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Applications to Make Your Netbook Better

Although the Ubuntu Netbook Edition has most of the same applications as the standard Ubuntu desktop, and they work great, there are a few applications that can make your netbook even better. These include a webcam or photobooth application called Cheese; an ebook reader, Fbreader; a handwriting recognition tool, Cellwriter; and a note-taking app, Xournal.


Many netbooks and laptops have a built-in webcam. For this, a photobooth-type application called Cheese is included in Ubuntu Netbook Edition. Cheese allows you not only to capture photos and video but also to apply a variety of effects to them, including flipping, warping, and changing the colors. You can use the images Cheese takes and upload them to Flickr, use them as your profile picture, or add them to the F-spot library (Figure 9-12).

Figure 9-12

Figure 9-12 Say Cheese!


Because of their long battery life and small size, netbooks make excellent ebook readers. Because of this, Fbreader, one of the more popular Linux ebook readers (Figure 9-13) is included with Netbook Edition. Fbreader can read most ebook formats, including epub and fb2, currently some of the most popular.

Figure 9-13

Figure 9-13 Reading ebooks is easy with Fbreader.


One of the major challenges with touchscreens is character recognition. Because of the increasing number of netbooks shipping with touchscreens, Cellwriter is installed by default. After some basic training of your handwriting (Figure 9-14), Cellwriter can accurately turn writing into text to be copied to a document, to the command line, or elsewhere (Figure 9-15).

Figure 9-14

Figure 9-14 Initial training of Cellwriter

Figure 9-15

Figure 9-15 Once Cellwriter has been trained, entering text is easy.


Also for netbooks with touchscreens, Xournal is a stylus-based note-taking application that can mix drawing, formulas, and text (Figure 9-16). Each journal is organized into pages and can have multiple layers of drawing, allowing annotation of any document. Xournal can be found under the Accessories menu.

Figure 9-16

Figure 9-16 Xournal allows for easy note taking.

Xournal also allows annotating of PDFs (Figure 9-17), which can then be exported to a file or printed. To open a PDF to annotate, choose the Annotate PDF option on the File menu. Choose the PDF you would like to open.

Figure 9-17

Figure 9-17 Easily annotate PDFs by importing them.

Once you are done editing, the Export to PDF link under the File menu can create a PDF of your notes.

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