How to make your netbook more like a laptop

From Netbook to Laptop Notebook

As an online writer and web site developer I am a huge fan of my Netbook. I really can not imagine using anything else for my daily reading and simple page generation.

Ever since I purchased my tiny Asus laptop (or netbook) I have been able to work in a different setting every day. I am completely free to jump from coffee shop to library to downtown business network to hospital cafe to university areas. I do this carrying nothing bigger than a fanny pack sized bag strapped to my back. I could have been mobile earlier, but my more expensive laptop is far less inconspicuous to carry everywhere and is actually a heavy load after the first couple of miles.

I use my netbook to do quick price comparisons in stores and charge my cell phone and mp3 players while reading at bookstores. I am completely enamored.

Ultra Portable Computer: Size Comparison

netbook like laptop
netbook like laptop

Asus Laptop / Netbook

I purchased my Asus Netbook via a student who did not like the Linux interface. I was relatively new to the Linux platform and desired a reason to learn.

My original uses and requirements were very simple

  • To have a small piece of equipment, that could ALMOST fit in my pocket, have a decent sized keyboard and be very light
  • To load and boot, very quickly
  • At least 6 hours of battery time
  • Able to use Firefox, GIMP, VLC and some sort of music manager program and have a ftp program for simple site maintenance¬†
  • Removable media storage - I have tons of USB drives, online storage and SD cards, I wanted access to all.

If I could quickly access the web using a  familiar interface and do light photo editing and web page design I would be on Cloud 9.

All of my needs have been met and I am increasingly getting drawn into the ultra mobile personal computing world.

I was able to purchase my Netbook unused with original packaging and a RAM upgrade for only $150.00, this was a steal.

How to carry your netbook: Netbook bags

After some quick tutorial reads at the eeeforums and doing some basic online updates and installs of my favorite software including FireZilla and GIMP, I was set to begin my mobile lifestyle.

Since I had such a small bag and I enjoy walking and the hustle of mass transit as much as possible, i wanted an inconspicuous bag, most of the bags marketed towards laptops are just to big and obviously for laptops, if I wanted a big bag, I would lug around a laptop instead, right?

I searched for a good week, reading reviews and forums, checking amazon and ebay and all of my affiliate networks for very small bags that would fit the netbook with room for a charger and maybe a few pockets for cell phone, back up batteries etc.

carry your netbook
carry your netbook

This style pack is perfect!

I was a bit worried after I received the package, the bag is exactly the same specs inside as the netbook, but the zipper area is contoured and is slightly smaller than the widest point of the netbook. Luckily, by placing the netbook in at an angle, I am able to close the bag easily and now two months later the bag is stretched slightly to make the process easier. the side pockets work perfectly for the ac adapter and power block, the front pockets fit a cell phone and digital camera without fuss. This is truly the ultra portable station I needed!

I prefer to wear it so the bag portion is across my back and the strap pocket can be used for a cell phone, ipod, portable mouse or skype phone.

NetBook Accessories: You dont realize you need yet

So I am mobile! Styling and productive. But calamity strikes my new Puppy bites through my charging cable / AC Cable in the first week....its not his fault he is teething!

The speedy search for a replacement charger. I saw prices as High as 99.00 for a replacement cord..oh no, after using the advanced search features in eBay and Amazon, I was able to find a seller located less than 100 miles away, Buy it Now for under 20.00 w/ shipping and received my replacement cord within 3 days.

So I definitely suggest buying and keeping a back up cord around!

Some other related gizmos that have made me happy

I really have gone all out, trying out the different add-ons and trying to find the cheapest prices and lightest, smallest form factors for use with my netbook.

Some limitations you MAY have with a netbook

  • usually lack an internal cd/dvd drive
  • keyboard is small
  • May want a mouse
  • limited internal storage

Any of these issues can be solved very cheaply and also make great add-on gifts should you be planning on purchasing a netbook as a gift.

Storage Options: SDHC or SD

Most of the lower priced, less bloated netbooks have multiple available USB ports and a dedicated SD port and/or SDHC port.

SO naturally one can use existing USb or Flash Drives, but if you run applications from your removable media, you will find that read/write times are faster when using a SD port in most netbooks.

SDHC = Secure Digital High Capacity , The SD format is now capable of holding up to 32 GB!

Big time storage, little form with average prices at 1 per gig of storage!


Wireless USB Micro Mouses ( meeses ?)

I have no problem using a touchpad, I actually prefer it, but when I am using the netbook while eating or lounging with some coffee I prefer not to put my filthy mitts all over my Pearl White netbook.

Miniature USB powered wireless mice are very cheap and are a worthwhile addition to oyur mobile warrior collection.

Very Cool : Roll Up Keyboards - Flexible keyboards

Sometimes, I will hole up for hours and really get some writing done. I have got used to the netbook keys, but since I found a deal and I was interested in trying out a new gadget, I went ahead and picked up a flexible roll up keyboard.

I am able to use the keyboard as added cushioning for the netbook, so it serves a double purpose. It also gets a lot of comments at the coffee shops. Ive gone so far as carrying a second one with me when I have larger backpack or actually have driven to the shop,as it usually makes for a quick sale.

