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  1. #1
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    Netbooks again - installs and bluetooth

    I might be close in picking up a netbook and had a few specific usability questions.

    First, how do you install software? I'm guessing most people have an external CD/DVD drive to do this. I wasn't going to play with installing Ubuntu because the other half wants XP but I was going to look at putting Office 2003 on there until I realized you can't just install from a USB like you can with Linux. Or at least I don't think you can. I'd hate to also have to pick up an external drive for "just in case" installs. Related to that, do they give you an install DVD with your netbook?

    Second, does anyone find a need for bluetooth? I was thinking I could maybe get it work with my phone for when a wireless connection isn't available. I've seen articles on using a phone for a modem so it should be possible. But one sales guy said you can always get a usb bluetooth stick to plug in but I think that might be more tricky than it sounds.

  2. #2
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    Bluetooth is one of those things that might get ever more useful; I was given a set of bluetooth headphones (the only BT item I currently own ... except for my work computer), and realized it was quite nice to have headphones w/ no cord to tangle. Maybe I'll even get a phone w/ it one day

    The salesguy is right, though, that you get a USB BT dongle, some of which are so small I'd feel utterly secure with it right there in the USB port all the time -- too small to be breakable, even if it's in a case or something. Look at a place like dealextreme.com -- they're quite inexpensive that way. Not bad even at a store like Wal-Mart or Target, but I've never seen the very smallest ones there.

    I am likely to get one (or a few) soon, even if they only get used w/ my netbook (Asus Eee) and those same headphones.

    timothy

  3. #3
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    Bluetooth is one of those things that might get ever more useful; I was given a set of bluetooth headphones (the only BT item I currently own ... except for my work computer), and realized it was quite nice to have headphones w/ no cord to tangle. Maybe I'll even get a phone w/ it one day

    The salesguy is right, though, that you get a USB BT dongle, some of which are so small I'd feel utterly secure with it right there in the USB port all the time -- too small to be breakable, even if it's in a case or something. Look at a place like dealextreme.com -- they're quite inexpensive that way. Not bad even at a store like Wal-Mart or Target, but I've never seen the very smallest ones there.

    I am likely to get one (or a few) soon, even if they only get used w/ my netbook (Asus Eee) and those same headphones.

    timothy

  4. #4
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    This a good source of netbooks information. The site is dedicated to the Dell mini's, however, a lot of information is applicable to other minis. There is a discussion on loading apps from USB sticks.

    I have a Dell Mini 9 and will later post my experiences. Have a dr. appt to go to.

    I got my Mini 9 last Christmas from the Dell outlet with XP Home,Bluetooth,16 gig SSD, and added a 2 gig stick for $20. The Netbooks are not laptop replacements, so I feel a spinning drive is a waste. Especially since it uses more battery power.

    I use Goodsync/ to sync needful things between my desktop replacement laptop and the mini 9.

    A downside with the mini 9 is the screen resolution is 1024 by 600, so some programs will not run. But, not a problem for me since netbooks have their own niche.

    I've got mine loaded with Office 2007 Home and Student and VIPRE antivirus/spyware. I also use Adobe Photoshop Album Starter 3.2 so that I can look at my digital photos to see which ones to keep.
    I already had a 320 Passport external drive, so this is used to hold my music and photos while on trips.

    I also bought an external DVD/CD drive to use for creating image backups. I plan to install Win 7.

    I brought the mini 9 on our trip to Grand Canyon area. This was great for Web access and checking WEB email. I didn't have to haul a laptop. And I had downloaded my AAA triptiks to PDF and they were nice to have in addition to the GPS.

    I use the mini 9 a lot as an ebook reader and for PDF manuals.
    Last edited by BPritchard; 07-02-2009 at 12:51 PM.
    Been there. Done that. Can't remember.

