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.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Yeah, Chromebooks are Different

After only a week of being back on a Chromebook, I have decided to move back to a Chromebook as my 90% computer, even though I know that a Chromebook doesn't do everything I want a computer to do, but...you know something that is acceptable to me.

The things it doesn't do, I can either make do with other alternatives or I have decided that those things are not as important to me as I thought they once were.

Nope, instead I have focused on the 90% that my Chromebook does do quite well.

However, knowing this did require me to: recognize, acknowledge, accept, deal with, tolerate, suffer with, relish, respect, admit and all those other words that show I know that using a Chromebook and the Chrome OS are not and will not be the same experience as using a Windows or Apple operating system.

Yeah, so I do know that Chromebooks are different.

In my opinion, it is a good thing.

Even if it does mean that it I will be voluntarily moving even more deeply into the Google tech silo.

Which is something that I have been hesitant to do...and purposely avoided -- that putting all the eggs in one tech basket thing. Being so dependent upon one company for most of my technology needs, really is not how I like to do things, but at the same time, I have been heading down this road for a while.

So we will see where this road takes me.

My experience

This is my second go-round with a Chromebook and my experience is that using one with requires a different mind-set about how I will do things. Especially, since I have been using computers for too damn long and learned to do things certain ways on my computers.

I have used, maintained and sworn (all too often) at computers since the old Commodore Vic 20’s with a cassette tape based operating system, DOS, Windows 1.0, all the way up to Microsoft's and Apple's latest and greatest offerings. I think I have a pretty good idea about how to use and what computers are. 

I have owned and worked on enough other Windows and Mac computers for friends and family, to realize how simple to use, yet complex and powerful the Chromebooks actually are and can be, if you use them to their strengths, versus focusing on what they don’t do. 

Chromebooks are Chromebooks

Chromebooks and the Chrome OS have their own strengths and weaknesses, just like every other Operating Systems have.

Unfortunately, many in the tech media focus more on a Chromebook's purposely built-in limitations, minimal specs, being so simple to use, how they do not meet "their" needs as a techie type and the cheap prices. Yeah, that kind of reporting does negatively affect potential users perceptions about how well a Chromebook might actually work for them.

For many people (no not all) that exist in the real world beyond us techies. The one where most people don't have 36 browser windows open at once, intensive graphics for gaming, don't need to use specialized software, or come close to fully utilizing the software or apps that we use. Let's also not discount how in today's world that Internet access is becoming something that is that more and more ubiquitous in most urban areas and many homes, which both Apple and Windows computers are becoming more and more reliant on each day.

I think once someone gets beyond some of the misconceptions, preconceptions and prejudices that many have about Chromebooks in the tech community and users finally actually figure out that...for what most of us actually do on a computer the Chromebook does most of what we need.


Unfortunately, sharing the same name and appearance has caused more than a few misconceptions about what the Chrome OS that runs Chromebooks actually is and one that too many pundits or others seem to purposely mis-state, minimize, gloss-over, overlook and/or ignore in their articles, blogs, videos or social media exchanges.

Unlike what some writers have stated and put out for consumption, Chromebooks do not run on a Chrome browser.

There are big differences between a Chrome browser (which is software/apps) and the Chrome OS (which is a Google customized Linux-based operating system variant). The Chrome Operating System User Interface/Shell was purposely designed to look, act pretty much like the familiar Chrome browser to have one experience across a variety of platforms.


Yes, I have to use apps that are not the same as the legacy software that I am accustomed to for Apple or Windows hardware and sometimes have to see if I can do “it” another way when using my Chromebook. 

However, some of the changes that having a Chromebook have forced me to make are not bad things and have made what I do more efficient or made me realize that I really don't need to do things that way anymore, i.e. Good things.

Examples of this are that I have to use my wife's desktop upload my Garmin data or when I get the urge to kill some Orcs or Goblins, use my ASUS laptop or eventually put those games on the desktop and get my RPG fix when the wife is at work.

If you cannot accept that you might have to make those trade-offs, then a Chromebook probably ain’t the right laptop for you.

You gotta know how you use a computer in today's world.

Power Users

Let’s come out and just say it. 

Chromebooks are not designed to be a primary computer for someone who is a power user or wants to use them the same exact way they would some other computers with different operating systems, especially when it comes to: Photoshop, video editing, programming, data base management or gaming.

So all the beefs I hear from so many of the professional reviewers or people who need those capabilities, about how under powered and useless the Chromebooks are for how they do things...well they are right.

The Chromebook ain't designed for how power users do things, they are designed for how the majority of computer users (that average user thing-which I have become), actually do things with their computers and probably how many so-called "power users" actually use their computers more than they want to admit. 

Do I really need a laptop or even a desktop with 8gb to infinity of RAM, a SSD with a terrabyte of storage, an I9 octa-quad processor, with a 3D capable HD video screen that can quickly run VR, but weighs so much it hurts your back to carry the damn thing. 

Okay, I am exaggerating just a little, but how many of us really need all the power that a top of the line laptop that has prices beginning in the $1,000 range with pretty nice specs, as our primary carry-around laptop. 
How often do we get that stuff, because we are mesmerized by the specs and need to show-off or show-up "the Jones", instead of getting a system that works quite well for us at a much lower price point, but doesn't have that "cool" or "wow" factor.

I can only answer for me now and my answer is no I don't really need it. Sure I have been there done that, but at this point in my life I really don't need a specced-out, hi-end laptop to enhance my "coolness", because I ain't all that "cool. :-)

Looking at how some others do write about the Chromebook and that sales seem to be fairly steady, with more manufacturers making them, I do not seem to be alone in my perspective.

Sometimes good enough, is well...good enough.

The reality is that

Chromebooks are not Apple or Windows computers, they are Chromebooks and run the Chrome OS which is a Linux operating system, they are not just a browser and are unique and powerful in their own way.

When people (me included) start to really use a Chromebook (not just play with one - there is a difference), we act all surprised, stunned, shocked and amazed at what we really can do on a Chromebook. You know once they get by all the negative preconceptions, it is like a light turns on and suddenly the Chromebook can be a part of the solution.

That is why my Chromebook has become my everyday carry laptop, it does 90% of what I need, maintenance and security are not the big issues they are with other systems and they are available at a price that if I break, face-plant, drop, kick, let it drink coffee, it suddenly goes "snap" or any of the other myriad of things that I have had happen to my laptops, that I don't break the bank when I have to go get another one - WHICH REALLY MAKES THE WIFE HAPPY. Then setup of a new one does not take hours to get back up and running.

I know that Chromebooks are not for everyone and I know that they do not do everything that I would like, but they do enough that this old techie has chosen to use my refurbished 2012 Samsung Series 5-550 Chromebook as my primary laptop, instead of a pretty decent mid-range Windows 10 Signature 13" flip laptop that I got earlier this year.

It does almost everything what I want and need, although I will admit that I would like a little better screen and better battery life than I have on my Chromebook.

Hmmm, I wonder if I can trade my Win10 ASUS Flip for a 2015 4gb RAM Toshiba Chromebook 2 or a 4gb RAM Dell Chromebook 11.6. If you are one of those techie types who hates those models of Chromebooks who wants another Windows machine, maybe we can work a deal.

You get what you want and I get what I want - we both win. :-)

This post originally appeared on One Foot In Reality if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission, please go to my site to see the original post.

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