Friday, 11 December 2015

Dear Tim, Chromebooks are as much a real computer as an iPad ...

I'm a Mac user, a linux user and a Chromebook user.

Tim Cook, the boss of Apple, has been very disparaging of Chromebooks, describing them as 'test machines', as in machines for computer based testing rather than carrying out software tests.

Not true, you can do real work on a Chromebook like email, spreadsheets, documents, as well as surfing the web. Something I proved quite dramatically yesterday when our building was closed due to a rather dramatic water main leak.

When I turned up to work the building was already closed off and you guessed it, my work machines were the other side of the safety cordon. I started off with a keyboard equipped Android tablet sat on a picnic table under a tree while I emailed and called people, shifted meetings and so on.

But useful as the tablet was, it was showing some of its limitations. So I went home.

I started first off with my Chromebook. Again, email, calendaring and so on was all available, because they all have web based interfaces, and google Docs is pretty good at displaying word, odt and pdf files these days.

Even when we had a server failure and someone had to remote in, I could deal with the service desk incident purely because it's a web based service.

In fact the only reason I stopped using my Chromebook was that by about threethirty in the afternoon the battery was down to 8%.

So I swapped over to the old linux netbook I take travelling and finished my day.

So, why do I have a MacBook as well ?


The Chromebook needs a good internet connection. I've learned from experience that while it will work on a 4G connection or even a good 3G connection, if the internet's in the least bit crappy, you might as well go home.

And travelling's about slow, crappy, unreliable internet. It's why sometimes I take my own 3G network box with me as it's often cheaper (and more reliable) than using hotel wifi.

So, with my old linux netbook, I can work offline, and upload material and documents at the end of a session, especially at conferences, which nowadays seem to involve a lot of frenzied typing and overloaded wifi connections.

I could live in a totally linux based world except for the need to occasionally use some of the software the rest of the world uses, and for that reason I have a MacBook ...

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