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7 Days With a Google Chromebook 127

Posted by Soulskill
from the potent-portables dept.
jfruhlinger writes "Now that Chromebook laptops are finally here, the question is: can you really do serious work with them? The only way to find out is to dive on in, and so Steven Vaughn-Nichols spent a week using a Chromebook for all his daily computing tasks. In the end, he was mostly positive on the experience — but was frustrated by a number of rough edges, including poor documentation and a failure of some components of the system to work together."
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7 Days With a Google Chromebook

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  • by John Hasler (414242) on Monday July 18, 2011 @05:15PM (#36804140) Homepage
    That's so twentieth century. Isn't everything supposed to be "intuitive" now?
    • Re:"Documentation"? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Cro Magnon (467622) on Monday July 18, 2011 @05:19PM (#36804186) Homepage Journal

      The only intuitive interface is the nipple. Everything else should have documentation.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        According to Apple, if your iOS app needs documentation, you did it wrong and you need to fix it.

        I tend to agree with them.

        • by oztiks (921504)

          Bah! Apple's first iPad releases certainly had rough edges on it. Even still suffers in some places and to say Apple got it right is certainly not my opinion.

          Chromebook no nothing about it, but my issue with Google as a whole is their lack of collaborative process with their applications, you can tell even to this day that Google Analytics was built completely different to Google Docs ad that Google Maps and Google Docs are not built the same way and that Google Mail and Google Maps is not built in the same

      • by tyme (6621) on Monday July 18, 2011 @05:31PM (#36804342) Homepage Journal

        take the word of one who has procreated: even the nipple is not an intuitive interface. A shocking large number of newborns (including my own daughter) need to be trained to nurse!

        Yeah, it shocked me too.

      • Here on /. proper nipple documentation is required too.
      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        And yet there's thousands of books about breast feeding. People take classes on it. People struggle with it because the baby won't latch on properly. Heck people make a living as a "lactation consultant".

        So nothing is intuitive then?

      • by vlm (69642)

        I like documents about those, too.

      • by blair1q (305137)

        Nipples aren't intuitive. They're instinctual. Which is why you have to be re-taught how to use them once you have teeth.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)
        Oh, so that's why the author called for laptop/netbook makers to ditch the touchpad and replace it with the IBM/Lenovo style pointer. I was already wondering why he had so much problems rubbing his finger up and down that pad instead of having a single point to fondle.
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday July 18, 2011 @05:17PM (#36804156)
    If you have to ask 'can you really do serious work with them?' the answer is NO. If you answered anything else, your standards for 'serious work' are too low. I mean, can it run Crysis at 50 FPS, full screen, across two 24" LCDs at native resolution? How about calculate pi to a billion digits in 1 second? Solve the national deficit, make you a sandwich, and build itself a new body from spare parts found in your garage, interface with the internet, and spread its consciousness to all computers, everywhere, sparking a massive revolution? Yeesh. You people and your limited imaginations.
    • f you have to ask 'can you really do serious work with them?' the answer is NO.

      I know you're being facetious, but...

      The device sounds great for travelling with its light weight and long battery life. It's a really good job that trains never go through tunnels or have sucky mobile reception. It's also good that all planes allow mobile phone usage and etc...

      As for "real work", if your real work includes basic office-like tasks, and email via a webmail client, then sure. If not, then this doesn't sound like a

      • by Soft (266615)

        The device sounds great for travelling with its light weight and long battery life.

        It's still half again the weight of a Sony Vaio X + extra battery, which could last almost 10 hours [engadget.com].

        Why don't they make them anymore? I was looking for a replacement for my Eee PC 901 (1.1 kg); the 2009-vintage Vaio X sounded great (0.7 kg, or 1 kg with the larger battery), but the best I found currently on the market was the MacBook Air (1 kg, half the battery life, not worth the change).

        • by JanneM (7445)

          How about a Let's Note R9 or J10 (J10 has wider screen and much faster CPU)? Both are less than 1kg (the J10 just barely less), and get looong battery life even without an extra battery.

          I use the next larger model, the S9, and get about 7 hours of real-world usage with Ubuntu.

          • by Soft (266615)

            How about a Let's Note R9 or J10 (...)?

            Interesting, thanks. I couldn't find detailed specs in English, but they indeed seem lighter than the MacBook Air.

