Now that you have your netbook customized to your liking, it’s time to use it as it was meant to be used—on the Internet. The Internet is the home of the Cloud where you’ll find online applications like Google Docs and Yahoo Mail, 30 Rock episodes from Hulu.com, and vast datastreams from around the globe. You can have all this on your netbook as soon as you take care of a few details…like getting an Internet connection.
Getting online is a lot easier than it was just a few years ago, when stodgy dial-up modems were still in vogue and information waltzed along the wires at a leisurely 50 kilobits per second. These days, network service is streamlined. High-speed fiber-optic connections (like Verizon’s FiOS service) can download data at a blazing 50 megabits per second. (Since the old 56 kilobits-per-second dial-up modems of the 1990s can only move at a mere fraction of that speed, you can see why YouTube never really caught on until high-speed Internet became commonplace.)
Whether you use a wired or wireless network in your home, office, or on your travels, this chapter shows you how to get your netbook living up to its potential.
Getting online means connecting your netbook to a local computer network, which in turn connects you to the giant network of networks known collectively as the Internet. Your netbook has at least two built-in ways to connect to a network—and there are a few others. Here are some of the possibilities: ...