External DVD/CD writer

I have become so attached to my Netbook and the impact it has on my clients, that although the laptop may be the smarter choice, I sometimes bring the netbook with my sleek accessories, for the WOW factor.

In order to quickly read client files or burn copies of documents, I do keep a slim usb powered drive that I purchased just for this reason.

It also has come in handy in order to watch commercial Dud's on long trips.

Get a netbook: You wont regret it

This article is a bit more informal than I usually write. Its based on my real experiences with my netbook without any specific motivation, Im trying to get the motivation going to finish up 5 articles that are currently pending showcasing the new models in dual screen netbooks! As a side effect of my mobility, the freedom and constantly changing environment around me can be a distraction.

There are worse complaints in the world I imagine ;)

Anyway, Informative Hubs on Netbooks are all being released within the week, reviews with product price comparisons, modding sources, hardware explanations and some more nifty accessories.

If there is anything netbook related you are curious about, now is the time to ask me, as I will work it into the upcoming hub series on netbooks. Thanks for reading, dont forget to join hubpages , and/or follow my writings here and share with all your friends in facebook, digg and twitter.

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Comments 14 comments

lrohner profile image

lrohner 6 years ago from USA

Thanks for this hub, Sunforged. I didn't realize that Netbooks were that inexpensive. Guess I know what I'm buying myself for Christmas! :)


rocketjsqu profile image

rocketjsqu 6 years ago from Gainesville, NY USA

Hey,

Great information. I have always had reservations about the practicality of those "netbook things". As laptops got smaller and lighter I couldn't personally see any use for them. However, you have certainly shined some light in my darkness. You have changed my perspective to the point of now I "need" to get one. Thanks.


sunforged profile image

sunforged 6 years ago from Sunforged.com Author

cameron eslin says:

8 hours ago

The biggest thing I have against Netbook : keyboard is small. I type very fast (so fast, in fact, that no one can read what's on my keyboard now ;) and I can't imagine having to pause or adjusting to a small keyboard, it would be a nightmare ! Other than that, it's perfect for writers :)

Thanks for the hub !

@ cameron, did you see the 10.00 roll up full sized keyboard showcased in the hub? Its an odd comment as your concern was directly referenced in the article?


Jennifer D. profile image

Jennifer D. 6 years ago from Canada

I love my Toshiba net book! Small, attractive and powerful machine!


gramsmith profile image

gramsmith 6 years ago

Thanks for the great tips.............Keep on writing....


Carol the Writer profile image

Carol the Writer 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Do you have to use Linux? Is it hard to get used to? What do you use for internet? Does it have its own internet included or do you use coffee shops? This looks really useful.


sunforged profile image

sunforged 6 years ago from Sunforged.com Author

You certainly do not have to use Linux, it makes about a $50 price difference in most models, I assure you, you could use this version of Linux just fine! Internet is via an internal wi-fi card, hot spots abound in my city. If all your commercial and educational areas arent wired, you should move! Just kidding, you can get an air card w/ most cell phone providers as an addon to your plan, cost you about 30-60 a month. I primarily use coffee shops as I get to know the people who frequent and work there, get lots of free coffee and dont feel as solitary


cameron eslin profile image

cameron eslin 6 years ago

Sunforged, you said in your article "some limitations you may have with a netbook" and you mentioned the fact that the keyboard is small. I wasn't talking about what you can do with a netbook, I just thought that having a netbook would be very nice but the keyboard might prevent me from buying on in the store next door (little netbooks you carry in a small bag, I mean, I've seen bigger ones after all).

Was that such an odd comment ? Anyway, I wasn't criticizing your hub and I liked the fact that while you want people to buy netbooks, you also talk about limitations. That's all =)


sunforged profile image

sunforged 6 years ago from Sunforged.com Author

@Cameron I misunderstood you, the size of the keyboard is a very valid point, I do like using the roll up keyboard for long typing sessions ..they are sometimes as cheap as 3.00 on ebay.


crickette_w profile image

crickette_w 6 years ago

Wow, I have to say I am going to have to check this out. Would love to be able to work easily on the run. I am going to check this out. And will probably be back to ask questions. You all on here are teaching a country girl new tricks, so definately need extra help. Thanks for getting this stuff out here, especially for us who have lived a life of simplicity.


K Partin profile image

K Partin 6 years ago from Garden City, Michigan

Sunforged thanks for the hub. I've been thinking of getting a netbook but the keypad is quite small for me, but the prices are very affordable. Thanks for sharing K.


DogSiDaed profile image

DogSiDaed 6 years ago from UK

Nice Hub!

...Only joking ;) I'm not one of them :) But seriously, this is all very useful, my sister just got her first notebook, so I've sent this on to her for her to read :) Thanks very much!


Daniel  6 years ago

I have a dell mini 9 with windows 7 running on it also I upgraded it to 2 gb of ram and I love the portabillity I use it for internet use also it can run some old games in case i get bored I have got used to the keyboard and I use this more than anything else in my house it's the best thing I have ever had


alocsin profile image

alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

Excellent advice. I just bought a Toshiba NB505 netbook, and will put some of this info to use on it.

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