I recently purchased a netbook, brand and model number is there in the title. 😉 Handy thing — small, portable, relatively cheap. (US$315 with sales tax.) Standard battery is rated at 2.5 hours, although I’ve gotten three or more out of it, and (in Vista, with Power Save mode and the screen brightness at minimal) have had “time remaining” estimates of four hours. 😯
It has the largest screen I know of a netbook having:- 11.9 inches, 1366×768 max resolution — but that still doesn’t give much vertical screenspace, which can be annoying with Firefox and a toolbar. So, today’s segment is about gaining more screen space in Windows Vista.
Yes, I said Vista — this model, despite having only a 1.33GHz Atom processor, is loaded down with Windows 6(66). As I plan it, this mini-series will mostly be about Linux and FOSS software, but this thing is still under its 15-day warranty, and I’ve already come perilously close to violating that. So, this begins with the simplest things of making Vista more netbook-friendly. (Yes, I start with the miracles first. 😛 )
First thing, unless you simply cannot stand not having the default theme — change it. Right-click the Desktop, select “Personalize”, and then click “Theme”. Change the Theme to “Windows Classic” and click “Ok”. Wait a moment, and the theme will change to the “old”-style, Windows-2000esque appearance. This has far less to render, so it’s faster.
Now for a little more screen space. (Close the Personalize window. 😉 ) With the faster rendering, we have more than enough power available for a little animation. Right-click ye old taskbar, click properties, check the box by “Auto-hide the taskbar”, and click “Ok”. This tweak also works in earlier versions of Windows — I don’t remember for certain in Windows 95, but I do recall doing this in Windows 98, so it should work in every operating system since.
Note: below superseded by my “Tweaking Firefox for Netbooks” entry, which is much better written. The information is still accurate, but is easier to read. It’s image-heavy, however.
Also, to gain some screen space in Firefox (I’ve only tested this with 3.5.3), the Compact Menu plugin is a boon — it replaces your menus with a menu of menus. 😯 This menu is represented by a blue icon with a down-arrow on it.
Continue this by right-clicking on the area left of the new menu button, click Customize from the drop-down menu, and start rearranging things. Personally, since I almost never use anything besides keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl-Tab to switch tabs, Alt-Left arrow to go back, etc.), I throw out everything but the address bar, which I drag into the Menubar. I then close the Customize box, right-click the menubar again, and deselect every toolbar except for the Menubar.
If the only reason you don’t disable the status bar, at the bottom of the browser, is because you want to know how far the page has loaded, the Fission plugin will move that into the address bar. (Thank you, Firefox Mastery!) The plugin’s homepage, as well as my personal experience, both say this doesn’t work well with some themes, but it works fine with the Windows Classic theme we selected earlier. Now you can disable the status bar. (File -> View -> Status Bar).
You can also hide the tab bar in Firefox by going to Tools -> Options -> Tabs and deselcting “Always show the tab bar”, but this only does anything when you only have one page open. 😕
That’s all for today!