Tag Archives: laptop

Burning Chromebook: Day 2

Day 2 of the my adhoc testing of the Chromebook. I still like the keyboard, but the clicking on the trackpad feels uncomfortable – whilst at a desk using a regular mouse is a much more pleasant experience. Coming from the MacBook Air I have tendency to click on “Alt” rather than “Ctrl” when I copy and paste. These though are minor issues.

What I wanted to do was to find ways that I could match 80% of what I do on the MacBook Air. Here is what I have found so far:

MacBook Air



Office Word

Google Docs

No issues so far. Spell check does not seem to be available offline. This might be fixed by installing an extension.

Office Excel

Google Sheets

No issues so far.

Office PowerPoint

Google Slides

Have not tested.

iWork Keynote

Google Slides

Have not tested.

iBooks Author

No equivalent.

Was not expecting to find an equivalent.


ShiftEdit (Cloud9 IDE might be an option too)

Have not tested.



Tested with some basic cropping and resizing. Need to test more extensively.


Have not found solution yet. I might be able just using Secure Shell Terminal emulator and SSH client.

Have not tested.



No issues so far.



No issues so far.


Gmail and Webmail

No issues with Gmail so far. Have to configure webmail.


  • Google Hangouts

  • Screenr

  • Screencastle

Have not tested.


Google Play Music

Working well. Music Manager has uploaded the majority of my library.


Evernote Web

No issues so far.



No issues so far.



Burning Chromebook: Day 1

Samsung Chromebook

This week I am testing a Chromebook, one of the very reasonably priced Samsung Chromebooks. I have only been using the laptop for a day or two, but so far I am impressed. The device is well constructed, even though it is plastic. I noticed some rough edges along the lid of the laptop, but nothing that particularly worried me. The matte screen is decent, the keyboard is a pleasure to type on.

The concept of a machine that needed a constant and consistent connection to the Internet was a little scary – my home Internet connection is not particularly reliable, and I commute regularly. However, certain programs (such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides) work to a certain extent offline. At the moment I am bashing this out in Google Docs offline as I travel on the train to work.

I would not have thought that the Chromebook could work as a replacement for my MacBook Air, but there is some potential. The Chromebook feels as lightweight as the Air, and has a larger matte screen (like many, I despise the reflective screens). The trackpad isn’t as good as the Air’s, but at the moment it appears I can do much of what I use the Air for on the Chromebook. The laptop won’t work as a complete replacement, but should be able to complement my desktop computing.

Spell Check does not seem to be available to me offline, which is a bit of a pain. This will be something I investigate later.

The critical applications I need to use (or find a decent alternative) on the Chromebook are:

  • Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)

    • Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides should suffice here

  • iWork Keynote

  • iBooks Author

  • Dreamweaver

  • Photoshop

    • Started experimenting with pixlr.

  • Cyberduck

  • Safari

    • Chrome is the obvious replacement here. I have encountered some issues using Chrome on some work websites, so will have to investigate using Firefox as well.

  • Twitter

    • TweetDeck is already installed and working well.

  • Email (work and home)

    • My Gmail client is already installed, but I think I will rely on webmail for my work and home email accounts. To be honest, I probably use these more on my ‘phone.

  • Screenflow

  • iTunes

    • The inelegantly named “Google Play Music” is installed and working well.

  • Evernote

    • Does not seem to be an offline version available, so Evernote Web is the way forward.

  • Dropbox

    • The browser-based version seems to be working well. May use Google Drive as well.

This week I will fully investigate how well the alternatives work out for me.

My train travelling into Chicago was delayed at a station for a few minutes, so I took the opportunity to see how well I could use my iPhone’s hotspot to connect the Chromebook to the Internet. It took a while to get this working, and Bluetooth was a little problematic, but I eventually got online.


Ubuntu on the HP 2133


I finally got round to installing Ubuntu 8.10 on the HP 2133. I am incredibly impressed. I had not used Ubuntu before (my previous experiences were with RedHat) and this particular OS makes the NetBook sing. I can use Skype with the videocamera, the OS has a clean interface to install supported applications, etc.The only down-side at present is that the external VGA port no longer works. I attempted a couple of hacksbut to no avail. Will try later…