Feb 23 2010

Solving Your Netbook’s Software Problem

While they are at their core small computers, netbooks were made to have a slightly different function than their laptop predecessors. Laptops are frequently being built as substitutes for desktops for many common functions, and some are even advertised as such – remember that category called “desktop replacements”? Netbooks, however, seem to have taken up the niche that laptops used to fill – portable computing.

Like the laptops of old, netbooks tend to be underclocked, and their size generally allow for very limited storage and expansion space. There are programs available, however, that allow you to get just a little bit more utility out of your tiny netbook.

While I will always have fond memories of the Windows OS, I must admit that the Apple side is seductive, and their Dock does a great job of keeping programs I use all the time in such easy reach while keeping my desktop uncluttered. Rocketdock is a free program that adds a dock to any side of a netbook’s screen and adds utility to everyday use.

When I go online, I find that Google’s Chrome browser is a great performer on netbooks. It doesn’t use as much of the netbook’s limited resources, is quite fast, and is constantly being updated. If you have a touchscreen, you might want to look into getting ChromeTouch as well, which is an extension of the Chrome browse and adds touch control to the Chrome browser.

While you’re online, if you find an interesting site and bookmark it, Xmarks will keep your browser bookmark and site passwords in synch among multiple PCs. While there already exist other programs that do this, Xmarks stands out among the rest in that it works across browsers,  keeping Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer all synced among a network. And while many people are firm believers in AVG Free for protection, Microsoft Security Essentials takes away less from your netbook performance while still doing a good job of protecting your computer.

Depending on what you do with your netbook, some of these programs might not be right for you. There are a bunch of other programs out there of course, so with a little effort, I’m sure you can find a solution to whatever problem you have.

Via jkOnTheRun

Feb 23 2010

Netbook Market to Exceed 54.3 Million Units By 2015

The world’s PC market is experiencing a major shift in design focus from overwhelming computing power to efficient compactness and attractiveness. Rising Internet dependence make the ability to connect with people any time and any place more useful, and the increasing numbers of mobile operators mean that this option is becoming more and more available. Improvements in technology mean that more and more components can be fitted in the same space, while affordability brings this power well within the price range of the average consumers hands.

Thanks to these four major forces, netbooks have become quite popular among both professional and academic communities, and was the only segment to register double-digit growth through significant reductions of spending by enterprises and consumer segments.

Netbooks are also subject to large amounts of innovation with continuous introduction of new features such as touch screens, in-build 3D wireless broadband and improved resolution and operating systems. As a result of all of these factors, PRWeb says the global market for netbooks will blow past 54.3 million units by 2015.

Via PRWeb

Feb 17 2010

Whole-Disk Encryption For Intel Atom Netbooks

People do a lot of work on their computers, and that means that a lot of sensitive information ends up being stored on them. People want at least basic security on their laptops and netbooks.

Secuware now offers C4KNetbook, a utility written from the ground up to enable transparent hard disk encryption on netbook-level processors. This particular encryption emphasizes processor I/O, which UK distributor Security IP claims will leave the machine performing at pre-encryption levels. However, it’s still FIPS 140-2 certified  – a standard for government and industry required encryption.

Now, most people won’t be rushing to the stores to pick up a copy of C4KNetbook (Approx. $70 on a one-off basis) any time soon, but public sector organizations might be lining up to get their hands on it in the near future. Most of their workers really only require a machine that will allow them to run email and maybe another business application or two, and laptops cost two to three times more than netbooks.

The information many companies deal in, however, is usually quite sensitive, so portables must often be FIPS-140-2 compliant. Unfortunately, C4KNetbook only runs on Intel Atom Processors right now, so it could be a while before we see large scale security-modules for netbooks.

Via PC World

Feb 17 2010

Evolving to Netbooks

Have you ever seen this picture?

evolutionofman.jpg (774×293)

That’s our society at work people, except this picture was obviously based in the ’80’s – note the clunky desktop. The ’90’s and 00’s were the time of the laptop, and now we welcome in the 10’s; the age of the netbook.

And we can thank homo sapiens’ preference for ease for this lovely evolution of technology. When we shop for tech now, comfort is one of the foremost things that we look for in a product, and one of the last things we’re willing to compromise on. You just need to look at the stats for netbook sales in order to corroborate this, or just look around in any coffee shop in any major city around midday. With the iPad and other competing tablets on the way, this is set to be a good decade for computing.

