(Almost) A Year With My Chromebook – Tales Of A Windows Convert
It’s hard to believe that it has almost been a year since I brought home my first Chromebook. I wanted to wait until closer to the actual anniversary date of January 18 (I remember it like it was only yesterday) to write this article, but then I figured that everyone else seems to be writing Chromebook articles. I’m sure that some of you may have even received one (or gifted one) for Christmas.
I had considered a Chromebook before, but like most people, I had incorrectly thought that they could only work if they had an Internet connection. Why would I want a device that only worked when it was online? Well, I did my research and found that my perception of Chromebooks were all wrong. Chromebooks have changed a lot since they were first introduced for retail sale in June of 2011. More apps are being written for Chromebooks and more apps are being written to work while offline. These offline apps mirror file content locally and any changes you make will be updated the next time you connect to the Cloud. With the Chromebook, I find that I am storing more content in the Cloud. Sure, you can save something locally on a Chromebook, but with only 32GB of internal storage (on this particular model) vs. 1TB of free storage for two-years (a promo that Google is running through January 31, 2015) going to the Cloud is a no-brainer. Plus, my content is available on any web connected device. I can access my files from either of my Chromebooks (yes, I have more than one), from my phone, from my tablet, and in the event I leave all those devices at home, I can walk into the local library or an Internet cafe and bring up my account and any needed data. If I were still using my desktop PC, I would be more likely to save to the local hard drive. There have been many times in the past that I’ve been somewhere and I wanted a file and had to wait until I got home because the file was sitting on my computer at home.
Businesses and education are embracing Chromebooks. Chromebooks are less expensive than Windows and Apple devices. Since the Chrome OS is free, you don’t have to pay for anything other than the hardware. On Windows and Apple devices, you’re paying licensing fees on all the included software, such as Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. A Chromebook uses less resources than a Windows or Apple computer. You can pick up a Chromebook for less than $200 or if you grabbed one during Black Friday and CyberMonday sales, you could get one for less than $150. Yes, I know HP has a new Windows OS laptop for $199, but that’s something for another article.
I finally decided to buy a Chromebook after my Windows 7 desktop started frustrating me. Well, frustrating me more than it usually did. I’ve done a wipe and fresh install of my desktop before and I really didn’t want to do that again. I was getting tired of the boot times, the general slowness, and unresponsiveness. So, I went out and got a Chromebook.
Transitioning over to a Chromebook was fairly easy. I did find myself reaching for the PC a few times, but I eventually weaned myself from PC use. My PC now sits turned off a majority of the time. Yes, it’s still there. I still turn it on every once in a while due to having to use software not supported by Chrome OS for other tasks, but it’s mostly just taking up space in my office.
Things I “miss” about my Windows desktop (in no particular order):
The over five minutes it took to be able to launch a program from the Windows desktop. It was well over five minutes, but I stopped the timer because I just got frustrated waiting for something to happen.
Rebooting more than once a day because, I would rather reboot than smash the PC to smithereens.
The nag screens from my anti-virus software and various other software products, telling me that I need to install updates.
The PC rebooting on it’s own after updates and patches have been installed and killing whatever process was running at the time.
“Installing update xx of yy …”
The “hour glass”
Having to backup my data.
Having to perform various maintenance tasks
2014 turned out to be a very good year for Chromebooks. So good in fact, Microsoft decided to attack the Chromebook. When that backfired they gave up and decided to focus on their own entry to the thin client wars (ironically the Stream is made by the same company that also makes several models of Chromebooks).
It looks like Chromebooks are poised to do even better in 2015.