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7 Days With a Google Chromebook 127

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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus