The Pros and Cons of Me on a Chromebook


No, it’s not some sort of crazy laptop computer that is made by a disinterested Williamsburg hipster out of spare rims from retro bicycles.

A Chromebook is Google’s answer to … well, to just about everything that is wrong with personal and consumer computing nowadays. It’s a “3/4-fledged” computer that “just works”. You know – like a Mac. πŸ˜‰ (Not that a Mac is not “full-fledged”, but from what I hear it is typical for a Mac to “just work”.)

Specifically, it’s a laptop, fairly trimmed down spec-wise and optimized for its primary purpose (which is to run Google’s Chrome browser software). Reportedly, it updates itself automatically and starts-up pretty much instantly. And it is completely disposable: If it breaks or dies, you just buy a new one, login, and keep working where you left off. Kind of like how Google’s Android phones work. The idea is that you don’t really store anything important locally (i.e., on the hard drive), and you assume you have easy access to a high-speed network wherever you go.

Easy access to a high-speed network is quite a bold assumption, and that’s the main reason that my list below has both pros and cons.

My Pros of Me on a Chromebook

  • According to the ads, it should start-up as quickly as, say, I hear a Mac laptop does, which to me means “as quick as my phone”.
  • It’s a cool gadget, and I like to have the latest stuff, if it is cool enough.
  • If I have a good high-speed network available most of the time, things could work pretty well.

My Cons of Me on a Chromebook

  • It won’t run Quicken. And no, is not a good enough alternative.
  • It costs $500, and my guess is that it will be dramatically cheaper in a year or two. I have a habit of buying first-gen devices (e.g., the Kindle and the Google phone – T-Mobile’s G1), and then seeing a much improved second-generation device released at a significantly lower price.
  • It won’t run Evernote. One of the most important features of the Evernote service is that the company provides a full-fledged and optimized client for whatever hardware you are using. So, you can use their web app, but you can get a better experience with their Windows app. But a Chromebook can’t run a Windows app…
  • It also won’t run some of my other daily-use apps: the New York Times Reader, Dropbox, Quicken. I understand these are compromises that some people may be willing to accept, but I’m not sure if I want to.
  • I would really want full-fledged offline versions of the following web apps: Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader, Google Docs, WordPress. Please note: I’m not just being picky. My Google Android phone has all these apps available to run offline, so I’m really just looking for the Chromebook to do at least as much as my phone already does, but on a larger screen. Apple folks get that with the move from iPhone to iPad, and I think it’s fair to ask for Google folks to get that if they move some of their computing environment from Android phone to Chromebook.

The Verdict?

It’s probably too early for me to make the switch. But I’m definitely chomping at the bit. I’ll probably buy one as soon as I get up the courage to set fire to my current netbook, which I have never really liked, right from the start, because it never really starts up when I need it. But as you can see from the list above, there are still a lot of cons, for me.


Top 17 Reasons to Give Blood in Metuchen, New Jersey

Every 57 days or so, I trudge home from my tired Manhattan commute and stop into my local ice-cream shop – What’s the Scoop – not for ice-cream, at least not as my primary goal, but to do my now-regular blood donation.

Note: Every three days or so I trudge into that shop to just get myself a nice ice-cream cone, which I finish during my walk home – my wife, none the wiser about my “pre-ssert”, wondering why I don’t want a second helping of her wonderful home-cooking.

When I was younger, I used to give blood occasionally, just not very often. Somehow I just never got around to doing it much. Now, it is so darned convenient (and there are other benefits :-)) that I recently got upgraded to theΒ New Jersey Blood Center “Gallon Club”, which means I can now give blood by the gallon instead of by the mere pint. πŸ˜‰

But maybe you need some motivation, so here are my top 17 reasons to give blood. Note: Please consult a medical professional if you think that maybe you shouldn’t be giving blood or you have any concerns about anything.

Also note: Some of the reasons below only apply to What’s the Scoop in Metuchen, New Jersey, so come on down!

  1. It’s fun and groovy. Seriously. It is.
  2. Easier than giving bone marrow.
  3. Where else can you sit around for an hour while people dote on you?
  4. People will dote on you.
  5. If you are good, you will get free beer and ice cream and pizza.
  6. Just kidding every one gets that.
  7. You’ve done good for the world.
  8. People will think you are a super man.
  9. Or woman.
  10. It’s the one thing you can do better than your cat.
  11. It’s like a mini physical.
  12. It’s an excuse to bulk up on iron via red meat, Guinness and spinach.
  13. If you don’t do it, people will cry.
  14. Also if you don’t do it, who will?
  15. Because blood doesn’t grow on trees.
  16. Yet.
  17. And most of all, I give blood because it makes me feel good about myself!

And of course, it helps save lives, blah blah blah… πŸ˜‰