  5. #5
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    An external DVD or CD is currently the easiest way to install software - unless you are able to download the software directly to your computer. External drives are fairly inexpensive as long as you are getting a read-only drive... but it is an additional expense. There is a way to make USB thumbdrives bootable for software installation. If you search you can find the technique - they are often associated with making a thumbdrive bootable for installing Windows or OS X. I imagine the same techniques can be applied to software like Office.

    Some software manufacturers are moving toward using thumbdrives for installation of software - there's a rumor that Windows 7 will be distributed on thumb drives rather than DVD. If would be nice if things move in that direction.

    In my opinion, if it is a choice of a netbook with bluetooth vs without bluetooth, I'd go for the netbook with blue tooth. A few years ago, I had a bluetooth dongle to use my Treo 650 as a modem with my laptop - an old white iBook (as I recall bluetooth was not part of the iBook I had) and it worked well enough. The problem was it was a little finicky in starting up and getting the Treo to pair with the laptop. Once everything was going, it worked really well and saved my butt in a number of instances when wifi or a hardwired connection was not available. The dongle was small - about the size of a thumbnail and thick as the USB connector but it still did stick out from the computer. I never would have left it in place as it certainly would have snapped off. Maybe the dongles are smaller now? My netbook (MSI Wind) does have bluetooth on board - easy to turn on and off and works well. Alas, I have an iPhone and at the moment, ATT frowns on the phone as modem concept - unless you're willing to risk getting charged for using it as such if caught.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by pretzelb View Post
    I might be close in picking up a netbook and had a few specific usability questions.

    First, how do you install software? I'm guessing most people have an external CD/DVD drive to do this. I wasn't going to play with installing Ubuntu because the other half wants XP but I was going to look at putting Office 2003 on there until I realized you can't just install from a USB like you can with Linux. Or at least I don't think you can.
    Well, that's how I did. Office 2003 and other applications installed to my Dell Mini 9 using nothing more than a 4gb SanDisk USB thumbdrive.

    I use Dropbox on all my computers to sync documents, spreadsheets, photos, etc across desktops, notebooks and netbooks. It works great.

  7. #7
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    Installs for Netbooks...

    Howdy pretzelb,

    I have installed multiple operating systems on netbooks (HP Mini 1000, and Mini 110, Asus EEE, Dell Mini 10) and find it to be fairly straightforward without a cd drive. Actually, the USB flash drive install is a very efficient way to go.

    Please read this article for any Windows os:
    http://www.liliputing.com/2008/04/in...-note-usb.html

    And this for ubuntu/linux:
    http://www.linuxsolutions.fr/usb-ubu...l-via-windows/

    You are welcome to contact me directly with any questions. I have installed both WinXP, Ubuntu Netbook Remix and Windows 7 via these methods. I know friends who have made OS X work on various Asus hardware models, but that requires a bit more patience and tinkering.

    Best regards,

    -B

    PS--Almost forgot... there are also ways of going the multi-OS route if you want to demo Ubuntu vs Windows. You Can partition the drive and perform 2 complete installs, or you can run Ubuntu from a USB flash drive or internal SD card. As long as the flash drive/card is class 6 or better (I got a 16gb class 6 SD card for ~$30 a few weeks ago), it should run quickly.

    PPS--I am reading the above posts about Office 2007 having issues. I have experienced these as well and circumvented the issues with using the PortableAPP versions (self-executing .exe files) for Office and Adobe. Hit me up if you want more info.

    PPPS--I have yet to find a use for integrated bluetooth. Depending on your model phone, you can usually perform a more efficient data-connect with a usb cable, and Data tethering (while possible w/ Bluetooth) will have a much diminished throughput via bluetooth (I have tested this on v3 iPhone software and can testify). I could see the value if you use skype for VOIP and wanted to go with a bluetooth headset for calls.. but again, this comes down to how you intend to use the bluetooth. My wife uses a netbook as her primary computer these days and had a need for an external mouse. I considered bluetooth for purely this reason alone, but went with a Logitech Nano (with that tiny wireless dongle) instead and don't regret my decision in the least.
    Last edited by brantroz; 07-03-2009 at 12:47 PM.


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