Moving to the Cloud with my New Chromebook

Right now, I am comfortably sitting on my couch writing this post on my new Chromebook. After listening to the buzz about the Chromebook as well as reflecting on the work I do, I thought I would give it a try. So far, I have been able to seamlessly carry out my work and play.

I have been thinking about buying a Chromebook for a couple of weeks. On Thursday, as I was driving to the National Conference for Civil Air Patrol, I pulled into a Best Buy along the way and made a purchase for a HP Chromebook 14.  Once I arrived in Las Vegas, I set it up. It was an amazingly easy process:

  1. Plug it in.
  2. Turn it on. It was on and operational in less than 10 seconds.
  3. Choose language settings.
  4. Connect to network. I used my MiFi.
  5. Accept terms of service.
  6. Register with HP.
  7. Log in with my Google account.

I was using this computer in less than 1 minute. Because I sync my Google Chrome browser, all of my settings were automatically loaded.  I was immediately ready to pick up were I had left off on my laptop.

As with any computer, there is a learning curve. I am pleased to say that learning how to complete tasks with this computer has been minimal. So far it has been limited to figuring out how to capture a screen shot and how to right click.

After getting up and running, I had to do three things to become fully functional: a). activate Chrome Goodies, b). load Google equivalent apps and extensions, and c). arrange my tool bar.

Chrome Goodies

Working from the cloud has advantages and disadvantages. Naturally, for best results, you must have an Internet connection. As to be expected, working from someone else’s servers comes at a cost. To get the most from Dropbox, Evernote, Google, etc., there is an associated cost in terms of a subscription.

When purchasing a Chromebook, Google is currently offering 100Gb for two years free, and then $1.99 per month. They are also offering 60 days of Google Play for free and $9.99 per month thereafter. I thought these were two reasonable offers. I cannot only benefit from the offers from the Chromebook but also from all of my other devices. Currently, I am listening to music from Google Play. It has an enjoyable random feature once you identify types of music you like.

Google Web Apps

With Google Chromebook, you must use Web-based apps rather than client side applications. As a result, I had to download apps from the Google store for programs I commonly use on my other computers. These apps included:

  • Evernote
  • Weatherbug
  • OneDrive
  • Dropbox
  • Picassa
  • Hootsuite
  • Tweetdeck
  • Chromcast

I also downloaded an image editor.

App Launcher

After installing all the different apps I believe I need, I then took a moment to arrange my app launcher which is located at the bottom of the screen. The app launcher starts the applicable application in the Web browser. Chromebook is primarily browser based.

Screenshot of Chromebook
Screenshot of Chromebook

Reaction So Far

So far, I have been able to accomplish everything I have set out to do over the past couple of days. It made me realize how much I already do in the Cloud.

On Friday, I took the Chromebook with me to the CAP conference and captured my notes in a Google Doc. I will later turn these notes into a blog post.

Today, I have watched some YouTube videos and using Chromecast, sent them to my TV. Right now, I am writing this post in WordPress, a Web-based program and listening to Google Play Music. Sporadically, I have been checking my email to include my UW mail. I am checking it in much the same way as I would when working from my home computer.

Later today, I will be playing World of Warcraft, unfortunately, the Chromebook does not have that program available. I also realize that I do not have a suitable equivalent for Camtasia, which I need for creating videos, and I will need my desktop computer for that task.

If you have any questions about my experience with the Chromebook, please ask. In the meantime, I will share lessons learned as I learn them.