So, Santa Claus Brought You a Netbook?

Like some of you, I woke up on Christmas morning to find that Santa had left me a netbook under the tree.  A black ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1005HA with a 10.1-inch screen, to be precise. So now I get to add outfitting my new netbook to my burgeoning list of end-of-year personal and professional projects.

I’d been following the growth and innovations in the netbook market over the past year or so, so I am really looking forward to diving into this new platform and fitting it into my current home office menagerie of Windows, Macintosh and Linux machines.

Outfitting My New Netbook

My first step was to delete all the trialware, including Microsoft Office 2007 Student and Teacher Edition (s msft), from the machine. My netbook runs Windows 7 Starter Edition (although I see the Google Chrome Operating System (s goog) in its future) so it’s picked up a certain bad habit that seems to common to all new Windows OS machines: an over-abundance of trialware. I recommend you do the same as me and delete aany trialware from your new netbook so you can start off with the machine as pristine as possible.

For this machine, I made the choice to run only free or open-source software on it — no Microsoft Office, no MindJet MindManager, no OneNote, and not even subscription-based antivirus software. So after deleting much of the trialware from the netbook, I downloaded Google Pack, which is the installer for the major Google desktop applications, to get the party started. Here are some of my additional software suggestions for outfitting your new netbook:

  • Evernote. I’ve written about Evernote in the past (here and here) and use it frequently through the course of my writing and consulting work so it is must have install on my new netbook.
  • Google Chrome.This is going to be my primary browser on the machine. At least initially, I plan to go without Firefox. It comes as part of the Google Pack.
  • Google Apps. The Google Pack lets you install desktop shortcuts to Google Calendar (Celine offers GCal tips here), Google Docs and Gmail, my office suite and email apps of choice for my new netbook.
  • Pidgin. I have clients and colleagues who make frequent use of instant messaging (IM). This multi-protocol IM client is my choice for the Windows platform.
  • Dropbox. After reading Scott’s Dropbox post, I was sold on Dropbox and became a user. While I recently upgraded my Dropbox account, you can still get a 2 GB account for free.
  • Jing. Screen captures are a big part of my work. Jing (covered by Doriano) is free and I’ll be using it frequently.
  • Anti-virus/Anti-spyware. For the time being, I am going with Google Pack’s anti-virus/anti-spyware software.

Securing Your New Netbook

Lastly, after setting up the netbook, don’t forget to secure it. All cynicism and jokes about Windows security aside, make sure your antivirus software of choice is functional and go into Windows 7 System Security settings and check that your network firewall, virus protection, and spyware protection is on.

For more information about where netbooks are headed, check out the special report “The Future of Netbooks” over on GigaOM Pro (subscription required).

Did you receive a new netbook for Christmas? How are you outfitting it?