Friday, September 20, 2013

Chromebook, in a cabin

Recently, I spent a week at a lake cabin in the mountains. It was gorgeous and delightful and restful and did not have Internet access.

I still brought my Chromebook.

When the pieces are still there
As it turned out, there were many useful tasks my Chromebook could accomplish for me, even offline.

I would read from my electronic library of books, needing only to "pin" my choices to my Kindle app to have them available at any time.

I used my Scribble app to work on blog posts I had loaded into the many color-coded tabs available to me.

I used the offline Gmail app to work on my email; deleting, archiving, and writing replies, working from what had been downloaded before I left the Internet. All of this activity was held in storage until I got back in WiFi range again, and it was thrilling to see all my work get synchronized.

Several local restaurants, the library, and the visitor's bureau all had WiFi  and during my visits there I could accomplish my usual tasks while updating all my offline apps for use back at the cabin. I could backup my writing, refresh my email, send my replies, and pick up a new ebook or two. Thus reloaded, I was set until my next trip into town.

Many Chromebook reviews are scornful of what this device can accomplish when it is away from the Internet. But it is far from the "doorstop" they imagine. It turns out to be a delightful companion as long as there is electricity, and the long battery life does not keep me tethered to that plug.

Given a bit of notice, I can take it anywhere. At any time.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Do I still love my Chromebook?

That was the question a co-worker put to me. "Hey, it's been a while since you got that new gadget. Are you still excited about your Chromebook?"

The answer is Yes.

Yes, still in love.
I'm taking a long weekend to recover from a long bout of pneumonia and then a sinus infection (I'd rather have the life threatening one, thanks) with three rounds of antibiotics, a couple of weeks of one work-related crisis after another, and a few freelance gigs that are nice to do, but exhausting.

This is where the lightness and long battery life of my Chromebook really shines. I can lie on the couch and watch videos from Youtube or Hulu. I installed the Kindle Cloud app to catch up on my reading, a rare treat of late.

Of course, there's always the classic web surfing; finding new blogs, which link to interesting articles, and I can still get lost in Wikipedia.

How is this different from when I had my old Powerbook laptop? Well, it's not: when I was sick in bed with my laptop, I would be using my Chrome browser, just as I'm doing now.

Yet, it is different; because I can actually do all these things without plugging it in every few hours. Even with a new battery, the laptop would be setting the battery signal to "distress" before three hours was over, especially with videos. I'd be restricted to one hour long viewing session, because it got quite warm if I pushed it. It was much heavier than my Chromebook, too. So it was a much more cumbersome piece of machinery for the same use.

While a tablet can do all this with an even smaller footprint, it excels at content consumption, and not so much at content creation.

The Chromebook is the only one to offer both.