Dropbox 1.0.10 has been released – 10 months after the last release, 0.7.110, it’s finally past that important version 1!
Dropbox, for the uninitiated, is an excellent online file synchronisation service. Simply install a program on your desktop and drag files to your Dropbox folder. It will then be synced with any other computer that has the same software installed, and is also accessible via their website. You get 2GB of storage for free and you can pay modest amounts to increase this. There are also mobile phone applications available too.
And what a cracker of an update too – less resource hogging and able to cope with open documents , it has a plethora of new options too, including the ability to only sync certain folders on particular computers.
Last night I spent a few hours with my bosses nieces Netbook, as I’d been asked if I could cure it of a virus.
It was an HP Mini 210 in “Sonoma Red”. The dark red paintwork is not only on the lid, but extends to underneath as well – and very nice it looks too.
It runs Windows 7 Starter (which I hadn’t tried before – indeed, I’ve not tried Windows 7 on a Netbook at all) and has an N450 Atom processor (1.67Ghz) with 1GB memory and a 250GB hard drive.
The keyboard is a “scrabble tile” style, again something I’ve not tried before and, because of the width of the HP, is a good size. It was nice to use, unlike the touchpad which many other reviews have commented on. Rather than have separate buttons, the HP trackpad has it so that you click down the pad itself in the corners. It doesn’t work very well, particularly when I was trying to right click. Maybe playing with the trackpad settings would have helped, but I didn’t get an opportunity to try.
It’s a pretty standard 10.1″ 1024×600 resolution screen, but thanks to the “LED HP BrightView” it is extremely bright – even on mains I had the brightness turned down.
Windows 7 Starter worked really well and moved along at a good speed – and none of the performance-sapping features had been turned off (such as menu animations, etc). It’s a shame that this isn’t available after-market – if I wanted to upgrade my own Netbook to Windows 7 I’d have to buy Windows 7 Home Premium, as even Home Basic isn’t available retail. Yet, I’d not use (or turn off) the extra features that Home Premium would give me. £70+ Windows upgrade for a Netbook that cost me £200 a number of years ago? The maths doesn’t make sense.
Back to the HP, it has all the standard connectors, including VGA, 3 USB ports and a card reader. However, it had a side mounted power switch on which the power light was mounted – this makes it awkward at first glance to see the power state of the HP when the screen is blank. Similarly, they’ve out the HD activity light on the other side – again difficult to glance at. There’s a VGA webcam and, unlike many netbooks, Bluetooth is present as standard (although I couldn’t see any switches or lights related to it). There are also no “hatches” underneath for upgrading the miserly 1GB memory BUT, unlike other manufacturers, HP have made it easy to do just that. Behind the battery are buttons which release the whole of the coloured underside and allow direct access to the underside of the components, including the hard drive and single memory slot. This means that the memory can be upgraded to 2GB and without even taking out a screw.
Speaking of the battery – this is a 6 cell which light tests have shown to give over 8 hours of life. It sticks out the bottom quite a way and, in the model I was looking at, seemed a little loose. None-the-less, the size doesn’t get in the way and the battery life is excellent.
Additional software I didn’t get a chance to try out, but it appears to come with the usual manufacturer software plus some additional branded software – Microsoft Works, Cyberlink DVD suite and Arcsoft webcam, for instance. It also comes with a fair share of trials and crapware that you’ll just end up uninstalling anyway.
The specific model I tried no longer appears to be available, but others are. For instance, the Mini 210 WR430EA is £280 at play.com.
Summary of HP Mini 210
The price puts the HP Mini 210 in the higher price band for Netbooks and you can see why – a long battery life and excellent build quality make this an easy to use and speedy Netbook. If I was in the market to buy another, I’d look seriously at the HP.
Windows 7 comes with a very nice looking Sticky Notes application, although it is rather lacking in features. Personally, I prefer Stickies, although it looks a little outdated (and I can’t find a “skin” for it that is any better).
Instead, I created my own variation simply by changing default options and style.
First of all, you’ll need the Segoe Print font – this comes (as far as I can tell) with Office 2007, Office 2010, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Now, go into the Stickies options and change the following options…
In “General”, select “Drop Shadow” amd change the text width to 181 which is, from what I can tell, the same default size of Sticky Notes. Personally, I prefer 255.
In “Appearance” click on Font Style and select “Segoe Print”, “Regular” style and a font size of 11pt. Sticky Notes don’t go opaque, but I prefer to have Stickies with an opacity of 90%.
And that’s it – you can see the result in the image on the right (both types compared).
The developer of Stickies tells me that if I get into creating my own theme I can drop the top toolbar and create something that’s even more similar to Sticky Notes. I’m not sure when (or if) I’ll get the chance to try it, but if someone else does in the meantime, please let me know.
For over a year Apple owners have had the Magic Mouse – a traditional mouse, but with a touch sensistive top for multitouch use, similiar to a laptop’s touchpad. It’s not without its disadvantages, and running it on a PC can be problematic.
Thankfully, SPEEDLINK are soon to release their own PC equivalent – the CUE.
It’s available in 4 colours – red, white, black and silver – and uses a tiny USB dongle for communication. It can be used like a tradional mouse (but without any of the buttons physically moving), or with gestures to control your applications. Included software lets you customise it’s use.
Whether the CUE will suffer some of the same downsides as the Magic Mouse is yet to be seen, and the included software may “make or break” this as a worthy adversary. However, it doesn’t appear to be as flat as the Magic Mouse, which should make use easier.
The Magic Mouse will cost you about £50 from Amazon, whereas the CUE costs around £35. It’s due for release on the 1st December.
Microsoft, always ready to introduce their own program naming, have introduced the concept of the “Platform Preview” for Internet Explorer 7, which you can download and try.
Basically, it’s IE but without the ability to change the URL or move backwards through pages – they want you to try it out, but without thinking this is anything like the end product. It can installed alongside your current IE version, however.
A Beta version of the full browser was available a while ago, though, but it was soon replaced with further Platform Previews.
One thing that IE9 does add is the ability for sites to create their own jump lists in Windows 7. Here’s an excellent article on how to achieve this. Google Chrome already supports jump lists, and it looks like Firefox will have it after 3.7 is released.