Kelly GunningThursday,25 April 2013

The Snap:

Out of exasperation with an old HP laptop that kept shutting down due to ridiculous heat generation issues — and grossly inadequate cooling, for which they should be ashamed! — I broke down and bought a Chromebook.

The Download:

After just a few days of using this uber convenient device, I fear I may be becoming brainwashed by Google and will eventually require deprogramming.

Lightweight, compact design, tightly designed keyboard (most likely designed for us snack junkies who munch and surf simultaneously), I was initially very impressed with the device’s almost instantaneous time to boot up.  Bright screen, clear graphics, small form factor — these are all features that I absolutely have been looking for.  I set it up in less than 5 minutes (using my existing Google account) and was quickly up and running on the Web.

Great!  Love it!  Until I have to try to create a document.  Or edit a photo.  Or use Skype.  Or do work offline.

The Chromebook IS Google.  It’s EVERYTHING Google — you log in via your Google account, your online drive is Google Drive, all documents are Google Docs (with which I’ve had some serious formatting issues in the past), and Google currently has very limited offerings for creativity apps, like photo editing, drawing, etc.  I feel as if I’ve bought in to a cult and, should I choose to carry on, will soon be completely indoctrinated into the Cult of Chrome and eventually require intervention to move back to my Mac or Windows devices.

Is this bad?  Could be.  I’m not a fan of brainwashing.  But I am a fan of devices that are complimentary to my main computing devices and that enable me to pick up and go to access the web almost instantaneously from anywhere with a WiFi connection.  (I can easily get my Facebook and WSJ once online.)  I was hoping that the device would be a viable (and much more affordable) alternative to a Windows or Mac device for use for my non-business travel and for doing non-business writing.  And it will be a device I can use for that, but I’ll need to have patience and be open to the variations between Google Docs and my Windows Office apps in order to make the most of the Chromebook.  But for non-writing creative work, such as photo editing, graphic design, and sound creation, I’m still going to need to go back to my Windows and Mac devices, respectively.

For now, I think I’ll be keeping the Chromebook.  Its benefits outweigh the pain in the ass parts of Google Docs and needing to be connected to the Web in order to even create a file (although they can be edited offline).  The limited extensions and apps available for the more creative work is a definite turn off, and, in the end, that may end up turning me away from Chromebook.

My biggest concern, however, is allowing the limitations of Chromebook to impact my own creative works.  In using the device for only a few days, I already have concerns about being completely engulfed in All That Is Google and forgetting about Photoshop (which I can’t download to Chrome OS) or Audacity (again, no download), as well as becoming brainwashed into thinking ‘This is all there is and I accept it as such.’

If it comes to that, I may need an intervention.

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Image Credit: Flickr

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