laptop/netbook theft, we can protect the device’s data.

Check Point Software Technologies has just launched a software called ZoneAlarm DataLock to protect against netbook thieves. The newly released software is designed to encrypt data and requires a username and password to access any files. As a result, when one’s device is stolen, the thief will not be able to access any data.

Zone Alarm is usually sold for $29.95, but can be bought from the ZoneAlarm Website for an introductory cost of $19.95. And with over 60 million computers already utilizing its security benefits, Zone Alarm rivals other major security software manufacturers such as McAfee or Symantec.

Via VentureBeat.

Feb 11 2010

Microsoft Sidewinder X4 Multi-Touch Keyboard Released

The iPhone was the device that made multitouch mainstream and popular, and now, three years later, multitouch is ubiquitous in our world, seen in the Droid, the iPad, and now the common keyboard. Microsoft’s Sidewinder X4  uses an array of resistive touch sensors instead of the traditional switch system.

The old switch system had limitations in that after a certain number of keys were pushed down at once, the keyboard controller can’t detect which keys are pressed, which doesn’t exactly seem like a big limitation except for CAD users and hard-core gamers. The Sidewinder’s resistive touch sensors can detect which order they were pressed in which would allow much longer finger combinations. In other words, spell chaining in WoW just got much more interesting.

Via ZDNet

Feb 6 2010

Cloud Computing: Why Dropbox Rocks

This isn’t exactly a traditional article for a site that claims to write about netbooks, but considering the primary functions of netbooks – portability, accessibility, and convenience – I thought it would be worth writing about. If the number of computers you own is greater than one, read on.

Dropbox is one of many services that allow you to store your information online, a feat called cloud storage, which constitutes anything from that place you store those pictures of sexy wome – ahem – tax documents you don’t want your wife or kids finding, to essentially becoming the online equivalent of your backup drive. Dropbox is also available for smartphones – a special, mobile-optimized version for Blackberries and an app for iPhones, though this isn’t the first cloud app by Apple.

Where Dropbox rises head and shoulders above the crowd, though, is that while the actual storage is located or some remote server in a building somewhere, it’s also located as a physical folder on every machine that you’ve installed Dropbox on. A file dragged into this folder on one computer instantaneously exists not only on the cloud folder but also every other machine you have logged into Dropbox.

This is incredibly useful. Why? Start a paper on your desktop in the morning, continue on your netbook on the train, write the conclusion on your computer at work and finish editing on the train back. This is the future at work here, people.

Via Suntimes.com and TechCrunch

Feb 2 2010

Acer Declines To Join Tablet Wars

Acer Ultra-Thin Laptop

People might have thought Acer, the new rebellious teen on the block and netbook powerhouse, would have come out full throttle into this tsunami of tablet products.  Instead, however, they plan to go against the tide, refusing to take part in the tablet war.  Acer’s champion of choice will instead be the ultra-thin laptop, a form factor that has never truly realized its full potential.

Acer Taiwan’s President Scott Lin simply retorted to Digitimes that, while there would be no difficulty in developing such a tablet, it simply has no place in the Acer business model.  He estimated that 20-30% of their business this year would come from ultra-thin laptops, a surprisingly large statistic for what has remained a niche market for so long. This is indeed a peculiar and unique announcement, given the current climate where the public’s attention is fawning over tablets.

He also mentioned models thinner than 2 cm (0.7 inches) coming out this year.  Most likely, some of those fabled Chrome OS netbooks will be tossed into this mix.  Whether or not they will be ready to compete with the tablets will be seen in due time.

Via Engadget

Jan 28 2010

Hack A LED Keyboard Light Onto Your Netbook

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.

Jan 28 2010

The Suede CaseCrown Netbook Sleeve

CaseCrown’s soft suede netbook sleeve is a classy but functional piece that’s will complement any 10-12 inch netbook on the market today. It has a faux-suede exterior and a bright orange nylon interior lining, which adds a bit of energy to the setup.

The CaseCrown netbook sleeve has an exterior zipped pocket, ideal for accessory storage and transport. It comes with a detachable shoulder strap, so you can travel light with just your netbook or stow it in your backpack or briefcase when you have more to lug around.

The 7mm thick lightweight padding on the inside will protect your netbook from light knocks and falls, and the non-scratch zipper will ensure that your machine remains pristine.

You can get this piece of art from Gearzap for only £19.47 ($31.50) with a 12-month warranty.

