Monday, December 20, 2010

Good News, Bad News, and a Challenge.

It's been five days since I put my old laptop away and took up the Chrome OS challenge to do all of my computing via the cloud. It's become abundantly clear that I need to sign up for a couple accounts, one to upload the backup drive from my old box, and one to do the same for work files, but other than that it hasn't been a huge adjustment. And it's been a fun one at that, getting to know and use a new device specifically intended for it. Still, it has its ups and downs.

First, for the good, I'm loving the battery life on the CR-48. I've only been plugging it in at night, and then carrying it with me and using it as I need it throughout the day. Since it goes to sleep and resumes to quickly, I don't hesitate closing the lid when I'm not doing something, and that helps. My Asus has a battery life of about two hours so I feel downright spoiled to be able to use the Chrome Notebook so freely.

Unfortunately I've been having occasional problems connecting to wifi after resuming, and even at its best it takes about 10-20 seconds. Now I'm not going to complain about it, but the whole point is to be able to open the lid and BAM, you're on the internet. Especially if I'm only using it to look something up real quick, I might spend more time waiting to get online than I do searching.

The touchpad has also been driving me nuts. I tend to keep bumping it with my hands while typing, causing many an accidental deletion. It's also a little too difficult to press and hold for dragging and highlighting.

If it seems like I'm nitpicking, it's only because I feel like they've done a great job on the most important aspects of the OS and the CR-48. It's fast, easy to use, and since I already have a Nexus One and a Google account that spans many of the web utilities I need, it's been very natural. However, there is still at least one hurdle to leap.

I write a weekly HTML newsletter for Gaia House that we send out to about 700 people. Fortunately for me, since we work on the University schedule, I have a few weeks to figure out how to accomplish it via the cloud.

The current process goes like this: I write the newsletter in HTML using Bluefish. Once it's edited and ready I use an FTP client to send it to our webserver. Then I use the "Insert HTML" feature of Thunderbird to send it out to our Google Group. Thunderbird was the only Ubuntu app I found that could send emails in HTML format, and figuring out how to do that without legacy software will probably be the hardest part. Suggestions are welcome.

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