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.

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