Did you make it past my last post on the Chromebook? Not my best blogging moment at all, but I wrote it because of a conversation over Christmas, and it resulted in a great conversation this past weekend. Read on.
It’s no secret that I have struggled with my writing lately. Lately being, oh, the last several months. I had a weekly goal to publish my ‘musings’ and I started to slip. A skipped week easily becomes months of no posts.
Over Christmas I was at a party with good friends. Kids dashed everywhere, friends who had not seen each other in a long while caught up with each other. It was a perfectly lovely evening. As I wandered about I started chatting with a lawyer friend. Well, in reality he started chatting with me.
“Why don’t you write your blog anymore?” I really did not know what to say, eventually stammered out something like, “You know about my blog?” My friend said that, yes, he was a subscriber, that he liked my take on things, my writing ‘voice’, and that he had noticed that it had been a while since I had written a post. I was floored. I had no idea that some of what I said here had an impact in a positive or thought-provoking way with anyone, and certainly if it did I never thought it important enough that it would be noticed if I stopped a while. I left inspired to write.
Recently I purchased a Samsung Chromebook, joining the over 21% of laptop segment purchasers in 2013 who have done so. What is it that would cause a self-professed Apple fan boy to go out on a limb and get one of these devices? Let me share five reasons with you, and some quick observations of my experience with the device to date.
What, then, are the points that attracted me to pick up the Samsung XE303C12-A01US and add it into my computing mix?
- Size. This device is a great size for travel or a day on the road stopping in at a coffee shop. With a screen of 11.6″ and overall dimensions of 0.69 thick x 8.09 wide x 14.4 long this computer is almost as svelte as my other object of lust the 11″ MacBook Air. I use a 15″ MacBook Pro as my day-to-day computer, but having traveled with it a few times I started looking longingly at fellow travelers as they sat at Starbucks with a smaller lighter computer. The Chromebook is an interesting alternative if small is what you are after in a computer.
- Weight. Much the same as the size argument, weight is always a significant consideration for me. With the Samsung coming in at just 2.4 lb vs the 15″ MacBook at 4.46 lb, I know that packing it will not be an issue in the future, at least with weight. It is the same weight as the 11″ MacBook Air for goodness sake.
- Battery life. Advertised at 5+ hours, I have yet to fully test this claim, but so far it seems to hold up. This is one area where the larger MacBook Pro has the Chromebook beat at over 7 hours. Still, over five hours is nothing to sneeze at.
- Google Apps. Here is where the biggest stumbling block is going to be for most reading this. You are tied to the Google ecosystem. Really tied. More tied than Apple ever considered tying its users. If you use Google Apps for Business to manage your corporate email, calendar and contacts as we do at my businesses then this little computer is a great choice, perhaps even as a primary laptop. You log on using your regular Gmail email and password and all your Chrome browser and email settings immediately pop up on your computer. However, other programmes you may be looking for, such as the Microsoft Office suite, are not available. Oddly, even everyday programmes like Skype are not available. Instead Google pushes users towards its Google Voice or Google Hangouts products. this may change in the future, but if these programmes are critical to you then the Chromebook may not be a good option.
- Cost. This may be the best feature. At $249 USD it costs less than an iPad and around the same as a Kindle Fire HDX. It’s a price point that makes this computer an easy choice for the work that we do the bulk of the time. Email, web browsing, cloud based applications are all perfectly suited to this device.
This weekend I am in Canada with my family. We are here visiting with my son, Ryan, who is in boarding school at Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario. This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and we really do have much to be thankful for.
The past six weeks have been particularly hard on my wife. She has been good about keeping her emotion on Ryan leaving for school under the wraps, but it is the little things that leave her teary eyed, and I can tell its hard. Little things like no bass coming from his stereo turned up too high in the morning. Little things like the daily, “Whats for dinner, mommy?”
But an instant takes that all away, or at least puts it in perspective. And in that instant we were so thankful for the ability to support our son in his education and growth from a boy to a man. That instant happened with the wonderful reunion of mom and son at the school on Thursday, followed by all of us chatting with several of his new friends. I think you have to be a parent to fully appreciate the feeling you get watching your son hug his mom and all the love that conveys. I believe you must have the memories of a baby held in arms to fully sense the maturity that has accelerated so much in the past six weeks as we chatted with such a diverse and wonderfully confident group of young people who are now friends at Trinity. This really is something to give thanks for.
Today I felt that I was an imposter. I attended my first writers group meeting. There. I said it. It feels good letting the world know I faked my way into this group of people who did not know me and assumed I was, like them, a writer. Did I make it through the hour without being found out? Read on.
CayWriters, according to their Facebook page, is a community of writers who live in the Cayman Islands and offer support and encouragement to each other, share resources, and provide feedback. I have tried to get to a meeting for months but travel or other events kept getting in the way. Today was my first opportunity to sneak into this group who really are actually writing. My plan was to sit in the back. Observe. Listen.
My happiest moment was meeting you, because that is where all my happiest moments have come from.