            However, what I'd really been drooling about when checking out the Vaio X was the 0.7-kg weight without the extra battery. Even the R9 is over 0.9, and (to answer Anonymous' reply) so is the Eee PC X101. That's not light enough that I'd consider changing my current Eee PC.

            Now, only tablets seem to be really lightweight, but they don't have a physical

            • by JanneM (7445)

              The R9 is light - I had the earlier version before my current machine and it really feels like the same size as a netbook, but being a full-featured laptop. I can have it in my bag and not know it's there (a problem in fact; I few times I forget it at home or at work and not realize it until I arrived).

              I've considered a tablet, but they take as much weight and bulk as a similarly specced netbook. Add a portable keyboard and it's as heavy as, and bulkier than, the R9 or similar.

              I'd look at a netbook if I wer

      • The device sounds great for travelling with its light weight and long battery life. It's a really good job that trains never go through tunnels or have sucky mobile reception. It's also good that all planes allow mobile phone usage and etc...

        Anybody who's serious about writing an app for Chrome OS should be using the offline storage APIs that are part of the HTML 5 family. I suspect the problem is not the deficiency of Chrome OS itself, but the fact that nobody is serious about writing apps for Chrome OS.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Well I would agree with you IF the unit was in the $100-$150 range, then putting up with loss of functionality would be expected. But this things is $500 which can buy you TWO Atom netbooks or a really nice AMD netbook and leave nearly $200 in your pocket.

        I'm sorry but the thing ain't THAT cute. I'm willing to bet Samsung ends up with a warehouse full of these things as guys who know what ChromeOS is will have enough skills to simply install it on that $250 netbook, and the ones who don't know what ChromeO

    • I dunno, while I don't have a Chromebook I *do* do serious work with Chrome (the browser) every day and I'm not talking about web development. All you need to do serious work, is a decent terminal program:

      http://vimeo.com/24857127 [vimeo.com]

      Gate One should be available for public consumption soon. I hope to make it the best damned terminal program/SSH client that ever existed. It is already superior to PuTTY (as long as you don't need port forwarding or X11).

      • by growse (928427)

        I dunno, while I don't have a Chromebook I *do* do serious work with Chrome (the browser) every day and I'm not talking about web development. All you need to do serious work, is a decent terminal program:

        http://vimeo.com/24857127 [vimeo.com]

        Gate One should be available for public consumption soon. I hope to make it the best damned terminal program/SSH client that ever existed. It is already superior to PuTTY (as long as you don't need port forwarding or X11).

        Unfortunately, port forwarding (specifically dynamic - using putty as a SOCKS proxy) is 95% of what makes PuTTY useful to me. Hell, it's what makes SSH useful - an SSH client which doesn''t support these functions is, in my view, not a terribly useful piece of software.

      • by yarnosh (2055818)
        Who would have imagined, the major selling point of a computer is that it has... a terminal program. Yeah, that kind of says a lot about the mass market potential of the Chromebook. Meanwhile, this is the year of the Linux desktop...
      • It's interesting, it seems the author once to monazite the product. While that's his right and I wish him luck, I'm not paying for something that is free on every other OS I use.

    • by tehcyder (746570)
      LOL you win today's five bonus gold internets.
  • So will all the pundits in the world now scream about the impending death of Google?

    Note, the iPad 1 on launch day needed just as much polish as all the new tablets do. Apple has had a long time to fix stuff, which they have. Kudos to them! They also haven't had the panic pressure of trying to play catch up feature-wise and fix issues at the same time. Sometimes first to market *is* a good thing.

    (repost: seems this terminal dropped my cookies)

    • No doubt both Google and Samsung will rapidly improve the Chromebook. In a year it might be a pretty good machine.

      That being said, it should never have gone out the door with some of the bugs TFA describes (.doc is an unknown file type? Really?) Google's "eternal beta" approach is okay for some things, like Gmail because, you know, it's an e-mail server. Also, free. For an entire not-cheap hardware/OS combination, it may not be such a great idea.

      • by yarnosh (2055818)

        No doubt both Google and Samsung will rapidly improve the Chromebook. In a year it might be a pretty good machine.

