I HAVE MOVED

After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.

Harold

Saturday, November 24, 2012


After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: November 24, 2012

This isn’t my normal running related post, but I am also a bit geeky and many of us runners are on our computers a LOT. So I thought you might be interested in what I think about my new Samsung Series 5, 550 Chromebook (WiFI) Computer.

Why did I decide on the Chromebook? 

You can read about the decision process here, but it seems that I have always been a little non-traditional and enjoy challenging myself to do things a little differently.

The Chromebook was delivered on Wednesday night and it didn’t take me long to unbox it! TheWife said I looked a lot like a little kid at Christmas. I guess I am still a big kid at heart and I tend to get excited about new my new “toys”.

First Look

I don’t know about you, but for me, I don’t get a real sense of how a computer looks or feels by looking at videos and images online. So I always worry (a lot),when I buy something online, whether if I am going to like it or not.

After opening the box and taking a close look at the 550 and I was impressed - it is a GREAT looking little laptop!

The 550 weighs in at about 3 pounds which makes it the lightest computer I have ever owned and in my opinion one of the best looking ones. I didn’t notice any flaws, blemishes or poorly put together/designed areas. Everything was neat and clean, so far so good.
Turning it On

I plugged in the 550 and turned it on, it took about 10 seconds to get to the sign-in screen. When I signed-in to my Google account, (it didn’t do an update until after the first time I turned it off and back on?), I immediately was taken to the WiFi login (after all it is all about the Internet).

This was where my biggest problem occurred with setting up the Chromebook!

It had nothing to do with the computer! 

It was me, I was so excited (TheWife laughed at me about it and my little hissy that I was throwing) that I couldn’t to type the network password in correctly and couldn’t log in any further. 

After I finally typed in the password correctly - 10 minutes later...

The Chromebook booted right into my Google Chrome account, so everything was very familiar from that point on. Any of the web applications or extensions that I have been using in Chrome on my other computers were right there. All my bookmarks, history and preferences were all there ready and waiting to just be used.

The screen has a nice matte finish and websites are very clear and loaded new tabs fast!

Using the Chromebook

I was surfing the web and exploring different features of the almost machine immediately - no setup, no having to delete unwanted programs, no going through and changing a bunch of settings to personalize my computer. Bootup, shut-down and loading tabs was faster than any computer I have ever used.

The keyboard is fine, although it will take a little while to get used to where things are, the short cuts, not having a caps lock key and the differences that a not having function keys make. These are not big deals, just differences.

At this point in my life I don’t feel like having to screw around with setting up or putting a lot of time into maintaining a computer. I want my computers to just work - to just turn them on and go do what I want it to do and then quickly shut-down when I am done.

Can I do all the other stuff - sure, but I don’t want to anymore and this is one of the things that draws me to the Chromebook - its ease of use.

Experimenting


Over the past few days I have been trying to figure out the in’s and out’s of using the Chromebook. This means that I have continued to read reviews and forums (yes I also read the instructions), play around with different modes, keys, extensions, and web apps,

As many extensions and web applications that I have quickly and easily installed or uninstalled, the Chromebook 550 hasn’t crashed or hiccupped at all, which is very impressive to me. The Chrome Webstore has a lot of extensions and web applications that you can “install” on your Chromebook, there is something there for just about anything you want to do and I have tried more than a couple out!

I have had up to 20 tabs open at once and while the 550 start to bog down around 12-15, it still will open more, just more slowly.

Chrome is Different

Chrome O/S is different than other operating systems, so there is a learning curve and a mindset change that I had to do, to switch from using a Mac, Windows PC or even Ubuntu, which I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around completely - but it has only been a couple of days.

The differences are primarily about limited memory and file management. Especially how I get files from Office, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, iCloud, Dropbox (which I have to use for my work), or other file types, to play or work together within the Chrome O/S file management system.

When using other operating systems with the Chrome Browser, you are using that O/S’s native file management system, with my Chromebook - I am finding the Chrome O/S’s file management system rudimentary compared to the others.

Example

The Chromebook's file management system as I know it now, has made something that I took for granted like simply downloading a Google Document as a .docx file to a Dropbox folder for my work into a bit of an adventure.

The best way I have found to do this so far - is to create/finish a Word document in M/S Skydrive, download the file to the Chromebook and then upload it to my work’s Dropbox folder. It means having to use another “program” besides Drive, and some extra steps to do what I really want to do, but it is a work-around that I can live with.

This is just an example of how things work differently right now and how I have to be willing to look at simple tasks a little differently and jump through a couple of extra hoops to get things done than I might have done in the past.

I foresee this kind of thing also happening for some photos, videos or some other things, which means that I will probably have to use my MacBookPro for some things, just to keep things a little simple - I hope that it is up to those tasks ;-). At least until Google figures out how to make it simple to make those kind of file management things work quickly and easily on the Chromebooks.
The reality is that

I like my Chromebook so far - A LOT!

Yes there are limitations and work-arounds, that I have to employ to get some things done, that were a lot more straightforward on a Mac or PC, but the simplicity of use, speed and ability to "surf" the web quickly, in my mind make up for the limitations. Now to just wrap my head around them and maybe even find or come up with some that will make my work-flow on the Chromebook better.

The 16GB memory really isn’t an issue, I don’t plan to keep my photos or music here and have an external hard drive that I will plug in at my desk, plus the storage I have on Google Drive, Skydrive, Dropbox, along with others give me plenty of online storage and I plan to have a couple of 32GB SD cards with me. So I shouldn’t have a lot of issues because of having only 16GB of memory (besides I remember when a 4GB drive was huge). Plus as one of the articles I read seemed to say (I can’t remember the exact one) “the Cloud is your computer and the Chromebook is your portal”.

Other than having fun figuring out the file management system and work-arounds, I have been able to do everything that I typically do on a computer over the past few days, without thinking about it. I can manage my blog, post images and do everything that I need/want to do there as you can see by the new theme, that I installed last night.

Actually I haven’t missed the Mac and its spinning wheel of death at all.

Sure there are things that I can’t use the Chromebook for (playing NeverWinter Nights 2), but I knew that would happen when I decided to buy it. In its present configuration, it will do between 80% & 90% of what I need it to, but for a lot less money than I was going to spend on an iPad or Touchscreen Windows 8 Touchscreen PC that I was looking at initially.

So far I have been very happy with my purchase of the Samsung Series 5, 550 Chromebook.

While a ChromeBook simple to use, it probably isn’t for everyone and won’t meet the needs of power users or those who have to use specific applications/software. So don’t run out and buy a Chromebook, because I like mine. Your needs and experiences might be different than mine have been.

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