Give your Windows XP netbook a new look with XPize

July 27, 2009 at 8:24 pm

XPizeIf you are tired with how old Windows XP is looking, especially with the imminent launch of Windows 7, then you may want to give XPize a look. It is a free application that allows you to update the look of XP with a new theme and user interface.

The team behind XPize run the software on a volunteer basis, along with similar software for Vista called Vize. As you can tell from the screenshot, the larger icons are well suited to netbook displays. You can check it for yourself here.

Via JKOnTheRun.

Acer Aspire One gets Broadcom HD Video Accelerator mod

July 27, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Acer Aspire One gets Broadcom HD Video Accelerator modTrying to get high-definition video content playback is a no-go for most netbooks out there. Even the latest Intel GMA500 graphics included in the Poulsbo chipset has poor driver support, which means you’ll have to wait for ION-based netbooks to get some real HD goodness. However, Broadcom has an alternative with its Crystal HD Media Accelerator.

This PCI-E card enables “flawless playback of all internet steaming video” according to the company, along with support of 720p and 1080p (H.264) video content. It is currently included as an option with the HP Mini 110, although it hasn’t appeared on other netbooks thus far. Not wanting to wait, Terracode decided to mod their Acer Aspire One with the HD accelerator (BCM70012). Read more

Asus Eee PC LED messaging notifier [Mod]

July 7, 2009 at 12:10 am

Asus Eee PC LED messaging notifier [Mod]The last mod we came across for the Asus Eee PC netbook was one that we’d not come across before (Mighty Mouse trackball). Now here is another. JustBlair created a custom-built LED whose primary function is to alert you to new messages, whether it is via email or social networking. Specifically speaking, this LED notifier alerts you to new messages from your email, Twitter and Pidgin .

He modded an Asus Eee PC 901 by creating an extra LED to the top left of the device. He used an AtMel AtTiny45 microprocessor, a 5mm red/green/blue LED that would light a different colour depending on which service the message was from. Judging by the ‘how-to’ post, it’s clearly quite a complicated but ingenious mod, which includes programming the chip. Luckily, he got it all to work first time. For the full details head over to his blog post here.

Via Liliputing.

Asus Eee PC hacked to include Mighty Mouse trackball

July 3, 2009 at 9:40 am

Asus Eee PC hacked to include Mighty Mouse trackball We have seen a number of netbook mods here at NbC, but this is a first. One hacker, who was fed up with the scrolling on the touchpad of his Asus Eee PC 901, decided to stick an Apple Mighty Mouse trackball into its palm rest. Plasti-Bots has the complete tutorial on how you go about doing this for the enterprising modders out there.

It’s certainly not one for the novices out there. The trackball wires had to be unsoldered from the mouse, and then soldered onto the motherboard. The finished result looks very professional and the video below shows how well it works. I wonder whether this is something manufacturers may intend on building into their netbooks in the future… Read more

Samsung NC10 ‘easy’ internal 3G mod

July 2, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Samsung NC10 ‘easy’ internal 3G modMost mods out there which tell you how to get internal 3G functionality are quite complicated and certainly not for the novice modder. João from BassoPT’s Ultra Mobile Computing has come up with a relatively easier solution that will only work on the Samsung NC10. However, this still involves opening the bottom of the netbook, so you’ll have to see where your skills fit before trying this at home.

João basically opened the bottom and replaced the Wi-Fi Mini PCI-E card with a 3G modem. Obviously this means that you’ll have no wireless access, but João solved this problem by using a small Buffalo USB 2.0 Wi-Fi dongle. The other issue is that once you insert your sim card into the slot it will remain there unless you take off the whole bottom casing again. Or, you could always hack a hole into the casing to provide easy access. JKKMobile says that this is one of the few netbooks where you swap out the Wi-Fi module for a 3G one.

