So how has the experiment gone?
I haven't turned on my MacBookPro since then and only get on the wife's PC to do maintenance type stuff. Otherwise, the Chromebook has done just about everything that I need or want to do.
I was able to maintain my blogs, upload .docx files, .MP4 videos and photos to my work Dropbox account (although there are more steps if I need to edit a document), print to my Canon wireless printer and do everything I am supposed to do without a great deal of difficulty.
There is a mindset change that you have to make in order to use a Chromebook effectively.
Instead of looking for things that you CAN'T do with this computer, I had to change my outlook to what I could DO with my Chromebook.
Once I made that change, using the Chromebook suddenly became easier and more enjoyable.
Has everything been easy - no.
Learning any new operating system there are frustrations about having to do things differently than I have done them in the past (I went the same thing when I went from Windows to Mac and I initially hated the Mac with a passion). So going from my Windows and Mac background to the Chrome OS, has had its challenges, but none of them have been insurmountable or even that big a deal, once I figured out the solution - with help from the Chromebook communities or Chromebook Central Group.
It is more getting used to the Chrome OS way of doing things and waiting for the OS to mature a little more.
Also, I committed to the cloud - in other words, I don't store anything on my Chromebook that if I was to drop and break it or if it got stolen, that I wouldn't be upset about. My Downloads file has become a temporary storage area and nothing else. Everything goes into Drive or other cloud location. It has actually been a liberating feeling to not have anything on my laptop, that I care about.
The biggest thing that bothers me about my Chromebook is that Drive's file management system on the Chromebook, is not the same as it is in the browser,
Which causes me to scratch my head, go huh and hunt for my files instead of the file tree just being in the left sidebar, which I have become accustomed to. I am not big on using "search" to find things and prefer the file tree.
This is more of an inconvenience than an actual issue, but it is one of those things that the Chromebook team needs to resolve for consistency across the platform, to make file management easier for the user and the overall Chromebook experience better - in my opinion.
Videos & Photo Management
Since the Canon uses a SD card, it makes it very easy to simply plug that SD card into my Chromebook and upload the files. The videos do take a little longer than a Mac or PC, but now that I know that, I can work around it.
However, I had to figure out how I want to setup my photo and video file management system in Drive so I can find photos later - I don't use search very effectively for this, because I don't always rename the files :-).
My file tree looks a like this when I upload from an SD Card or USB device, the photos go directly into My Photos, then I have to manually place them into the correct file.
If I want to do more advanced photo editing I would use Pixlr or Sumo Paint, which will do anything I want to do and a lot more.
I do have to explore a little about whether I can designate which actual file I want to put the photo files in, I just keep forgetting to check it when I upload files.
I read complaints on pundit's reviews, and in the forums, blog and communities, that you can't edit videos with a Chromebook. Now I don't need to make professional quality movies and typically make 3-10 minute YouTube videos for my blog posts.
I have been playing around with the Pixorial Video editing web application I was able to create the below YouTube video for my running blog.
Yes it is a little cheesy, but for the second time that I have used this video editor, it worked quite nicely. I imagine like any tool, as I start to use it more, it will become easier to use. I do not do advanced video editing and Pixorial, probably will do 90% of the video editing I need to do.
One thing that I really do like about Pixorial is that it integrates easily with Drive and accomplishes the upload of videos fairly quickly, but it is not as fast as iMovie or MovieMaker.
The biggest difference I found in using Pixorial vs iMovie or MovieMaker is that I have to preplan the work that I want to accomplish a little better. Spur of the moment editing just doesn't happen as quickly - yet.
The bottom line is that I can edit videos enough to meet my needs.
I used the VGA connector on my TV, to a double-male VGA cable and then connected it to my 550 Chromebook with the Diplayport++ to VGA adapter. Like I said everything worked like a charm.
One thing I had to figure out was how to go from Extended screen mode to Mirror screen mode and it took a couple of minutes to find the right menu.
Actually the biggest issue I had with all this was finding 2 AA batteries for my wireless USB mouse, which worked flawlessly, when I finally found the batteries.
Back on December 18th, I activated my HTC Droid Incredible2 phone, so I could integrate my phone better with my Chromebook - my iPhone didn't like my Chromebook.
I have found this to be a GREAT decision, I easily can upload my photos and videos, to the 550 and while it takes a while to upload videos, it does get done. It works a lot better than trying all the work-arounds I was having to use to get my iPhone 4S and Chromebook to work together.
Another issue resolved, but it took me changing to an Android phone to really resolve the problem to my satisfaction. Which leaves me with an iPhone 4S that I am not using now - hmmm I wonder what trades, I can work for one.
The reality is that
I haven't even had any need or urge to open up my MacBook Pro over the past few weeks!
The Chromebook does what I want. Yes I might have to plan my work a little differently or figure out a work-around to get something done, but nothing I am doing is unreasonable or actually causes all that much extra work or time. It is more that it is a different way of doing something than I did in the past.
That mind-set change that I discussed earlier and learning the nuances of a different operating system with an open mind, instead of just saying that this sucks, because I can't do things the way I always have.
The only thing that I can't do on my Chromebook that I can on my Mac is play NeverWinter Nights 2 and I haven't really played any games in the past couple of weeks any way, so I haven't found this to be an inconvenience at all. Oh at some point, I will probably break out the Mac and play NWN2 again, because I do enjoy it, but for right now it is not a priority for me and who knows maybe some day, I will be able to just play it online - then I will be very happy.
Those who game a lot, will be disappointed with the Chromebook, personally it is not a big deal.
Something I read in one of the Chromebook forums or communities, that really seems to summarize how I look at using my Chromebook now. To paraphrase what was said.
"The Chromebook has become my primary Computer and my MacBook Pro has become a niche machine that I would use to do extensive video editing (which I VERY seldom do) or something in iWork or Office, that I couldn't accomplish with either Pixorial or Drive."
In other words, the past few weeks have shown me what I can do with my Chromebook 550 - which is just about everything that I need to do and almost everything that I want to do.
How are you doing with your Chromebook? Do you have any suggestions to make my Chromebook experience even better?
Originally written by Harold Shaw and published at One Foot In Reality, © 2011-2012 – All Rights Reserved. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Harold Shaw or Mary Shaw and One Foot In Reality with appropriate and specific directions or links to the original content.