Changing gears from the normal VMware storage posts, I wanted to talk about a new toy. After much deliberation I recently decided to get an HP Chromebook. It was between this, an HP Android tablet with a keyboard, and a 14 in HP Laptop, and at the end of the day it came down price, weight, and function. I finally settled on the 14 inch Chromebook with LTE, primarily because it comes with 4GB of RAM, and is very light weight, but still gives me enough power to do what I need.
So a little about my daily life, I spend a majority of my time running between meetings, taking notes on my iPad, and sending e-mails as fast as I can type. I have tried many methods for remoting into my work laptop which typically sits on my desk in my home office form my iPad, but I just can’t permanently make the switch, so I am stuck carrying a workstation replacement laptop, just incase I need something and can’t get the functionality from remote access using my iPad.
I did quite a bit of research on this, and identified two use cases for the Chromebook that set it apart and made it my choice. First of all, the 14 in screen makes it preferable for remote access to my work laptop much easier than from the smaller screen on my iPad. While I have a bluetooth keyboard for my iPad, I do not have a mouse, so I rely on the touch screen which can be challenging with legacy apps. The full keyboard and touchpad on the Chromebook in addition to the screen size finally won me over.
Since the ChromeOS is based on linux, there are methods to expose the underlying Linux OS and have a fully functional laptop. This also lead me to consider the Chromebook, and this one in particular due to it’s weight and having the most memory for the price. There are two different methods, one being ChrUbuntu, which is a separate environment, and the other Crouton, which leverages the underlying OS and sets up a chroot environment for the me to work in. I chose Crouton, because I can seamlessly switch back and forth. For my particular install I chose Terry Britton’s post, http://terrybritton.com/copy-and-paste-crouton-linux-on-chromebook-commands-959/ since it gave me the commands to install the various desktops. I am currently running LXDE, one of my personal favorites, but I will likely test out gnome, and if it works well I may switch.
I am still pretty new with the Chromebook, but I have been using the Chrome Remote Desktop app which has worked pretty well. It is a little more bandwith intensive than some, but allows me to access my work laptop from anywhere, and with the larger 14″ screen it is quite an improvement over my iPad. Having the mouse helps as well, and the keyboard response is nice.
I am not typically one for product reviews, but it is nice putting something out about some of the new things I have been using, and I am really impressed with this new laptop. As always, this is not an official HP post, but I do have to say a big well done to the product team at HP. This is something I am proud to carry, and as a geek, I can say it is fun to talk about how I had it in developer mode within 30 min of opening the box. I have also received an HP Slate 7, so I plan to write a little about that soon, mostly comparing it to my iPad, and giving some thoughts on iOS versus Android. I do love new toys, and these are certainly helping me be more productive at work.