Sunday, January 16, 2011

The strange simplicity of the cr-48

I've had my Chromebook for a few weeks now, and I'm amazed by how much I like it. It was fun over the holidays, and I have to admit it made me feel a little special to tell the guys at the Intel booth at CES that I had one of my own when I was playing with the one they had on display.

I have strayed from the path though. I couldn't shake the nagging voice in the back of my head that said "but I need to run programs." With the new easy script for installing Ubuntu, I finally caved and now my chromebook runs my favorite linux. It runs quite well - snappy, quick boot, maintains the stellar battery life. But then, it's just another Ubuntu netbook. I tweaked the interface and made it all pretty. I installed a bunch of apps from Software Center. But then, I don't really run any of them.

So, today, I flipped the developer switch back over to normal user, putting me back in chromeOS. I am amazed at the lack of interface, and how much it doesn't bother me. There's nothing but tabs, an address bar, and bookmarks up there. There's nothing on the sides or the bottom, just content. It's surprisingly liberating.

I have to admit that I was inspired to come back to the simplicity of chromeOS after reading an article at Gizmodo about how the macbook air may be the perfect traveller's writing machine. Specifically, it was this description that struck me - "the kind of tool that gets out of the way and just lets a writer, well, write." I thought "hey, that's what the chromebook does, except it really does get completely out of the way." So, here I am, back in chromeOS, and what's the first thing I do? I write this. There's just something about having no interface at all in the way, just the raw internet, that makes me stop wasting my time poking at things and tweaking interfaces and just write.

On the other hand, I still had to take the SD card out of the camera and put it in another computer to upload it to picasa to post this. I tried the flikr suggestion, and while I got filesystem access, it crashed the page trying to load the photo. There's something to be said for having a little bit of access to the system.

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