        How? As long as it can only run a web browser, there's only so much you can fix. One of the most fundamental limitations of web based applications is a lack of integration with the desktop. Something you take for granted like double-clicking on a file and opening up the appropriate application is a really big deal when your only application is a web browser. How do you unzip files? How do you watch downloaded movies? These are all things that we take for granted on regular system but suddenly they become bi

    • by Altus (1034)

      the Chromebook is not a tablet

    • by yarnosh (2055818)

      So will all the pundits in the world now scream about the impending death of Google?

      Of course not because everyone knows that their business does not depend on Chromebook. They're not even trying to sell it themselves. They just wrote the browser and integrated it with a LInux kernel. Google doesn't have a whole lot to lose, really. Of course, they don't have a lot to gain either.

      Note, the iPad 1 on launch day needed just as much polish as all the new tablets do.

      First, Chromebook is NOT a tablet. People will be comparing it to a laptop. And by those standards it fails miserably. Netbooks have been out for years and they are far more capable than a Chromebook. Chromebook h

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thats the only question I care about, can I work on my projects?

    • Thats the only question I care about, can I work on my projects?

      Why would you want to?

      It's called using the right tool for the job.

      • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Monday July 18, 2011 @05:40PM (#36804438) Journal

        Why would you want to?

        Because it looks like a pretty nice netbook.

        It's called using the right tool for the job.

        The tool in question is a generic CPU connected to all the usual laptop extras (screen, keyboard, mousr, USB, etc). In other words the machine is a fully featured laptop. This tool should be able to do anything that a similarly specced tool can do. If not, then it is artificially limited by poor software.

        • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

          by node 3 (115640)

          Why would you want to?

          Because it looks like a pretty nice netbook.

          That begs the question. He's asking why you'd want to work on such a computer. Netbooks aren't exactly a pleasure to use even for the simplest of tasks, and software development is far from being the simplest of tasks.

          It's called using the right tool for the job.

          The tool in question is a generic CPU connected to all the usual laptop extras (screen, keyboard, mousr, USB, etc).

          That's why a C64 and a quad Xeon workstation are wholly interchangeable.

          In other words the machine is a fully featured laptop. This tool should be able to do anything that a similarly specced tool can do. If not, then it is artificially limited by poor software.

          No, it's not a "fully featured laptop". And software *is* a spec. Is the Chromebook "artificially limited" if it can't read .doc files? No. An artificial limit (the way you seem to be using it) would be if it could, but th

          • That begs the question. He's asking why you'd want to work on such a computer. Netbooks aren't exactly a pleasure to use even for the simplest of tasks, and software development is far from being the simplest of tasks.

            That's your opinion. I travel frequently and use my eee 900 for software development when I do. It's good enough for the task.

            That's why a C64 and a quad Xeon workstation are wholly interchangeable.

            Those are both examples of entirely generic somputer systems. Sure, you wouldn't want to trade

            • by node 3 (115640)

              That begs the question. He's asking why you'd want to work on such a computer. Netbooks aren't exactly a pleasure to use even for the simplest of tasks, and software development is far from being the simplest of tasks.

              That's your opinion. I travel frequently and use my eee 900 for software development when I do. It's good enough for the task.

              "Good enough" is hardly "a pleasure to use". It would appear that, in spite of the tone of your reply, our opinions aren't all that far apart.

              That's why a C64 and a quad Xeon workstation are wholly interchangeable.

              Those are both examples of entirely generic somputer systems. Sure, you wouldn't want to trade, but both are unrestricted and both can and have been used for software development.

              Since this whole post is about "why you'd want to", these differences are quite important. One of those is the right tool for the job, and the other most certainly isn't.

              You can't claim they are equivalent, then point out one is better than the other. To do so is to move the goalposts. They may both be turing machines, but when you choose a development platform, you d

        • You can always hit the developer switch on the bottom and load Ubuntu on it if you need...
          The stock software *is* limited deliberately, and for good reason: It almost completely eliminates all virii and malware, and it certainly prevents it from persisting past reboot.

          • by yarnosh (2055818)

            You can always hit the developer switch on the bottom and load Ubuntu on it if you need...

            So why not just get a netbook then and whatever OS you want? As I understand it, the underlying system on a Chromebok is NOT a full fledged LInux distribution.

            • Well, you're getting it as a lightfweight, SSD-based netbook. You can either run it in limited but completely safe mode, or unlimited but dangerous mode. Take your pick.

              • by yarnosh (2055818)
                Since when is running a traditional OS considered "dangerous?" Geez. Google has got you brainwashed. Certainly there are risks if you plan on installing a lot of stuff from a wide range of sources but it is hardly "dangerous" to simply run a local office suite, IM/Skype, etc.
                • "dangerous" as in being able to run unsigned excecutables that can change the disk image, and thus potentially could be malware. See Android and Windows.
                  Of course, most of us choose to take that risk for extra control over our machines, though in some cases - A kiosk being a perfect example - having it locked down to a pre-set bunch of signed excecutables and read-only disk image is preferable: It's impossible to get malware, and you don't *want* people installing custom excecutables anyway!
                  Not to mention,

                  • by yarnosh (2055818)

                    "dangerous" as in being able to run unsigned excecutables that can change the disk image, and thus potentially could be malware. See Android and Windows.

                    I don't use either, but I'll consider it. Still, even on Windows and Android, simply running "unsigned" software is not especially dangerous. It is really only when you start doing it a lot. But if you have a pretty consistent set of tools your running on a day to day basis, there's really no issue. Saying it is "dangerous" is pretty dramatic.

                    Of course, most of us choose to take that risk for extra control over our machines, though in some cases - A kiosk being a perfect example - having it locked down to a pre-set bunch of signed excecutables and read-only disk image is preferable: It's impossible to get malware, and you don't *want* people installing custom excecutables anyway!

                    Exactly, there are ways to lock down a machine without resorting to doing everything inside a web browser. The issue isn't necessarily the ability to install new softw

                    • Well, the way I see it, they are allowing apps - They simply need to run inside the sandbox and be written with a specific language(in this case, html/js). Is this much different than Android was, until they allowed native code? Sure, the language is different, and there is more in the way of low-level functions, but I see them as fairly close.
                      Admittedly, a lot of functionality *won't* run completely as a "web app"... But I think they're trying to fix it by adding local storage and other important bits. And

                    • by yarnosh (2055818)

                      Well, the way I see it, they are allowing apps - They simply need to run inside the sandbox and be written with a specific language(in this case, html/js). Is this much different than Android was, until they allowed native code?

                      You mean until they allowed apps? Apple did the same thing. They thought the Safari on the phone would be all people would need, especially with the HTML extensions available to enhance websites for the phone. Turns out people really love apps. Now, why would you create a platform that goes out of its way to prevent people from installing the native apps they love? It is somewhat odd the Google didn't learn this lesson from Android.

                      Sure, the language is different, and there is more in the way of low-level functions, but I see them as fairly close.

                      Not even close, dude. Browser based programs are EXTREMELY limited in what t

                    • Why would you choose a chromebook over a normal netbook? That is a point. I wouldn't, unless Ik wanted the hardware. You wouldn't. But, what about corporate? I see the whole ChromeOS thing aimed mainly at corporations, because you don't have to worry about most infections, you don't really need to manually monitor each machine(IIRC, there's a great remote administration infrastructure). It seems like it would be a boon for high-turnover positons: Each can be issued a chromebook, get their own profile, and n

                    • by yarnosh (2055818)

                      Why would you choose a chromebook over a normal netbook? That is a point. I wouldn't, unless Ik wanted the hardware. You wouldn't. But, what about corporate? I see the whole ChromeOS thing aimed mainly at corporations, because you don't have to worry about most infections, you don't really need to manually monitor each machine(IIRC, there's a great remote administration infrastructure).

                      I want you to stop for a second and ask yourself why Windows has been so successful in business. Here's a hint: It isn't because WIndows can run a web browser. If infections were such a worry and native apps were not so important, Linux would have taken over corporate environments a long time ago.

                      It seems like it would be a boon for high-turnover positons: Each can be issued a chromebook, get their own profile, and not be tied to any one device. Also, losing the physical hardware shouldn't be a problem: Since everything's server side, you just write off the lost hardware, take out another from your stores, and keep working. I think this is the main benefit for these machines.

                      First of all, Chromebooks are not designed for heavy use. They're small, light and meant to be highly portable, not to be workhorses. You would not be assigning such a machine to your average office worker. You

      • by yarnosh (2055818)
        So, why not just get a netbook? You get the size and economy of a Chrombook with added functionality. And it will run Chrome too.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You probably wouldn't want to compile things directly on it, but it does have a terminal you can use to SSH into a better dev environment.