Via Korea IT Times

Feb 14 2010

Adjusting Windows 7 on Netbooks

You just bought a netbook. Congratulations! Your new netbook is all factory-fresh and set up just how you like it, except…it’s a little slow. What’s to be done?

One thing you could do is disable the following services:

• Block Level Backup Engine Service
• Bonjour Service (from iTunes)
• Certificate Propagation
• Group Policy Client (if not on domain)
• HomeGroup Listener
• HomeGroup Provider
• Offline Files
• Portable Device Enumerator Service
• Security Center
• Software Protection
• SSDP Discovery
• Windows Defender
• Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service
• Windows Search

If you want some tricks to get more out of what you do have, then go to this site. It has a number of fixes that should help you get the most out of your netbook.

Via Arabian Business

Feb 11 2010

Gaming on an iPad

When I first saw the iPad, I bet that I wasn’t the only one who initially thought, “It’s a larger iPhone.” As it turns out, that might not be such a bad thing after all.

Because the iPad OS is basically an augmented iPhone OS, any app that was available to the iPhone can be used on the iPad. Now a quick question: what type of app makes up the majority of those available online?

Games. Games are among the most downloaded and most popular apps from the App Store. As of the moment I’m writing this article, of the top ten paid apps, seven are games, of the top ten free apps, six are games, of the ten top grossing, eight are – that’s right – games.

College students were bad enough in class when it was only the iPhone with its admittedly limited screen size. But the iPad’s screen is 9.7 inches. The iPhone has a 620 MHz processor, Apple states the iPad will pack 1GHz. Faster processor and larger screen? Oh man, I don’t know what the next generation of multitouch and accelerometer based games are going to be like, but I definitely want to be there to find out.

Via The Economic Times, image via Examiner.

Feb 11 2010

The iPad: Apple’s Answer to Netbooks

Given the obvious lack of an external keyboard and trackpad, it might be easy to say that Apple’s iPad is a separate, stand-alone device, trailblazing through unknown territory. On the other hand, if given only the specs of said device, one might draw the conclusion that Apple finally decided to make a net-Macbook.

Rafe Needleman stated it best when he wrote, ” [The iPad] is clearly Apple’s answer to the Netbook, not a play to breathe life into the 10-years dead tablet market. The iPad is cheaper than a standard Mac, does less, and is easier to maintain than a full-on Mac. These are the same selling points you get from Netbook makers. Sure, they’ll say, a Netbook does less than a full Windows laptop, but it’s only $399.”

There will definitely be a bunch of people that say that an iPad is an iPad is an iPad, and that we’re just projecting our opinions on the subject. It’s an easy statement to make given that the iPad looks totally different from all other netbook designs out there. Then again, Apple has shown us time and again that it’s not a traditional PC company.

Via Cnet.

Feb 11 2010

Netbook Navigator Delivers Multitouch Nav9 Tablet

Tablets, once viewed as a lukewarm substitute for a pen and a pad of paper, have now become much more fun to use with the popularity of multitouch. And just as Apple‘s iPhone popularized that function, so the iPad might do to the tablet PC.

Netbook Navigator came out with a new 9 inch tablet PC with the following specs:

  • Display: 8.9 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel multitouch display
  • CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU
  • Graphics: Intel GMA 950
  • Storage: 16GB SSD
  • RAM: 2GB
  • OS: Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, LAN, optional 3G HSDPA or CDMA
  • I/O: 3 USB ports, MiniSD card slot, SIM card slot, port replicator w/VGA/LAN adapter, 1.3MP webcam
  • Battery: 3 cell, 1700mAh (2.5 hours max)
  • Dimensions: 10? x 6.6? x 0.8?
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Other: car charger
  • At $799 for the base model, it’s a bit on the pricey side, but the Nav 9 tablet is a solid piece of engineering. It can support multitasking, run most Windows applications, and the multiple ports certainly don’t hurt. The question now is, will it catch on?

    Via Liliputing

    Feb 11 2010

    The Unassuming Power of the Lenovo T410 Laptop

    The Lenovo T410 is like that mild-mannered reporter working in Metropolis. Under it’s common, unassuming chassis, the T410 hosts Intel‘s new Core i5 dual-core 2.53 GHz and a chipset that removes speed bottlenecks. When BusinessWeeks’s editor tested this laptop, it “took about half the time to download photos, music, and video as my six-month-old Sony (SNE) laptop, which has a comparable chip clock speed.”

