Living with a Chromebook

A few months ago I wrote about my HP Chromebook and some of it’s advantages and limitations.  It has been a bit and I have been doing more with it, and I thought it would be interesting to share my experiences.

So previously I was using Crouton to enable a full linux desktop, using LXDE as my preferred environment.  I have since changed to using gnome, I really like the minimalist interface it provides me.  For the most part though I was using the Chromebook for web browsing, quick lookups, watching netflix or hulu while I was working, or other basic things.  I would occasionally use the Linux desktop if I wanted to setup an eclipse environment to test something, but for the most part it was disposable.

A couple weeks ago, my work laptop bit the dust.  In it’s defense, I am not very easy on my equipment, I drive it to it’s max and expect it to perform, so it may have been me pushing it a little too hard, but come on this is what I do.  I was pretty ticked, but luckily it was a few days before I went on PTO, and I still had my iPad and Chromebook.  That got me thinking though, mostly because it took Corporate IT 1-2 business days to get me a replacement.  Now I know that is pretty good since I am a remote employee, and it had to come across the country, but in my world that is an eternity.  I mean overnight shipping is too slow, I want a stinkin replicator so I don’t have to wait.

I did a little digging, trying to find a way to make my life a little less dependent on windows, and to avoid buying yet another personal computer, which would not have gone well with my wife.  I found this article, http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/smb-technologist/connect-the-thunderbird-email-client-to-your-exchange-server/, which led me to install thunderbird and run my e-mail through that for about an hour, which was not a positive experience.  I just didn’t like the interface, and the lack of proper calendaring support was not good.  Then I realized that the same concept would hold true for evolution.  I did have to dig through some ubuntu posts to find out that ews has to be installed separately, but it worked like a charm.  Much better.

I have since removed xterm in favor of gnome terminal, added the Chrome web browser, and a couple other tweeks, but for the most part it is great.  I still switch back to the Chrome Desktop for basic browsing, it is just faster and easier, but that is a simple keystroke, no reboot.

All in all, I am pretty happy with this setup.  I love the new gnome interface and how clean it is.  I love that the system is faster than my windows PC, and I am very happy with the apps I have so far.  If I need windows Apps I just remote into my issued windows 8 laptop, but I am doing more and more work from my Chromebook.  Kudos to the HP and Google teams for the efforts they put into this, I am becoming more and more enamored with the simplicity of this setup, and with the ability to change as needed.  Let’s see where I am on this in a few more months.

 

 

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Living with a Chromebook

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