      • by node 3 (115640)

        You probably wouldn't want to compile things directly on it, but it does have a terminal you can use to SSH into a better dev environment.

        But when someone suggests doing that on an iPad, they are a fanboy...

        Why would you go with a Chromebook and SSHing into a text-only development environment over a proper solution? Oh, because it's from Google, so it's chic around here. Talk about the ultimate in form over function!

  • It seems like this cycle is due to repeat itself yet again.

    Didn't the latest iteration come from Apple deciding that the iPhone was going to have only HTML, then relenting because it is a terrible idea?

    Eventually they will realise that the chromebook will be lacking because it doesn't have native apps that start quickly and run quickly. Then after a while it will get native application support.

    But the hardware sounds quite nice. Does it run a proper distro yet? How much RAM does it have?

    • But the hardware sounds quite nice. Does it run a proper distro yet?

      Yup. Tonnes of people do it. There's a switch behind the battery to set it to developer mode, and it opens up the computer to all sorts of fun. IIRC, it's just an intel atom proc inside...

      • by node 3 (115640)

        But the hardware sounds quite nice. Does it run a proper distro yet?

        Yup. Tonnes of people do it.

        I assume you are referring to people by mass and not by unit numbers.

        There's a switch behind the battery to set it to developer mode, and it opens up the computer to all sorts of fun. IIRC, it's just an intel atom proc inside...

        Atom is the bottom of the barrel. This thing is woefully underpowered to be called "fun".

        • But the hardware sounds quite nice. Does it run a proper distro yet?

          Yup. Tonnes of people do it.

          I assume you are referring to people by mass and not by unit numbers.

          There's a switch behind the battery to set it to developer mode, and it opens up the computer to all sorts of fun. IIRC, it's just an intel atom proc inside...

          Atom is the bottom of the barrel. This thing is woefully underpowered to be called "fun".

          ... Yup. I was clearly talking literally about tonnes of people. Though I don't share your definition of "fun". Last I checked, "fun" and "powerful" were not synonyms.

          • by node 3 (115640)

            ... Yup. I was clearly talking literally about tonnes of people.

            It was a joke, based on a pun. I will spell it out for you:

            Very few people run Linux. Even fewer people have a Chromebook. We're already limiting ourselves to mere thousands here.

            Of those, the number that will have flipped that switch and installed their own Linux distro cannot in any reasonable sense be called "tonnes", except by mass.

            Though I don't share your definition of "fun". Last I checked, "fun" and "powerful" were not synonyms.

            I never said they were.

            You can define "fun" for yourself however you want, but your post was clearly about "tonnes of people" having "all sorts of fun". Unless you are talki

            • Atom is the bottom of the barrel. This thing is woefully underpowered to be called "fun".

              You're right. You just stated that it was unable to attain fun because of a fundamental flaw (too underpowered). Small difference, but if you're unable to refute my argument as a whole, you can argue semantics, I suppose. Sure, the devil is in the details. But so are the asshats.

    • by Altus (1034)

      Actually, HTML only apps were never the long term plan and that was pretty clear right from the start. Maybe you are thinking of something else.

      It is true, however, that when the iPhone first came out, HTML apps were the only ones you could develop, but that is mostly because the SDK was not yet finished.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Didn't the latest iteration come from Apple deciding that the iPhone was going to have only HTML, then relenting because it is a terrible idea?

      Do you think that if an idea doesn't work at one point in time, it will never work in the future? A few things have changed in browsers since the original iphone. The two big issues with web apps on the iphone are solved in chrome:

      * Offline support: The app cache, in browser database, localstorage, etc. allow a web page to be usable without an internet connection.
      * Decent graphics: CSS3, WebGL, 3d canvas, and javascript being fast enough to make impressive graphics without polling.

      Eventually they will realise that the chromebook will be lacking because it doesn't have native apps that start quickly and run quickly.

      I see, you have not used

      • by Lennie (16154)

        With I had mod points. Totally right.

        Hell, even Microsoft will try it with Windows 8...?

