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.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Chromebook: Offline

It's the biggest trump card Chromebook detractors have to play.

What if we can't get on the Internet?

If we are a writer, it doesn't matter. I need a keyboard to pour out the unfiltered, raw, thrilling material that is drafting. Once upon a time, when even the cheapest laptop was out of my price range, I drafted with a fountain pen and legal pads.

It is not the only access.
Now, I can draft with a full keyboard and save my work onto the cloud. Whenever I can gain access to the cloud.

My offline writing app of choice is Scribble (as they like to say: stickies on steroids.) Whatever I have written there is always there. When I am back on the Internet, it synchronizes my changes with my account on the web.

Even offline, I can edit, organize, and refine my thoughts in as many little "index cards" as my heart desires. In the meantime, it is stored on the Chromebook's flash drive.

I understand Google Docs is scheduled to have this same offline ability in the near future. This would handle other writers' needs for formatting or greater complexity.

This is one of the intriguing elements of the Chromebook's technical parameters. I got a skin instead of a sleeve to protect my Chromebook, mostly because I knew the Chromebook had no "moving parts."

The usual laptop has a usual hard drive. This is a wildly spinning disk which has a delicately poised floating head; which reads and writes within teeny tiny tolerances. The existence of a hard drive is why laptop users are encouraged to, at least, put their device to sleep before travel.

This delicately poised system is somewhat vulnerable to bumps and jolts. If we let our laptop know movement is imminent, it can park the delicate head in a safe place, and protect the hard drive data.

With a flash drive, such precautions are not needed, because nothing moves; in the Newtonian sense. Our offline data, whether from our offline Gmail account which lets us create emails to be sent when the Internet access resumes, to my drafts and edits saved on the internal flash drive, are safe.

They are merely in transition.

  • This post is one of a series of articles about living with my Chromebook. See all my posts about life in the cloud.