    With a 320 GB hard drive, 4 GB of RAM, and an Nvidia 3100M video card, the T410 has impressive hardware in its plain chassis. It comes with 4 USB ports, onboard SmartCard, multi-card, and ExpressCard reader technology, a DisplayPort, a VGA-Out, and a FireWire port, and of course, 802.11n wireless Bluetooth and GPS. All of this in one solid package for $1484 direct.

    Via BusinessWeek and PCMag.com

    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 9 2010

    Sony Vaio E Laptops: ‘May Flowers’ Came Early This Year

    As this is a netbook-centric blog, we normally don’t write about laptops. Nevertheless, I took one look at the above picture and bugged my editor until he let me write about it.

    Can you blame me? Sony offers a variety of colors to combine in the E series. Who could possibly resist a combination of Iridescent Blue and Hibiscus Pink? Other colors available include Caribbean Green, Coconut White, and Lava Black. If you’re one of those people who would prefer to have a laptop that doesn’t practically glow in the dark (though seriously, who wouldn’t want a laptop like that?) Vaio offers muted colors as well: Gunmetal, Silver White, and Maple Brown.

    The Vaio E series laptops aren’t just beautiful to look at, they also offer up to 1080p HD quality on a 15.5 inch screen and an optional Blu-ray drive. Inside, there’s a dedicated ATI Mobility Radeon Graphics chip with up to 512 MB of video RAM, either an Intel Core i3 or Core i5 CPU, and up to 500 GB of storage. Plenty of space for high quality video.

    Via CNet.

    Feb 8 2010

    The Laptop You Can See Through

    Did you know that Air Force fighter pilots have face shields with heads-up displays projected on them? The effect is much like what game makers have been doing with first-person shooters – there’s a targeting reticle on the opponent and an ammo count at the corner. While the official point is to increase the amount of information a pilot has at hand, I just always thought that it was cool how real life has begun to imitate video games.

    Why do I bring this up? Samsung created a laptop that uses a clear active matrix OLED screen (AMOLED). In layman’s terms, that’s a transparent screen. The display gives clear, sharp, bright images, but still allows one to see things through the screen. This laptop is different from those HUDs so loved by pilots in that the images aren’t projected; the screen is just transparent.

    As of right now, I doubt that many people have a true practical application for this beyond just looking really cool. But hey, imagine one day having a glass table in your living room that doubles as a platform for a Microsoft Surface. Or maybe windows that double as interactive screens for your smart-house. Baby steps.

    Via Tom’s Hardware.

    Feb 8 2010

    The Solid Steel Vigood U220 Netbook

    WARNING: Sarcasm Alert!

    Are you tired of having an old plastic netbook? Are you tired of having those flimsy plastic chassi break down on you just when you need them the most? Well worry not! Now you can get a Core Grid Vigood U220!

    As a netbook it’s fully functional, and its capabilities include a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 250 GB hard drive, and a 10.2 inch display. Not enough you say? Well I’m not done just yet! It also has 802.11 b/g WiFi, a 1.3 MP webcam, 3 USB ports, VGA output, and a flash card reader!

    BUT WAIT! I haven’t even gotten to the best part! That flimsy plastic chassis you hate? Well it’s all gone now. Instead, Vigood made it out of solid metal! You heard me, METAL! It’s not just a netbook, it can double as bookend! A table weight! A door stop! Use it however you would a normal metal block! That’s right, Vigood isn’t just giving you a netbook, it’s also giving you a metal block replacement! They’re saving you all that trouble of getting one for yourself! Vigood U220 going now for $350! Order now!

    Note: Vigood is a brand that is relatively unknown outside of China, so we’re not just making this stuff up. Nor is the Core Grid Vigood U220 the only netbook with a metal chassis.

    Via Liliputing.

    Feb 6 2010

    Rumors Abound Concerning The LG X20 Netbook

    LG’s new X20 was reviewed and accepted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today. It’s no X30, but it can hold its own. Running Windows 7 on a Intel Atom N450 1.66 GHz processor, it’s got 250 GB of HDD, 2 GB of RAM, and with its 1.3 MP webcam and HSPA 3G, you can Skype on the 10.1″ 1366 x 768 screen. The keyboard and trackpad are a bit small, but those are the flaws we accept when dropping cash on a netbook.

    Apparently, one test report shows that there are various model numbers by the X20, presumably for different regions. Going by the user manual, this netbook will be released in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, China, Singapore, Korea and India. Mum’s the word on pricing or release date though.


    Via WirelessGoodness

    Feb 6 2010

    Filling That Netbook Shaped Hole In My Life

    Netbooks are a curious thing: too large and powerful to be a smartphone, and too small and weak to be a computer, thus limited by lack of portability against the former and just plain limited compared to the latter. And yet they’re selling like hot cakes. Why?