  • I can see this doing the masses like iphone, iwhatever.... and maybe some biz apps, but to do serious work like software development? I just can't see this being a viable tool to get the job done. Problems include at LEAST:

    a) limited screen space
    b) limited input interface

    i keep waiting for a star trek style interface, or maybe matrix style...... but no matter how many times I talk, yell or otherwise verbally abuse my computer, it NEVER complains and NEVER does what I ask.... stupid keyboards... so l

    • Anyone who needs more power can simply flip the developer switch on the bottom and load a real OS / mess with root, etc.

  • I'll summarize the article for you to save time:

    Sunday: Had a problem with a website I like to access that has nothing to do with this hardware, but I felt like blaming it anyway. Kind of like kicking the dog when the local corporate owned sports team loses a game.

    Monday: I'm the only person in america who prints stuff at home instead of forwarding it to work and I also pretend I only have access to exactly one computer, this one. (WTF?) And in an industry that only supports printing on winders, and sort

    • As a hatchet job, it was fairly well written. As a technical standpoint, its basically a bug report about a single missing MIME-type that somehow dragged on to a 6 screen wall of text.

      As a hatchet job, your post is fairly well written. As a summary of, or even a reasonable response to, the article, it's basically a spew of straw men, unsupported assertions, and mockery that isn't nearly as clever as you think it is.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Buddy, you hit the nail on the head.

      I guess we've long passed the point where you can take any review or opinion article of any kind at face value without trying to suss out the agenda of the author.

      There's so much money in corporate hands right now, I'm not sure if there's a single writer, blogger or journalist left in America that isn't doing public relations, astroturfing, hit pieces or "reputation rehab" for one corporation or another. Nobody seems capable of just giving their own opinion any more. Or

    • by PCM2 (4486) on Monday July 18, 2011 @06:19PM (#36804818) Homepage

      Sunday: Had a problem with a website I like to access that has nothing to do with this hardware, but I felt like blaming it anyway. Kind of like kicking the dog when the local corporate owned sports team loses a game.

      It has everything to do with the hardware if the only way to access POP mail on this specific hardware is to set it up to work with Gmail (or some other Webmail service). Real-world users may have to confront this issue.

      Monday: I'm the only person in america who prints stuff at home instead of forwarding it to work and I also pretend I only have access to exactly one computer, this one

      You may find you have not yet met everyone in America. I print stuff at home, and I would even if I didn't have a home office. I also have more than one computer. I have a networked printer that lets me print wirelessly from any device with the correct drivers, which are available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux (yes, from the manufacturer). There are no drivers available for the Chromebook. Instead I have to use Google Cloud Print, which means leaving some other computer running as a print spooler for my (already-networked) printer. That's dumb. You also lose all of your controls for the printer when you print that way -- you can't set print quality options or anything like that. If you print often, the Chromebook is lame, period.

      Tuesday: I hate all touchpads made in the last decade and this has a touchpad therefore I hate it.

      That's not what he said. He said the Chromebook's touchpad is lame, and he's right. It's big, but fidgety. It's multi-touch, but it doesn't support any kind of gestures beyond clicking and scrolling.

      Wednesday: To do something complicated, I had to use google to look something up.

      I think he points out succinctly how poorly designed the Chromebook UI is. If you have to go on Google to find out some obscure Ctrl-sequence to do something, because there's no manual and no online help to point you in the right direction (you even have to Google the hotkey to bring up the list of hotkeys), then the device is not intuitive and casual users -- probably the only kind of users this type of device will ever have -- will have problems with it.

      Thursday: I found a single missing MIME type. A legit complaint.

      It's not a missing MIME type. The Chromebook file browser can't browse files. The only file types it understands, that I can see, are JPEG, PNG, MP3, MP4, and OGG. AVI is not supported. Neither is DOC, PPT, XLS, or the OOXML equivalents. Even ZIP files don't work. Pretty much every single file type you might save on the Chromebook's drive shows up as a simple grey icon, and double-clicking it achieves nothing but a message telling you the file type is unknown.

      Friday: I know this is a netbook for online work, so I'm gonna trash it for not doing local stuff very well.

      Really? And here I thought he was complaining that it wouldn't work with Dropbox, which is an online service. He's also right about the local file handling. Are you really telling me you don't ever expect a coworker to hand you a USB drive with a few files on it? With the Chromebook, you won't be able to do anything with those files until you upload them to Google Docs, and if they're in a Zip file on the USB drive, you're going to have to find another computer or ask someone to open it for you.

