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Friday, April 11, 2014

365 Days with a Chromebook

This month is exactly one year since I bought my first Chromebook. I will admit right away; I have three Chromebooks that we share in the house. Two of our Chromebooks are Samsung 11.6" and one is HP Chromebook 14", which is a relatively recent purchase.

Let me start with saying that Chromebooks cannot be your only computer in the house. I am sure that you already know that. However, the question these days should not be "why Chromebooks cannot be the primary computers?". A lot of us have multiple computers and the right question is: Which computer are you going to use most of your time while you are at home or on the road?

Yes, we need our PC or Mac to upload pictures, do some video recording, use iTunes or encrypt/decrypt some stuff. However, how often do you need to all this. Most of the time we are dependent on the internet and that's what we do on our home computers after a hard working day.

Battery life?
The battery on all of my Chromebooks is good enough to last throughout the whole day with heavy use. With light use, it can last you a few days.

Price?
As far as the price, it does not get better than the price of Chromebooks. Samsung 11.6" is a great buy for $250 and HP Chromebook 14" is also a great purchase for $350+.

Three essential tools?
Don't get me wrong. Most of my personal formal documents are in Microsoft format and they are stored on my PC, but when it comes to note-taking, research on internet and my emails, it is all stored in the cloud. I use Gmail, Google Docs and Chrome bookmarks as my three most essential tools. All of this is stored in the cloud and I have access to it from my Chromebooks and from my home PC and work PC. It makes it very convenient.

Prove it !!!
To prove that I could live with a Chromebook, the first thing I did is I redesigned my website/blog by fully using all the cloud tools. All the custom HTML and Javascript I wrote by using online text editors/IDEs. All the image editing was done in the cloud. My blog is not a good example of a beautiful site, but it is very functional and I proved to myself that I could do it all in the cloud.

Prediction about the direction of computing?
PCs, Macs and computers with full operating systems are not going away, but the need for them is slowly reducing. We are going back to the old Unix days where we used dummy Unix stations that were just a proxy to the server with some interface to make it look like you had a fully functional computer at your desk. That's where we are heading now and it is a long trip. More and more tools are available online and my wish would be that we would be running a VDI type of environment where we purchase a virtual PC online and use it. Microsoft has the ability to do that, simplify it and provide it to regular consumers outside the enterprise world. Imagine having a simplified version of a Windows laptop (kind of like Chromebook). This laptop you would be abe to use once you connect to internet and you log into your VDI-like environment for consumers that allows you to use the full version of Windows. I am going a bit of tangent but I am trying to explain which direction the Chromebook type of computers are taking us to.

A fast Chromebook?
Going back to Chromebooks. I want to talk a bit about HP Chromebook 14". I am very impressed with this Chromebook. Samsung 11.6" has an average and predictable/steady performance, and the HP 14" has excellent and predictable/steady performance. What I mean by predictable/steady is that there is never some process in the background that is affecting my browsing experience. The websites always load fast and as you interact and scroll through the websites, everything is very smooth and fast. I am comparing it to my Dell Inspiron laptop with i7 processor that I use as my primary PC in the house. Even though this Dell has i7 processor and 8Gb of RAM, the performance is unpredictable. Sometimes it is some scan in the background; sometimes it is Dropbox doing some sync; sometimes it is just the computer acting weird; all this affects my browsing experience if browsing is all I wanted to do. I never experience this on my HP Chromebook 14". This HP Chromebook is always smooth and responsive. It boots up in less than 10 seconds and you are good to go.

Security and Chromebooks?
Everything on the SSD is encrypted and the key for the encryption is your Gmail/Google password that you log in with. To do this type of encryption on your PC, you have to go through all kinds of trouble if you want your whole hard-drive to be encrypted and on Chrombooks it comes standard as part of Chrome OS. When you change your Gmail password and try to log into your Chromebook, make sure you remember your previous password because you will need it to get access to your files and to have the Chrome OS re-encrypt everything with the new password.

Conclusion:

Buy yourself a very good and reliable PC or Mac as your primary computer in the house. You will need it to organize your media, organize your documents that you don't feel comfortable putting in the cloud. However, these days an average computer user will spend most of their time browsing the internet. If you are not big on using tablets and you prefer a laptop, then a Chromebook is very good choice. It will make your browsing experience very smooth and if you buy a good performing Chromebook, that browsing experience can be very sharp.


#Chromebook #ChromeOS #laptop #tech #nerd #security #encryption #computer #cloud #gmail #googledrive #googledocs
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