Friday, June 17, 2011


I just got done reading "Whatever you do, don't buy a Chromebook" from Galen Gruman and while he brings up some good points but some I disagree with, or more correctly don't see as a problem in my testing

1. The web isn't good enough to be your information center.
Well arguable I don't travel that much but I sort of forgot that my email wasn't local and I was a big proponent of outlook's cached mode. Partly because without it my 1.8G mailbox was unusable. With gmail though it's fast enough to be on the web. Note: Much of my time is actually on my wireless 3g which in central Maine is 2 bars of EVDO rev A. Not exactly super fast but worked fine.

Most of my stuff was only on my laptop because I was too lazy to store it somewhere else, which since I last backed my laptop up in 08 was really a disaster waiting to happen. The fact that I can't store things locally is actually good for me.

Internet security? Really? Are we still having this debate. Now I would be a little nervous if the CIA was using the public internet to do stuff, but I'm not exactly worried about my data being targetted by other countries. For what we do the cloud providers to at least as good a job as we do, which is pretty darn good. Could the Chinese, Russian or US government, get in and steal my data, probably. Am I going to stay up at night worrying about that, probably not.

2. The browser in a box isn't good enough

Well I've been 100% web for a few months and with very few exceptions haven't used a real PC since then. (I do use it for calendaring and some email but that's more of a sympton of how we did ouy initial google POC than anything else).

Google Docs does more than enough to suit me, but I also don't do any crazy spreadsheet stuff like some finance folks do. If I needed to do a fancy powerpoint, I'd use sliderocket over google presentations, but it's still in the cloud.

I do miss having dual displays and can see why some people would miss bluetooth but even on my Dell I never used an external keyboard and mouse. I just never wanted to get used to it and then not have it when I went to a meeting.

The best reason for me to like the chrome book though was a story that happened to me last weekend. My girlfriend had her laptop and was surfing on the internet looking for gardening sites and kept getting "Your machine has been infected" malware messages. So after a few times I suggested she try my cr-48. She could get to everything she needed, was faster than her laptop (which admittedly is an 8 year old piece of crap) and she got away from the issues of getting infected. Plus since she was logged in as a guest, none of her banking info remains on my work machine.

VDI, at least last I looked was too expensive, better off to just issue laptops, IMHO of course....

Printing is an issue. No argument there, but I don't print that much. The last thing I was going to print was directions and I decided it was easier to simply use the GPS on my android phone, who knew?

Battery life and bootup time rocks on the cr-48. I used it all weekend on one charge, not for solid 48 hours of course, but, 8 hours is a reality. My laptop I could stretch to 4 or 5 which was still pretty good. My ipad was about the same 8 hours, but not having a keyboard ruined the ipad for me.

3. Can Google deliver a polished product?
I'll agree the UI in gmail annoys me sometimes, I mean really I can't sort my email on subject or sender? Really? But they also have some very cool features that make me want to deal with the clunkiness, like priority inbox and folders. Collaboration with Google Apps is awesome! Since most of what I do is that, I'll trade not having some of the features that I rarely use for the ability to collaborate in real time with my peers easily.

Are there things I'd like to see better, of course, but every product has that... I for one will keep my chromebook.

But I think Galen missed the best benefit, no IT management really needed. I don't need to have a dedicated patching person or figure out how to backup laptops. Of course I could just turn on windows updates and really should have figured out backups long ago. I don't need AV and anti malware, at least not yet. And I don't need to worry about data at rest issues (assuming my cloud providers do)

I still think taking a longer term vision on where IT is going makes the chrome books make more sense...

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