Friday, 16 November 2012

Netbooks for what ?

The name netbook is appropriate, yet ratherdeceptive when it comes to defining itscomplete range of applications. As the namesuggests, its primary purpose is Internet con-nectivity. However, netbooks are capable of muchmore. Their ability to perform simple tasks onthe go, something that the comparatively bulkiernotebooks are too cumbersome for, makes thempopular amongst people in various spheres of life.A netbook is your standard desktop PC ornotebook minus the excess baggage. Designed asa low cost, low weight laptop, the netbook boastsincreased portability while missing a few periph-erals, has a smaller screen and keyboard, and isequipped with reduced specifications and comput-ing power as compared to a notebook. In otherwords, if your PC is a Mercedes Benz, then the net-book is a Tata Nano.
The average netbook weighs around 1 kg and generally has a display screen ranging from 8 to 12 inches. The compactness and portability is attrib-uted to the absence of an optical disc drive, which contributes to the weight and power usage of conventional laptops. The absence of these acces-sories is why some netbook batteries can last up to 8 hours, while most notebook batteries last only up to 2 or 3 hours. The hardware specifications however, are still adequate for performing most, if not all, basic tasks that a conventional PC is used for, such as word processing, Web browsing, down-loads, online streaming, audio and video playback and, to an extent, gaming. Be sure to take a care-ful look at the specifications of a netbook before you buy one, especially the processor, because no matter how much RAM it has or how spacious the hard drive, processors made for netbooks cannot handle heavy load or multiple applications at the
same time.
A common misconception regarding netbooks,
usually among the not-so-tech-savvy, is that it is a cheap substitute for a notebook. The original idea ofthe netbook was for it to fit between a mobile phone and a laptop. Unlike a mobile phone, a net-book has a better screen, full keyboard, Internet access and can handle applications like the Micro-soft Office suite.
While the compact size of a netbook is one of its USPs, it is one of its major drawbacks too. Iden-tifying where and for how long you will most use your netbook is essential before you purchase one, because the wrong keyboard layout or screen size could turn out to be an ergonomic nightmare. Spend too much time hunched over your netbook and the tiny keyboard attached to the tiny screen will give you a sore neck or back. Buy the wrong netbook and you could end up spending more time in the chiropractor’s waiting room than at home. There is a quick fix to this issue though, a range of accessories are available to make your netbook experience less painful. You can find out more in our Goodies for your Netbooks article in this issue.In an age reliant on computer technology, where computers have progressed from being a luxury to a necessity, netbooks have the capability

