My original list of Useful Netbook Software was rather popular so I’ve gathered together some more suggestions for getting the most out of your Netbook.
I’ve seen many similar lists on other sites but they seems to suffer from at least one of the following…
- Concentrating on applications which are, well, generally useful and not really Netbook specific. Free antivirus? Hmm.
- Recommending the same old “popular” choices – irfanview, OpenOffice, etc.
- Recommendation are mainly around the theory of moving everything OFF your Netbook, so it’s online apps and USB storage.
I’ll try and avoid all 3. Some may be of use for non-Netbook owners, but they should all have a very specific advantage to those of use with these handy, portable devices.
Scrybe (no longer available)
Scrybe provides gesturing support to your touchpad – in particular those that support multi-touch (such as the Acer Aspire One). Draw a pattern on the touchpad, for instance, to launch a particular application.
Even if you don’t wish to use this facility, you do get an upgraded version of Synaptics touchpad driver.
TouchFreeze is a nice idea but I’m not sure how well it’s yet been implemented – it didn’t work for my netbook and there hasn’t been any updates to the software for a while. None-the-less, it’s worth a try.
In a nutshell, it disables your touchpad when you being typing so that your palm doesn’t accidentally do something it shouldn’t do!
This adds a system tray icon which, once clicked (or you can press a hotkey combination), will “super maximise” the current window – that is, it will resize so the title bar is actually above the screen boundaries, thus saving those extra pixels that you don’t want to waste.
Most netbooks come with webcams but few include any kind of software to make use of them. Yes, you can install Skype and video call, but is that all it’s good for?
Yawcam will add some much needed abilities to that webcam – video streaming, image snapshots, a built-in webserver, motion detection and FTP uploads.
There are a number of providers of free folder synchronisation (that is sharing folders across different computers) but I, personally, prefer Microsoft’s Live Mesh.
The files are also accessable online – up to 5GB worth.
What sells it to me is its simplicity. I have a folder on my desktop which I’ve set up with Live Mesh to share – anything placed in that folder is automatically shared across all my PCs. This therefore provides a quick and easy way to share data with a portable device such as a Netbook.
Quite how I missed this from my original list, I don’t know.
With the smaller screen resolution of Netbooks it’s often the case that program windows aren’t always visible on screen, in particular with the top bar hidden off screen so you can’t move it back in view, or it may be a window without a “dragable area”.
Linux has a great function that allows you to move windows with the mouse when pressing the ALT key. Well, now, you can have this on Windows too thanks to AltDrag, a small, free application.
Desktops is a Microsoft utility that provides multiple desktops – ideal for those cramped Netbook screens. Quickly swap between different desktops with the system tray icon or with shortcut keys.