Samsung ChromebookSo I purchased a Samsung Chromebook.  This week has been difficult and I have to say this ‘toy’ provided a great distraction.  Most features are extremely easy to use and the learning curve on the rest was minimal.

Things I consider a positive about the Samsung Chromebook and Chrome OS:

1. When connected to the internet, it almost feels like a real computer.  Chrome OS is not fully responsible for this statement.  There are a lot of great sites and 3rd party apps that boost the functionality.  I would argue that is a lot better than an iPad and a keyboard.  I would not say that the Chromebook I have is a replacement for a tablet.

2. RDP works – so in a pinch I can connect to my desktop.

3. Extra Free 100 gb of Google Drive space is nice.  *only for a year

4. You can actually do some programming on it.  A lot of the cloud IDE’s are at a stable point for real development (or at least in what I have seen in the last 5 days).

5. User Accounts are easy.

6. Switching to Chrome OS development mode is easy.  This switch gives access to a realish shell, ssh and the ability to boot from USB / load Ubuntu.  I have not had the chance to try dual booting to Ubuntu.  It also feels fun and dangerous.

7. The battery life and weight is great in comparison to a normal laptop with equal functionality.

Negatives:

1. I cannot get Cisco VPN with a group to connect.  This negative is huge for me.  I cannot use it as a portable replacement without this functionality.  I am still looking for a solution and it appears others have the same complaint so hopefully sometime soon there will be a standard solution.

2. Yeah so no internet is no fun.  Yeah, yeah Google docs offline and drive in offline mode.  Still no fun.

3. E-mail. This point might be debated but I don’t like my mail going through Gmail.  The offline client is great for Gmail but the lack of another secure offline (non-web based) email client is another deal breaker.

4. Privacy.  Everything wants my permission to record or access something.

5. Minor – but I want to to be able to add websites (since the web is critical to the functionality) to the launcher without having to make a Chrome package.  I don’t like taking up more real estate with the bookmark bar.  As a temporary solution (another distraction), I made a quick form to build the files needed to make an unpackaged extension (the icon and the manifest.json).  Once it is added, I can pin the website to the launcher.

For the price, the Samsung Chromebook is doable.  At this point I would not spend more for a Chrome OS system.  There are still too many limitations and not enough advantages to make it a competitive player.


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