Especially on a laptop screen, it is nice to put an application into full-screen mode so that you don't have all the wasted space of the top and bottom panels, toolbards, etc. Unfortunately, many applications don't offer a way to switch to full-screen mode. In Ubuntu 7.10, the desktop effects have an easy fix.
Open System->Preferences->Advanced Desktop Effects Settings. Go to the Window Management section, and enable the Extra WM Actions plugin. From this plugin, you can configure a key to toggle full-screen mode, and it works for ALL applications. Enjoy all the extra space on your screen.