Netboook Tips

Overcoming the Height-Challenged Netbook Screen

The standard resolution for netbooks seems to be settled in on 1024x600. If you have a 7" model, then you're probably working with an even more height-challenged 800x480. There are a few things you can do to help squeeze out a few more pixels in the vertical direction.

When web browsing, go full screen. F11 will do it for both Firefox and Internet Explorer. can simply use Google Chrome, as it has a very streamlined interface, with maximum real estate for what you're browsing.

You can also get rid of unneeded toolbars in other applications. Usually for Windows apps, you can find them under the View | Toolbars menu. Most programs will have a check mark on your visible bars. Just deselect the toolbars you don't need.

The Windows Taskbar is a pretty handy thing. It also takes up valuable vertical pixels. Right-click on a blank spot on the Taskbar, and select Properties. Select the option for "Auto-hide the taskbar."

An Aluminum Mouse Pad is a Nice "Table" for a Netbook

One warning which I took to heart on my Asus netbooks was to make sure not to block the bottom vents. So, if you're using the netbook on the bed, your lap, or the couch, you don't want it sinking into the material and blocking heat exhaust.

I found a handy solution to this, much lighter than setting the netbook on a hardcover book or dragging over a TV tray: My Allsop Aluminum mousepad. It's a perfect size for a 9" or 10" netbook, and weighs little. It makes for a handy impromptu lap desk!

How to Squeeze the Most Performance Out of Flash Apps

If you have an Asus eeePC netbook, then you also have the Super Hybrid Engine, which is pretty cool. If you don't have an Asus, then you may have a similar feature. What the Super Hybrid Engine does is set your CPU clock to three settings. The "Power Saving" mode actually under-clocks the CPU to save energy when running on battery power. The "High Performance" setting is used when running off of AC power, and is set to your CPU's rated speed. The "Super Performance" setting overclocks your CPU by a modest amount (I think 10%; I'll update this when I know for sure).

What does this have to do with Flash? Well, Flash is a CPU hog. Big time. One of the defining characteristics of netbooks is that they have underpowered CPUs. That means some things don't run that well on them, including certain Flash-based websites. In particular, we've seen problems with our two netbooks when running some flash games on Facebook and with Hulu. Setting the CPU to its highest setting goes a long way toward making both of these usable. (Note, that not all Flash-based apps and sites perform poorly. YouTube and Crunchyroll both run pretty well on our eeePCs.)

We've also observed a small performance boost with Facebook games and with Hulu on the machine we've upgraded to 2GB. If you're running XP, you should definitely bump up your RAM to 2GB. RAM is the cheapest, easiest way to boost Windows performance.

How to Run WoW on a Netbook

The YouTube video below shows how to squeeze 20 FPS on WoW out of a stock Asus eeePC 900HA. My own 900HA runs WoW at 5 FPS. I'm going to try his console commands when I get time. I'll update this blurb after I do so. Make sure you follow the link to get the console commands posted in the comments section.