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Windows 7 and Netbooks – 6 Steps to Harmony

With Netbooks spreading like a wildly contagious infection all over the world, it will be only a matter of time before users want to get Windows 7 for their machines. The latest operating system from Microsoft has revealed itself to be surprisingly kind on resources and works quite well on low spec machines. Installing it on a NetBook is fairly straightforward but you should make sure that a few things are in order.

1. Windows 7 has an excellent driver database but they are not always the best drivers. On a normal laptop or PC you can be not-too-bothered about this, but with a low powered NetBook you need all the performance you can get. Even if Device Manager reports everything as “ok”, you should still download the latest drivers for your devices from the manufacturer’s site.

2. Manufacturers like ASUS have excellent power management software that comes with their devices. After a new operating system install, it is advisable to download this software again as it will manage your power consumption better.

3. Netbooks are about performance, so get rid of Aero and other graphical marvels. In the long run you will be happier due to the extended battery life.

4. Free up screen space by installing practical apps, like Chrome for browsing. Unlike Firefox it is not menu heavy, therefore you get more viewing space. You should also auto-hide the taskbar to gain a few more pixels. In this manner, try choosing software that will consume less screen space in terms of menus and sidebars and so on.

5. Squeezing your battery to last longer is always a running battle and one thing that can help you is MSCONFIG. Using this, turn off any processes and services that you don’t need. Do this with caution; just because you do not know what a process does, that does not mean that you should turn it off. Look online for guides on how to do this.

6. If you do have the budget, consider some hardware upgrades like memory and efficient hard disks. The memory will help Windows and the HD will use less power.

What is WiMax?

Currently the majority of internet access takes place in three ways:

Broadband – This is in widespread use in homes and offices. Usually home users have DSL or cable modem and offices go in for T1 or T3 lines depending on the amount of bandwidth they need for operations.

WiFi – This technology brought the internet to users almost everywhere. These days you can access the internet while you are at a coffee shop, hotel or even restaurants without having to fix a physical cable into your laptop. The freedom of wireless connectivity has almost created a mobile society.

Dial-up – The technology that brought a multitude of people into the world of the internet is almost dead. The lack of bandwidth in dealing with today’s web requirements is the chief cause.

If you look at all these technologies, they have their advantages and disadvantages. Broadband is fast but expensive and sometimes requires a physical line to be laid from the exchange. Dial-up is inexpensive but slow. WiFi is extremely convenient but WiFi hotspots are not to be found everywhere.

But what if you could have WiFi everywhere you go; for example, while you are travelling in the train, in another part of the country, etc. This is what WiMax aims to achieve.

Using widespread coverage similar to cell phones, the technology will bring the internet to everyone, everywhere. This will bring about a truly mobile society where people can stay plugged in 24/7 no matter where they go. The best part is that it will be cheaper than a DSL connection and as convenient as using WiFi in that you only have to switch on your computer to find a connection. WiMAX is abbreviated from the term ‘Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access’.

Tips for Improving a Wireless Connection

Up until a few years ago, wired network connections were the norm. While wired connections do provide a little more bandwidth, the hassle of laying out cables and maintaining them is becoming a problem for various reasons. Especially in the case of offices, the cost of re-laying and re-installing cables during a relocation of office premises is enormous.

The most cost effective solution is a wireless router. With router prices dropping drastically over the years, it has become practical for even home owners to install a wireless network. The convenience of being able to work from within any part of the house or office is a luxury that all users will appreciate. While there are some limitations to this technology, the problems encountered are with poor signals, which can be fixed easily using a few remedial measures.

The position of the router has to be thought out when installing the device. Try to locate it as centrally as possible to ensure maximum range. The other thing to keep in mind is that obstructions like walls and such are hindrances for signal broadcast. So if you can’t keep it in the center of your house or office, position it in an optimal place where you will get the maximum range.

If the positioning still does not solve your problems of signal reception, you can always set up one or more repeaters. Repeaters boost the existing signal coming from the router. Therefore you can set it up close to a weak area and ensure that “dead spots” are covered.

Finally, you can upgrade your firmware to take advantage of any new features released by the manufacturer. However, while you do this you should make sure that the router is connected to a UPS to avoid any errors caused by power outages.

A Brief History of Netbooks

The first version of the netBook (also known as mini-notebooks) for general computing applications and for accessing web applications first appeared in 2007. These “primitive” models lacked many of the features of today. They had smaller screens and did not even have an optical drive. Nevertheless their potential was immediately recognized by the masses and lapped up.

The predecessor of the netBook can be traced back to 1991 when the Psion-3 was released. The key factor that sets this particular model apart is that it included a dial-up modem. Since then, we have had the Toshiba Libretto 20, Casio Cassiopeia, Psion netBook, HP Jornada, OQO Model 01, Sony VAIO X505 and finally, the netBook that has really kicked off the phenomenon in 2007, the Asus Eee PC 701.

The reason for the netBook’s popularity is simple. The reliance that people now have on the internet is great which means that people need to have access or to be plugged in to the World Wide Web wherever they are. With the advent of Wi-Fi and free internet access points popping up everywhere, it became normal for people to purchase laptops and carry them to whatever location they travelled to. Yet the problem of weight was a pressing one and this is where the netBook has won hands down.

The netBook’s primary function is to be a device that provides access to the internet. Although mobile phones and handheld devices like the iPod Touch provide the same function, the netBook with a larger screen, QWERTY keyboard and now with an optical drive is a clear winner for anyone who needs to be in touch with the world without being hampered by the limits of a tiny device.

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