      As a hatchet job, it was fairly well written. As a technical standpoint, its basically a bug report about a single missing MIME-type that somehow dragged on to a 6 screen wall of text

      So kind of like how your wife doesn't listen to a thing you say, throws out straw-man arguments, and keeps repeating them over and over when there's nothing else to disagree with, you're gonna do the same thing your wife does?

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        It's not a missing MIME type. The Chromebook file browser can't browse files. The only file types it understands, that I can see, are JPEG, PNG, MP3, MP4, and OGG. AVI is not supported.

        Actually, it supports quite a few file formats (not sure exactly which). The problem is that it only supports a few file EXTENSIONS. As long as you rename your media files to have an extension that for some bizarre reason Google likes, it works fine most of the time.

        So yes, it is lame, but not for the reason you think.

        Clearly Chrome has a way to go. However, I do find mine fairly useful. Not sure I'd pay $500 for it unless I had a small business that was largely based on Google Apps.

      • by wchatam (1167565)
        Posting to un-do an incorrect mod.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'll summarize the article for you to save time:

      You mean you'll attempt to discredit it so your precious Google's image remains intact? You sound like a Google devotee who will throw all your money at them, advertise their products for free, and defend them against bad press, no matter what garbage they put out..

      Hate to break it to you, but the complexity of dealing with non-Google email is a ding on Chrome OS, and is a design decision they made, and is an important criteria. People do print stuff. At home too. Missing MIME-types for some of the most com

  • by Deathlizard (115856) on Monday July 18, 2011 @06:08PM (#36804742) Homepage Journal

    Is a web browser worth $350-$500

  • I think that if God had wanted us to still put marks on paper he wouldn't have given us a computer display.

    I don't know about that, but my "computer displays" come from factories and nothing prevents me from using a pen, paper, and binder clips.

    One task a day? It really takes one day to set up an email address? One day to try Dropbox?
    I don't enjoy much TFA, this is just about stating how things work for a particular use and out of the box (can I ssh into the book? how "closed" is it? does ChromeOS allows

  • Cloud Print on linux (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rick Richardson (87058) on Monday July 18, 2011 @06:24PM (#36804874) Homepage
    FYI, Cloud Print service:

    $ git clone https://github.com/armooo/cloudprint.git
    Cloning into cloudprint...
    remote: Counting objects: 109, done.
    remote: Compressing objects: 100% (107/107), done.
    remote: Total 109 (delta 47), reused 0 (delta 0)
    Receiving objects: 100% (109/109), 31.77 KiB, done.
    Resolving deltas: 100% (47/47), done.

    $ cd cloudprint
    $ root python setup.py install
    [snip]

    $ root pip-python install daemon
    Downloading/unpacking daemon
    Running setup.py egg_info for package daemon

    Installing collected packages: daemon
    Running setup.py install for daemon

    Successfully installed daemon

    $ cloudprint -d
    Skipping test-raw
    Updated Printer test-1020
    Updated Printer test-c310dn
    Updated Printer mc2530
    Updated Printer mc1600Wc
    Updated Printer aaaa
    Updated Printer mc2300c
    Updated Printer test-1500
    Updated Printer test-okiC110
    Updated Printer test-clp315
    Updated Printer cp1025nw
    Updated Printer test-p1505
    Updated Printer xrx6110
    Updated Printer test
    Updated Printer test-Oki-C3100
    Updated Printer p1505n
    Updated Printer test-p1102
    Updated Printer test-cp1025
    Updated Printer test-C3300
    Updated Printer test-1680MF
    Updated Printer clp315
    Updated Printer test-hp2600
    Updated Printer hp1020
    Updated Printer p1102w
    Updated Printer HP-LaserJet-Professional-P1102w
    Updated Printer hp2600
    Updated Printer cp1215
    Updated Printer p1102-hpcups
    Updated Printer Cups-PDF
    Updated Printer test-clp300
    Updated Printer GnomeManualDuplex
    Updated Printer p1005
    Updated Printer test-m1319
    Updated Printer HP-LaserJet-1000
    Updated Printer test-p2035
    Updated Printer mc2530c
    Updated Printer xrx6110c
    Updated Printer test-CLP-610
    Updated Printer test-KM-1635
    $

    Then:
       $ firefox http://www.google.com/cloudprint/manage.html

    And on your Android tablet:
       https://market.android.com/details?id=com.pauloslf.cloudprint

    Works good here.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Grandma is going to have to learn to use git and python packaging tools so that she can print a document! And this garbage is supposed to compete with Microsoft and Apple? It's not even cheap. LMAO.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You don't understand.

