pimp my netbook

It’s taken a while but my Samsung NC10 is now able to act as my XPS 420‘s little baby sister.

I’m just about finished kitting it out with all my favourite software and personal touches that make my netbook mine.

Here’s a screenshot of my desktop at the minute;

Netbook Desktop

Yip, that’s right – not an icon in sight. And that’s the way it should be. This is a netbook, not a laptop. When we people get it through their heads? You CANNOT treat a netbook the same way you treat laptop.

Clutter on 2 x 20 inch monitors goes virtually unnoticed. Clutter on a laptop – you can’t really get away with too much for too long before your stress levels redline. Clutter on a netbook is simply not tolerable. ONE unused icon is too many. In my book, one icon full stop is too many.

I’ve installed rocketdock to hold 15 icons – the only 15 icons i’ll ever need. Rocketdock is a cool mac-like way of displaying icons. I’ve set mine to appear when i hover near the top of my screen and it also gives me a nice scrolling / carousal effect when i rollover each icon.

Rocket Dock

Look at that… a nice symetrical, fancy way of organizing what would otherwise look like this;

Traditional Desktop

I know what i prefer, i know what looks less cluttered.

Netbooks are small in size, and my NC10 has a 10 inch screen. I want to use all of that. Every single pixel. Especially when browsing. Usually a website shoves all the ads near the top of it’s template along with a logo and picture of whatever… so on a netbook, you gotta get used to scrolling 😉

As a result of this, i immediately set about slimming down my firefox window bar and navigation and changed the windows tasbar to appear only on hover. Here’s what it now looks like… (notice no menu bar at top of firefox, no windows taskbar at bottom…. maximum screen real estate.

Netbook Firefox

That my friends, is what all firefox netbook browsers should look like.

To reduce the size of window bars in XP try this;

  • right click on desktop > properties > appearance > advanced
  • go to ‘item’ > select ‘active title bar’ and reduce the size to lowest possible (usually 18)
  • do the same with the rest of the items (lower the sizes to lowest possible)

To auto-hide the windows taskbar (thing with the start button on it at bottom of screen) do this;

  • right click on the taskbar
  • tick the box that says ‘auto-hide’ the taskbar
  • click ok

Now the taskbar will only appear when you hover over the bottom of the screen with your curser. Move it up to the top and it disappears – leaving with you some very valuable space.

One other thing i’ve done, or more to the point haven’t done, is not install useless applications and crap that i don’t need or use. Some people have gone out and installed Vista on their netbooks – good luck to them 😉

The key to keeping a netbook (or indeed any computer) running smoothly is zero clutter and removing (or not installing in the first place) unnecessary software.

Stay away from Vista, stay away from anti virus software, stay away from anything which needs to run at startup. Rocketdock uses 10mb of RAM, i can live with that as it improves appearance and declutters my desktop which is well worth 1% of my 1gb RAM.

At the minute, my netbook is running superbly. No more than 450mb of RAM used at any one time so far and 75% of my harddrive free (most of the 25% used is my entire music collection). I intend keeping it that way too.

It’s fetching just over 7 hours battery life with the screen brightness down to 20% (which is very viewable). At 38% (next level up and more comfortable for daylight viewing), it’ll get me 6 hours.

Software wise, here’s what i have installed on my netbook;

  • Utorrent
  • 7-zip
  • Audacity
  • Ccleaner
  • Faststone capture
  • Filezilla
  • Flickr uploadr
  • Google chrome
  • Google earth
  • Google talk
  • Itunes
  • MS Office 2007
  • Firefox
  • Quicktime
  • RocketDock
  • Skype
  • TrueCrypt
  • twhirl
  • VLC player
  • IE 8
  • Media Player 11
  • Windows Messenger

Within Firefox, i use the following plugins;

  • Gmarks – i use this both on my netbook & desktop which means my bookmarks are always in sync.
  • Hide Menubar – hides the menu bar to give me more valuable space (to show it again, you just press ALT).
  • TwitterBar – handy for posting to twitter.
  • Hide Navigation Bar – allows you to toggle the navigation bar on / off for absolute viewing space without pressing F11.

I have many more installed on my desktop, but i don’t want to risk slowing down or padding my netbook version of firefox with junk that i rarely use.

2 thoughts on “pimp my netbook”

  1. One other thing i’ve done, or more to the point haven’t done, is not install useless applications and crap that i don’t need or use. Some people have gone out and installed Vista on their netbooks – good luck to them

    They dont need Luck,they just need to know how to use Windows Vista, I myself have no problems using Vista on any NetBook,Laptop and PC’s and your Rocketdock is not so good its self now is it realy and why (you ask) ,Well number one Windows Vista and any other Windows OS have what we would call a quick launch(in the Toolbar Proprties) so its realy a waste of time downloading such a programe and number two its just another programe that will eat away at your memory.

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