Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Back to Basics on a Chromebook

Our aging desktop pc nagged me to upgrade to Windows 10 for months. When hockey was done, at least as far as computing schedules, emails and scores go, I finally let it do it's thing. And then it failed to complete the upgrade, three times. It also failed to inform me as to why it failed.

I was already researching a another tablet or laptop. I decided on a Chromebook, basically a browser in a laptop chassis. Much cheaper, leaner, quicker and safer than a traditional windoze laptop. While tablets can do anything a Chromebook can they are a bit tougher to work with as far as keyboarding, plus nearly triple the cost of what I eventually spent on the Chromebook.

I researched and found the minimum specs I thought would work for my needs, 16 gig ssd, 4 gig ram. There are plenty of $200 versions with 2 gigs of ram but reviews pointed me at the higher memory models. I came across an 99% Ebay seller in Quebec with a returned school order of Dells matching the specs and selling for $229 Canadian, shipping free. I bookmarked the page and waited for a weekend. I was 95% through the purchase when I noticed that a) the price had dropped and b) the unit was now only 2 gig. Cancelled.

I had emailed the seller for a few pictures earlier. I sent them another saying I wasn't interested as I was looking for a 4 gig model. They replied that they had changed the auction to show the lower priced model and sent a link back to the one I wanted. A week later a rather beat up Dell box landed via Purolator. If the contents at all resembled the box it would be making a return trip.

But the unit inside was perfect, not a scratch and all the specs matched. A new unit on the Dell site currently sells for just under $350 so $229 tax in was a deal.

I started logging into my google accounts and setting things up. For some reason I touched the screen and it seemed to move. I feared the display was loose in the frame but discovered that rather than a problem I had fallen into a bonus feature. The screen is a touch screen. That model is selling at the Dell site for $550. Somebody made a booboo somewhere.

It boots in about 10 seconds. Google has a $100,000 bounty out to anyone that can crack the software so viruses and constantly updating to have a chance in the defence of viruses is not an issue. No I can't load in photoshop to edit pictures or play games. Yes the web is necessary to accomplish just about anything. But there are work arounds for many things. I can edit the basics of an image. I can work on google docs and email offline.

I use the google environment for just about everything, but with this I can do it when I need to, not when the pc is booted and (finally) ready to. So far I'm loving the simpler, mobile setup.

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