Video tutorial: Upgrading RAM on an Eee PC 1008HA Seashell

June 22, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Upgrading RAM on an Eee PC 1008HA SeashellThe Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell is beautifully super-slim 10-inch netbook. However, to maintain this slender form-factor the engineers have done a fabulous job in carefully cramming in all of the components into its chassis. We know that this is a sealed unit, which means that there are no access panels to change the RAM and it also has a sealed battery.

For those Eee PC 1008HA users who are wondering just how you go about changing the RAM, then check out a couple of videos after the jump. We already showed you the 1008HA teardown in pictures, but the video may be a little clearer.

Amusingly, instead of using a wrist strap once inside the Eee PC, the guy in the video decides to use bright yellow kitchen gloves to avoid static. The first video goes through opening the 1008HA and swapping out the RAM. The second video goes through putting everything back together. Check out both videos after the break. Read more

Dell Mini 9 gets fingerprint scanner mod

June 19, 2009 at 10:35 am

Dell Mini 9 gets fingerprint scanner modFor the security conscious Dell Inspiron Mini 9 users out there, this is a mod you may want to pay attention to. MyDellMini user Rich2871 modded his Dell Mini 9 netbook with a fingerprint scanner embedded to the palm rest. Be warned though, Rich2871 is quite experienced when it comes to mods. His Mini 9 already includes a 64GB SSD, an internal 4-port USB hub, and OS X.

He ended up taking an external USB fingerprint scanner, taking out the main components and connecting it with the internal USB headers of the Dell Mini 9. That’s even before you hack a hole in the case! Judging from the procedure it doesn’t like a particularly easy mod, however the finished result certainly looks impressive.

Via Portable Monkey.

Opera Unite turns your browser into a server

June 16, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Opera UniteOpera launched a new application today called Opera Unite that it hopes will ‘reinvent the web’, their words not ours. This web-based application is an interesting take on cloud computing and comes built into the Opera browser. What Unite does is to turn your computer into a web server and client, which you can use to access files from any other browser (say on a netbook whilst away from home).

Some of the services that are currently offered through Unite includes file sharing, hosting web sites, sharing music or photos, posting sticky notes and chat. Opera realise that many people like to use different browsers, so they have made sure that Unite has cross-platform support. As long as Unite is running on one machine with Opera, then you can access your content on any operating system or browser (or even your phone). Read more

Boost your Asus Eee PC 1000HE Wi-Fi performance

June 11, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Boost your Asus Eee PC 1000HE Wi-Fi performanceOne of the (small) criticisms we had of the Asus Eee PC 1000HE, when we reviewed it, was that the Wi-Fi performance felt a bit patchy. Apart from having a nightmare trying to set it up in the first place, we noticed it didn’t latch onto a signal as quickly as other netbooks/laptops did.

Well it looks like these problems may be a thing of the past, courtesy of a wireless driver from the yet to be released Eee PC 1005HA. According to the Eee User Forum, people are reporting that this driver (, 13 March 2009) improves performance and stability.

To get this to work, you need to make sure you have a 1000HE with the Atheros AR928x (AW-NE771) card installed. We don’t have the 1000HE to hand any more, but we’d be interested to see if this tip works.

Via GadgetMix.

Video Tutorial: Upgrading RAM on a Dell Mini 10v netbook

June 8, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Upgrading RAM on a Dell Mini 10v netbookOne of the benefits of owning a Dell Inspiron Mini 10v over its Mini 10 cousin, is that its RAM is not soldered onto the mainboard. This means that you can upgrade your RAM to 2GB if you wish. However, what Dell don’t tell you is that to actually upgrade the RAM is a daunting process.

On the bottom of the unit, all you have is an access panel to the Wi-Fi module, which seems a strange decision to me. However, for those that are up to the challenge of literally taking apart your Mini 10v, then a MyDellMini Forum member has come with a three-part video tutorial. This involves removing the keyboard and getting access to the motherboard where you’ll find the RAM slot. Check out the detailed videos after the break. Read more

Software Apps to Maximise your Netbook Battery Power

May 3, 2009 at 10:53 am

Maximise Battery LifeThis morning we have a second guest contribution from reader, Igor Igorski. He has followed his first article on the chiclet keyboard with a look at ways in which you can maximize your netbooks battery life through the choice of software used.