        This is the year of ChromeOS on the desktop!

  • Author's love of the ThinkPad's cl*tstick pointer interface almost stopped me from taking the article seriously... somebody not just uses that but expresses preference of that over a trackpad? I know there are some dreadful trackpads out there but after 15 years of supporting several hundred thinkpad users I personally know no one who actually likes the cl*tstick... I suppose it takes all type to make the IT world go round.

    back on subject, I'd like to see a test done in the real world were there isn't p
    • by marxzed (1075971)
      sorry ... I meant "3G network"... I never do my best thinking/typing at 6 am... doubly so 6am before coffee
    • by earls (1367951)

      You're fly like a G3, son.

    • I have a Lenovo laptop with trackpoint and trackpad. I, for one, *always* use the trackpoint for pointing, as it's way more precise and quick to use. Trackpad gets used for scrolling, though - it's great for that.
      I will never voluntarily buy a trackpad only laptop. A touchscreen, on the other hand... That's fine. But a trackpad just isn't a good option - Not for gaming, not for web browsing or anything else.
      I can play FPS games with a trackpoint decently well; I wouldn't even *think* of using a trackpad for

  • by PrimalChrome (186162) on Monday July 18, 2011 @07:24PM (#36805548)
    Normally, I'm not the kind of person who reads documentation. You see, I make a living from analyzing technology. In an hour, I can get the hang of a new operating system. In four hours, I can tell you what's wrong with it. That said, there are some times even someone like me needs documentation. And, boy does the Chromebook not have documentation.

    So Mr. Vaughan-Nichols has a very high opinion of himself.....and yet somehow with one of the simpler platforms it took him seven days to figure out what he can nail in 4 hours with a complex OS. Read the article....wasn't impressed. Sounded like journalist drivel. All fluff and no meat.
    • by drolli (522659)

      Yes. i also thought that he has a too high opinion about himself.

      It starts by seeing himself as a typical test case, despite having computing habits which are not typical at all (dual-boot instead, using POP instead of IMAP etc.).

      It is especially tragic that he tests for a full replacement of his desktop OS because its obvious that chrome OS is *strictly mainstream* for a *specific purpose*. Its not meant to be a replacement for a fully fledged desktop OS, but a streamlined web browsing and web application

  • by sunderland56 (621843) on Monday July 18, 2011 @09:12PM (#36806606)
    7 days with new hardware, and not even the urge to install linux?
  • by TheBrutalTruth (890948) on Monday July 18, 2011 @09:47PM (#36806872)
    Really? Have had mine for 8 months... And all of you haters - USE ONE. Really. Please try before you comment on it - about it's limitations, it's unsuitability, it's not good for daily tasks, etc... Maybe it's because I don't play WoW or some shit in my parents basement - but for what I do, email, surfing, music - it's perfect. Instant on, and iPad battery life (the cr-48 anyways). And free wireless for 2 years? Even at a paltry 100MB/month - perfect for when the bloodsuckers known as PEPCO or Comcast go down. Just enough web use for emergency usage. And it tethers to my phone just peachy. It DOES have local storage, GPS, Bluetooth, etc. Just get r00t, weenies... Most of all - it's WIP folks. My cr-48 updates constantly (reboots faster than you can blink) and it's been neat to see it evolve - rapidly - over just 8 months.
    • by yarnosh (2055818)

      Maybe it's because I don't play WoW or some shit in my parents basement - but for what I do, email, surfing, music - it's perfect. Instant on, and iPad battery life (the cr-48 anyways).

      Must be you because at any given time, I have half dozen programs running that are NOT a web browser. A netbook would be the closest approximation to something useful for me. A Chromebook is just stupid. A $500 web browser. I could buy a $500 netbook that will run most programs I need including a web browser.

      It DOES have local storage, GPS, Bluetooth, etc. Just get r00t, weenies...

      What good does local storage do you if it doesn't have the software to do anything useful with the files? And if you're just going to root it to run apps locally, why not get a netbook and run Chrome on

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