    Maybe it’s because they fill that happy medium between the power of a laptop and the portability of a phone. They allow one to carry around something not much heavier than a purse, that one can easily use to browse the web or write a paper, and quite frankly, those consist of at least 80% of what I do with a computer anyway.

    Having a device that well let allow me do those two things (and do them well) while decreasing my dependence on power outlets neatly fills up that netbook-shaped hole in my life. But hey, you don’t have to take my opinion for it. Go try one for yourself.

    Feb 6 2010

    MSI Wind U135 Netbook Runs Pine Trail CPU

    MSI is taking advantage of the latest Intel Atom Pine Trail CPU with it’s Wind U135 netbook. The MSI Wind has a 250GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, and of course, the 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N450 running Windows 7 Starter Edition. The screen measures 10.1 inches with 1024×600 resolution and the Wind has an Integrated Intel GMA 3150 to take advantage of it. There’s also a six-cell battery option which delivers up to 7.5 hours of life.

    The chiclet-style keyboard is designed well, with decent spacing between the keys for comfortable typing. The touchpad, though attractive in the aesthetic sense, is a bit on the small side and does not support multi-touch. Furthermore, while the keyboard keys may give you that satisfying feeling when you type on them, the mouse button unfortunately does not. The LCD screen is LED-backlit and does not skip or lag in full-screen mode, and the speakers are acceptable by netbook standards: high max volume but low sound quality.

    Via ComputerShopper and InformationWeek, image via Engadget.

    Feb 6 2010

    New App By Newsy For Netbooks With Intel Atom Chips

    So yeah. I admit it. I had no clue as to what Newsy.com was until I read the wiki article. And now that I have, I might have to frequent their site more often.

    Newsy is now available to download from the Intel AppUp Center for free, offering 2-3 minute news videos for quick and easy viewing for owners of netbooks with Intel Atom chips. Users of the app will enable users to share videos via the traditional methods – Twitter, Facebook, and email – as well view and post comments which are, needless to say, synced to the site. Considering that a netbook is made for people 0n-the-go and that Newsy is designed for the same,  this could easily become a hit. Of course, it’s also one of the first applications available for netbooks, so that might not be saying much. Still the iPhone app seems to be climbing the ladder, maybe we’ll see a repeat performance.

    Via PRWeb, image via IELab.

    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 3 2010

    Dell’s Latitude 13 – Awesome Netbook, or Weakling Laptop?

    Described as “the world’s thinnest 13-inch commercial client” computer, Dell revealed its new Latitude 13 this week. The machine could be described as either a stripped-down laptop or a beefed up netbook, though we’re not entirely sure as to which just yet.

    The latest version of the Latitude series comes with a 13.3 inch display screen and weighs a measly 3.3 pounds. Under the full-sized keyboard lies Intel’s low voltage processing technology, set up to run either Windows 7 or XP. Optional additions include upgrading from a traditional hard drive to a solid-state drive with a ceiling of 64 GBs, high-speed WWAN, an integrated Web cam, and an external Blu-ray drive.

    While the prices for this lovely machine have not yet been released, things seem to indicate a price under the $1000 mark. Dell begins pre-orders within a few weeks.

    Via The Tech Herald, image via Dell.

    Feb 3 2010

    Alienware’s “Gaming Netbook,” Coming Soon

    Dell’s gaming wing is making a big splash into the world of netbooks with its M11x system, which was introduced at CES a couple of weeks ago.

    Unfotunately, the M11x won’t be available until March 1, but Dell has decided to let people pre-order from their site. The price starts at $799 for the base configuration, which includes an Intel Pentium SU4100 1.3GHz processor, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a 160GB hard drive, and the new nVidia GeForce GT 335M graphics card with 1GB of graphics memory. It comes running Windows 7 Home Edition on a 11.6-inch LED-backlit display, and Dell claims that the M11x will deliver “the graphics power of a 15-inch laptop in an 11-inch form factor.”

    Upgrades for this baby include a beefier Core 2 Duo SU7300 CPU, up to 8GB total in RAM, and larger hard drives in the 250GB, 320GB, or 500GB size, or a 256GB solid-state drive for an arm and a leg. You may think I’m joking about that last part, but historically, prices have gotten jacked up for SSD configurations.

    Color choices include black or silver, and following Alienware tradition, you can choose different color options for the system’s LED lighting.

    Via ZDnet.com


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