Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12 days with Chrome OS

Wow, I feel bad. I've been really bad about posting any sort of updates here. Sorry about that.

I've had the CR-48 for 12 days now, and I feel like I'm getting a handle on what I like and what I don't, in hopefully a more perceptive way then just first impressions.

First of all, connectivity. This computer is still really pretty great when I have internet, but it's really rather silly when you don't. I finally activated the 3g a few days ago while I was on vacation, but that was just to check for new emails. For the most part, it seems silly to really try to use it when you don't have wifi, if for no other reason then I hate trying to count bytes. There are no notable offline apps yet, although I've been using Scribble to write offline. It's a good app to have around, for really any portable computer, chromeOS or otherwise, if just because it can be always available and one click away for quick thoughts and notes and stuff. I use mostly evernote for in depth stuff, but Scribble is nice to have too.

I really cannot wait for more offline apps, that have actual features, too. Reader and Gmail really need offline access, as does of course Google Docs. Yeah, we know it's coming, but that doesn't make me want it any less. Get here already.

Secondly, and in a related vein, media. Media is the suck. Youtube sucks, and netflix is non-existant. That is the fault of flash, which is supposedly being worked on. I'm not really sure why it was that it sucked in the first place, but I can't wait for that to get fixed. Silverlight or some other change will be necessary for netflix However, flash video aside, there really needs to be some sort of concession for media access. It's kinda absurd that I need to a second device to listen to music when I'm on a computer. Whether that is this mysterious Google Music service that we all keep hearing rumors about or whatever, we need a way to listen to our music. It sure would be nice if that allowed for offline access of at least a gig or two at a time, too.

The hardware honeymoon is wearing thin. Chips on the external corners of the case are starting to appear, which is odd, considering the plush pocket this thing rides in when on the go. I have a Timbuk2 messenger, and I really cannot think how this has hit anything hard enough to constitute chips.
The track pad is sometimes awesome, sometimes infuriating. Two finger scrolling is just not smooth, and will bounce you all over the place. Two finger-right clicking hardly ever works properly, and just right pisses you off.
Yeah yeah, it's not a consumer machine, it's for testing. Regardless, the trackpad ought to be working better.

I have yet to find a single way to activate my webcam besides gtalk. I mean, what the heck. Maybe I'm missing a trick here, but I doubt it. And I'm kinda following a method of refusing to actively hunt the internet for solutions to things like that. If I have to google around to use a major feature for anything other then gtalk, then something is not right.

The lights on the mute button or the caps lock light on shift dont work. Who knows why.

I really really really really love power management. I have an ipad, as well as an android phone, so I'm used to/in the habit of being able to instantly have the device ready to go, rather then entering passwords and unlocking or powering on or resuming. Having a full keyboard available instantly is really great. I'm actually preferring to have my cr-48 as my "google stuff while watching movies" device.

Fonts could use some love on here. They're not terrible. Just not good.

I love love love love love love love love love love persistent gtalk. Great idea, great implementation, done. awesome stuff. They need to open that up to facebook and other services, though. that'd be great. Calling works well, although I had trouble at successful file sending on it.

As a whole, it's an impressive little machine, but it's not displaced my iPad just yet, at least as far as portability.

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