The “Hand-Me-Down” Netbook

When my sister was still in nursing school, she used to carry a 17 inch laptop along with her thick medical books. So, last October, on her birthday, I gave her an HP Mini 110 netbook to lighten her load a little bit. But, since she’s done with school, she’s now using her laptop again and left the netbook in disuse. While I didn’t want the netbook to become an expensive paperweight, I didn’t know what to do with it either. I already have 2 computers (an XP and a Vista) and I’m certain that I don’t need another one. Still, I’d rather use it than sell it. So I spent the whole afternoon optimizing the thing (disabling unused service, getting rid of the bloatware, etc.), installed some games and programs in it, and try to turn it into something I can use.

I can play Guild Wars on this netbook.

To my surprise, this small thing can actually run some pre-2006 games. Guild Wars was the first game I installed, since I read somewhere in a forum that netbooks can run this MMO. I was skeptical at first but it did work, and decently too. I just dropped all settings to low, ran it on windowed mode, and got a playable frame rate. I also installed some of my games on Steam and Good Old Games like Arcanum, Fallout, Deus Ex and X-Com: UFO Defense. All games, since they’re old, worked flawlessly. The next time I get the chance, I’ll also install Dungeons and Dragons Online to see if it will work. There’s so many older games that I want to add in here as well, like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights. Too bad, this netbook doesn’t have a CD drive that will let me install those games. Maybe I’ll start looking for their “digital” versions, then.

The Mini 110’s storage space (120 GB) is also large enough to let me store copious amounts video files. So I installed a VLC player and loaded the netbook with movies and episodes of my favorite TV series and anime (Chuck, Metalocalypse, BECK, True Blood, etc.). I also installed Microsoft Silverlight on it so I can stream movies from Netflix’s website, anytime and anywhere there’s wireless internet available. Nice.

So far, this tiny machine is slowly turning into a decent portable entertainment system. It may not be able to play the latest games. But at least it’ll let me play my old games, giving them another purpose than collecting dust. The gigabytes of movies and episodes will also keep me occupied until the batteries die. I may not travel a lot or take long commutes. But when ever I do, this netbook will be the first second thing (iPod Touch is still my #1 portable device) I’ll bring with me.

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2 Responses to The “Hand-Me-Down” Netbook

  1. barrycyrus says:

    Whew, glad you could do a lot of stuff in that. My laptop meanwhile is four years-old! Must. Replace!

    haha nice blog!

  2. edgar says:

    Woah I’m impressed with what you did here.

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