Dec 25 2009

PerfectNotes Offers Dynamic Netbook Note-Taking Solution For Students

Most student netbook users probably drop cash on Microsoft Office or go for OpenOffice for notetaking purposes. However, the new PerfectNotes software may prove to be a superior solution.

Rachel Rehm, VP of PerfectNotes Corp., says that PerfectNotes will fill a void for netbook users:

“Netbook computers are popular because of their low price and small size, but they are short on software that can run on them. As they come, netbooks are really only practical for surfing the Web. When I got my netbook, I was delighted at the size, but there wasn’t much I could do with it. After installing PerfectNotes® note taking software, it became much more useful. Now I take it with me wherever I need to take notes.”

PerfectNotes has a sound recording mechanism that uses “a unique way of cross linking a real-time sound recording with a visual timeline of the class,” showing when in a recording you took your notes. Students can bookmark moments in a recording for instant review later, allowing for a more engaged review when students need it most.

You can download a free demo of PerfectNotes at www.perfectnotes.com and convert to the full version for only $30.

Via PRWeb.

Dec 20 2009

Netbook Users Customize Machines With MusicSkins

If you’re looking for a way to personalize your netbook – or just about any other accessory, for that matter – MusicSkin’s new customizing tool could have you scrambling for your wallet.

MusicSkins offers vinyl protective coverings for all kinds of electronic devices, as displayed below. iPods, netbooks, notebooks, electric guitars, eBook speakers, you name it – with the clever MusicSkins online toolkit, you can upload an image and customize your own vinyl covering to give your device a bit of personality.

The scratch-resistant skins attach with air-release adhesive and remove without a sticky mess. Can you really ask for more?

Via BostonHerald.

Dec 11 2009

Seagate to Unveil Ultra-Thin Netbook Hard Drives at CES 2010

7 millimeters. That’s the height of Seagate’s newest ultra-thin netbook hard drives that they’ll be revealing next month at CES 2010. At this height, Seagate’s hard drives would take up 25% less volume than other netbook drives that are currently in production, which may allow netbook manufacturers to make even smaller netbooks in the future.

The capacity of Seagate’s new ultra-thin netbook hard drives is currently unknown, but the drives are rumored to be part of the Momentus Thin Series of hard drives. Price points are also currently unknown, as while the price of the drives is rumored to be relatively lower than that of standard hard drives, because they’re ultra-thin, netbook makers could also jack up the final retail price of their netbooks.

Via GadgetVenue.

Dec 9 2009

AViiQ’s New Ultra-Convenient Laptop Stand

Overheating can be a major problem when using laptops in places other than a hard surface like your desk.  Improper ventilation is dangerous as it can cause the device to unhealthily overheat and possibly short circuit. This problem is worst while using your laptop from places such as the comfort of your bed. Who doesn’t enjoy unwinding with a pillow behind their head and laptop in tow to watch a favorite flick?

This is where AViiQ’s laptop stand comes to the rescue. The stand not only prevents your laptop from overheating, but is also incredibly portable. The stand is constructed of aluminum with plastic connecting panels, allowing for the panels to fold over one another, which permits the stand to fold up conveniently for storage.

The only setback for this convenient accessory is the price tag: a hefty $80.

Via Wired.

Dec 8 2009

Sugar on a Stick Gets Even Sweeter, Brings Happiness to Every Child with a Netbook

SugarLabs has released a new version of Sugar on a Stick. According to an announcement made at the Netbook World Summit in Paris, the new version of the software, nicknamed Blueberry, will include additional educational programs, simplified toolbars, and improved support for wireless networking and for EPUB-formatted e-books and Adobe Flash content.

SugarLabs has also announced that it will be partnering up with Nexcopy, a company in California that specializes in USB drive duplication, to get Blueberry onto used USB drives so the company can distribute them to schools.

Via XConomy.

Dec 8 2009

Get Wi-Fi Access from Your Friend’s Netbook

Ad-hoc network sharing wasn’t originally a function of the Windows 7 Starter Edition OS, but lo and behold, you can find such a feature by typing the right phrase into the Start Menu search — it doesn’t get much easier than that.

As the dialog that normally starts the ad-hoc networking process is disabled in the Windows 7 Starter Edition software, a simple search for adhoc is all it takes for you to start it up on your netbook. Viola! You’re now able to connect to other Wi-Fi enabled devices when your netbook has a network connection.

Of course this may not be as convenient as Virtual Wireless Networking, but hey, at least it works.

Via LifeHacker.

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