Friday, 3 May 2013

Chromebooks and usefulness

Having done a little bit of reading around the various Chromebook specifications it looks as if they might make a decent Eee substitute.

The only major downside is the lack of skype. Microsoft have recently announced a skype plugin, which might provide an escape route.

The use case is a trifle messy here, because quite often I use Skype to call phones and send text messages when I'm away as well as the basic Skype to Skype communications, so the skype plugin will have to have a pretty complex range of capabilities.

Until then the Skype and Chromebook saga is pretty dismal with messaging being the most you can manage, unless you have a suitable alternative device to hand - begging the question as to why you would bother with a chromebook.

However the good thing is that Chromebooks do seem to support Eduroam. This might seem pretty esoteric but, given I work in a university being able to access the network when I'm at meetings at other campuses is a definite advantage over the Eee. This was one of my drivers for going for the seven inch tablet as a note taker as Android also has good Eduroam support.

Also, our main campus network uses an identical authentication mechanism to that used in Eduroam, which means that if a chrome book supports eduroam, it will support our main campus network.
I couldn't find any Australian universities with web pages on how to use a chromebooks with eduroam, but there are plenty UK examples such as this one from Sheffield which look entirely plausible when compared with our Linux connection guide.

And I do know from direct personal experience that you can use Australian eduroam settings overseas without having to worry about version incompatibilities.
This would seem to combine to make the Chromebook a pretty sensible travel computer, especially given its statelessnes, and by extension the ease of getting information off of it.

Maybe I will crack an buy one ...

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