Right before Thanksgiving I went and did something crazy – even for me.
No it didn’t have a lot to do with running or healthy-living, well not really, but maybe a little bit of my mental health. What I did really impacted how I blog about those things and participate in my social media communities.
HMMMMMM – What in the world are you talking (exasperated voice)!
If you look at my “quick about me” in the sidebar, I say that I “use technology to complicate my life”.
Isn’t that the truth sometimes! I honestly believe that this is true for many of us, while we love our technology and how it can connect us to others or seemingly make some things easier, technology sure as hell doesn’t simplify our lives.
I have found that technology does not always make life easier or less complicated, in fact it usually does just the opposite for me and I have been purposely looking way to simplify and uncomplicate my life whenever possible.
That is when I chose to buy a Chromebook rather than yet another Windows or Mac computer.
Huh! What is a Chromebook?
A: It is a computer that uses Google’s Chrome Operating System.
What does it do?
A: It is a modern computer, but it does not have native apps and relies more on the web apps in “THE CLOUD” (in a deeply ominous voice), but does have enough off-line capabilities to get through the times when you are not connected to “THE CLOUD”.
Actually my Samsung Series 5-550 Chromebook has become my primary computer and does about 95% of what I want to do on a computer. When I have to go back and use my 4 year-old MacBookPro or my Windows 7 PC, it is painful for me to do so.
They both just seem so slow, big and gommy to me now. They have become niche machines that I use when I have to, not because I want to. Playing a game like NeverWinter Nights II or screwing around with iTunes on my iPhone 4S, to manage my music is about the only times I turn on my Mac. The PC is even less – it is my wife’s and I do the maintenance on it, which reminds me of why I love my Chromebook so much each time I have to do that.
Now wait minute Harold, you have both a Mac (which is running Mountain Lion – the latest and greatest OS from Apple) and a PC (running Windows 7) and you don’t use them unless you have to?
That’s right and as my Chromebook continues to improve, I plan to use them even less! The less than 10 second to get to the log in screen, almost instant on when you open the cover, not worrying about security or updates as much have really sold me on this laptop.
Along with the fact that I have done 100% of my work (not the nice to do or have stuff), on my Chromebook for the past 6 weeks, tells me it does what I need for a computer to do.
Not for Everyone
Now a Chromebook is not for everyone and it does require a bit of a change in your mindset about how you do things with it, but once you get beyond the initial resistance to change (at least for me), things begin to happen. It opens a lot of different ways to get things done and not break the freaking bank every time you want to try something new or different.
Honestly, the Chromebook sucks when it comes to dedicated printing to non-Google Cloud Print ready printers, it works, but not easily (another reason in my mind to go more paperless), some versions don’t play Netflix well or at all (my 550 does just fine) and some other things that are a pain in the butt.
Google Play and a Chromebook don’t play well together (especially the uploading/downloading of your music – which sucks) and you can only get Chromebook Apps from the Chrome Web Store (but both Apple and Microsoft are heading in that direction too)
No you cannot load your familiar local programs like: Microsoft Office, Apple’s iWork or anything that uses Java, in other words executable files that are stored on your laptop – they don’t work.
That is where the mindset shift comes into play, you have to do almost everything via “THE CLOUD”. Also most of your files are stored there – via Google’s Drive, but you can use SkyDrive, Dropbox or other cloud storage services, but they don’t integrate and sync as easily or as well.
“THE CLOUD” is a scary place for many and they don’t trust it, however, within 5 years, I have a feeling that is where most of our stuff will be regardless of what you want. Software As A Service will be the norm and you will have less control of what is happening on your computer no matter who makes it. So unless you are going to maintain your stuff on an old off-line standalone computer, you need to get used to “CLOUD COMPUTING”.
No I am not some young wiz-kid who thinks he has the world by the ass, I am an old fart who is moving along with the times and seeing the writing on the wall. The change is coming, you can fight it kicking and screaming or just use it to your advantage, either way it is coming.
The reality is that
my Samsung Series 5-550 Chromebook laptop computer has just become my computer, it is nothing special or different for me to use it now. I open up the top, the screen pops up and I start to work.
The hardest thing that I had to figure out was which web applications to use that met my needs, instead what software I had that I needed to use. That is a big change of perspective and if you can’t figure what I mean by that, then you will not like a Chromebook.
If you are looking for something different from a Mac or Windows laptop, the Chromebooks are worth a look. However, I am telling you to do your own research to make sure that the Chromebook meets your needs and how you use a computer – they are not the right for everyone, even if you can buy one for $199 to $249.
The biggest compliment that I can give my Chromebook is that I just use it.
Yes I just drafted this post in Google Drive’s Docs, cut and pasted it to WordPress.org’s blogwriter, took photos of my Chromebook with my HTC Incredible 2 Android smart phone, uploaded them directly from my phone to this post and published it to the web – All using my Chromebook.
Yes I can do this with other computers, but I prefer to do it with my Chromebook – thank you!