Different Needs

to service almost every need. From traveling enthusiasts to busi-nessmen on the move, kindergar teners to endearing grandparents and industrious students to unoc-cupied housewives, the netbook has something for everyone.NETBOOKS FOR THE 
Log onto your favorite social networking site and have a look at your friends’ friend list. It is quite possible that most of them have their siblings, one or both of their parents and, in some cases, one or more of their grandparents on their lists. Such is the infl uence of the Internet and computers in our age. A netbook is the perfect buy for a modern family that already has a PC and can be used for various activities in and around the house.
Netbooks generally have fairly limited disk space so you probably won’t sync your entire music library with your netbook. Its Wi-Fi connectivity, however, will enable you to setup a home network or stream music from the Internet and instantly turn your netbook into a portable music player. Walk around the house, enjoy a drink in the balcony, unwind in the bathtub or run on the treadmill, wherever you go, you can take your music with you.
If you are heavily reliant on your PC, be it for work or for recreation, and are constantly squabbling with your family to use the computer, a netbook is all you need. You can easily make multiple profiles on your netbook to make sure nobody is messing with your data and divert your family’s attention away from your primary machine. They can check their e-mail, browse the Web, stream videos and music, and a lot more while you still keep your peace of mind and are free of distraction. 
Most netbooks are compatible with USB TV tun-ers; a variety of tuners and applications for most 
netbook operating systems are available for a reasonable price. This allows you to connect your netbook to your cable system and watch or record your favorite shows. Newer netbooks also come with an HDMI output, which you can connect to a spare TV or monitor and voila; no more fighting for the remote control!
If you’re fairly tech-savvy and have more than one computer in the home, a netbook can be set-up to act as a wireless router. A quick Google search for the procedure will give you access to links and free applications that are compatible with net-book operating systems. Using your netbook as an access point for the rest of your devices means you can connect to the network using your mobile phone, laptop and desktop without going through the trouble of changing broadband cables or hav-ing multiple Internet connections.
The two biggest factors that work in favor of net-books as far as students are concerned are their 
portability and low cost. Desktops are a one loca-tion computer, and notebooks are still signifi-cantly heavy and bulky. Sure, you can carry your notebook around in a carry case for a few hours, but you can’t really lug them around for extended periods of time. Netbooks are the best solution for students, be it in the classroom, dorms or your favorite cafĂ©. 
Schools and colleges are slowly embracing technol-ogy and realizing its worth to students, allowing them to carry cell phones and notebooks to class, use them for presentations and some institutions even have their own wireless networks. 
With their ease of use and extended battery life, netbooks are perfect for students to take down notes in lengthy lectures, completing assign-ments and setting up presentations. Buy a portable printer and scanner and you can copy, distribute and edit your notes on-the-go too. 
Depending on the operating system of your net-book, it is likely that it will be equipped with Microsoft Office or similar applications. A student can use these and many other applications to orga-nize his/her study schedule, class timetable, home-work, reminders, assignments and a lot more. 
Search Google Scholar for your text book or a research paper; browse Google Books for your favorite novels; or simply download your book of choice and use a viewer like Adobe PDF reader for studies and recreational reading on your netbook. You can even follow your friends’ blogs and catch up on current affairs on popular newspaper web-sites. The sky is the limit!
Businessmen on the go are heavily reliant on their smart phones and PDAs for organizing their day, checking their e-mails and, of course, for their calls and messages. The most recent and most popular smart phones fit into a price range between Rs 20,000 and Rs 35,000. Now, think about the functions the latest smart phones have to offer compared to a netbook and you’ll realize that a netbook for around Rs 18,000-20,000 is a steal. Small enough to fi t into your briefcase and of neg-ligible weight, the netbook is a businessman’s best friend. 
Convincing a businessperson to part with his/her smartphone is near impossible, but that doesn’t mean he/she has no use for a netbook. Netbooks can come in very handy when traveling on a busi-ness trips or out for a meeting. Simply sync your phone with your netbook and transfer data from you netbook to your PC and back. Now you can conveniently transfer, backup and edit your phone data like e-mail, messages and contacts on your netbook.
You can make a video call to China or make an ISD call to your colleague out of town from your smart-phone, but the drawback is the toll it takes on your phone bill. Now imagine being able to have a video conference online using a program like Skype free of cost while you’re on your way home from work or waiting at the airport for your delayed flight. Netbooks come equipped with a fairly basic VGA camera or you can get yourself a higher quality external camera. Then connect to a wireless network or plug in your USB modem and you are ready to take your meetings with you, anywhere, anytime.
People usually work late because they can’t take their office computer home. With a netbook, you can carry all your data, make backups and take your work home, and if you’re really efficient, you could get the work done while you’re on your way home in the backseat of your car. Word documents, excel sheets, presentations and e-mail can be taken care of without having to stay at work late at night. 
Who wouldn’t like to go on holiday with the satis-faction and security of knowing that they can have 
backups of all their photos, read their favourite blogs and stay up-to-date with e-mail? Whether you’re traveling for work or for play, your netbook will be a permanent fixture in your luggage.
Every traveler has to have a camera. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a social clicker, a camera is essential for any trip, and the biggest problem with cameras is memory. Usually 1 or 2 GB memory cards are not enough for a long trip , and you may not want to take the time out to delete some photos to clear up space on the card. Some netbooks come with card readers and if yours doesn’t, you can simply get yourself a multi-card reader that plugs into your USB port. Backing up and transferring photos with ease means now you can take more photos of your favorite spots. 
If you’re the modern traveler who loves to travel light and write about his/her adventures, forget about your pen and diary; the netbook is the tool for you. Write your blog while you’re sightseeing or enjoying the scenery, or read your favorite blogs while traveling on the train, in flight, or by road. You can find a Wi-Fi hotspot while on your travels or pick up a USB wire-less modem and have unlimited access to the Internet.


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