Thursday, January 26, 2012

My First 15 Minutes With Google's Chromebook

First of all, I need to thank Google and FETC for the Chromebook that I won Wednesday morning. Aside from all the amazing professional development that I've been receiving at this conference, I get to walk away with probably the one item that I'd have chosen to take if you'd asked me. While I'm at it, thanks to my Principal for sending me.

There are a bunch of reviews and first impressions of the Chromebook out there, but I was struck by a couple of things and felt obligated to share them. Don't misinterpret: I love this thing.

Un-boxing a Chromebook is anti-climactic because of its brilliance. 
You know when you get a new toy (electronic or otherwise) and you have that excitement that builds before you open it and then carries through the removal of the parts, possible construction, and finally the discovery of its features? Heck, sometimes you even get to remove bloatware and customize a new device after you get it up and running. 

Well, the Chromebook is already your Chromebook. 

Once you sign in, if you're already syncing your various instances of Chrome across devices all the familiar stuff is there for you. 

Super cool. 

For about 5 seconds. 

There's nothing to play with. Don't get me wrong: the Market is fun to browse, but you can do that anywhere... In order to satisfy my New Toy urges, I had to turn the device on and off 10 times in a row. The 8 second start up time is almost cool enough to make up for the fact that I don't get to play around with anything else.

My Lonely Mouse
This is a hardware thing, but my Samsung Chromebook doesn't have Bluetooth. I can't use my mouse. The touchpad is fine (although I can't count the number of times I've accidentally right-clicked because I'm too lazy to lift my fingers off of it). Somewhere I've got a USB stick at home that I now have a use for. The trick is finding it. Let's chalk this up as a problem for old-school users... unless you start to think about Bluetooth headsets....

Screen Captive
When I get questions from teachers about how to do something, I usually answer with a video. Evidently, there's a Chrome app for screen-shots, but not for video recording of the desktop. So for now I'll either have to stick with my other laptop or use my a webcam aimed at my screen.

Split Screen
For a bit I was worried that I couldn't split the screen and show two tabs at the same time. Turns out that there are keyboard shortcuts for that.

I'm still learning about the Google Chromebook, but I can tell you that the Chromebook experience isn't about the device: it's about what you do with it.

What are you doing with your Chromebook?