Netbooks are known for their portability. Not only are they small and lightweight but with their increased power efficiency, batteries can last much longer than conventional laptops. This also means you no longer have to carry a power adapter with you! Several brands emphasis the longevity of the battery as a strong selling point, and for those people who travel a lot, it sure is. Read more

Dell Mini 9 Netbook 3G Mod

April 14, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Dell Mini 9One enterprising Dell Mini 9 owner decided to take matters into his own hands, when deciding he actually wanted to use 3G. jingo5 from the Dell Mini Forums opened up the Mini 9 and installed a mini PCI-E bracket alongside a sim connector. The mod is certainly for the more experienced hacker involving soldering all the above in place. It seemed to work although the reception wasn’t found to be too great. He is now looking to add an antenna in a move that is very similar to the Acer Aspire One 3G hack.

Via Engadget.

Dell Mini 9 mod – installing a 128GB SDD

April 6, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Dell Mini 9 - 128GB SSDFor those owners of the Dell Mini 9 who find their solid-state drive (SDD) storage capacity is just not enough, JKKMobile has a mod that you might be interested in. The video tutorial explains how you go about installing a 128GB SSD into the Dell Mini 9. Why is this so special you may ask? Can you not just swap one out for the other?

The reality is not so simple. If you want to upgrade to a larger capacity SDD in the Dell Mini 9 you are limited to 64GB. This is as these SDDs come in Mini PCI-e sizes of 50mm. The larger capacity SSDs (>64GB) come in a Mini PCI-e size of 70mm, the only way of fitting in the extra 20mm requires you to actually cut into the Dell Mini 9 case with a dremel.

For those that feel confident enough to do this mod, the result will be a SDD that offers 20 percent more speed and double the capacity. Just remember, you need to source a PATA SDD as the Mini 9 does not accept SATA SDDs. Check out the video after the jump. Read more

Acer Aspire One touchscreen video tutorial

March 24, 2009 at 11:16 am

Following on from last week’s Asus 1000HE touchscreen video tutorial, another has emerged, this time for the Acer Aspire One. Once again, the tutorial was put together using a solderless Hoda Technology touchscreen kit and cost the modder, tarzanna75, $95 from ebay.

The tutorial encompasses three videos, the first covering disassembly, the second covering hardware installation and third covering driver installation and testing. The installation was relatively straight forward although she did have some problems with the screws. A good tip from the comments section is taking a photo of the device and then, once printed, taping each screw to the printout where the screw was removed.

You can find the Hoda Touchscreen kit on eBay for around $99 (with varying shipping costs) giving you everything from the touch panel, USB harnesses and all cabling, and even the stylus. You’ll also get three more internal USB ports for future hacks. Check out the three videos after the jump. Well worth a look for the more adventurous modders out there! Read more

ASUS Eee PC 1000HE Touchscreen video tutorial

March 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm

For the more adventurous modders out there, a three-part video tutorial has emerged showing how to fit a touch-panel screen to the Asus 1000HE. Of course, you could just wait for Asus’ T91 due in late May/early June but that wouldn’t be half as much fun!

The tutorial was put together using a Hoda Technology touchscreen kit, and as we’ve seen in similar guides it involves opening the netbook bezel, slotting in the resistive touch panel and connecting it up to a USB header inside. The typical connection is made using the webcam USB socket, with a second USB header for the camera to reconnect to.

You can find the Hoda Touchscreen kit on eBay for around $99 (with varying shipping costs) giving you everything from the touch panel, USB harnesses and all cabling, and even the stylus. You’ll also get three more internal USB ports for future hacks. Check out the three videos after the jump. Read more

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